Build a Propane-Fired Pizza Oven: Pizza ovens have exploded in popularity in recent years. We’ve tested a bunch of them and can see why. A good pizza oven can cook a great artisan pizza in less than two minutes—and you can customize it to your liking. This is especially handy if your family can never agree on toppings. In 10 minutes, you can crank out three 12- to 14-inch pies. Everyone gets what they want.
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During a round of testing, we got to thinking: How hard would it be to build your own portable pizza oven? There are tons of plans for brick pizza ovens, but not so many for small, portable, propane-powered ovens that you can use anywhere: on your patio, at a friend’s barbecue, or even That camping. So, we started this DIY pizza oven project. The body is made from brushed stainless steel that we found at our local salvage yard and the pizza stone comes from Amazon. Building the burner was the hardest part and getting the pizza stone up to the temperature required repetition to get it working well.
If you want to do this project, we’ve listed the materials and tools for it below. It helps to have a few specific tools, such as a metal bending brake and a bandsaw, but they are not essential. I’ve used vises and metal bar stock to clamp and bend sheet metal for years—brakes were a luxury for this job. And while a bandsaw or sheet metal shear makes cutting easier, there are many other options for cutting sheet metal. Cut-off wheels on angle grinders and circular saw blades designed for metal are just two possibilities. A word of caution: If you’re using stainless steel, some cutting tools can get hot and discolor the finish.
Assemble the burner.
Before assembling the burner, you will need to do a few things. First, you’ll need to drill and tap a 6-inch brass pipe nipple so you can install the propane nozzles. Drill four 17⁄64–inch holes, 1 1⁄4 inches apart, then thread the holes with a 5⁄16–24 tap. The next thing you’ll need to do is drill a small hole in the propane nozzle using a 5⁄64-inch drill bit.
Add insulation and install exterior oven panels.
Before installing the outer panel on the pizza oven, you will need to add ceramic insulation. Placed on a piece of plywood, it’s fairly easy to cut with a utility knife. Use gloves when handling insulation. If there is any fiber on your skin, it can be very itchy. Instead of trying to measure accurately, you can press the side of the pizza oven against the insulation. This will leave a clear impression that you can use to guide your cuts. Trim the generous side slightly so the insulation pieces fit snugly.
Add burner hood.
After building the pizza oven, we discovered that the burner was sensitive to wind, which occasionally pushed the flames backward. So, we added an intake hood that shields the burner and creates a better draft to keep the flames where they should go. When using the oven, it is best to turn the back of the oven towards the wind.
Using your own pizza oven
To fire up your pizza oven for the first time, connect the adjustable regulator to the propane tank and the flare fitting on the burner. Close the adjustable regulator, open the propane tank valve and open the gas valve on the oven. Turn on the regulator slowly until you hear gas coming out, then hit the igniter. After hearing the burner burn, you can watch and adjust the flames until they lick the top of the front pizza oven door. Let it burn for about 25 minutes before using it for the first time. It will usually take 15 minutes to warm up depending on the temperature and wind.
Which type of oven is best for pizza?
Go to the baking oven – with two heating rods and a fan. This is a pure convection oven. It’s actually a good idea to have both appliances in your kitchen – but don’t buy the hybrid versions commonly known as microwave convection ovens.
Why do pizza ovens make better pizza?
Crispier crust – The high temperatures produced by the radiant heat from the fire and heat bouncing off the inside walls of the oven makes the outside of the pizza crisp quickly. Any moisture in the dough is quickly sealed off, preventing the base of the dough from becoming soggy.