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How To Cook Pizza in A Pizza Oven?

There are many ways to cook pizza in a pizza oven. It all depends on how you want the crust to be. You can either put your pizza directly on the walls of the oven, or bake it on stones inside the oven.

Once you’ve tasted homemade pizza made in an authentic pizza oven, you’ll never go back to ordering takeout or settling for frozen pizza. Luckily, it isn’t challenging to learn how to make the perfect pizza. 

You can cook pizza in a pizza oven in minutes. After making the dough, stretch it by hand and assemble your pizza on a lightly floured peel. Use the peel to put the pizza in the oven and leave it for a minute and a half while rotating it every 15 seconds. Slice, and enjoy.

This article will walk you through making the best pizza you can make in a pizza oven. I’ve narrowed it down to five steps; even beginners can do it. 

1. Make Your Dough

Making pizza dough is the first and most crucial step to getting a delicious pizza. It’s essential to be patient and give the dough enough time to rise, preferably overnight. Here’s a basic recipe for pizza dough that doesn’t require specific measurements. 

A pizza dough.
It’s essential to be patient and give the dough enough time to rise, preferably overnight.

Ingredients

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Yeast (one sachet)
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt (a pinch)
  • Sugar (a pinch)

The most critical measurement is the flour and water you will use. A general rule of thumb is to start with an ounce of flour for each inch of pizza. Add ¼ cup (59 ml) of water for every 4 inches (10.16 cm) of the final pizza. To further simplify, here’s a reference table:

Pizza SizeOunces of FlourWater
12 inches (30 cm)12 ounces (355 ml)¾ cup (177 ml)
16 inches (41 cm)16 ounces (473 ml)1 cup (237 ml)

Note: Keep some extra flour on hand because you might need to add more while kneading.

Knead the dough using your palms to move it around and stretch it to develop gluten. Don’t worry if it gets messy—when the dough stops sticking to the countertop, it’s ready. 

Recipe

All you need to do is follow these basic steps to make a glorious pizza. Remember that you can double or triple this recipe according to the number of pies you intend to make.

  1. Add warm water to a small bowl, and dissolve the yeast, salt, and sugar. Cover and allow it to bloom.
  2. As the yeast activates, measure your flour into a large bowl. Reserve a quarter cup of the flour to the side. 
  3. Using a sturdy wooden spoon, mix the flour until all the water is absorbed and a shabby dough forms.
  4. Add about two generous tablespoons to your yeast/flour mixture per half a kilogram (1.1 lbs) of flour.
  5. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. Add more flour if you feel the dough is too sticky to handle, but be sparing; you don’t want to dry out your dough! It’s best to have a soft dough that sticks slightly. Alternatively, use a kitchen machine.
  6. Oil a bowl and place your dough in it, coating the top with oil.
  7. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. 
  8. Leave the dough on the countertop to proof for a couple of hours–-this is the ’first rise.’  
  9. Divide the dough into equal parts shaping each into a smooth ball with the ends tucked under—this is important for the rise as a smooth surface traps the air. 
  10. Place each ball on a surface coated with a semolina/flour mix—leaving space between them so they can rise. If you plan to use the dough later, place the balls in a lidded container.
  11. If you have the time, store your dough in the fridge and allow it to prove for up to 24 hours; this develops more flavor. Otherwise, let it rise for a second time on the countertop for 30 minutes. 

2. Hand Stretching Pizza Dough

You don’t need to be a professional to hand-stretch your pizzas. Skip the rolling pin because that would result in a less flexible dough and an undesirable texture. 

A pizza dough being knead.
You don’t need to be a professional to hand-stretch your pizzas.
  1. Press gently on your dough ball to flatten it into a disc shape on a well-floured surface. It should be easier to handle if you’ve just taken it out of the fridge
  2. Placing the flat disc on the edge of your work table or countertop allows a small part of the dough to fall over the edge.
  3. Place your palm firmly on the dough, stretch it a few inches—and rotate it. Repeat the stretching until you’ve rotated the dough a full circle. 

Here’s a video of hand-stretching for you to get a better idea of the process:

3. Assembling Your Pizza

I highly suggest you have all your toppings ready before stretching the pizza dough because everything will move quickly from this point onwards. 

You can add whichever toppings you like, starting with the tomato sauce and ending with the cheese and other toppings. Assemble your pizzas onto a sheet of parchment paper if you are not confident in your ability to work quickly. Otherwise, assemble it directly onto the peel. 

Assembling pizza toppings.
Keeping the sauce raw before it goes onto the pizza ensures a fresher final product.

For a great homemade tomato sauce, I suggest you do not cook your sauce. Here’s a quick recipe:

  • Add one can of whole peeled tomatoes to a blender.
  • Add olive oil, oregano, salt, and a pinch of sugar, tasting to adjust. 

Keeping the sauce raw before it goes onto the pizza ensures a fresher final product. Also, I suggest you grate your cheese because pre-grated cheese is likely to contain fillers, which are anti-caking agents.

4. Putting the Pie in the Oven

Whether you use a gas-fired or wood-fired pizza oven, you should ensure that it is up to the required temperature before you begin stretching and assembling your pizzas. The ideal temperature range you seek should be between 600-850°F (316-454°C). 

A pizza oven is like an inferno, so you don’t want to get too close to the heat. Pizza peels are an excellent invention for cooking a pizza without cooking it yourself. A neat trick is to layer the peel with semolina and a bit of flour. The semolina gives the pizza base a divine crunch when you bite into the yumminess. 

A girl putting the pizza on the oven.
Pizza peels are an excellent invention for cooking a pizza without cooking it yourself.

Here’s how to use the peel to put the pie in the oven:

  • Carry the pizza into the oven using the peel. 
  • When you have found d the perfect spot to land your pizza, make a quick backward-jerking movement to dislodge your pizza. The semolina and flour should prevent the pizza from sticking to the peel.  

The Ooni 14” Perforated Pizza Peel is a pizza peel that I found on Amazon, which was easy to use and lightweight.

5. Baking and Serving the Pizza

Keep the pizza in the oven until you see the cheese bubble and the dough changes color. I recommend using the peel to rotate the pie while in the oven, especially if you have a larger oven. This way, you can ensure that all sides of the pizza get an evenly colored crust. 

Pizza fresh from the oven.
Keep the pizza in the oven until you see the cheese bubble and the dough changes color.

You may want to wait for the cheese to brown slightly before taking the pizza out. Using a shoving motion, push the peel under the pizza and pull it out. Add any additional fresh toppings (like basil or freshly grated parmesan), and slice the pizza into six even slices. Serve it hot out of the oven, and enjoy!

Final Thoughts

Now you know how to use a pizza oven to make a delicious pizza, even if it were a simple cheese pizza. The secret is creating a soft dough, stretching it by hand, and baking it in a scorching hot pizza oven. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different toppings and cheeses, and you’ve got a world of options before you.

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