Firing up our pizza oven

So once we'd filled our gabion baskets, we needed to lift the pizza oven onto the top of it. Something that was easier said than done. It comes to pieces - the base which is very heavy, the interior dome which is less heavy and then the outer dome, which is heavy and an awkward shape. 

It wasn't something I was looking forward to, even though I knew it was essential. The bruises we'd both encountered carrying it through the house (oh how we wished we had side access!) were still there, but healing and I wasn't that keen on adding to them.

As it turns out having the smaller gabion baskets to the side of the larger metre high one was a good plan as lifting kilos worth of a clay oven a metre off the floor is hard work. Less hard work if you can clamber onto a half-metre high block in the process. After a lot of sweat and tears, it was in place. Actually there were no tears, but a lot of the other stuff and some effing and jeffing all round. 

And it looks great, but it needed to do more than just look great.

Our pizza oven on top of the gabion baskets

It seems we've put it in a great spot, it gets the evening sun but is sheltered enough by the laurel tree to avoid the rain. That's brilliant as there'll be no excuse for MOH if we fancy pizza in the rain, well apart from having to get to the end of the garden!

It's heavy - and lifting it a metre into the air was hard work

Before we could use it in earnest, the inner dome needed curing. To do that MOH lit small fires around the inside and waited for the temperature to reach about 200, which was the most angst-ridden and most precise thing ever, according to MOH. And tricky, so tricky that he decided he needed an infra-red thermometer, which had I know how pleased he'd be with this I think we could have started with that and progressed to the pizza oven, it's such a good boys toy!  

Seriously if you're looking for a gadgety gift for your OH then an infra-red thermometer could be just the thing. Just be prepared for him to tell you the temperature of everything close by, including yourself. It's kind of addictive though.

Back to the fire. Look. Fire.

 FIRE...

FIRE...

As the oven was starting to cure properly - it needs to be done over four days - I decided to make a start on dough for our 110th party. There was a lot of dough, and boy did it rise. In fact it didn't stop rising and took on a life of its own. 

 THE PIZZA DOUGH ROSE MORE THAN I EXPECTED IT TOO

THE PIZZA DOUGH ROSE MORE THAN I EXPECTED IT TOO

I like bread dough though, and while MOH tended his fire, and told me I'd made the pizza dough all wrong. I know, give him fire and a pizza oven and suddenly he's a grand master, even when I'm the one that makes the bread in this house...

Thankfully though it wasn't long before the fire needed a good close look at...

KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON OUR NEW TOY

And our first pizza wasn't far behind either. We started simply; tomato sauce, torn mozzarella and topped with some torn basil (clearly we hadn't got to that bit for this photo!) and as you can see the lively pizza dough continued to bubble in the oven too.

OUR FIRST PIZZA - IT PASSED THE TASTE TEST

It tasted great. Way better than any shop-bought, oven-cooked pizza and just like the ones from our local pizzeria. We just need to master slightly bigger pizzas now, and to not annoy our temperamental neighbours with the smoke...  I guess we could always offer to cook them a pizza!

I've some more dough to make - perhaps just half of what I made before, and the plan is to freeze it before it's second prove so that we're never that far away from a decent pizza.

What do you have on yours?