Wood-Fired Oven Recipes: More Than Just Pizza
Most people associate wood-fired ovens with beautifully puffy, crispy Neapolitan-style pizza, and with good reason.
However, like any great cooking tool, wood-fired ovens are hugely versatile. We’ve been cooking food in them since the Ancient Greeks, so there are plenty of recipes, from bread to desserts, for you to choose from.
So, if our articles on pizza ovens have inspired you to buy or build your own, here are some delicious pizza-alternatives for you to try cooking in it.
8 Wood-fired oven recipes (that aren’t pizza)
The great thing about a traditional wood-fired oven is the simplicity and effectiveness of its design, which makes it suitable for a massive range of recipes. You can cook bread in the morning, seafood for lunch, a stew or roast for dinner, and dessert for after, all in the same oven.
To give you the widest possible selection of foods you can cook in your oven, we’ve put together eight simple but delicious recipes for you to try. We’ve also broken them down into simple, easy to follow steps.
1. A Very Simple Bread Recipe
Freshly baked bread might be one of the best smells and tastes in the world, and, despite what Paul Hollywood would have you believe, it’s really not that hard to make.
- 1 package dry yeast
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 pinch of sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 2 cups warm water
- Put your water in a large mixing bowl and stir in the dried yeast to rehydrate.
- In a second bowl, add together your remaining dry ingredients and stir to mix.
- Add the mixed dry ingredients to the water and yeast a little at a time, mixing with your other hand until a shaggy dough starts to form.
- Once all the dry ingredients have been added, mix with both hands until the dough has properly incorporated and starts to feel a little dry.
- Transfer you dough to a clean bowl, cover it with a cloth or oiled plastic wrap, and leave it to rest and rise at room temperature for 10 minutes.
- Once the dough has been rested, knead the dough on a floured surface, rolling and stretching it with your hands until it becomes smooth and elastic.
- Rest the dough for 60 minutes to allow it to prove. You should notice it double in size, small bubbles in the dough, and a web-like lattice underneath when you remove it from the bowl.
- While the dough is proving, fuel and light your oven. You’re looking for a cooking temperature of around 450℉ (230℃).
- Remove the proved bread from the bowl onto a floured pizza peel.
- Shape your bread into a rough loaf and put three even slits in the top with a sharp, oiled knife to prevent splitting.
- Place your bread in the center of the oven, not too close to the fire to prevent scorching.
- Rotate the bread after about 15 minutes to make sure it cooks evenly.
- After about 30 minutes, remove the bread from the oven. Your loaf should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. If not, put it back in for another five minutes and test again.
2. Porterhouse Steak with Smashed Potatoes and Roasted Tomatoes
The high temperatures a wood-fired oven can reach make it a surprisingly good method for cooking thick-cut steak, and the wood imparts a lovely smokey flavor to the meat.
To properly cook a steak, however, you will need a Tuscan grill, which is a simple cast-iron grill grate that sits inside your oven.
- 2-inch thick porterhouse, or other thick-cut steak
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- New potatoes
- Vine tomatoes
- Take your steak out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. With thicker cut steaks, this makes it easier to cook them evenly.
- Fuel and fire you oven and let the wood burn down to coals.
- Rake your coals over the floor of the oven and place your Tuscan grill over the coal to heat up as much as possible.
- Generously salt your steak and add a pinch of freshly ground black pepper.
- Give the grill at least 20 minutes to get as hot as possible, and then drag it back to the front of your oven.
- Place your steak on the grill and push it back into the oven. Take care not to get the steak too close to the fire to avoid scorching.
- Even a large 2-inch steak is going to cook quickly in a wood-fired oven. This is because there is heat coming from the coals, the fire, and being radiated back from the dome of the roof.
- Cook you steak medium-rare for about 4 minutes on each side, checking for the perfect 130°F with an instant-read thermometer.
- Once it hits 130°F, pull your steak out of the oven and let the overheat bring it up that final five degrees.
- Leave to rest, covered in foil, for around five minutes.
- Parboil some new potatoes until cooked and press down on them to squash and flatten them.
