If you happen to have a pizza oven in your backyard or within your kitchen, chances are it’s a dome-shaped pizza oven. These have been used to cook Artisan pizzas since ancient times and offer many options for temperature control while cooking. But that still leaves us with many more questions about the best things to cook in pizza oven domes, that aren’t specifically pizza. Here is what you should know about what your pizza oven can also be used for.
If you’ve been to culinary school, you understand the physics behind ovens and how temperature is controlled. Since the earliest times back when ancient Greeks created dome ovens, they were used to bake both bread and pizza, but- in fact, were also used for a variety of foods all at the same time. These are items that include meat, fish, seafood, vegetables, stews, side dishes, and even desserts.
Now, if you haven’t learned about how dome ovens work, there is a reason why many types of food can be cooked inside these rounded cooking dens. This is all due to the difference in cooking temperatures. It’s actually very aerodynamic how heat moves within this dome and is very similar to many modern convection ovens which circulate the heat. It’s also important to point out that wood-fired ovens work very differently than gas ovens.
Using direct heat such as wood will create higher temperatures which later turn into hot coals that still produce significant amounts of heat. You can see how this process works with a very simple explanation. For the most part, three separate zones are used in a dome oven for cooking and baking. These include the primary pizza oven zone, a roasting oven zone, and a baking oven zone.
This zone will provide a floor temperature that is 650 degrees Fahrenheit. This is achieved by placing the wood fire to one side with the pizza zone on the direct opposite side. As heat rolls up the rounded rooftop, it heats the floor where the pizza will be placed. So there is a constant heat cooking a pizza on the top and the bottom remaining steady within the 650-700 degree range.
The roasting zone is more akin to your kitchen oven with 550 degrees Fahrenheit. Typically, the roasting zone is closer to the arched opening in your oven. This will allow foods to cook in a pan or griddle, which is perfect for meats and other dishes that will roast at a lower temperature than the pizza zone. Depending on how much your dish is placed into the dome, the temperature difference will range from 450-600 degrees Fahrenheit accordingly.
This baking zone is off-centered or slightly off to the side of any wood fire that has reduced to coals, and will typically be no more than 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The actual cooking and baking at this point is merely the residual heat that the dome has collected and is done when a fire has reduced from an open flame to glowing coals only. This is where a door on the dome will help keep the temperature constant. Because the heat still rises, it circulates just like a convection oven helping to bake bread, desserts, and reheating food.
Now, this is the part where you get to learn about what kinds of goodies you can cook in the pizza oven. These are generally considered top list items that most people might assume would be good picks but aren’t limited to your imagination. If you can put it into your home oven, it can make a good addition likewise.
This will include common side dish favorites such as your ordinary baked potato, or corn on the cob. You can also pick any kind of vegetable but most BBQ fans will likely love to plop down some red and yellow bell peppers, whole garlic cloves, or a mixture of each in a roasting pan. If you’re a fan of side dishes they can all cook in pizza oven zones.
If you love a good grilled steak, it’s possible to cook in a skillet to create a mouth-watering pan-fired steak in less than 10 minutes. Don’t forget that wood-fired ovens also create the ideal spot for barbecued meats that can also be smoked. If you love making kebabs and other skewer foods on a stick, these can be laid onto the edges of a casserole dish and grilled from the heat that comes from above and below.
Because the fire can be raging for making pizzas, don’t worry about making slow-cooked meats off to the side of the dome entrance. This is how you can also grill some fish and seafood.
Who doesn’t like a bit of cheese bread with some freshly made melted cheese dip? Even sauces that are intended to be served hot such as artichoke & spinach or roasted garlic dip can be made in a baking dish. If you like Mac and cheese, you’ll be amazed how easy this is to make inside your pizza oven. Imagine making cookies or brownies on a baking sheet will be possible to cook in pizza oven setups.
Grab your mom’s old cookbook and start making some of your favorite recipes that come in the form of casseroles and homemade stews. Just as the old settlers used to use a Dutch oven to cook their food, it’s the perfect time to dust off this kitchen decoration and make some hearty comfort food inside a pot. However, if you love casseroles, you can make new and exciting variations that will bake wonderfully in either metal or Pyrex casserole dishes.
While your pizza oven is getting primed, you can prepare ahead of time all of the different types of dough that can make impressive baked bread of all kinds. Even if you aren’t so confident of your bread-making skills, easy bake rolls that make cinnamon buns or even ready-bake muffins. The ideal baking surface inside your pizza oven was designed to bake pizza dough, so why wouldn’t you try out flatbreads, French bread, dinner rolls, and more.