Guide written by:
Sylvie, Ecrivain & journaliste brico/déco, Essonne
Whether used indoors or in the garden, pizza ovens allow you to cook delicious pizzas or even bake bread, cakes and other foodstuffs. Available in a range of designs and sizes, pizza ovens may be wood- or gas-fired and can feature wheels or a BBQ function. Follow our guide to find the right pizza oven for your needs!
- Fuel source
- Types and accessories
- Cleaning and maintenance
Key criteria to consider when choosing a pizza oven
Whether you're an enthusiastic amateur or a professional chef, a wood-fired pizza oven is the ultimate pizza oven if you're looking for that distinctive taste. On the other hand, making the perfect pizza in a wood-fired oven means learning to control the flames perfectly at all times.
Cleaning a wood-fired pizza oven is also more demanding. If these constraints put you off, then choose a gas-fired pizza oven. Gas-fired models are easier to light and control, and in terms of cooking performance they can almost equal their wood-fired counterparts.
There are also electric pizza ovens, which are generally designed for indoor use.
If you don't have much space, you can also choose a multi-purpose oven which combines more than one function (for example, a pizza oven and a barbecue or a pizza oven and a smoker).
Another point to consider when choosing a pizza oven is its heating capacity. A pizza should cook in just 2 to 5 minutes in an oven heated to 350-400°C, which isn't possible in most conventional ovens.
It is also important to consider the insulation of the baking chamber of the pizza oven, because this determines how well the heat is distributed throughout the chamber and thus how evenly the pizza cooks. The insulation also reduces the temperature of the outside walls so that the oven gives off less heat. This is an especially important consideration if you intend to use your pizza oven indoors.
Wood-fired or gas-fired?
Both traditional wood-fired pizza ovens and gas-fired models have their advantages and disadvantages.
Wood-fired pizza ovens
Thanks to the intense, extremely dry heat of the flames, wood-fired pizza ovens caramelise the sugars in the dough, resulting in an inimitable taste and a shorter cooking time. Some models can even cook several pizzas at once.
However, to get perfectly baked pizzas you will need to pay very close attention to the temperature and draw, which are adjusted by opening and closing the door. When the door is closed, the flames are weaker, and the pizza cooks by conduction and convection. When the door is open, the flames are more intense, which gives the pizza its golden-brown, crispy texture.
For the best results, you should light the fire around thirty minutes before you start cooking. In terms of maintenance, you will need to regularly remove the ashes and brush out the pizza oven.
Gas-fired pizza oven
Gas-fired pizza ovens can be supplied either by a gas bottle (butane/propane) or the mains. Unlike wood-fired pizza ovens, gas-fired pizza ovens don't require any preheating and are lit simply by pressing a button. The temperature rises very quickly.
It can also be adjusted precisely to within a degree.
However, with lower quality models you may notice a slight smell of gas.
Since there are no ashes, cleaning a gas-fired pizza oven is easy – just brush out the baking chamber.
Multi-purpose pizza ovens
Some pizza ovens combine the functions of an outdoor barbecue with those of a pizza oven because they heat up very quickly (up to 400°C) and have a refractory stone floor for cooking.
There are also some super-compact models which are lightweight and portable, and specifically designed to be placed on top of a gas or charcoal barbecue.
Multi-function pizza ovens
In some pizza ovens you can cook several pizzas at the same time. Others are designed for cooking lots of different kinds of food (bread, cakes, chestnuts, etc.) or for smoking fish and meat.
Pizza oven features and accessories
Pizza peels are essential for putting your pizza into the oven and taking it out again. Some models have folding handles to save space. Traditionally, pizza peels were made of wood, but today's models are made of steel to make them more robust, or aluminium for optimum hygiene.
A stiff-bristled brush with a built-in scraper allows you to easily remove pizza residue from the oven to prevent burning smells and limit smoke.
If you cannot store your pizza oven indoors over the winter, be sure to use a protective cover. The cover should be strong and waterproof and the right size for your pizza oven.
Guide written by:
Sylvie, Ecrivain & journaliste brico/déco, Essonne, 197 guides
Après avoir travaillé au service de presse de France 2 et de la Cinq, j’ai choisi de laisser parler ma plume en m’orientant vers le journalisme et l’édition. Aussi éclectique dans mes goûts que dans mes écrits, passionnée de décoration et de bricolage comme d’histoire et de sciences, j’écris depuis plus de vingt ans sur ces thématiques. À mon actif : des ouvrages didactiques, romans et nouvelles, et de très nombreux articles brico déco regorgeant de conseils et d’astuces, expérimentés dans la vieille maison que je rénove peu à peu.