You see, wood-fired ovens are, of course, meant to be used for cooking with wood. But not just any wood will do. Choosing the right wood for your customized Wood-fired oven is like selecting the perfect ingredients for a mouthwatering pizza. It's all about that ideal combination that gives you the crispiest crust, the most delightful aroma, and that authentic wood-fired flavour we crave.
You might wonder, "Why does the type of wood matter when making a delicious pizza"?
Read on to find out!
Why Does The Wood You Use For Your Pizza Ovens Matter?
First things first, why does the wood you throw into your pizza oven matter?
I used to ignore this before, but one day, while cooking in my outdoor pizza oven, I noticed a big difference between oak and maple wood. The oak imparted a deep, robust flavour to my pizza, while the maple added a subtle sweetness. It was a culinary revelation. That's when I realised that the wood you choose isn't just fuel; it's an essential ingredient in cooking.
Choosing wood for your pizza oven affects your pizzas' taste, cooking process, consistency, safety, and cultural authenticity. Selecting high-quality, properly dried, and suitable hardwoods will enhance your pizza-making experience.
Best Wood To Use For Your Pizza Ovens
Now that we've discussed why the wood you use for your pizza oven is important, let's narrow down our selections and discuss the best woods.
After experimenting, tasting, and savouring countless wood-fired pizzas (someone had to do it, right?), I've pinpointed the top contenders that can truly take your pizza game to the next level. Here they are, the culinary heroes of the wood-fired oven world:
Let's start with a classic, shall we? Oak wood is like the dependable buddy you can always rely on with its strong demeanour and even burn. It is strong, providing a steady and intense heat for that perfect, crispy crust. The appeal of oak lies in its capacity to bring out the flavours of the components in your pizza without dominating them. It always serves as a reliable sous chef, never taking centre stage.
Ah, maple, that delicious wood family charmer. Imagine the air filling with a slightly sweet perfume as your pizza bakes to golden perfection. That is maple wood's charm. Because it burns at a moderate temperature, it's a great option for striking that tricky balance between a crunchy surface and a soft, savoury core. Your pizza gains a subtle sweetness with maple, making every bite a treat.
Let's now discuss Cherry, the artist amongst woods. Your wood-fired pizzas gain a touch of refinement from cherry wood's reddish tint and distinct aroma. It burns at a moderate temperature, allowing the flavour of the fruit to permeate your pizza. Cherry wood brings the blended flavours of smokiness and a dash of natural sweetness to the table. It's similar to giving your pizza a gourmet twist to make it the star of any meal.
Have you ever wondered what a little fruitiness on your pizza can do? Here comes apple wood, a delicious, fruity wood that gives your pizza a new flavour. It releases a wonderful apple aroma as it burns, giving your pizza a delicate fruity flavour. The outcome? is a pizza that smells wonderful and tastes fantastic. Applewood is a favourite among wood-fired fans because it gives your pizza's flavour profile a layer of richness.
Hickory wood is your go-to choice if you like bold, smoky flavours. It's like the rockstar of the wood-fired oven world, packing a punch with its intense smokiness. Hickory adds a deep, robust flavour to your pizza, making it a popular choice for meat lovers. Imagine your favourite barbecue pizza, but taken up a notch – that's the magic of hickory. It's the wood that turns your pizza into a flavour explosion.
Types of Woods To Avoid
When fueling your wood-fired oven, not all woods are created equal. Some woods seem like a good idea initially, but they can lead to less-than-ideal results and, in some cases, even pose health risks. Here's a friendly heads-up on the types of woods you should avoid throwing into your beloved pizza oven:
Softwoods (such as Pine, Spruce, and Cedar)
Although plentiful, softwoods should never be used in your pizza oven. Why? Softwoods have a lot of resin. This resin burns to produce a thick, pungent smoke that gives your pizza a bitter flavour and an unpleasant odour. Additionally, it may leave toxic residues on your food. For a smoother, tastier pizza experience, avoid softwoods like pine, spruce, cedar, and similar ones.
Painted or treated wood
Even though it might seem obvious, this needs to be emphasised. Never, ever, ever use painted or treated wood in your pizza oven. Burning these trees produces hazardous vapours since they have undergone chemical modification. Your safety, well-being, and pizza taste are too precious to risk with these woods.
Wood from Unknown Sources
It's better to be safe than sorry! Wood hanging around for a long time has collected moisture, making it harder to burn. Similarly, timber from unidentified origins may have undergone chemical or pesticide treatments. Reputable firewood suppliers or woods recognised for their safety and quality should always be used.
Green or Unseasoned Wood
This is a big no-no for me! Wood that is green or unseasoned has a high moisture content. In addition to producing excessive smoke, burning does not consistently generate the high heat required to make the ideal wood-fired pizza. Always choose wood that has been adequately dried and seasoned. Seasoned wood burns more effectively, producing less smoke and a constant, even heat source.
Where To Buy Woods for Pizza Ovens
Finding the perfect wood for your pizza oven in Australia is essential for crafting that ideal wood-fired pizza experience.
Thankfully, there are several avenues where you can source high-quality, suitable wood for your oven.
Here are my recommendations:
Local Firewood Suppliers
Check out local firewood suppliers in your area. This is where I often get my firewood supply. They often stock a variety of hardwoods suitable for pizza ovens, including oak, ironbark, or red gum. These suppliers are usually knowledgeable about the best types of wood for cooking and can provide you with seasoned firewood that's ready to use.
In particular, certain gardening centres and outdoor supply businesses carry firewood during the winter months. Even if the selections may be few, it's worthwhile to see if they have any hardwood options that work for your pizza oven.
Firewood vendors frequently list their products on platforms like Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. Local vendors who deliver right to your door can be found. Find out what kind of wood they offer and whether it's appropriate for use in a pizza oven.
Owners of farms and orchards
Consider contacting farmers or orchard owners if you are in a rural area or nearby. Fruitwood, like cherry or apple, gives your pizza a distinctive flavour. You can purchase clipped branches or fruit tree wood from farmers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use wood pellets in my pizza oven?
Absolutely! Wood pellets derived from hardwoods like oak, hickory, or cherry are a practical and effective solution for your pizza oven. They guarantee a delicious wood-fired flavour for your pizzas and burn cleanly and consistently.
How long should the wood be dried before using it in my pizza oven?
To get rid of extra moisture, your wood must be thoroughly seasoned. Hardwoods should ideally be seasoned for a minimum of six months and a maximum of a year. A pizza oven's heat is more consistently generated with seasoned wood, which burns more effectively and emits less smoke.
Can I mix different types of wood for a unique flavour profile?
Absolutely! Mixing woods like oak and cherry can create a delightful blend of smoky and fruity flavours for your pizza. Experimenting with different wood combinations is a fun way to customise your pizzas according to your taste preferences.
And there you have it – the lowdown on the best wood for pizza ovens. Remember, the right wood can elevate your pizza-making experience from ordinary to extraordinary, turning your homemade creations into culinary masterpieces.
And, of course, remember to choose a quality wood-fired oven for a more complete and successful experience!
So, fire up your pizza oven, choose your favourite wood, and let the wood-fired magic begin!