Cooking bread is not as simple as it may sound especially if you do not have the right tools for it. Making bread in a pizza oven is another challenge since the oven can produce way too much heat.
The bread will burn in just minutes if you put it inside a blazing hot pizza oven. Some temperatures on pizza ovens can be controlled but not all of them.
That does not mean that you can never bake bread in your pizza oven. It is really possible and we are here to show you how it is done.
If you have a pizza oven, then you would want to learn about how hot it can go to make sure that you have the right temperature when you suddenly want to switch recipes.
There are also other factors that we will discuss to make sure that you are going to do the right thing if you want to bake bread in a pizza oven.
This post will also give you a little bit of a recipe to use as your guide and make sure that you have the right control in making bread.
So let us go to the first step.
Preparing the Pizza Oven
Whether your pizza oven is wood-fired or gas-fueled, you should start preparing it way before you are planning to cook bread in it.
If you are cooking pizza before, then, you would need to fire it up again or let it cool down to 550 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain the temperature for about an hour.
Basically, preparing the oven means preheating it to temperatures between 450 and 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature depends on the type of bread that you are cooking.
It is also possible to cook bread at higher temperatures but it is harder to take control and this is always a risk since pizza ovens produce so much fire that may burn the dough.
Make sure that all the heat stays inside. This is for wood-fired ovens and will take about an hour to 90 minutes if you need to cook for longer periods.
Rake out the Coals
After preheating the pizza oven, carefully remove the coals out of the oven and brush away the ashes left.
If you have a gas oven, then you can turn off the heat or leave just enough flames to maintain the heat inside of the oven for as long as you want.
If you want, you can pat the floor of the oven with a damp towel to make the cooking more gentle. Gentleness is the key here to avoid making burnt pieces of bread.
There are pizza ovens that make it hard for you especially those who do not have decent heat-retaining features.
One way to get out of this is to just sweep the coals to the side of the oven to make sure that the base of the oven is heated evenly and the heat still stays inside it.
This will sometimes be risky since it can possibly burn the bread but it is better than losing too much heat that will also put your bread to waste.
If you are accustomed to making pizzas, then consider bread as a more delicate, harder-to-knead dough since it needs more moisture.
The common pizza dough does fine in pizza ovens because it is somehow protected by the sauce, cheese, and toppings from direct heat.
The bread dough will only come out dry and burnt if it is not made right. The key here is to make sure that the dough you use in making bread is far wetter than the ones you use for your pizza.
This will create steam inside the oven, therefore, helping in the needed gentleness of the pizza oven. Of course, you should let the dough rise before putting it in the oven.
Placing the Bread
Once you are done with the preheating and the dough has risen enough, it is time to slide the bread properly into your pizza oven.
You should first consider the size of your oven and the dough. This means that you cannot put everything you have in the oven even if they fit right inside it.
Make sure that you leave a lot of space in between multiple doughs and the oven of course. The bread will still rise after it has been proofed so you need to make sure that there is enough space for them to cook.
Using a pizza peel, you need to slide the doughs one by one into the oven. Make sure that you have floured the pizza peel so the wet doughs will slide easily off of it.
While they are inside the oven…
With this temperature, an ordinary bread will be ready in 12 minutes or less. You will need to keep an eye at the bread and make sure to turn it around every now and then.
This should be done every 4 to 5 minutes to make sure that there are no burnt areas. Especially if you are cooking with the charcoals still inside the oven.
The Cooked Bread
Since we now know the ideal temperature for the oven to cook bread in it, we should know what temperature your bread should be in to know if it has been cooked already.
Of course, this depends on the type of flour or type of bread that you want to achieve but generally speaking, the interior of your bread should read at least 205 degrees Fahrenheit.
You can do this by inserting instant-read thermometers into the bread to let you know that it has been cooked and ready to be removed from the oven.
There are also other ways to determine if the bread is cooked. You can tap on the bottom of the bread and if you hear a hollow sound, then that means that it has been cooked.
The aforementioned technique is not that accurate but it will do the job. If you only tested the bread this way, make sure to let it rest before serving to let it cook further while it is cooling down.
The Half Rule
The Half Rule is basically about the amount of time that is needed to cook bread inside a brick wood-fired oven compared to a portable pizza oven and home ovens.
Cooking pizza in a brick oven is faster since it can retain a lot of heat for a long time. The pizza ovens we have can also retain heat but they cool down quicker than brick ovens.
That is why it only takes roughly half the time when you are cooking in brick ovens than in portable and home ovens.
Baking bread will need steam to make sure that you get that fluffy interior while keeping the crust crispy on your bread when it is cooked.
There are easy ways to create steam and you can do it in any type of oven that you own. First, as we have mentioned above, you can clean the coals and ashes off of the oven and wipe it quickly with a damp towel.
You can also fill a small pan with wet towels and put it inside the bread while they are cooking. This way, you will not need to repeatedly wet the floor of the oven.
Another technique is to spray the oven once in a while. You can make your own water bottle spray to keep the moisture in your bread.
When spraying the inside of the oven, make sure to not spray the bread directly nor the surfaces of the oven. Spray the water between the top of the bread and the ceiling of the oven.
Here is a Recipe for a Bread Loaf that you can try:
-750 grams of water
-600 grams of bread flour
-200 grams of wheat flour
-200 grams of all-purpose flour
-1 tablespoon of kosher salt
-4 grams of instant yeast
Step 1. Mix the yeast with a small amount of water in a bowl. Stir until the yeast has been completely dissolved in the water.
Step 2. Mix all the flour in a separate bowl and then slowly put it into the water and yeast mixture while continuing to mix it with your hand.
Step 3. One all the flour has been added, knead with your hand until the mixture feels dry or is not sticking on your hand anymore. Let it rest for 5 minutes while it is covered.
Step 4. Slowly add the remaining water 50 grams at a time into the mixture and then mix again. After the mixture is even, let it rest for another 5 minutes.
Step 5. Mix at least a tablespoon of water and the kosher salt with the dough and knead until no water remains and the salt has been incorporated well enough to the dough.
Step 6. Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rest for at least 2 hours. By then, the dough would have risen well and the yeast has been activated.
Step 7. Flour your table and divide the dough into three smaller sizes. Shape them like small logs and let them rest again in separate bowls for another hour.
Step 8. By this time, you can start preheating your pizza oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit
Step 9. After the doughs finish proofing, flour your pizza peel and then carefully slide one into your pizza oven.
Step 10. Cook for about ten minutes or until the loaf begins to have a brown color and then rotate it to put the other side of the bread closer to the heat source.
Step 11. Let it cook for another 5 to 10 minutes and get it out of the oven if it has a golden brown color and makes the hollow sound.
Repeat with the remaining doughs. Let them cool down for a bit and then serve. Enjoy!
You can check this video out and see how the bread is cooked in a brick wood-fired oven and to have a better view of the supposed results.
Baking bread in a pizza oven is challenging because you can hardly predict the temperatures that ovens produce, especially wood-fired ones.
But it also comes with the benefit that most of the bread that you cook inside a pizza oven is going to have the nice smoky woody flavor which you cannot get in a normal oven.
When it comes to mastering the art of baking then you just need to know the basics and follow the mentioned techniques above and you will be cooking bread in pizza ovens like an expert after a few tries.
Do try the recipe and let us know what you think in the comments below!
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