How To Use An Ooni Pizza Oven (2023)
Cooking with an Ooni pizza oven takes a little practice, but by properly preparing your dough, and cooking at the right temperature, you will soon be cooking perfect pizza.
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See our high-level takeaways below, or skip to our full review!Our Take:
- Multiple fuel sources
- Turning pizza is learned skill
- Multiple sizes
- Reaches 950°F in 20 minutes
- Cooks pizza in just 60 seconds
- 1% For The Planet member
Jump to: Full Review
Learning how to use an Ooni pizza oven is important, but first, it might be even more important to make sure you choose the right Ooni oven that will meet your needs. If you haven't yet decided on which oven is right for you, read ourOoni pizza oven review, which compares the benefits of the various models. The Ooni Fyra, Ooni Koda, Ooni Karu, and Ooni Pro all have certain strengths, but your decision will boil down to which fuel choice you prefer, and how large you want your pizzas to be.
All are great outdoor pizza ovens, but if you are partial to wood pellets and portable pizza ovens, then the Ooni Fyra is the best option for you. On the other hand, if you might need larger, 16-inch pizzas, or want to experiment with multiple fuel types, then the Ooni Karu gives you the most options. The Ooni Koda is gas-powered, must be attached to a propane tank, and works best for those than want an easy setup and temperature control. All of the Ooni ovens have a maximum temperature of around 950 degrees.
How To Use An Ooni Pizza Oven
Learning how to properly use anOoni pizza oven takes a little practice. Cooking with live fire can be frustrating if you've never done it before, but it also produces the best-tasting pizza on the planet. If you are a beginner trying to master an Ooni pizza oven, here are our top three tips:
- Properly prepare your dough
- Don't overload the toppings
- Attentively watch and turn your pizza
It's a little more complicated than that, naturally, as we will share below, but regardless of whether you have a gas-powered pizza oven, a wood-pellet pizza oven, or a more traditional wood-burning pizza oven, the first key is to properly make the pizza dough. If you don't start with the dough, you will wind up with a sticky disappointment. Only after you've prepared the right dough will tweaking your cooking technique matter, but we have tips for that below as well.
Ooni Pizza Oven Set-Up
Ooni pizza ovens are well-built and durable and come largely pre-assembled. They only require minor work to put together once taken from the box. Each of the pizza ovens is a little different, but for context, my Ooni Pro took less than 15 minutes to complete assembly. Following the instructions that come with the unit should be fairly straightforward. The biggest thing to be aware of is that you should be careful with the pizza stones, so they aren't accidentally broken while you unpack and move things around. The baking stones are the perfect cooking surface, but they won't do you much good if they are broken.
Deciding how best to set up and store your Ooni is an important piece of the puzzle. Unless you choose one of the portable units, it's not the smallest appliance, even if it is incredibly functional. And as we've noted elsewhere, you need a solid surface where to set your Ooni. Stone and wood surfaces work perfectly, as do stainless steel surfaces, but you should avoid setting your Ooni on glass or plastic surfaces. You may consider Ooni's modular pizza cooking tables.
To set up most of the Ooni models, unfold or attach the legs, attach the chimney if applicable, and slide the grate and fuel tray into the back of the oven, and attach the door. If you have a gas-powered oven or multi-fuel oven, you may also need to attach the gas burner.
Ooni has several tutorial videos available, so be sure to follow the instructions, watch the videos when helpful, for additional guidance.
Using Ooni Pizza Oven For The First Time
Once your Ooni is set up and you are ready to use your Ooni pizza oven for the first time, it is worth pausing to make sure you have all of the right tools to bake an amazing pizza. If your Ooni doesn't have a built-in thermometer, then we suggest purchasing an infrared thermometer. Not only will the digital thermometer help you monitor when the oven is ready to start cooking, but it will also help you manage the temperature of the oven as you cook.
It can be very frustrating to cook one pizza, have the temp plummet, and then need to wait for the oven to heat back up. Monitoring your oven while you cook will help prevent that.
You also need at least one, and maybe two pizza peels. We recommended a perforated pizza peel for turning the pizza as it cooks. This peel should stay warm because it will be easier to slide the peel under the pizza and turn the crusting dough with a warm peel. This perforated peel will also be the pizza peel that you use to remove the pizza from the baking stone.
The other peel could be a wooden peel or a stainless steel peel. The second peel will be useful for prepping and transporting your pizza to and from the pizza oven.
Once you are set up, have the right tools, and have the fire going, you will be ready to cook a beautiful pizza better than custom-built backyard pizza ovens might cook.
Making the Perfect Pizza
Making authentic fire-baked pizzas is an art, so naturally, it takes a little practice. But the first thing you need to understand clearly is that you will never master outdoor pizza ovens unless you first learn how to correctly make a homemade pizza.
With that in mind, where do you even get started? Well, with the right ingredients. Ooni and other pizza pros all recommend that you use true Italian double-zero 00 flour. It's finely ground and stretches more nicely than cheaper flours. Now, at this point, some people like to briefly bake the crust before adding the rest of the ingredients. You don't have to do this, but it does make it a little easier to manage the pizza once it is in the oven.
To be clear, most true pizza enthusiasts would be appalled at the thought of you pre-cooking your dough, but if you are just getting started, this might be worth trying. Why? If your dough is still wet, it is a little tricky to move the pizza around without some practice. If the dough sticks at all, your ingredients will just make a big mess. The other thing that might happen is that your toppings may cook (and even catch fire) before your dough fully crisps.
Using Ooni's pizza dough recipe will help with many of these problems, as will time and experience. You will be glad that invested in learning the trade because true Neapolitan-style pizza is hard to beat.
