Hand tossed pizza with a new pizza oven and pizza peel!
Pizza Oven Pizza!
It's monday/tuesday and time for my diet cheat days which means it's time to make some more pizza. I finally bit the bullet and bought a pizza oven! It wasn't super expensive but I'm very happy with the first batch of pizzas that came out. I'm still learning how to use the oven, and honestly I'm a bit afraid of it because it's so much hotter than anything I'v ever worked with before but it's all so exciting! I'm being very careful though so don't worry :P I'v modified my pizza recipe once again to promote more browning. In my old oven it didn't seem to help at all but it's browning extremely well in this new oven.
What I'v learned so far
I like to write this section because it helps me work through what was good and what wasn't. It helps me reflect on the pizza experience and figure out how I'm going to change my pizza next. I'v learned a lot since my last pizza post. I went to reddit and had some very insightful posters help me troubleshoot some of my problems. My roommates also gave me some advice on what they personally want in a pizza and it really helped me shape my new pizzas a lot.
With this new oven I learned some very important lessons and for any amatuer pizza maker like myself, I can't urge you enough to really research everything involved with a pizza oven if you decide to uprgade your hobby. My new pizza oven is amazing, I really love it but it is also scary. I tried to make a pizza in it without a pizza peel because I was too excited and impatient to wait for my peel to arrive the next day. I melted my oven mitts and almost burned myself trying to get the pizza inside. It was really dangerous and I'm very lucky that I didn't accidently touch any of the sides while trying to adjust the pizza in the oven. Only use a pizza oven with a pizza peel. Do not try to be crafty if you're an amatuer, it's dangerous and you could get hurt.
With the saftey warnings aside, it's time to reflect on my new pizza!
Use more toppings. I was afraid of the pizza getting too heavy and all the toppings just flopping off due to a soggy crust. I went really light on the pizza sauce and really light on the cheese. The crust cooked very well though and can certainly support much more cheese and toppings for a more interesting pizza!
Prep the pizza peel better. I pressed the dough on a floured kitchen counter before hand tossing it. I put a light layer of corn mill and flour on the peel and moved the dough to the peel after it was shaped. Once it was on the peel I topped it but the pizza got a little stuck and I had to lift edges of the pizza to flour the bottom a little better which results in some toppings getting shuffled around which was a bit of a hassle. I think I might have not used enough corn mill/flour on the peel so i'll try to use a little more next time for a more comfortable slide off the peel.
Cook slightly less. My roommates love a crispier pizza and I really like it too, especially with the charred bubbles but I really love new york style pizza. I love the softer dough that folds in your hand. Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with this crust, I just want to try a different style.
Some of the good folk at reddit helped me figure out why my dough was rolling out really thin in the middle and I spent a good couple hours watching hand tossing videos on youtube to learn! It was a lot of fun but a little scary because I was worried I'd poke holes in the dough. Luckily, the dough was super pliable and didn't tear and it was a lot of fun! I didn't actually throw it up in the air but instead spun it around on my fingers until it was pulled to the size I wanted it. The dough came out very well and not thin at all so i'm really happy with it!
The pizza oven and peel
My new pizza oven was a whopping 100$USD, it's extremely cheap for a pizza oven I know but in China most ovens ranged from about 150-500$ USD. I just picked the cheapest one I could find and it was on sale. I was worried it would suck or have some kind of problems but so far it's working far better than I imagined.
It has a stone floor inside it and gets up to 350C which is almost 700F! The oven door locks in place to help keep the heat in and it only takes about 20 minutes of preheating to get this bad boy extremely hot. It can cook up to 14in pizzas and takes a really long time to cool down lol.
The pizza peel is one of the metal ones, I wanted a wooden one but they didn't have any wooden peels bigger than 12in. I did have a little trouble getting the pizza off the peel and had to keep adding more flour under the pizza once it was on the peel but I think it was an issue with how I prepared the peel. I don't think I used enough corn mill/flour originally which was the problem. The peel is super nice for taking the pizza out of the oven and I feel really cool using it haha.
525g generic bread flour
25g white sugar
42.9g olive oil
I immediately seperated the dough into 3 balls roughly 280-300g each. I coated them lightly in olive oil and let them rise overnight in airtight tupperware. The next day I put them in the fridge for a 4 day cold ferment. I meant to do 3 days but my pizza peel came a day late.
I made two pizzas, a simple cheese and a cheese with feta and onions. I'm really happy with both the pizzas and I feel like I finally achieved that restaurant style crust that I was looking for. The crust was crispy yet really chewy on the inside and it had some amazing charred bubbles! I went light on the toppings because I was worried about a floppy soggy pizza but I worried for nothing because this oven cooked the crust super well so next time I will definately be experimenting with even more toppings.
Here's the cheese:
Cheese with feta and onion:
Shot of the chewy airy crust! For some reason the lighting was a little weird in this shot and it looks a bit more yellow but whatever haha.