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Pizza at Kate’s Cottage

Guests at Kate's Cottage of rural Beresford enjoy good conversation and homemade pizza, courtesy of hosts Gaylan and Gale Gors and their wood-fired pizza oven.

Guests at Kate’s Cottage, a cozy bed and breakfast southwest of Beresford, enjoy a tranquil setting, a menagerie of animals and, if they’re lucky, wood-fired pizza baked in a handmade outdoor oven. “It’s a great way to eat,” says owner Gale Gors. “You eat much more slowly, you drink a beer and you talk. Twenty minutes later you have another one.”

Gale and her husband Gaylan first encountered an outdoor pizza oven while on a surprise trip to Santa Fe for Gaylan’s 60th birthday. “I looked at it and said, ‘I can build one,’” Gaylan remembers. He, Gale and Gale’s son Alex Monson worked together, doing research, drawing plans and laying brick. Monson, who operates AMC Concrete, formed the domed interior of the oven using refractory concrete containing perlite, which acts as an insulator. The DIY effort was not without its trials; on the oven’s inaugural firing, the chimney melted. “We just stood there and watched it droop,” Gaylan says.

The oven is built into an old grove on the Peterson farm, which has been in Gale’s family for almost 130 years. On pleasant summer nights, the Gorses invite visitors to join them at a table made from the grove’s wood to indulge in fresh pizza and easygoing conversation.

Kate’s Cottage was built in the 1930s, but stood empty for decades after Gale’s aunt, Verna Peterson, died in the early 1960s. Gale planned to tear it down, but in the end, she just couldn’t. “I took off one piece of trim and thought, ‘This is stupid.’” Restoring the tiny one-bedroom home was a three-year process, done in stages as Gale saved money from her work at Integrative Wellness, a mental health counseling service in Sioux Falls. The first guests arrived in 2015.

The peaceful farm getaway is made livelier by the menagerie — inquisitive Flo the dog; unpredictable Bat Cat; Earle, Charlie and Pete the goats; and a flock of Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds presided over by an obstinate Crested Polish rooster named The Bouncer.

Depending on wind and weather, it can take 30 to 60 minutes to heat the oven to Gaylan’s preferred pizza-baking temperature of 600 to 650 degrees. The oven is fueled with pine, which burns hot, smells nice and doesn’t affect the flavor. Sauces and dough are all homemade, and topping possibilities are endless. They’ve tried taco pizza, pulled pork and artichokes, and clams and white sauce, but the favorite might be the classic margherita. “A good white sauce, fresh basil and fresh tomatoes — you just can’t beat that,” Gale says.


A classic margherita is a favorite of the Gorses.

Basic New York-Style Pizza Dough



22.5 ounces (about 4 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting

0.5 ounces (about 1 1/2 tablespoons) sugar

0.35 ounces (about 1 tablespoon) kosher salt

0.35 ounces (about 2 teaspoons) instant yeast

1.125 ounces (about 3 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil

15 ounces lukewarm water


Combine flour, sugar, salt and yeast in bowl of food processor. Pulse 3–4 times until incorporated. Add olive oil and water. Run food processor until mixture forms ball that rides around the bowl above the blade, about 15 seconds. Continue processing 15 seconds longer.

Transfer dough ball to a lightly floured surface and knead once or twice by hand until a smooth ball is formed. Divide dough evenly into three parts and place each in a covered quart-sized container or a zipper-lock freezer bag. Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least one day, and up to five. Remove from refrigerator, shape into balls and allow to rest at room temperature for at least two hours before baking.


Editor’s Note: This story is revised from the May/June 2021 issue of South Dakota Magazine. To order a copy or to subscribe, call (800) 456-5117.


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