I Tried Using One Of Those Fancy At-Home Pizza Ovens & Sorry Maria, I’ve Got A New Nonna Now

Ooni Pizza Oven
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Ever since I could remember, Friday night was pizza night in our household. Whether that meant picking up a slice from our local pizza place or slapping one together at home, it was always my favourite night of the week. Now, as an adult, I continue the tradition – admittedly probs more regularly than just one night a week. So it was a tasty little treat to be able to test out Ooni’s Koda 12 GasPowered Pizza Oven.

This little slice dealer claims to have your pizza cooked in just 60 seconds, and they aren’t wrong. Albeit we may have singed a few pizzas around the edges our first few attempts, once we got the hang of it, we had some of the most delicious stone-baked pizzas in a literal hot minute.

Here’s everything you need to know about Ooni’s Koda 12 pizza oven.

How Does the Ooni Koda 12 Pizza Oven Work?

Basically, after you unpack it from the box, you just need to set it up outside somewhere, connect it to a gas bottle and pop the stone inside the oven. It’s really as simple as that. Before you use it for the first time, you need to pop it on for a good halfa to season the oven, but once you’ve done that, you’ll have fresh stone-baked pizzas in minutes.

The oven itself reaches around 500°C in just 15 minutes, so you basically stick the pizza in for 20 to 30 seconds, pull it out and rotate it and pop it back in for another 20 to 30 seconds. You continue this method until the pizza is cooked evenly, it usually takes around 60 seconds all up. I’d recommend using a pizza peel for this part, it makes life much easier since you’re trying not to absolutely obliterate your toppings.

Ooni Pizza Oven

What does it come with? And what do you recommend buying with it?

The Ooni Koda 12 comes with the pizza oven itself (obvi), a cordierite stone baking board and a gas regulator and hose to connect to your gas bottle. I’d also recommend getting yourself a pizza peel (it’s like a giant spatula and VERY much needed) and maybe a thermometer so you can clock when your oven is sitting at a nice, non-pizza-burning temp.

We also got a fancy pizza cutter because cutting pizza with a knife just feels wrong, so very wrong.

How easy is it to use?

Well, my boyfriend and I are both pretty average in the kitchen, but this was super fkn easy to use. Once, we argued over how to best to cook the pizza (on the stone or on the pizza peel — we watched a Youtube video to confirm, and it’s on the stone, BTW), we then watched it cook in mere minutes before our eyes.

It literally cooks so quickly that you can’t take your eyes off it, so you need to pay attention so you don’t completely fuck your pizza.

Surprisingly, to anyone who knows us, we didn’t actually burn a pizza during our first few attempts (we made three pizzas and a garlic bread pizza). Okay, one was a little charred around the edges because my sister rang, and we got distracted, but the first three were *chef’s kisses*. Look…

Ooni Pizza Oven

Considering they’re $649, why would you buy one?

Honestly, with the cost of cozzie livs right now, I don’t blame you for baulking at the price, but when you think about how much you probably spend every time you buy get takeaway pizza or buy it at the pub (maybe $25 to $50, depending on how many you buy), this little baby is worth it.

It requires very little assembling (all we did was hook up a gas bottle and pull the legs out), it pre-heats to 500 degrees in just 15-minutes, and you have hot, delicious stone-baked pizza in 60 seconds. It’s portable and lightweight (9.25kgs), which means you can take it almost anywhere — mates’ places, picnics, camping etc., and you can cook more than just pizza in it.

Yep, according to Ooni, the pizza oven actually doubles as a bit of a BBQ/grill. You can buy cast iron skillets and pans that fit perfectly into the Ooni 12, so you can cook a bunch of different dishes in there, like steak, grilled chicken dishes, and seafood.

Hell, if it can cook all that and you live in a sharehouse, it’s worth splitting the cost and hosting pizza nights with friends. I reckon you’ll be bloody stoked with it.

Other fun features you should know about

The Ooni app! Yep, if your pizza cooking skills have never extended beyond 1) having it arrive in a box and 2) eating the final product, I’d probably download the Ooni app. It’s loaded with heaps of recipes, how-to manuals and more to help you get started on your pizza-making journey.

A Pizzailolo’s tips for making mouth-watering pizza from scratch

Speaking of, I also tapped Matteo Ernandes, Resident Pizzaiolo at Da Orazio in Sydney’s Bondi Beach, for pizza-making tips bc, well, I’ve never actually made an authentic pizza from scratch before (dough and all), and I’m betting most of you never have either.

It all starts with the dough

  • You might be tempted to use dough recipes that promise amazing pizza in no time at all. But proper pizza dough takes time and can’t be rushed. 
  • Whatever dough recipe you use, make sure you allocate at least a few hours to allow the dough to ferment and the gluten to do its job. The unrested dough will be harder to stretch and produce a base with less flavour and a less-than-ideal texture. 

Pre-heat your oven

  • Whether you are using an Ooni Pizza Oven or a conventional oven, make sure that it is ripping hot before you do anything else. 
  • If you’re using an Ooni, make sure it’s pre-heating on high for 15-20mins, or the pizza stone registers a temperature of 450-500°C. You can use an infrared thermometer to check this.
  • Making sure the stone is hot is key to a crispy base with the ‘leopard spotting’ you want.
  • Your oven at home will take much longer to pre-heat (45min plus in some cases) and won’t get as hot, so you’ll need to adjust your cooking times accordingly.

Respect the sauce

  • A lot of people make the mistake of adding too many ingredients to their pizza sauce. If you’re using high-quality passata or pureed tomatoes, you shouldn’t need to add anything other than salt and maybe some fresh basil.

Be gentle while stretching and launching the dough

  • Stretching your dough and launching it into the pizza oven is usually the hardest part for first-time pizza makers.
  • As a general rule, the less touching of the dough, the better the result you’ll have. You also don’t want to leave your dough on the bench for too long because it might stick. 
  • Semolina is also extremely useful in preventing your dough from sticking to your bench or pizza peel.
  • Be gentle when transferring your pizza to your peel, and finish stretching your pizza on there if you need.
  • A bamboo peel is usually easier to launch with than a metal one.
  • It’s also very important to know that you probably won’t get it right the first time. Making pizza takes practice, so don’t be scared to have a couple of tries

Don’t overload your toppings

  • The more toppings you add, the heavier the pizza will be and the harder it will be to launch in the oven. With pizza, less really is more.

Cook it properly

  • Just like pre-heating, give your pizza enough time to cook. This is usually a pretty quick process for a thin pizza (between one and three minutes on an Ooni), but the thicker it is, the longer it will take to cook.
  • Rotate your pizza every 30sec with your metal peel to make sure it cooks evenly. 
  • Raw dough can be quite hard to chew and digest, so you’ll know if it’s undercooked.
  • For your first couple of tries, it’s worth having a backup pizza on hand!

Delicious! Anyway, if you’re interested in getting yourself an Ooni Pizza Oven, you can check out the range here.

Image Credit: Bree Grant / Pedestrian.TV