- Add around 4 tablespoons of frying oil to a steel pan and preheat it in the oven until the oil starts to smoke.
- Place the vine tomatoes at the entrance of the oven and let the radiant heat cook them.
- Put the potatoes in the oil and return the pan to the oven, turning after five minutes.
- When the potatoes are golden brown, remove from the oil onto some kitchen down, carve up your steak and serve with the roasted tomatoes.
3. Wood-Fired Paella
Paella is a delicious one-pot Spanish feast filled with vegetables, richly-flavored rice, and seafood. To cook it properly, you will need a large flat paella pan or something similar. Just make sure the mouth of your oven is big enough to fit the paella pan.
- Olive oil
- 1 small onion diced
- 1/4 cup red pepper, diced
- 1 red pepper, roasted and cut into thick strips
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 packets saffron, dissolved in broth
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 8-12 oz Spanish chorizo, chunks if fresh or sliced
- 2 oz tomatoes chopped
- Italian parsley, finely chopped
- 8 oz Manila clams
- 8 oz mussels, scrubbed
- 8 oz white fish cut into 4-6 pieces cod, rockfish, halibut
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- 4 cups chicken or fish broth
- Lemon wedges
- Salt to taste
- Fuel and heat your oven to around 400-500°F.
- Preheat your paella pan.
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil to your paella pan.
- Add your clams and cook them until they open, then remove them from oil and set aside.
- Do the same with your musses.
- Do the same for your whitefish chunks.
- Set your red peppers on a pizza peel and use the fire the blacken them. Then put them in a bowl of cold water to easily peel of most, but not all of the blackened skin.
- Make the base of your paella by gently sautéeing onion, the diced red peppers, and garlic in olive oil for about 10–15 minutes.
- Add in the chorizo and the smoked paprika and sauté until the sausage starts to color.
- Add in the tomatoes, parsley, and saffron, and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the rice and cook for a further 5 minutes until the rice starts to change color, then add the brother.
- Cook the whole mixture for 12minutes, without stirring.
- When the rice is cooked, return the clams, mussels, and whitefish to the pan and serve immediately.
4. Wood-Fired Chocolate Brownies
Desserts aren’t something that generally come to mind when cooking in a wood-fired oven, but these delicious, melty, fudgy chocolate brownies are sure to change that. They’re also pretty easy to make.
- 3 oz dark chocolate
- 50 oz unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 0.5 oz cocoa powder
- 4 oz plain flour
- 10 oz light brown soft sugar
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven with a small fire. You don’t want it too hot.
- Gently melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Once melted, set this mixture aside to cool.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder into a bowl and stir to combine. In another bowl, beat together the eggs and the sugar and vanilla extract. This mixture should be light, creamy, and form soft peaks.
- Whisk in the melted chocolate and butter to the egg mixture.
- Carefully fold, don’t stir, in the dry ingredients, taking care not to knock out all the air from the egg mixture.
- Line a baking tin with buttered parchment paper.
- Pour the mixture into the lined tin.
- Place the tin on a pizza stone and cook using indirect heat for about 45 minutes. Ideally, your cooking temperature should be around 320°F.
- After 45 minutes, check your brownies. The mixture should still have a slight wobble to it. Remove it from the heat and let it cook the rest of the way while cooling to ensure a moist center.
5. Crispy Porchetta (Rolled Pork Belly)
Porchetta is an Italian boneless pork roast generally made of a fatty roll of pork belly, stuffed with herbs. Since the Italian culinary tradition is the inspiration for the pizza oven, it should come as no surprise that this recipe works extraordinarily well in a wood-fired oven.
- 2.5 kg Pork belly
- 1 head of garlic
- 15 small onions
- 3 paprika peppers
- Honey for drizzling
For the filling:
- ½ cup fresh parsley
- ½ cup fresh sage
- Olive oil, for drizzling
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons dried garlic flakes
- ½ tablespoon dried ginger
- 2 teaspoons chili flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- Fuel and preheat your oven.
- Finely chop the herbs for your filling.
- Unroll your pork belly and, with a sharp knife, slice a diamond pattern into it.
