Be it ever so humble there’s no tool quite as handy a multi-tasker as the bubble popper. Don’t be fooled by the fanciful name bubble popper or the $10 price tag. This simple tool can push, pull, poke, stir, lift, dock, and move. It’s easier to illustrate than explain, so we took a few photos at a recent outdoor feed for our high school swim team. We roasted potatoes for oven fries and baked pizza to contribute to post-workout refueling.
Purpose of the bubble popper
American Metalcraft says the popper was made to “pop those pesky, doughy bubbles to allow for perfectly cooked pizza.” Although originally a tool used in commercial pizza baking, it’s found a place in the wood-fired oven home tool kit. A quick Amazon search shows several style options. Some have a handle on one end and a sharp point on the other, but we prefer American Metalcraft’s basic aluminum bubble popper because of its light weight and functional hooks at each end. I have several “pokers” hanging alongside other oven tools, close at hand. I use one for stirring food (or popping pesky dough bubbles) and one for positioning pans or wood.
Leverage, force, and work
The popper is 43 inches long, made of aluminum, and weighs about half a pound. The tool’s light weight is a plus when you are reaching with outstretched arms to maneuver heavy items in the oven. In general, the sturdier 42″ stirring paddle is better for lifting (moving wood, sliding under a pan to lift it out). However, you don’t have to blow the dust off a physics book to know that a pot or pan lifted at the end of a long tool feels heavier than it does right next to your body.
I tend to use the bubble popper and the stirring paddle together. I opt to use the popper to push, pull, move things that are very deep in the oven, or to pull pans onto the paddle, or even to stir food in a pan. The popper is a great tool that shares functions with the stirring paddle. The popper pokes and pushes burning wood, but it doesn’t load wood. For info on properly loading wood into your wood-fired oven, check out this blog.
I can’t imagine needing a bubble popper in a conventional oven, but anyone fortunate enough to cook in a wood-burning oven will quickly appreciate the versatility of this simple tool.