Master the Art of Using a Pizza Oven (Wood-Fired or Propane)

So, you’ve got yourself an outdoor pizza oven, or maybe you’re considering building one. In this article, I’ll guide you on how to expertly use a pizza oven, whether it’s powered by wood/charcoal or propane, and whether you bought it ready-made or built it yourself.

Before we dive in, let me just say that I’m an Ooni ambassador. If you decide to make any purchases through the affiliate links in this post, I may earn a small commission. That being said, all the opinions and instructions I provide are completely my own. They apply to any outdoor pizza oven out there, regardless of brand or origin.

Create Your Perfect Outdoor Pizza Kitchen

Before you unleash your pizza-making prowess, it’s crucial to set yourself up for success and ensure safety.

First things first, find a sturdy and heatproof surface for your outdoor oven. If your oven doesn’t come with its own stand, you can either find the exact measurements online or take them yourself. With the measurements in hand, build or purchase an outdoor table slightly larger than the oven. Make sure it’s tall enough to save you from crouching down when launching or retrieving pizzas. If you have a small backyard like mine, I recommend this one*. Alternatively, consider Ooni’s modular tables that conveniently clip together, allowing your prep space to sit right next to the oven**.

Now, let’s talk about where you’ll stretch and top your dough. Your pizza prep station can be as simple or fancy as you like. I, personally, use two sawhorses with a jumbo cutting board on top. The important thing is to have it close to your oven to avoid any last-minute frenzy. Home pizza ovens, especially, can reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, baking pizzas in under a minute. That means you need to work quickly. Consider investing in a bar-height table like this one or the aforementioned modular tables. Or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, create your dream outdoor kitchen (and don’t forget to share a photo with me!).

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Essential and Nice-to-Have Equipment

Once you have a secure place for your pizza oven and a surface for preparing the dough, it’s time to gather your pizza-making tools. Here are the must-haves, along with some useful extras:

  • Infrared thermometer for measuring the oven’s temperature – One common mistake beginners make is not having a hot enough baking surface in their ovens. You’ll want the temperature to consistently reach somewhere between 700°F and 1,000°F before baking any pizzas. An infrared thermometer like this one* is the safest way to check the oven’s temperature.

  • Pizza peel for effortless sliding of topped dough into the oven – Regardless of how amazing your dough or toppings are, without a way to transport them into the hot oven, you’re out of luck. If you have space, invest in a wooden or metal peel* for launching, as well as a smaller round turning peel for rotating the pizza and retrieving it. If space is limited, stick with a long-handled metal peel. Personally, I adore my perforated metal peel, which is super light and prevents the dough from sticking.

  • Long-handled offset spatula to prevent dough from sticking to the peel – Even seasoned pizza chefs occasionally struggle with launching their topped dough into the oven. If you encounter any sticking, simply dip a long offset spatula in flour and slide it between the dough and the peel, all the way around until the dough moves effortlessly.

  • Heavy-duty heat-resistant gloves for hand and forearm protection – Remember what Grandpa used to say, “Play with fire, get burned.” Some pizza ovens come with fire-proof gloves, but if yours didn’t, grab a pair like these* before firing up your oven for the first time.

  • Long-handled oven brush/scraper for cleaning ash and burnt toppings off the baking stone – Technically optional, but useful if you’re using a wood and/or charcoal-fired oven. It’ll come in handy for cleaning ash off the stone between pizzas.

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Learn the Art of Pizza Making in an Outdoor Oven

Did you find this post helpful? If you still have questions or need further guidance on making pizza in an outdoor oven, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section below!

  • As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
    ** As an Ooni associate, I receive a small commission when someone purchases a product using the links in this post. However, I only recommend products I personally vouch for and believe will benefit my readers.

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