Cooler winter temperatures often deter long periods of time outdoors. As a result, many are taking the start of the season as a cue to cover up their favorite outdoor “toys” and stay home until warmer weather prevails again. What if you didn’t have to? Have you thought you could continue to use your wood-fired pizza oven in the winter?
Winter is the perfect time to gather around a good fire and indulge in the simple pleasures of comforting cuisine. A wood-fired pizza oven not only provides a delicious dining experience, but also creates a cozy atmosphere for entertaining friends and family. However, there are a few things to remember when using a pizza oven in the winter. They understand:
Keeping your oven safe
Good news; Manufacturers typically design wood-fired outdoor pizza ovens to withstand all types of weather. However, although they are durable, it is important to keep their interiors dry. Therefore, you should always ensure that their doors remain tightly closed in rainy weather.
Keeping the oven interior dry helps maintain cooking ease, as an otherwise humid oven will significantly increase cooking time as the oven becomes more difficult to heat. Cover all potential water and snow inlets, such as the top of the chimney.
Solutions for moisture infiltration
You should avoid turning on your oven if you notice that its cooking surface is wet. Turning the oven on in this state will cause water to evaporate and steam to enter the appliance. This process will lead to spalling (the gradual development of hairline cracks), pitting in the oven, and eventually complete destruction.
Instead, when there is moisture in the oven, it is best to light a small fire inside and let it burn for about an hour. This process will sufficiently dry out the pizza oven, preparing it for baking.
Choose the right wood
Choosing the right wood for your oven is essential. Hardwoods such as oak, hickory, and maple are ideal choices because they burn hotter and longer, providing consistent heat for cooking. Avoid soft woods like pine or spruce, which can create excessive smoke and off-flavors. Seasoned, seasoned wood is best for optimal performance and taste.
Preheat your oven
First, please note that it will take longer to get your oven up to temperature in the winter than in the summer. It is therefore better to set aside more time for this process. You will also need more wood than usual.
Before turning on your oven, be sure to check that its interior and cooking surface are dry and free of debris.
This process may take a few hours, depending on the size of your oven and the type of wood used. The ideal temperature for baking pizzas is between 370°C and 480°C. (You can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature).
Additionally, it is also wise to monitor the weather conditions. For example, if it’s windy, you can move your pizza oven to a more sheltered location. However, if your cooker is not portable, it is best to wait for less windy or calmer conditions to use it.
Beyond pizza making, there are plenty of other ways to entertain your guests around your wood-burning pizza oven. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Organize a themed pizza party
- Organize a pizza contest
- Plan a movie night
- Share the heat
A wood-fired pizza oven is a fantastic addition to your winter entertaining repertoire. By following these tips and ideas, you can create memorable experiences for your guests while enjoying delicious homemade pizza in a warm and inviting atmosphere. Enjoy your food !
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