Whether you have a cosy city garden with a small dining table, or an idyllic country garden with a pergola or porch, there are few things as evocative of summer as eating outdoors. Capturing this spirit now more than ever is wood-fired cooking. Indeed, as live-fire cooking heats up in restaurants, it has in turn expanded options for home cooks, as well, with more residential friendly wood-fired ovens becoming a popular choice. As the desire for great tasting home cooked dishes continues with real gusto, home gardens become full of vegetables, fruits and herbs, and wood-fired ovens a rather common sight. While many start with a simple Neapolitan pizza, their meals soon grow to embrace cuisines from all over the world.
What is a wood-fired oven?
A wood-fired oven is exactly what its name implies. Instead of being heated by electricity or gas, a wood-fired oven employs burning wood to cook food. Compared to most home ovens, wood-fired ovens can reach higher temperatures, which allows your food to cook differently than they would in a conventional oven.
A wood-fired oven emits three types of heat. The first is the heat of the fire. The second is radiated heat. The dome of the oven gets white-hot after the fire has been burning for a while, and the heat from the dome radiates downward on your pie, pizza, meat or bread. Finally, the convection heat from the ambient heat inside the oven and the tiles on the floor of the oven bake the dough.
How is a wood-fired oven different from gas or electricity?
They char and flavour the pizza/vegetables/meat differently: Gas and electric ovens cook with direct heat. The elements heat up and heat your food. A wood-fired oven fuelled by wood traps heat and heats indirectly at high temperatures, which creates a charred crust and a rustic, smoky flavour you simply cannot achieve any other way.
They allow for flexibility of flavour: Since a wood-fired oven will work with different kinds of wood, you can introduce new flavours by changing the type of logs you use. Cherry will create a different flavour than apple wood or other varieties.
They are more authentic: The AVPN (True Neapolitan Pizza Association or Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) publishes rules about what constitutes an authentic Neapolitan pizza. Wood fired pizza ovens are a requirement for authentic Italian pizza made to these regulations.
They result in even heat and a faster cooking time: In a wood fired oven, pizza, steak and kebabs takes only minutes to cook and the heat is even because it radiates from the dome, walls and tiles of the oven. The dough is cooked to the perfect texture — crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside.
Intuitive cooking: It is about throwing off the shackles of technology, embracing a bit of culinary adventure and getting back to basics with the most primal of elements, fire. Without temperature dials and fan controls you become a more intuitive cook, one who values their senses of smell, sight, taste and even touch over the beep of the oven timer. It allows you to cultivate confidence of ‘it’s done when it’s done,’ and a willingness to work in tandem with your fire.
What can you cook on a wood-fired oven?
Wood fired cooking helps you become creative with food. If pizza is not on your menu, you can also cook all manner of bread, meat, fish, casseroles, cakes and puddings in wood-fired ovens, by taking advantage of the different stages of the heat cycle.
Pizzas, burgers, steaks, kebabs, fish and anything which can be cooked quickly are cooked at the beginning when the oven is hottest. Longer slower cooks such as lasagne, poultry, joints of meat, pies and cakes go in when the oven has cooled a little. Low and slow joints of meat can go in when the temperature has dropped even lower.
When you have finished cooking you can bake bread, then when the ashes have been swept out the residual heat can be used to dry out meringues, fruit or oats to make granola.
Because wood fired cooking is an ancient method that has been used for centuries all around the world, it can be used to make many global dishes: starting in France with a creamy Tartiflette, Turkey with Balon Ekmek (balloon bread), to Brazil with Pao de Queijo. Its versatility makes it very appealing. Thus, wood-fired cooking acts as a bridge between cultures and beliefs. It connects us to the world. It provides you with the opportunity to try recipes and dishes from different culinary traditions.
Embracing this back-to-basic ethos of cooking with fire, Delivita is proving popular. While keeping true to its purpose, these handcrafted wood-fired ovens can be easily moved around and is fully insulated due to its clever fibreglass shell, staying cool to the touch. You won’t have to worry about building a large brick base to accommodate it. The size of Delivita Wood-fired ovens also make it ideal for city life, whether you have a balcony, little patio or just don’t want something too imposing, these stylish colourful ovens will achieve just that.
But what makes this company truly special is the guidance they give you – from when you purchase the oven to when you start cooking, they are there every step of the way. You are never on your own. With a range of delectable recipes for you to try, they also provide cookery lessons and actively share other customers creations, so you all feel like one big family. Delivita is a unique portrayal of eating together the Italian way: you will always have a seat at the table and a meal to enjoy.
Beyond that, Delivita also offer sustainability benefits. With the local Kiln dried logs that they offer in their wood starter pack, you are still burning a completely natural product, but have less moisture meaning a much cleaner, hotter burn for you and your family. This makes your oven energy efficient.
A family business that started in 2016 by entrepreneurial uncle and niece duo, Joe Formisano and Olivia Robinson, Delivita have revitalised outdoor cooking with style, and we are all here for it.
What is the best package for me?
For the novice wood fired chef, the Delivita basic bundle is a nice place to start. If you have a small garden and don't plan to cook that often this has you perfectly covered. It includes: The Delivita Wood Fired Oven, The Delivita Pizza Peel, The Delivita Oven Brush, and The Delivita Prodder and Blower.
For the willing chef, the Delivita advanced bundle will carry on your enthusiasm to learn and explore. It includes gadgets that will help you become a master at each dish. More importantly it includes the Oven Door, which allows you to smoke, bake and roast. It features: Delivita Wood Fired Oven, Delivita Oven All Weather Cover, Delivita Pizza Peel, Delivita Pizza Brush, Delivita Prodder and Blower, Infrared gun, Delivita Oven Door, and a ‘Fired’ recipe book.
Ready to get going? This is the largest Delivita bundle and is ideal for the frequent home chef who wants to elevate their cooking game even further. With all these appliances at hand, you will have everything you need at home to make interesting dishes each day and entertain your guests. The foldaway stand will be your very own outdoor kitchen station to place your oven on, and where you can hang all the Delivita accessories that come with this bundle.
It includes: Delivita Wood Fired Oven, Delivita All Weather Cover, Delivita Oven Brush, Delivita Pizza Peel, Delivita Pizza Cutter, Delivita Leather Glove, Delivita Dough Scraper, Delivita Prodder and Blower, Delivita Oven Door, Delivita Black iron Dish, the ‘Fired’ recipe book, Delivita Foldaway stand and Infrared Gun.
Wow I did not know you could do so much with a wood fired oven! I remember when i was living in Italy 3 years ago, there was an oven in every corner of the street and it was always so mesmerising to watch. Reading this took me back and now I want to have my own wood-fired oven! Now is definitely the right time! Thank you for writing this!