With the promise of a good summer ahead, Scots are gearing up to enjoy a season of outdoor eating. But the great British barbecue has a new rival – the outdoor pizza oven.
Last year, garden centre Dobbies reported record sales of its Woodfired Pizza Oven. And this year, their al fresco dining experts are predicting even higher demand and have launched a new Gas Pizza Oven just in time for the summer months.
The Woodfired Pizza Oven, at £179, was Dobbies’ second best seller in the outdoor eating department last year. Its competitive price made it a winner since it was one of the first non-industrial outdoor ovens on the market.
A true summer party centrepiece, its ceramic stone cooks pizzas to perfection, it’s on wheels so is easy to move around and can also be used for grilling and smoking.
New for summer 2016, the Gas Pizza Oven, at £359, is the ultimate outdoor cooking appliance. Its steel frame and durable pizza oven make it perfect for summer parties.
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.”
Here are John’s top tips to get the best out of your pizza oven:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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:
MAKES AROUND THREE 10IN PIZZAS
500g strong or ’00’ flour
2g live yeast
40ml olive oil
400ml warm water
Place the flour into a mixing bowl and add the salt. Slowly add all the olive oil and allow it to mix for 2-3 minutes. In a measuring bowl, add 4 litres of lukewarm 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.
AALAMI AL SALSICCIA (AMERICAN HOT)
Roll out your pizza base and place on to a well-floured pizza paddle. Cover with passata leaving 1cm around the edges.
Tear the mozzarella into 1″ chunks and place 6 – 7 pieces around the pizza (less is more). Add 6-7 pieces of pepperoni. Remove the skin from the sausages and roll into small balls. Deseed and slice the chillies and sprinkle over. Add basil and bake until the cheese has melted. Remove from the oven and add the rocket. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.
PROSCIUTTO E RUCOLA (PARMA HAM AND ROCKET)
Roll out your base and place on to a well-floured pizza paddle. Cover with passata leaving 1cm around the edges. Tear the mozzarella into 1″ chunks and place 6-7 pieces around the pizza (less is more). Add the parma ham and torn basil leaves and place on to the oven stone. Bake until the pizza starts to blister and the cheese melts. Remove and add the rocket and parmesan shavings. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Roll out your base and place on to a well-floured pizza paddle. Cover with passata leaving 1cm around the edges. Tear the mozzarella into 1″ chunks and place 6-7 pieces around the pizza (less is more). Slice the artichoke hearts and peppers and spread around the pizza.
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 of the egg is cooked. Finish with sea salt and black pepper.