So, I mentioned that I got a new toy, the Ooni Karu multi-fuel pizza oven for my birthday, but with everything going on, I just finally got around to playing with it for the past two weeks. Now, before I get into my review, I want to be clear that ingredients and process matter for success, so there is a learning curve, especially concerning dough. I have a few pizza cookbooks, and settled on the 60% hydration Neapolitan dough from this book:
I highly suggest this book if you want a pizza science deep dive, but even if you don’t, here’s why I love it. It gives dough recipes for various Italian styles (Naples, Rome, etc. which are different), and the regional recipes are also adapted for home ovens, grills, and pizza ovens. It explains why the dough needs to be different for each. To put it simply, the dough needs to be adjusted for how hot and fast your oven can cook. Most home ovens can only go to 500 F, while grills and pizza ovens can heat to 700-900 F. The cooking temperature affects how much water dough needs to cook properly. The author has it laid out in extensive detail, so on my first try, my 3-day fermented dough turned out perfectly and to rave reviews. It’s becoming part of my daily routine to keep dough on rotation so we have weekly pizza nights. I also recommend The Joy of Pizza as well.
Let’s talk about the oven itself.
This is a wood-fired oven with an optional propane insert, which we chose to purchase as an additional feature. I knew that I would make pizza more often with the convenience of instant-start gas versus building/managing a wood fire every single time. I know that’s not as authentic, but I want to use this pizza oven regularly, and not as a special occasion when I am willing to babysit a wood fire in 105-degree weather in summer. Because my outdoor counter space is limited, I ended up buying a rolling kitchen cart so I can move it around as needed for both cooking and storage.
Thoughts on Accessories/Support
- The two main accessories we purchased that I can get behind are the oven cover, and the pizza peel. The cover fits perfectly and is low-effort to use. The peel is easy to work with and maneuver for the oven size and shape.
- The freaking door….So, they advertise the oven with no door, and suggest consumers purchase one. Well, we bought a door only to find out our oven came with a fully-installed door. So, I now have a very expensive door in my closet. Rather than return it, I’m just going to hang on to it in case of emergency, but I HIGHLY suggest you talk to customer service before ordering a door to see of it is included.
- I’d hold off on the laser thermometer suggestion until you play around with the built-in thermometer. They obviously want to upsell ad nauseam but it’s up to you on how “Alton Brown” you want to go with it. I don’t think it’s necessary for starting out.
- I like the app and find it to be very helpful. Outside of the video tutorials, I found plenty of recipe inspirations, more so than I expected. The company seems to have good consumer support for their products. The app is worth downloading.
After playing around for a bit, I can say that I really love this oven. Yes, it was pricey, and there is definitely a learning curve if you’ve never made pizza before. But it cooks beautifully (in two minutes or less) and is easy enough to use on a weeknight. The Heathens love getting creative with toppings outside of the norm. It’s also useful way to transform leftovers, for example, we used the leftover food from our weekend barbecue to make pizzas the next day, which reduced food waste. Overall, I think it’s a great product and I am learning a lot.
So, we bought the thing, we love the thing, two thumbs up.
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