Pizza originated in Italy--they were simple flat breads that peasants enjoyed with toppings of herbs and olive oil. Pizza evolved when, in 1889, the Italian royal cook served it to the king and queen with tomatoes and other toppings. Today's pizzas bear little resemblance to the original, but people who bake their pizzas in homemade pizza ovens probably come the closest to the tempting aromas and fragrant tastes of the original.
The Search for a Great Pizza
Pizza fans will readily admit that there are few pizzas that they approve of. Either the crust is too thin or too thick, it's too crispy or not crispy enough, it's too raw or baked for too long. In short, pleasing a true pizza critic can be extremely difficult!
While pizza cooks argue about many recipes, one thing that seems to draw agreement among pizza gourmets everywhere is that a proper oven is of the utmost importance in baking an acceptable pizza pie. "Hot" on most conventional ovens is 260 degrees C, but most experts suggest a 700-degree oven for an evenly cooked and well-done pizza.
Making a Homemade Pizza Oven
The trick is to construct the oven so that you are basically making a little oven within your conventional oven. The objective is to make a small nook within the larger oven so that the pizza is baked inside this space on a small pizza stone, surrounded by ceramic fire bricks that are propped up inside the oven. The pizza slides into this little cranny and bakes. When it slides out, the result is an evenly cooked pizza that tastes the way that pizza was meant to taste.
Anyone who wants to construct a pizza oven can do so for a small investment--as little as £7, depending on how easy it is to find the fire bricks. Some people are lucky enough to find these bricks, but they can be easily purchased at a fireplace supply store. Depending on their size, only a few blocks are needed.
The bricks are set up on the rack of the oven, similar to someone making a table from cards (two standing on the sides with one laid over the top). If the blocks are smaller, the space needs to be built with one set of blocks behind the other, to make a niche that's large enough for the pizza. The pizza stone is placed on the rack, in the middle of this construction. The oven should be turned up to 260 degrees C. After about 15 minutes, the area inside the little crevice will reach approximately 371 degrees C--the suggested heat for baking the pizza.
Satisfying Pizza for a Satisfying Price
It goes without saying that it's much easier to run out to your favourite pizza joint to buy a pizza, but for those who are looking for the true taste of a great pizza, there is no comparison to a home baked pizza in a homemade pizza oven.