By: Alexander G. Weiss, CFP®
Pizza is Italian for the word… Pizza! No translation on this one! In my last article I mentioned that I received a portable pizza oven the “Ooni” for my birthday. I was finally able to fire it up this past weekend for the first time after a few delays due to rainy weather. Before cooking, I was not too proud to watch a few YouTube “how- to” videos
and I even asked a good friend of mine for a few tips to help minimize the learning curve.
A few take away items: I did a flash pre-cook of the dough in the Ooni for about 15 seconds (in retrospect, I should have done 30 seconds). This helped firm the crust as I’m not yet good enough to get the dough super thin. I also like ample cheese and sauce, which can make a pizza soggy, so it needed just a little bit of a head start to cook through. My second takeaway is to make sure to tend the fire to keep it at 900+ degrees which will allows for the pizza stone to do the cooking, not the actual fire itself. Third, I took the pizza out to rotate it (as you’re advised to rotate it every 20-30 seconds). That was a mistake– I should’ve kept the pizza in the oven and used the poking tools to spin the pie. Lastly, I would try to roll the dough as thinly as possible and be extra generous with the flour when putting it on the stainless steel peel. In the past, I used a wood pizza peel and the dough slid off much easier. We had a sticky situation to start and while the pizza tasted amazing, it wasn’t the desired shape.
Overall, the pizza was outstanding and it truly cooks in 60-90 seconds depending on your toppings and dough thickness. We started off with a plain cheese pizza so toppings wouldn’t cloud our judgement – and we were very happy with the results. The Ooni even came with a carrying case and could easily be brought on vacation, to a cookout, or anywhere. If you notice in my picture, I put a piece of wood under the oven as the instructions said to put the appliance on top of a stainless steel or wood table (my only option was a folding plastic table, which I feared would melt!). The wood was cool to the touch during the entire cooking process. It took a full hour or so to cool down after, but was then safe to put away.
This was a fun way to make dinner with my family, and someday soon with friends and extended family. If you enjoy pizza and want to get everyone involved, this is for you. If you have any other tips for cooking these pizzas - please let me know. I am still a newbie and have a lot more to learn.
Until next time…