This summer, instead of breaking out the barbecue, why not opt instead for this year's must have cooking accessory, the outdoor pizza oven. 

With summer firmly on its way – we’re being optimistic that in Scotland it will last longer than May this year – most people are gearing up for barbecue season.

However, this year, the traditional outdoor eating implement if facing a new challenger in the form of the outdoor pizza oven.

Gaining popularity in 2015, the outdoor pizza oven is set to be the new must have item with garden centre chain, Dobbies, reporting record sales of its Woodfired Pizza Oven last year

This year, Dobbies’ outdoor dining experts are predicting even higher demand and have launched a new Gas Pizza Oven to add to their range.

The Woodfired Pizza Oven was Dobbies’ second best seller in the outdoor eating department last year, with its value adding to its popularity – it was one of the first non-industrial outdoor ovens on the market.

A great centre-piece for any summer party, the ceramic stone is perfect for cooking pizzas, it’s on wheels, so is easy to move around and can also be used for grilling and smoking.

John Forbes, Outdoor Living buyer at Dobbies said: “The days of outdoor entertaining are changing as the traditional British barbecue has a new rival. Barbecues will always have their place in the great British summertime and now new alternatives like outdoor pizza ovens are growing massively in popularity as we look for new ways to impress in the garden.”

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The wood fire pizza oven. Picture: Dobbies

We were so impressed by the new ovens that we asked John to provide us with some tips for getting the best out of your pizza oven, as well as a few pizza recipes to get you started:

1. Give it centre-stage

Make your pizza oven the star of the show. It’s a great talking point so don’t hide it away, make sure everyone can see it and enjoy the theatre of bringing out the finished pizza.

2. Serve in style

Invest in some funky outdoor serving plates. Don’t ruin the moment with your every-day kitchen plates, try some bold colour pop accessories to serve your creations in style.

3. Get the kids involved

Set up a pizza making station where they can make their own pizzas before they go in the oven. Not only will they be excited to eat their very own pizzas but they’ll always want to come back!

4. Grow your own

Use ingredients that you’ve grown in the garden. From herbs to crisp fresh veg you can create a bespoke family recipe that will go down as a party legend. Get the kids involved here too – spinach and rocket are easy for them to sow and gets them involved with every step.

5. Get the right dough

If you really want to impress then make friends with your local pizza chef and buy their pizza bases. Shop bought bases will do but nothing beats a genuine pizzeria dough. Of course if you are clever enough to be able to make your own then you truly are the host with the most.

The Pizza Oven recipes

Make the most out of your new Woodfired or Gas outdoor pizza oven with these brilliant recipes from Dobbies’ award winning chef and restaurant development manager, Adriano Trebbi .

Dough Recipe (Makes approx 3 x 10” Pizzas)

Picture: Flickr

Picture: Flickr

Ingredients

• 500g Strong or ‘00’ Flour
• 5g Salt
• 2g Live Yeast
• 40ml Olive Oil
• 400ml Warm Water

Method

You must use strong flour or ‘00’ flour as this is finer than plain flour and will aid the proving of the dough and therefore ensure it is light and not stodgy.

Place the flour into a mixing bowl with and add the salt, then slowly add all the olive oil and allow it to mix for 2-3 minutes.

In a measuring bowl, add 4 litres or Luke warm water and crumble in the live yeast. Whisk the yeast gently until it is fully dissolved into the water.

Slowly add three quarters of the yeast mix into the flour and allow it to thoroughly mix in using your hands.

Once a dough is starting to form, add the remaining yeast mix. Knead all this into a large ball. Remove from the bowl and knead further on a flat, floured surface.

Cover and allow the dough to rise. This will allow air to enter the dough and make the pizza base lighter with good air bubble formation when it cooks.

Once the dough has totally lifted off the bottom of the bowl it is ready. The dough should not feel sticky and should be firm and elastic to the touch.

Once the dough has risen, knead it back to its original size and you can then form it into balls which can be placed into a well floured tray, cover and allowed to prove for a second time.

The Pizzas

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Picture: Publcidomainpics.net

Salami al Salsiccia (American Hot)

Ingredients

• Passata Sauce
• Pepperoni
• Fresh Basil
• Olive Oil
• Mozzarella Balls
• Italian Sausages
• Red Chillies
• Rocket

Method

Roll out your base and place onto a well floured pizza paddle. Cover with passata leaving 1cm around the edges.

Tear the mozzarella into 1 inch chunks and place 6 – 7 pieces around the pizza (less is more)

Add 6-7 pieces of pepperoni and then remove the skin from the sausages and roll into 1 cm balls and add to the pizza.

Deseed and slice the chillies and sprinkle over, then add the basil and bake until the cheese has melted.

Remove from the oven and add the rocket, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Proscuitto e Rucola (Parma Ham and Rocket)

Ingredients

• Passata Sauce
• Parma Ham
• Fresh Basil
• Rocket
• Olive Oil
• Mozzarella Balls
• Parmesan Shavings

Method

Roll out your base and place onto a well floured pizza paddle.

Cover with passata leaving 1cm around the edges, then tear the mozzarella into 1 inch chunks and place 6 – 7 pieces around the pizza (less is more).

Add the parma ham and torn basil leaves and place onto the oven stone, then bake until the pizza starts to blister and the cheese melts.

Remove and add the rocket and parmesan shavings, then drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.

Capricciosa (v)

Ingredients

• Passata Sauce
• Mozzarella Balls
• Artichoke Hearts
• Olives
• Mixed Peppers
• Eggs
• Fresh Basil

Roll out your base and place onto a well floured pizza paddle

Cover with passata leaving 1cm around the edges, then tear the mozzarella into 1 inch chunks and place 6 – 7 pieces around the pizza (less is more)

Slice the artichoke hearts and peppers and spread around the pizza and add the olives and basil and bake until half cooked.

Crack a whole egg into the centre of the pizza and return to the oven until the white is cooked, then season with sea salt and black pepper.

Let us know what you think

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