Over the past few years, I have become a big fan of Camp Chef products because they offer a lot of versatility and value for those that like to cook outside or just have a good backup cooking option for emergencies.
While we have a lot of Camp Chef Accessories, I have to point out that you can start out by purchasing a stove and adding accessories as you go. This allows you some time to consider what you really want and not make a big investment right away in a lot of fancy outdoor cooking gear.
We like home-baked pizza and bread. Baking at home saves a lot of money especially when you have to avoid a lot of traditional wheat bread and associated products.
The Camp Chef stove we have is the Pro60x model. I reviewed this stove extensively last summer. You can get all the details by checking out my review.
The Artisan Pizza Oven accessory is available in two sizes if you don’t want to tie up the whole stove with an oven but I would recommend just getting the one we are reviewing here because it allows you to cook for a family or have friends over.
Cooking Surface Area: 12.5 in. x 26 in. (325 sq. in)
This is the size that fits over both propane eyes on the Camp Chef 14″ stove system. It says it fits most 14″ stove systems so this leads me to believe it may work with some other brands too but I have not tried this out.
The size is large enough to fit a lot of baked goods on it at once. We usually just do two 10 inch pizzas at a time because it is just Matt and me eating but you could fit three 10″-12″ pizzas without any problems.
Artisan pizza works best if you don’t overload your pizza with ingredients
Getting a nice crispy crust requires avoiding the temptation to overload each pizza with favorite toppings. I have really had to get used to this. You don’t want a ton of thick layers of ingredients.
Think about how it is when you go to a fancy pizza restaurant with a brick oven or similar. Those pizzas are not slathered with sauce or tons of layers. Pizza just doesn’t cook the same when you overload it.
You need the pizza to be able to be cooked in less than 10 minutes at 550 F for best results from our personal experience with this oven.
You will never get the same results from a basic household oven.
If you have been trying for years to replicate a brick oven or artisan pizza in an electric or gas oven, you have probably discovered that you can get kind of close but it has never turned out the same.
I have a really good propane oven but if I try to cook two pizzas on different racks, they cook a lot differently. Using a pizza stone or mesh screen helps and it also helps if you switch pizzas halfway between cooking but the results are never like that you get a professional pizza place.
When it comes to electric ovens, I can’t say that I have actually ever cooked a homemade pizza in one. If you have, please let us know your tips for doing so in the comments section of this post.
Traditional ovens just don’t have the shape or heat the same way as an artisan pizza oven. I think it is pretty cool that Camp Chef has found a way to replicate it on a propane gas burner systems so that those of us that don’t have space or the funds for a stand-alone pizza oven can get professional results at home.
This is not a lightweight grill accessory at 41 lbs. I can lift it just fine by myself but it is awkward to do so. Matt and I often lift it together. Since we use the stove as a grill, griddle, and pizza oven, we have found ourselves lifting accessories on and off a lot. The weight of each varies and we think it is well worth it to have a versatile cooking system.
Also, if you lift things one at a time, it is not as bad as if we had a big standard grill that didn’t come apart. It is much easier to move a Camp Chef cooking system around so if you like to get out and camp or tailgate, it is a better and less expensive option for the versatility you get.
We got the artisan pizza oven accessory kit. Camp Chef was kind enough to send this along. I was considering that I should order it ASAP anyway. You get a professional style pizza cutter that makes the job go a lot faster. Getting pizzas in and out of the oven would be a lot more challenging with a regular size BBQ spatula. The Camp Chef pizza spatula also gives you an idea what the optimum size is for artisan pizza so you don’t try to make the pizzas too large to get good results. I am glad that you get two pizza peels but if I was going to do pizza for a really large crowd, I might want two more.
I cannot imagine you would ever need more than that and you could make two work for you but four would mean you were never without a peel. I noticed that some folks reported cooking pizza for 30 people with this oven so if you have all your ingredients and dough ready to put together you could get quite an assembly line of custom artisan pizza going. This would be a good option for family reunions, birthdays, or even an alternative to traditional holiday meals. Nothing wrong with doing something a little different once in a while.
Saves money over eating out or ordering in
Eating out or even ordering in can be pricey and the quality of ingredients is often mediocre at best. If you are on a special diet, eating out can be difficult and frustrating at times.
A gluten-free 10” pizza at a pizzeria is at least $14 in our area. I can make a lot of pizzas in this oven for that price with my gluten-free flour. While traditional crust pizzas may be a better value, eating out really adds up.
A pizza dinner at a restaurant is at least $10 per adult unless you are going to a fast-food style pizza place like Dominoes. Add in a movie ticket at $10 and you can see how without any extras, you are spending $80-$100 for a family of 4 to have a very basic evening out.
With the Camp Chef you can fix pizza at home and watch movies for far less and spend no time in the car negotiating traffic or crowding into a movie theater during uncertain times.
Recently we found a wheat flour that can be consumed by a lot of people that are gluten or wheat sensitive. For more info on Einkorn flour, please take a look at my article discussing this amazing wheat and what it can offer those of us that have digestive issues consuming standard American wheats.
Consider your own backyard theater and pizza oven for outdoor fun and entertaining
Camp Chef also makes outdoor movie screens so you can actually recreate an outdoor movie theater experience and have a pizza oven on hand for dinner. I would rather have something like this at home that I can enjoy when I want for a low cost then go out and blow a lot of money.