- Drizzle the sliced pork with olive oil and cover it with your filling mixture, rubbing it into the slices to ensure the flavor spreads throughout the meat.
- Starting at the short edge, roll your pork belly into a tight roll.
- Score the fat on the outside of the roll into a diamond pattern.
- Using lengths of cooking twine, tie up the roll to ensure it doesn’t unfold during cooking.
- Liberally salt the outside of the roll on all sides.
- To a cast iron pan, add your head of garlic (roughly crushed), onions, and pepper, along with another generous drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.
- Place the roll on top of the vegetables and place it in your wood-fired oven.
- Cook your porchetta, checking every 20 minutes or so, and remove it from the oven when the skin is crisp and brown, and the internal temperature is around 145°F.
- Cut into thick slices, drizzle with honey, and serve.
6. Honey Roasted Carrots
Honey roasted carrots are an excellent side to go with the steak or porchetta and, best of all, you can cook them in a wood-fire oven in around 2-minutes.
- 8 carrots, peeled
- 3 tablespoons of neutral oil
- ¼ cup honey
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ pack of butter
- Fuel and preheat your oven to 900°F.
- Once the fire is going, preheat a heavy cast-iron skillet.
- Slice your carrots in half.
- Oil the pan with your neutral oil of choice.
- Add your carrots and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven for 1 minute.
- After a minute, remove the pan and add the honey and butter to coat all the carrots.
- Return to the oven for a further minute.
- Decant the carrots onto a plate and drizzle the honey butter mixture from the pan over them.
7. Spatchcock Chicken
Spatchcocked or butterflied chicken works very well in the intense heat of a wood-fired oven because removing the spine and flattening the carcass helps the chicken cook faster and more evenly.
Don’t worry if you’ve never spatchcocked a chicken before. It’s not a particularly complicated process.
- 1 Chicken, spatchcocked
- Chopped thyme
- Salt, pepper
- 4 or 5 sprigs of thyme
- 6 tomatoes
- 2 shallots, quartered lengthwise
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1/2 cup white vermouth (or white wine)
- Olive oil
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Fuel and preheat your oven.
- Season your chicken generously with salt and pepper.
- Place your sprigs of thyme on a high-profile roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil.
- Place the chicken on top of the thyme and drizzle more olive oil over the chicken before sprinkling the chopped time over the chicken.
- Add the tomatoes, carrots, and shallots.
- Add the vermouth to the pan.
- Cover the pan with a tight double layer of foil and place it in the oven.
- After 25 minutes, remove the foil and put the tray back in the oven until the skin browns and the internal temperature is 165°F at the thickest part.
- Once the chicken reads 165°F, remove it from the oven and place it on a warm plate to rest.
- Once you’ve removed the chicken, deglaze the pan with the vermouth, scraping up the fond from the bottom of the pan.
- Place the pan back in the oven for a few seconds to burn off the alcohol.
- Add the chicken stock to the pan and return to the oven to reduce by half.
- Strain into a small saucepan or gravy jug.
8. Sausage Casserole
A simple sausage casserole is the perfect comfort food, and making one in a wood-fired oven is quick and easy.
- 1 pack of sausages (dealer’s choice)
- 1 red onion, sliced
- ¼ pack of butter
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 200 ml of passata
- 1 tin of butter beans
- 1 sweet potato, sliced thinly
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- Chicken stockpot
- Fuel and preheat your oven to around 350°F.
- Pre-heat a heavy cast-iron skillet.
- Add in one tablespoon of neutral oil and your sausages.
- Cook the sausages until they are just browning, and then add the onion.
- When the onion begins to soften, add the butter and flour and return to the heat for a minute or two to cook the flour.
- Add in the stock pit, tomato puree, passata, and butter beans, and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Top your casserole with the thinly sliced sweet potato and cook until the sweet potato has softened and charred a little on top.
- Serve with warm crusty bread.
Wrapping it all up
As you can see from these fantastic recipes, a wood-fired oven isn’t just for pizza. It’s a versatile beast capable of preparing a whole range of dishes.
We’d like to hear if you’ve tried out our recipes above and what you think of them. We’d also love to hear about your favorite wood-fired oven recipes in the comments section below!