Since I bought my Ooni oven, I’ve barely left my backyard. I’ve always dreamed of having a wood-fired ovensomewhere in my life again. I worked briefly at a little shop in Montreal’s Little Italy that specialized in just that. Now, I have the luxury of using one without the confines of a restaurant.
You should cook a pizza in an Ooni oven for approximately 1 minute. Depending on the model, an Ooni oven can reach up to 900 degrees in no time at all.
In this post, I’ll offer some advice on how to get the best out of your Ooni oven.
Getting the Most Out of Your Ooni
The first step in cooking great pizza is no different than getting to Carnegie Hall: practice is crucial. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that to master a task, you must practice for 10,000 hours.
You certainly don’t need that much work to make a decent pizza, but more practice will only help you further perfect your kneading, measuring and stretching of dough, not to mention help you intuit what toppings might best suit the pizza.
Whether you’re using a peel to put your pizza in the Ooni or preparing it on a countertop, the following tips can help you in your quest for excellence.
Stick with 00 flour
Ooni chefs recommend that you use the same ingredients they do. As such, high-quality, 00 flour is always preferred. And with good reason.
This kind of flour is an authentic, finely-ground Italian style, so it makes sense that it would result in some of the best crusts imaginable.
Follow Ooni’s Own Recipes
While doing some experimentation of your own is always encouraged, Ooni’s website has a series of great recipes that are tailored to use their oven. Having the right recipe is incredibly useful, especially if you’re a novice baker.
Without a solid recipe to work off, amateurs often make mistakes that can lead to crusts being too soggy or even badly burnt. I’d recommend starting with their classic dough recipe, as it’s the easiest, then branching out to explore theirs and other libraries online.
The other option is to ask friends and family for their recipes, as you never know what kind of secrets are housed in your grandmother’s old books.
Stretch Out The Dough at Room Temperature
This is a handy tip for making doughs for any purpose, in any oven. After you’ve made the dough, you need to shape it properly. You’ll want to leave it in the fridge for several hours, but when it comes time to stretch it, give it time to warm up a bit.
Stretching out dough at room temperature just makes it much easier to work with. Too hot and it can break while stretching, too cold and it’ll be stubborn. Dusting the surface with flour is also highly recommended.
Use Two Peels
Using two separate peels makes transferring easy, especially if they’re kept at two temperatures. When dressing and shaping your pizza, set it on a peel that is at room temperature.
Then, just before putting it in the oven, use a peel that you’ve warmed up in the oven. This prevents the dough from getting too soft too fast when transferring.
And by everything, I mean any surface your pizza is going to come into contact with during prep and baking. Flour the counter, flour the peel, flour the rolling pin if you’re using one. Flour is cheap, spread it liberally.
It’ll make any dough much easier to work with. You never want to add more flour than is called for in the recipe, but that doesn’t prevent you from dusting. Dusting is not adding weight or changing the composition of your dough in any significant way.
Inspect for Holes
After stretching out your dough, you should always inspect the uncooked pizza for any holes in its base. Holes will lead to moisture, which will cause your pizza to stick. Thankfully, they’re incredibly easy to remedy, simply push the holes or tears together, filling any gaps.
Keep The Toppings Light
There’s nothing stopping you from loading up your pizza with several strips of bacon and an entire chicken breast if the mood strikes you. But personally, and for the sake of the oven, it’s best to keep your toppings fairly minimal. You don’t want to weigh down the pizza too much.