From New York to Chicago, there are countless variations on the classic pizza pie, rich with hearty tomato sauce and melty cheese. In our minds though, nothing quite beats the original version, wood-fired in an oven in the Italian style, with cracker-crisp crust, charred, bubbly edges and select farm-fresh toppings.
Thus, after years of wishing, hoping and hankering, we completed a new addition to the Bella Luna grounds: an outdoor, wood-burning oven imported from Italy. Set just across the lawn from the Grape House, the Mugnaini oven is housed in a custom-built stone surround, flanked by two small buffets for prep work. Founded by Italian Andrea Mugnaini in 1989, the Mugnaini brand is renowned worldwide for their impeccable residential and commercial ovens made in—and imported from—the Motherland. Locally, restaurants Pizzeria Pulcinella, Delancey and The Whale Wins all boast a Mugnaini.
Like all Mugnaini models, our wood-fired oven is crafted with an Italian firebrick floor to evenly distribute heat and a dual-density modular dome. To prep the oven for baking or roasting, we light the apple wood from Eastern Washington several hours before cook time. The oven is heated to anywhere between 650-700 degrees when baking pizza (and will maintain an interior temperature of 350 degrees until the next morning!). In addition to making pizza, we have been testing out other culinary fare and have produced many a delicious experiment—crispy flatbreads topped with our own herbs and sea salt, hearth-cooked breads with crackly crust and beautiful roasted chicken and vegetables.
We hope to share a wood fired slice on your next visit to the farm, but in the meantime, we’ll try to fulfill (what we are sure are now) serious cravings with Mugnaini’s own pizza dough recipe for you to make at home:
Small-Batch Pizza Dough
Courtesy Andrea Mugnaini
Pizza Yield: 4-5 pizzas (7 oz. ball)
1½ cups warm water, divided
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
4 cups ‘00’ pizza flour
1 teaspoon salt
Drizzle olive oil
1. Place flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add yeast mixture and remaining water, stirring while pressing the back of the spoon against the sides of the bowl.
2. Mix until dough takes on a “shaggy” look, then drizzle with oil. Stir to incorporate oil, pulling dough into a ball, and then turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 5 minutes, dusting with flour if necessary. If dough feels dry and difficult to knead, cover and let rest for 10 minutes; resume kneading. If the dough feels too wet and builds up on your hands, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time and continue kneading. The dough should feel moist but not sticky.
3. After the initial 5 minutes of kneading, cover dough and let rest 20 minutes, then knead for 3–5 minutes more to complete. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature for 2½ hours. It will double in size. Dough may be used immediately.