With a pizza oven and movie screen, you can also more easily afford to include others in your recreation time. A lot of us cannot afford to foot the bill for 8 people to eat and see a movie in town but cooking pizza at home and renting a film online to project costs very little after you have bought your equipment.
You could even organize pizza parties where everyone brings something so the workload is reduced. Movie time outside also means that kids that get bored or lose interest can run around and play or read a book. Just being outside more is really good for people overall. Plus, if someone drops food outside, at least the mess is on the ground and not on your carpet or floor.
I know around our place that food that is dropped lasts about 2 seconds because there is always a good dog snuffling around!
Oh, and did I mention the bonus of not heating up your house in the summer when you want to bake?
I bet I am not the only one that sometimes considers the positives and negatives of cooking some meals and foods inside during the hot part of the year. Despite being on the side of a mountain at 3000 feet in elevation, we get temperatures in the mid to high 80s with very high humidity. This can go on for months.
Since you can take the oven off the stove and use the stove eyes, you can do a lot of other cooking and canning outside too without compromising your comfort or making your air conditioning units work harder. That costs money and if you are trying to be more environmentally conscious, heating up your house by cooking and then cooling with extra AC is not going to help.
Always make sure you order the right size of accessories for your Camp Chef
Camp Chef cooking systems are based on two sizes. You either have a 14″ or 16″ stove or grill system. This is important to remember when ordering any accessories. As long as you buy 14″ accessories then it will fit your 14″ stove.
The prices can vary a bit and sometimes an accessory for a smaller stove system will be a few dollars more but don’t be tempted to try to make the wrong size work just to save a few dollars.
Pizza Dough Recipe
There are a lot of pizza dough recipes out there to choose from. I like to use beer instead of water in a recipe. I think it makes the yeast work better and it offers an artisan flavor like that found at a lot of the popular pizza and beer restaurants in our area. We live in a major beer production area so there are a lot of places that utilize beer or the leftover grains from making beer, in their pizza crust.
It usually costs a little extra but it is well worth it for the flavor you get. I prefer to use a pale ale or India Pale Ale. Any beer that is darker than an Amber color lends a different flavor that a lot of people don’t like as much as crust made with paler brews. Here is the recipe I use. Remember that liquid amounts can vary a bit depending on the type of flour you use and how humid it is. I always add liquid a little at a time. You can always add a little extra flour to take up some extra moisture.
1-2 tsp bread yeast
1 1/4 cup water or beer
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
5 cups flour but more may be necessary to get the right texture
Mix half the water and the bread yeast together in a bowl and let set for 10 minutes. Come back and add all the other ingredients in and knead for 5 minutes. Allow to rise in a warm place for at least an hour and use for pizza and pizza pockets.
This recipe used Einkorn Wheat Flour. I cannot eat other types of wheat so it is that or gluten-free recipes for me. If you are sensitive to wheat, I recommend giving Einkorn a try. I found I can digest it just fine. Here is a link to my in-depth article on Einkorn for more information.
Gluten Free Pizza
I found a recipe for gluten free pizza crust that yielded really good results. Here is a link to the best recipe I have found so far for gluten-free pizza crust. I have to say that the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Mix is really good too and an option for those that are new to pizza and bread making and want to start off easy.
We used a standard biscuit recipe. Matt actually made these and cut them out. They were baked at 450 F or so. These particular biscuits were made with butter rather than lard. One thing we have both noticed about biscuits is that you need to fold them a lot to get those flaky layers. Getting the right thickness is also a challenge.
To make these muffins I just used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Vanilla Cake Mix and added in some dark chocolate chips and red raspberries from the freezer. We were a little surprised how slow they cooked but that is just because we were being very careful since it was the first time we had cooked anything in a pan in the oven before. We didn’t let the oven get above 400 F.
We raise sheep to we have been working on our gyro recipe. The biggest challenge was making them gluten-free. This time we made them with einkorn wheat flour and they turned out so much better. This is a delicious bread that I recommend everyone tries at least once.
We made the pitas using the following process and recipe.
Mix 1 Tbsp Bread Yeast with 1 cup of water and 1 tsp sugar. Whisk together and allow to sit until foamy. Add 4 tbsp olive oil and 2 tsp salt. Slowly add in 2 3/4 flour. We used einkorn which tends to be a little sticky. Knead your dough and add more water until a soft dough is formed.
You should knead for 10 minutes.
Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rise for 1 hour. Form a ball of dough a few inches across and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness.
We used a tortilla press because it offers consistent results and pitas are about the same size as a soft taco, anyway. I really recommend a tortilla press for your kitchen. We use it to make pasta such as pierogies and ravioli. Heat oven or griddle until very hot. We went with about 500 F again. Watch pitas.
The pitas will start to puff up. You want to allow a little browning on each side. It is best to flip them just once if you can manage it but don’t worry if you have to flip them an extra time. There is a learning curve to this.
Future Cooking Projects
Matt and I will be using this oven a lot because it is not just for pizza. You can make a lot of excellent breads and baked goods in this oven. Tonight we are going to make bread for Philly cheesesteaks.
I have not tried to bake a pie in the oven yet but I am sure I will this Fall. I recommend this stove and oven for getting a lot of baking and cooking done at home.
Do you have any Camp Chef products? Do you have a bread recipe to share?