If you've bought a pizza oven this summer, or are trying to decide whether it's worth the investment, one of the big questions you may wonder is whether you can use it when temperatures drop. After all, some places aren't blessed with warm weather all year, and the idea of having to store it away for a few months might be off-putting.
Well, the good news for budding all-season chefs is you can continue to fire up your pizza oven as normal. The best pizza ovens will be designed with insulation that can retain heat during cold weather, so you can still get high-quality results.
'Pizza ovens are a year-round tool,' says the experts at Gozney (opens in new tab). 'It is a common misconception that they are reserved for summer.' However, before you start prepping for your next pizza party, there are a few tips and tricks for success you need to know.
The essential tips you need for using a pizza oven in winter
The pizza oven experts at Ooni (opens in new tab) say to anticipate a longer preheat time during winter weather. 'Wind and chill might lengthen the amount of time it takes to get your oven up to top temperature – don’t get impatient and overload the fuel basket or pellet hopper,' they advise. 'Just approach the setup and lighting the same way you would in the warmer seasons… and be prepared to wait an extra minute or two.'
Also, bear in mind that for gas pizza ovens, below-freezing temperature could cause the gas to freeze, adds Gozney. This could impact the flame size and performance: so again, be prepared to wait a little longer for your pizza oven to be ready to cook with.
Ooni suggests using an infrared thermometer (available on their website) (opens in new tab). These pizza oven accessories are useful in helping you make sure your oven stone is up to temperature before you start cooking.
'I frequently use my Ooni Fyra pizza oven during winter,' says Gardeningetc's editor Beth Murton. 'I tend to prep the pizzas indoors rather than outside in winter, but it's lovely and warm when you're standing next to the oven while your pizzas are cooking. I also make sure to set up the oven in a more sheltered spot in winter too, just in case it's windier than in the summer months.'
If you live in an extremely cold region, Gozney recommends keeping your oven in a shed or garage when not in use, to protect it from the elements. This will also help it heat up quicker and more efficiently.
The experts at Ooni agree that sometimes, indoor storage is best, recommending bringing a pizza oven inside if you know a big storm is on its way. 'That will keep it from taking on too much moisture or getting battered by heavy hail,' they explain.
And if you've forgotten to move your pizza oven before a snowstorm, make sure you brush the snow off before cooking on it, adds Ooni. Otherwise, you risk melting snow sending water pouring into the fuel basket.
Should you buy a pizza oven cover for winter?
Gozney and Ooni both suggest using quality covers to protect your pizza oven from the elements when it's not in use. This is particularly important if you don't have an indoor space to move it to during inclement weather.
Gozney's Roccbox cover (opens in new tab), for instance, is constructed from double-lined, waterproof material to keep off rain, snow, wind and sunlight.
What can you cook in a pizza oven in winter?
'Pizza is always a crowd pleaser, and nothing beats a sizzling slice of warm, cheesy pizza during the colder months,' says Gozney.
Get creative with toppings by introducing fall and winter flavors: think diced pumpkin, sage, or smoky cheese. 'Our carb-on-carb potato pizza (opens in new tab) recipe in collaboration with Thomas Straker pairs thinly sliced potatoes, rosemary salt and oozing pecorino for the ultimate winter warmer,' Gozney suggests.
To satisfy a sweet tooth, Ooni suggests making their gingerbread cinnamon roll pizza (opens in new tab) – a delicious wintertime treat topped with pecans and warming candied ginger.
There are other tasty meals you can cook with a pizza oven, too. Gozney suggests making a hearty dish of lamb koftes (opens in new tab), served in a spicy tomato sauce with flatbreads. And don't forget you can also bake bread in a pizza oven: a great way to elevate your breakfasts whatever the season.
The garden was always a big part of Holly's life growing up, as was the surrounding New Forest where she lived. Her appreciation for the great outdoors has only grown since then. She's been an allotment keeper, a professional gardener, and a botanical illustrator – plants are her passion.
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