I have been absolutely loving our Ooni pizza oven since we got it in the early spring and have learned so much in the past several months as I experimented with different doughs and recipes and techniques. Every time I post about our tasty pizzas, I get lots of questions about how difficult it is to use and what the learning curve is like for pizza-oven-newbies. I thought I’d share a few of my best tips for making better Ooni pizzas and help troubleshoot some of the most common pizza oven questions that I get asked! (PS: If you have questions about which Ooni model and accessories are right for you, check out my Ooni review and FAQ post first!#1. Use bread flour for stretchy pizza dough. When I first started testing my pizza dough recipes, I made the mistake of using the all-purpose flour I already had in my pantry. After a bit more research and testing, I’ve been using 00 flour or bread flour with better results. The reason? 00 flour and bread flour both have a higher amount of gluten and protein than all-purpose flour. The high gluten content that creates a very structured dough allowing for stretching and rising. I typically grab King Arthur or Bob’s Red Mill bread flour at my local grocery store for my homemade pizza dough. If you’re looking for the BEST pizza dough recipe for the Ooni pizza oven, I use Marc Vetri’s pizza dough recipe from the Mastering Pizza cookbook.
#2. Weigh your ingredients for better pizza dough. Get yourself a small kitchen scale and start weighing your ingredients! The reason? Weighing your flour, water, salt, and yeast will give you the most accurate measurements every time and give you a more consistent dough result. When you weigh the ingredients, you know exactly how much you’re using. But when you measure by volume – scooping or pouring – the amount can vary based on your measuring cups, how tightly you pack flour, etc. Now that I’m used to working with a kitchen scale more often, I love that I also end up doing less dishes. I prep the dough right in my stand mixer bowl, zeroing it on the small kitchen scale as I add each ingredient into the bowl.#3. Use fresh mozzarella on your pizzas. This is an easy fix for a common problem I’ve heard from first time Ooni pizza oven users: the cheese is burning before the dough is fully cooked. When you buy pre-shredded bags of mozzarella cheese from the grocery store, they often are supplemented with a potato starch to keep it from clumping together. The potato starch dries out the cheese and can make it cook way faster, so in a high-heat pizza oven like an Ooni, the cheese will often burn. I use a ball of fresh mozzarella and either slice it thin for a margherita style pizza or shred it myself on a box grater before sprinkling it on the pizza. Fresh mozzarella has a lot more moisture than the pre-shredded cheeses, so be careful not to overload the pizza with cheese, it melts better but can also make the pizza soggy – less is more!
#4. Check your stone temperature. I have the Ooni Koda model, and it can get up to temperatures over 930°F! Before you launch your pizza into the oven, use an infrared thermometer to check the temperature at the very center of the stone to make sure you’re in the ideal temperature range. Ooni recommends the stone temperature be around 750°F before you add your pizza to the board. Once it’s in there, I like to rotate the pizza about every 30 seconds until there is a nice even char on the crust.#5. Invest in a second pizza peel for easier launching. A challenge I had when I was first testing pizza recipes in my Ooni pizza oven, was that my first pizza would launch into the oven perfectly, but every pizza I made after that was getting stuck to the pizza peel. I ended up realizing that my pizza peel was heating up a little bit during the launch into the oven and as I used it to turn the pizza. When I assembled a second pizza on the same peel, it was just warm enough that that dough was sticking. My solution – investing in a second pizza peel and keeping a pizza turner or long grill spatula on hand to do the turning. Now I build my pizza on alternating peels to keep them cool and easier to launch.
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