Eat and Greet

Posted March 30, 2016 by The Argonaut in News

Holy Nativity fires up its new outdoor bread oven for a community pizza bake

By Bonnie Eslinger

Christy Wilhelmi, founder of the Westside organic gardening blog, bakes an artisan loaf at the Holy Nativity community bread oven

Christy Wilhelmi, founder of the Westside organic gardening blog, bakes an artisan loaf at the Holy Nativity community bread oven

Craving some homegrown food with a side of community?

On April 9, Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Westchester is hosting a community pizza bake that will fire up its new outdoor public bread oven, and everyone is encouraged to join in on the feast.

Pizza lovers are invited to bring dough and toppings (sauce will be provided) to make their own Italian pie, working side by side with other community chefs. A family-friendly event, experienced pizza makers will be on hand to help folks roll out and shape their dough and load the culinary masterpieces into the church’s earthen wood-fired oven.

Oven firemaster Paul Morgan said the temperature in the oven gets so hot that the pizzas cook in just minutes.

“You can see it right there in front of you browning and bubbling — and smell it too,” Morgan said. “Also, that sense of it being a communal thing, a collaborative experience is really what makes it work for people.”

And while traditional toppings are always a safe bet, participants might want to consider thinking outside the pizza box and come with an interesting cheese or fresh seasonal vegetable.

“I think asparagus and some home grown broccoli was the best pizza I ever tasted,” Morgan said.

After the pizzas have been baked, bread makers will be given the opportunity to pop their homemade loaves into the oven.

Pizza prep starts at noon, with bread baking expected to start about two hours later.

The rounded cobb oven, completed in the summer, was created by the church and community volunteers in the same spirit as the parish’s community garden: to feed and nourish people’s bodies, but also their souls by giving them a place to gather.

“It’s a spiritual thing more than a culinary thing,” said Morgan.

There is no charge to participate in the bake, but contributions to the firewood fund are always appreciated, say organizers.

And if you can’t make it this time, community baking events are expected to continue each second Saturday of the month, Morgan said.

The Westchester Wood-Fired Oven Community Bake starts at noon on Saturday, April 9, at the Holy Nativity Episcopal  Church Garden, 6700 W. 83rd St., Westchester. Free. If you want to bake pizza or bread, RSVP to


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