A wood fired Neapolitan Margherita pizza baked in the Thord pizza oven, also shown

Cooking Neapolitan Pizza in the Montelini Wood Pellet Pizza Oven

We recently came across the Montelini pellet fired pizza oven, a brand new to the market pizza oven, after we crossed paths with the lovely people at The Garden Furniture Centre. Pizza was discussed at length, we found out they'd ben working on their own oven, and of course, I agreed to try it out!

Any time I use a new oven there's always a learning curve - how to fuel the oven efficiently, what temperature to run the stone at, what effect taking the door off and closing the vents will have... the list goes on.

The video below is genuinely my first time using this oven having been rained off a few days before, which I think gives a really clear and honest view of an oven's usability. I'll summarise my experience below, and if you have any questions, please reach out!


Cooking Neapolitan Pizzas in the Montelini Wood Pellet Pizza Oven

My thoughts on the Montelini

I think the pizzas speak for themselves when it comes to the capability of the Montelini to produce Neapolitan style pizzas! The oven had no issue quickly reaching the 400°C needed for this style of pizza, and once I'd dialled in the use of the rotating stone (more below), I got really nice even oven spring.

The temperature dial on the oven was a really useful guide, so I didn't need to open the door and check the stone temperature until I knew I was getting close.

The rotating stone is something I've never used before and took a little bit of getting used to. Usually when you launch a pizza into a small oven, you turn the pizzas a few times, therefore putting different parts of the base on the hotter sections of the stone and ensuring an even bake. You don't do this with the Montelini, because the rotating stone means you don't have to go through the process of turning your pizzas, so what I learned is you need to make sure you heat the stone evenly to achieve an even bake. Once this clicks, it's SUCH an easy process to bake a pizza end to end... no turning the pizza means no risk of tearing the pizza, which eliminates part of the learning process.

Something that really surprised me about the Montelini was the heat retention... I'd walked away from the oven expecting it to cool off quickly like most pellet ovens, but 20 minutes later it was still sitting at almost 300°C, so I decided to put the heat to good use. I'd put a couple of leftover doughballs in a pan ready to bake into a focaccia, so I oiled & dimpled them and threw the pan in the oven. 15 minutes later I gave the stone a 180° turn and 10 minutes after that, I was pulling my beautiful wood fired bread out of the oven.

The rotating stone might be what most would notice with this oven, but the heat retention is in a different league of any other pellet fired pizza oven I've used, making this the feature that really stood out for me.

If you like the look of this oven you can buy it direct from The Garden Furniture Centre here - Montelini pizza oven.

How do I make pizza dough like yours?

Using high quality pizza flour makes a huge difference, this dough was made with the very high quality Sonata Pizza Flour from Wrights Flour. That said, for me producing great pizza dough mostly comes down to the method of dough making. You can read and watch all about it in our dough blogs, below.

How do I get my pizza oven hot enough?

We understand how frustrating this can be - your dough is ready, your family is waiting, and you're struggling to get your oven hot enough to bake pizza! Our top tips are below for lighting small wood fired wood fired ovens:

1) Make sure your fuel is dry enough - wood under 20% moisture burns hotter and cleaner

2) Oxygen is just as important as fuel, make sure you don't overload your fuel tray and allow plenty of airflow

3) You need your door on, your fuel hatch lid closed and your chimney vent, if your oven has one, wide open

4) Check your fuel tray every 3-4 minutes and top up if necessary - sometimes it's easier for one person to fuel the oven while the other bakes the pizzas

5) Wood pellets provide very high heat, hardwood kindling burns for longer to give a longer-lasting base base heat for less topping up - combined they work perfectly together!

What wood should I use in my pizza oven?

You should only ever use hardwood kindling - softwood may be cheaper but it will burn through quickly, might struggle to get your oven to temperature and will leave behind a lot of excess ash. Our hardwood kindling is made from sustainable British oak.

When it comes to pellets, extensive research showed us that softwood pellets burn hotter and with less ash than hardwood, so our pizza oven wood pellets are made from sustainable British softwoods.

Make sure all the wood you use in your pizza oven is dried to well below 15% moisture so it burns hot, clean and with minimal smoke.

What you need to light the Montelini pizza oven

  • Pizza oven pellets
  • Natural firelighters
  • Extra long matches
  • Infrared thermometer
  • Heat proof gloves

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