Homemade pizzas make a versatile and delicious option for entertaining friends and family.
Homemade pizzas make a versatile and delicious option for entertaining friends and family. Thinkstock

Perfect your pizzas at home with right cooking equipment

A GOOD pizza can taste of heaven - a crunchy crust combining with tangy tomato and gooey melted cheese make for a delicious delight for the tastebuds.

If you are not a fan of pricey takeaways or bland supermarket offerings, why not try making them at home?

Perhaps you favour more gourmet ingredients, are great entertainers or simply want your meal quicker than the half an hour it usually takes for the pizza delivery man to press the doorbell.

There are quite a few options available for home pizza making depending on the space you have available, how serious you are about the exercise and of course the budget at your disposal.

For that authentic Italian taste that will take you back to that family trattoria in Rome then look no further than a wood-fired oven.

Naturally they can be built into your kitchen but really come into their own in the outdoors.

These ovens take more effort and money but it will add another string to your entertaining bow, allow you to cook outside in most weather and reconnect with a more traditional way of cooking.

These ovens are typically constructed from brick and provide a smoky flavour and intense heat by burning wood logs over long periods of time.

Aside from size you will also have to choose whether you prefer an adobe dome style or brick enclosure and whether you want to buy one already assembled or put your DIY skills to the test and try a kit.

Extensive research is the name of the game here but there are various companies with Australian-made products that can provide expertise.

The most popular among these are Alfresco Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Outback Pizza Ovens and Wood Fired Pizza Ovens.

Bunnings has the Amalfi Pre-built Family Pizza oven for $1699, the Garth Wood Fired Outdoor Pizza Oven that is also a smoker for $1499 and a Family DIY kit for $999.

If you like the idea of the outdoor pizza oven but are not fired up by the use of wood, you could opt for a gas oven instead.

Like the wood-fired oven the gas oven can also cook roasts, bread, casseroles, cakes and anything else that you would do in a standard oven.

In addition most gas pizza ovens offer the option of being used as a smokehouse.

Gasmate has a range from $400 while Bunnings is carrying the Jumbuck Outdoor Oven with stand for $298.

For something different try the Tuscany Garden Oven, which allows you to use LPG and wood.

People remodelling kitchens or building new homes can choose to have pizza ovens, both wood burning and gas, fitted into heat proofed cabinetry or even built into the fireplace in colder regions.

But these are delicate matters that require an expert who has knowledge of things like flues and ventilation

. If you are after something with a more modern touch try the iLVE 60cm Pizza Oven.

It has 10 cooking modes, a touch screen control panel and a large 38-litre internal capacity and will cook a pizza in three minutes.

Most of you may want to experiment with toppings or try your hand at this simple dish but don't fancy a large piece of equipment or simply don't have the space for one.

In this case the bench top pizza oven is probably an option to explore.

Like most other small kitchen appliances it plugs in to the electricity supply when needed and can be stored away neatly in the cupboard when not.

There is a large variety available from as little as $40 and they can be found in department stores or speciality kitchen shops.

Myer has the Breville Peter Evans Signature Edition Pizza Maker with removable stone for $139 while kitchenwaredirect.com.au has the Red Just Pizza Maker ($130) and The Pizza Maker ($159).

Performance seems much of a muchness with machines usually taking between 5-10 minutes to cook but browning tends to be patchy.

Handles also tend to get dangerously hot so take care, especially if children are helping.

Benchtop pizza makers usually come with interchangeable stone and non-stick bases so you can also cook things like scones, omelettes and frittatas as well as warming pies, quiches and pastries.

If even that seems too complicated maybe invest in a pizza stone.

Used in your oven it is said to give you crisp restaurant-style pizza.

Robins Kitchen has a Threehats 33cm pizza stone for $14.99 (two for $20) while Barbeques Galore stocks the Bar-B-Chef Pizza Stone ($39.95), which allows you to turn your hooded barbecue into a pizza oven.


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