I’m so excited to be a part of The Great Gluten Free CampOut! Every Tuesday I’ll be partnering with several other bloggers to bring you a full range of recipes: Breakfasts, Desserts, Sides and Snacks, and Campfire Classics. Each blogger will be hosting a category. This week Better Batter is hosting Open Fire, and boy are we excited to bring you some simply AWESOME Box Oven Pizza – never heard of a box oven? Neither had I! If you camp, you’re gonna love it! Naomi
This week I was challenged to Cook pizza. Now grilled pizza is pretty common, I have to admit, but what I have been missing is real, Italian-style wood-fired pizza. This is the first thing we ate in Italy back a million years ago, and nothing tastes as good. Since we were already doing camping recipes, and I had lots of wood laying around, and my friend Angela over at angelaskitchen.com taught me how to make a box oven, I thought this would be a good time to try and combine a new skill with an old and see if I couldn’t replicate a real, italian pizza – I could!
You will note that pizza is probably something you want to do only if you’re a dedicated, hard core camper (I’m really, really not). It takes a ton of proper preparation, and quite a bit of cooking experience. If you’re impatient, you’ll get steamed, soft ‘pizza wraps’ – walk away for a minute too long, you’ll get burnt crackers. Stay the course and you’re in pizza heaven.
Box Oven Tutorial
Before you begin this recipe, you’ll need to gather essential items to create a box oven. You’ll need:
- A large cardboard box, the thicker and sturdier the better
- heavy duty foil, preferably the type that specifies “Great for Camping, Grilling…”
- Duct tape or adhesive of some sort (I used duct tape)
- a large metal mixing bowl or enough large foil to create a ‘bowl’
- a large cake/cookie rack, preferably with small holes, so your dough can fit on it without a liner
- tongs or other heat protective gear
- a shovel for scooping hot coals
To make the Box Oven, you will coat the inside of your box completely with foil, making sure to overlap the edges of the foil. You may secure this any way you choose – I put an ‘edge’ of metal duct tape around the outside of the box, and at a few key join parts internally, and it worked well. I have read of other people using spray adhesive, and even just friction to hold the foil in place. Just make sure it’s securely fastened to the interior of the box, and won’t sag or fall down mid cookery! You want your box to be JUST big enough to hold the bowl and the rack. Size accordingly – since we have a family of large eaters we used a very large box, so we could cook for two at a time – about a 16x18x16 box.
Wood Fired Box Oven Pizza
Real woodfired pizza is fantastic – the smoky flavor of the fire complements the soft, sweet mozarella, and allows the dough to crisp nicely. Normally you’d have to pay gourmet prices a at a restaurant or fly all the way to Italy to get this amazing dish, but camping is a unique opportunity to try it, without the high price tag. You’ll need a box oven (find the tutorial here), and some basic ingredients. This is a great, creative dish to serve and makes a break from the stews, hotdogs, and pocket ‘pies’ that make up so much of family camping.
Box Oven Equipment
Campfire Pizza Crust and Bread Mix (recipe below)
Pizza Sauce, Cheese, Toppings as desired
Mixing bowls, a rolling pin, cutting boards, etc for preparation
Campfire Pizza Crust and bread Mix
This is a great premix to take along with you when you’re camping. Different from traditional pizza crust, this mix cooks fast on an open fire. Add a little more water to it, and some proofing time, and it’s also a fantastic bread mix for Box Oven Fresh Bread.
8 c (2 lb) Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1/4 c olive oil
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp Instant dry yeast
Combine Better Batter flour and olive oil until completely combined. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Store in a sealed airtight container. To use: reconstitute with water. For pizza crust use about 1 c mix for each cup water – this should feel like drop biscuit dough, and allow to proof for 15 minutes. Mix in another cup of crust mix and knead well – it should feel like playdough, once it’s been kneaded well. For bread, use about 2 c each of mix and water – this should mix together into a texture similar to drop biscuits.
Box Oven Pizza, Tutorial
First, light a raging wood fire – we used apple wood! You want enough coals to fill a one gallon mixing bowl, so really roast your campsite.
Mix together your crust, using the instructions above. You will need One cup Pizza Crust mix and 1/2 c water for each crust (use instructions above for best results)
Roll out Crust to about a 10 inch size and about 1/4 inch thick (or less) – this will ensure your pizza cooks properly. Use extra crust mix to prevent sticking.
Fold your crust into quarters, so you can unfold it on the baking rack, easily. Repeat as many times as you have hungry bellies.
Scoop Hot Coals VERY CAREFULLY into the bowl, which should be placed on a fire-safe surface. These coals are probably 800 degrees, so PLEASE BE CAREFUL! Fill the bowl about 3/4 full.
Place your Cake/Cookie rack directly on the hot bowl – BE CAREFUL! – and carefully unfold the crusts onto the rack.
Top with desired sauce and toppings and immediately cover with the oven and cook for 10minutes, to allow the bottom to cook and the toppings to melt. Your cooking time will almost certainly vary!!
Check for doneness – you may want to cook for another 5 minutes or so, depending on how you like the pizza done – my boys like ‘white cheese’ while my husband likes it brown and bubbly. Repeat up to three times (the oven will get too cool after about an hour)
Want more great recipes? Check out my other blogger friends, who are hosting the rest of today’s ‘meals’ :
Breakfast: Caramel Rolls and Sticky Buns, by Gluten Free and Loving it
Dessert: Box Oven S’more Brownie Bars, by Angela’s Kitchen
Open Fire: Loaded Baked Potato Salad, by The Accidental Okie
Want to Participate in our CampOut?
Post your recipe in your blog and link to it in the comments below. Feel free to use our awesome icon (above) to tag your blog as part of this awesome event. We’ll do a roundup of all the great recipes at the end of the CampOut, so join in any time!!