Zesty Goes Brick: Cooking at 900 Degrees

by zesty on May 13, 2011 · 25 comments

Guess what?  I totally forgot it was Friday and I had to post today!  Can you believe that?  Well I just remembered and I knew I had nothing prepared.  With that said, I thought of this post because hopefully we are approaching the nicer weather where the zesty-in-laws will be calling us up for some pizza.  Whooo Hooo.  Look at this post if you don’t remember it from last year.


Happy Wednesday and welcome to a very special post!

A few weeks back I got a call from a Zesty in Law stating that they were getting a brick oven built in their backyard and I was asked if I would like to photograph the build and feature it on zesty.  Of course my answer was yes as I thought you would love to see it from start to finish. The goal being to see it at the finished stage and taste the food from the oven.  That happened last Friday and we will get to that in a little bit.

One hint: AMAZING

What is a Brick Oven

Now some of you may ask what is a brick oven so I thought I would share a little insight.

These ovens work on retained heat. A fire is burned in the oven for a few hours, the coals are raked out, the oven floor brushed or swabbed with a damp mop and then the food is cooked using the heat stored in the oven mass. Wood-fired bakeovens are used to bake crusty bread, crisp pizza and just about anything else including the Christmas turkey. The oven can have a barrel/vault shape or it can be round. The inner workings of the oven can be of modern firebrick material or simply made of clay like the early settlers used. Plan your oven location, if you can, so it can be used in any weather.

OK.  Everyone is on the same page on the “What is a Brick Oven” so now let’s get to “How to Build a Brick Oven”.  For this next phase I am going to show you a bunch of pictures with very little narrative as I think the pictures will explain themselves.

The Brick Oven

The Final Product

Here is the final oven in all it’s glory!  Notice the sheer size of the structure not too mention how cool it looks in general.

Pizza Pizza

Oh my God or OMG or whatever you want to say when you are super excited and you cannot get enough of something.  This pizza was absolutely insane.  For the night, I was sous chef  Zesty as I was helping with the prep and layout of the pizza.  Also was called upon every now and again to give the pizza a turn in the oven, slice it after completion and call over the troops.

For cooking pizza, the oven was around 850-900 degrees F and the pizzas would literally cook in 2-3 minutes.  It was the first night of pizza cooking so there will be a few tweaks put in place to master the dough levels but overall the crowd loved it.

First off, you have to start the fire and get the oven up to temperature.  Then using a brush, reach in and clean the floor in preparation of the pizza dough.

Zesty in law and myself cooked 11 pizzas including a couple of dessert pizzas that may knock your socks off.  We will get to those in a minute.  First up we have a basic pizza with homemade tomato sauce, some Genoa salami and cheese ( It was for the kiddos but I may have snuck a piece )

As the night went on we switched up the toppings, rolled the dough for a few of them and even picked some fresh basil.

Here is a little olive oil, fresh basil and cheese pizza. This was a huge hit!

On to the Dessert Pizza. How does strawberries, raspberries, chocolate, vanilla sugar and fresh dough baked at 800 degrees sound for dessert? Pretty damn good right? Well if you said “Holy Yum” you would be bang on. These were amazing!

We capped the night off with a Simple Smore done in the oven. I took a marshmallow, sliced a hole in the center and shoved in some chocolate, then roasted it in the oven and placed it between two graham wafers.

Let’s finish the night with a little FIRE!

Special thanks to the Zesty in Law’s for letting me feature this on the blog and  Red Clay for building the oven and doing such a great job.  John over at  Red Clay definitely knows his bricks and it shows in the final product.

Before I go I want to say a special “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” to a Zesty in Law who reads my posts everyday.  Hope you have a great day, CAW.  Alright, I better get going here and get some breakfast.  I know this was a long post but I felt it was the best way to describe such an amazing work of art.  Have a super Wednesday and I will see you on Friday.

Take care


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