Beyond the dough, be mindful of the ingredients you are loading onto your pizza. The more you add, the more difficult baking your pizza will be. Not only do vegetables (and fruit, pineapple anyone?) add moisture to your pizza, but they also weigh your pizza down, making it much more likely that the dough will tear.
If you haven't noticed that traditional Margherita pizzas and other traditional Italian pizzas are lighter on toppings than American pizzas, look again. There might be a reason for that, as many American pizza companies use a premade crust that can more easily withstand a heavy ingredient load.
Next, use flour on your prep surface and on the pizza peels so that the dough slides without sticking. Using two pizza peels, one at room temperature for prep, and another warmer peel for working with the oven will also reduce the likelihood of your peel sticking.
Stick with these tips, and your pizza-making experience will go much more smoothly than it might otherwise. Your outdoor space may be transformed into the neighborhood pizza party mecca. Truly, the perfect Neapolitan pizza is closer than you think, and if you prefer a Chicago-style pizza, with piles of fresh mozzarella, that is within reach too.
How Do I Bake In An Ooni Pizza Oven?
In order to bake the perfect pizza in an Ooni pizza oven, you first have to properly prepare your dough. As noted above, if your dough is too sticky, you are going to have a tough time, and you might end up with a big mess. To start, use double zero type of flour.
Next, use the digital thermometer you bought to make sure your oven is hot. If you get your oven above 950 degrees as Ooni recommends, then it should only take about 60 seconds to cook your pizza. Use a warm pizza turning peel to turn your pizza once halfway through the bake.
Managing the temperature is easier with a gas-powered oven like the Ooni Koda, but we are still partial to wood-fired pizza, and consider the multi-fuel pizza ovens great options for this reason.
Here is aPRO TIP: If you lift one edge of your dough and gently blow air underneath it, you will produce an air pocket or two under the dough. In doing so, you will also spread any extra flour around under your pizza. This will help the dough slide smoothly from your pizza peel to the baking stone.
If you choose to lower the temperature on your oven for reasons previously discussed, then baking your pizza may take a little longer, but you still need to keep your oven hot, so it won't take an extended period of time. Keep an eye on your pizza will it cooks. Naturally, even at 700 degrees, you are exposing your pizza to extreme heat, much hotter than a traditional oven produces. Your pizza can burn in an instant.
Properly preparing your pizza dough, and then attentively watching and turning your pizza are two of the best tips for producing delicious pizza. The other tip to keep in mind is that you shouldn't overload your pizza with toppings, or you are in for a tough time.
How Long Do You Cook Pizza In An Ooni Pizza Oven?
At its hottest temperatures, it should only take about 60 seconds to cook your pizza in an Ooni pizza oven; however, some people have trouble charring their pizza at this extreme temperature. If you find yourself in this boat, lower the temperature from 900 degrees down to about 750 degrees, and your pizza should still finish cooking within a few minutes. Manage the heat and keep a watchful eye, because your pizza will quickly burn if you don't.
How Do You Get The Bottom Of A Pizza Crispy?
Cooking at high temperatures is the best way to get the bottom of a pizza crispy. That's one of the main reasons you should invest in an outdoor pizza oven if you consider yourself a pizza lover. A traditional oven doesn't reach temperatures that are high enough to create a crispy crust. This was one of the main considerations we took into account when reviewing the best outdoor pizza ovens.
Not all ovens are created equal, and if you are looking for epic stone-baked 16-inch pizzas, there is no better place to start than the Ooni Karu. Of course, the Ooni Koda and Ooni Pro are both formidable pizza makers in their own rights.
Beyond investing in an outdoor pizza oven, the quality of the pizza or the pizza dough also plays a large role. Cheap pizza that is made with low-quality ingredients or a soggy dough will be difficult to brown or crisp up, regardless of the pizza size.
What Temperature Do You Cook Ooni Pizza?
Ooni recommends that you bake your pizza above 900 degrees because that is the temperature that will create the crispiest crust and cook your pizza the fastest. We recommend lowering the temperature down a little bit but keeping it above 700 degrees. This will be especially helpful if you are a beginner, and will be very easy to manage if you have a propane pizza oven such as the Ooni Koda.
Why do we recommend a lower temperature? Well, when the oven is nearing 1000 degrees, you may find that it catches fire too easily, or burns the toppings too easily, all while you are still dealing with raw pizza dough. In our experience, lowering the temperature results in fewer flare-ups, and fewer burnt toppings. This also enables you to cook your dough thoroughly, so that you end up with crisp pizza we all love.
As noted above, the other things to try if the flare-ups become a problem are to cook smaller pizzas, use fewer toppings, and consider pre-cooking your crust before you add all of your toppings. In our estimation, somewhere between a 12-inch pizza and a 16-inch pizza is a perfect size anyway. There is no reason to cover the entire baking stone with pizza dough just because you can.
Ultimate Outdoor Cooking Experience
Once you learn the ropes, we think you will find that an Ooni oven may be the ultimate outdoor cooking experience. Start thinking outside the box, too, because you can cook many different foods with an Ooni oven. Start thinking beyond tasty pizzas. You can cook bread or garlic knots as an appetizer, nearly any type of meat or barbecue for an entree, and even delicious pizza desserts to top of the perfect fire-cooked meal.
An Ooni may be a sizable investment worth doing your research on, but an Ooni Koda offers ultimate cooking control, and the other Ooni modes provide cooking options you simply can't replicate indoors. Once you've mastered pizza, we recommend you purchase an Ooni cast-iron skillet as well, because your options will expand even further.
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