Jims Galley

Jims Galley

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wood Fired Pizza, it could be finally here for our back yard with the Kettle Pizza Oven!

UPDATE 7\12\2015
We just finished our first try with the Kettle Pizza, BIG SUCCESS! Full story coming after our second night tonight of Neapolitan Pizza Bliss!
First Pie Margareta Baked in 2 min 20 seconds
Could this dream be true?
Folks, it has been years of perfecting our attempts at Neapolitan Pizza in our home oven and gas grills. Until recently, we have achieved decent success in a home oven without making any modifications to the locks on the oven doors or heating elements. Yes, I have reached the pizza pinnacle in a home oven and our technique produces some delicious pies. BUT! Still not being satisfied and wanting a wood fired oven to bake our pies, calzones, and artisan sourdough baguettes, my research has continued to find something that would work for us.
On the whole, a big custom brick oven is just not an option. I don’t want it nor maintain it. If I was opening an Italian restaurant and needed an oven on 7 days a week, a brick oven retains and maintains it’s heat very well so that would be an option. But for the home, at most I make 10 to maybe 15 pies for a pie party that usually has between eight to fifteen people. A huge brick oven just would be overkill, it is not for us. I have also looked at smaller “Portable” ovens and although I have never used one, I can tell there are some inherent problems with those as well.
From Kettle Pizza Test Kitchen. 2:40 pie. Awesome!
I found just about everything out there on the internet and there are lots of positive claims about producing Neo pie in a variety of Gas ovens. However anything gas—Is out! Authentic (VPN Standards) is a wood fired \ coal oven only with temperatures ranging from 700 to even up to and over 1000 degrees. There are other reason to go with wood \ coal, mainly because it is a dry heat and does not inject any moisture into the oven. Also there is a hint of flavor from the wood burning. (not a lot but some).
Picture from Kettle Pizza
So my research led me to something I had not seen before and it immediately caught my eye. Someone had come up with the idea to make an insert that would sit atop a standard Webber grill. Then by placing a pizza stone on the grate you could then have a wood fired pizza. The top of the grill would hold the heat and temps would build up rather quickly. The name of the product and the company is called the Kettle Pizza.
I read everything I could find about this American made product and watched a lot of videos. Serious eats had made some suggestions to the company’s inventors that basically would improve the amount of heat capable as well as a better and thicker stone. After some seemingly minor refinements to an already good product, Kettle Pizza now looks to be a SERIOUS contender in the home gourmet Neapolitan Pizza market. The benefits are clear: Most homes already have a standard Webber grill so all you would need to get is the Kettle Pizza kit. Portability, ease of use, simple to clean, high temps necessary for Neapolitan style baking, and affordability! I love all of this! It was enough for me to pick up the phone and try this thing out and that is what I did.
We will test the Kettle Pizza out this Saturday so I started making dough Tuesday night. I am using my posted recipe, basically 00 Italian flour (no GMO no BLEACH no BROMATE!), salt, water, and our Chesapeake Bay Sourdough Starter that we developed. We will use our fresh grown Basil and Oregano from Mermaid Bay, EVOO, certified San Marzano tomatoes, fresh garlic, and fresh Motz (well we may do cow instead of water buffalo-sorry). Everything to VPN spec including the heat in the wood fired oven.
We are very excited to try this Kettle Pizza out. We will be doing a full production shoot with stills and high definition video and post all of our results over the weekend and or next week. The official Kettle Pizza inferred digital thermometer will be taking readings throughout the cooking event. We will record how long it takes to get to temperature and how long it will hold before refueling. I am very interested in seeing the results we get and we are very optimistic that this Kettle Pizza is going to do the trick.
Testing on our 35 yr. old Cast Iron Skillet-WORKS!
Now ready for the Kettle Pizza!!
Finally, it may be possible to have a high temp wood fired oven that does not break the bank, is portable and affordable!
We will report back ASAP with our Kettle Pizza Neapolitan Pizza Fest!
Jim Baugh
Balled and ready! Jim's Chesapeake Bay Pizza Dough with Sourdough Starter.
5 Day total prep, four day bulk ferment. Lean dough, 00 flour, sea salt, water, and Jim's
Chesapeake Bay Starter.

OUT OF THE BOX! Assembled and ready for Saturday!
(No problems with shipping and the Kettle Pizza puts together in minutes- no tools required. It was a snap)
We have got the hard wood, oak and hickory plus charcoal. Four day cold bulk ferment sourdough made with 00 flour. San Marzano tomatoes' and fresh cheese. Looking forward to firing this thing up and getting her to temp!


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