Ooni pizza oven owners love their Oonis and also love sharing what they’ve learned. We checked into various forums and are sharing the best tips with you.
What was repeated over and over again? Producing a pizza you love takes PRACTICE + PATIENCE. Take the time to get to know how your oven works, experiment with dough, and plan on making lots of practice pizzas to get your timings right.
Making pizza is an art. If you were a beginning artist, you wouldn’t buy a set of oil paints and expect to turn out a Monet-level painting your first try. Enjoy the process of perfecting your craft!
Great pizza begins with the crust. And the type of flour you use affects your results. Experiment to find the flour(s) that produce a crust you love.
- Plan ahead: pizza dough needs time to prove and rest, sometimes a day or more. Read your recipe all the way through!
- Ooni recommends using 00 flour. 00 flour is a very finely ground flour that's preferred for Neapolitan-style pizzas.
- Other cooks prefer a 50-50 mix of all-purpose or bread flour and 00 flour.
- A pliable, less-sticky dough slides off the peel more easily.
- Let the dough reach room temperature before stretching it.
- Using premade dough? Let it reach room temperature before you shape. That could take up to 90 minutes.
Really serious about your crust? Learn about hydration, the amount of water relative to flour, and baker’s percentages. Hydration affects how easy the dough is to handle. The higher the hydration, the stretchier—and stickier—the dough. One Ooni user gets good results with 62% hydration.
Here's a pizza dough recipe to try.
- An infrared laser thermometer is great for measuring the pizza stone temperature.
- A wooden peel is ideal for topping and launching the pizza.
- A metal peel is a necessity for turning and removing cooked pies.
- 2 peels are more efficient.
- If you want to splurge, get a small long-handled peel that lets you turn the pizza without removing it from the oven.
- A digital kitchen scale is invaluable if you work in baker’s percentages.
Pizzas cook quickly in Ooni ovens, so a good setup paves the way to pizza success. Here are some pizza prep tips:
- Smaller pizzas are easier to handle.
- A quarter pound of dough per pizza is a good rule of thumb.
- Flour all work surfaces—and your hands.
- Stretch the dough on a floured cutting board, top the dough when the oven is ready, slide the dough onto the peel and launch.
- You can also stretch the dough right on the peel, then quickly top and launch.
- Leaking sauce will glue the pizza to the stone when you cook it—make sure your dough doesn’t have any weak spots before adding sauce.
- Toppings: less is more! Too many toppings prevent the dough from cooking all the way through.
- Toppings should be room temperature.
- Shred your own cheese. Some pre-shredded cheeses have fillers that may cause the cheese to burn.
- Add toppings right before you cook the pizza. If they sit on the pizza too long, the dough will become wet and will stick to the peel.
Making lots of pizzas? Ooni fans say having several bases (aka stretched dough) on deck helps speed things up. Here are a few methods:
- List the pizzas you’re making, put the toppings into tubs, and line up tubs on a prep surface.
- Some cooks prepare a separate tub of toppings for each pizza to avoid leaving anything off.
- Get a few stainless steel or plastic plates and shape your dough on those. When you’re ready for the next pizza, move a base to the peel, quickly top and bake.
- Or, roll out dough beforehand, place on plates and cover with plastic wrap.
- Recruit a pizza production assembly line. Let someone shape the dough, another add toppings, while you can handle the cooking. Add a few beers and everyone is having a great time!
- Give the oven at least 15 minutes to fully heat up.
- If you have an infrared thermometer, wait until the center of the pizza stone is at least 750° before cooking. Ideal cooking temperatures are 788° - 852° F in the middle of the stone baking board.
- In between pizzas, give the stone a few minutes to heat back up to prime pizza-cooking temps.
- Make sure the peel is clean, dry, floured, and cool. Dough placed on a warm peel will stick.
- Dust your peel with all-purpose flour (instead of more-expensive specialty flour) and make sure there is no excess.
- Place a line of flour at the tip of the peel before sliding the pizza on.
- Use the hovercraft technique: lift one side of the dough and gently blow under it. That creates an air pocket and helps spread flour.
- Jiggle the raw pizza before putting it in the oven. If it sticks, put more flour underneath.
- Launch the pizza near the front of the oven and shake the pizza off.
- Never walk away from the oven when you’re cooking! A pizza can burn very quickly.
You’ll need to turn your pizza 3-4 times for an even bake. Unless you have a long-handled peel, you’ll need to take it out of the oven to turn. Here are some tips:
- Wait 25 seconds before your first turn. If you feel resistance, wait a few seconds.
- Before turning, preheat your (metal) peel by holding it near the roof for a few seconds then slowly work it under the pizza.
- Do not remove the pizza stone when it is hot—the sudden temperature change could cause it to crack.
- To clean the pizza stone, brush it and flip it over—any debris will burn off the next time you make pizza.
- Never get the pizza stone wet.
- Do not use heating pellets—they are not food safe and may contain additives.
- Use only food-safe hardwood pellets.
- An Ooni fan recommends 100% oak pellets.
- a 6 lb. bag of pellets should last for 2-3 hours of cooking
- A full hopper will last about 15 minutes. Top up hopper little and often. Never add a full hopper of pellets at once.
- Use the scoop to tap the side of the hopper whenever you top it up.
- Make sure the chimney is open! The vent adjuster is vertical (pointing up and down) when the vent is open.
- Play with the vent to get the temperature you want (you’ll need a laser thermometer to check the temp).
- If flames are coming out the back, the chimney may be closed. If the adjuster is at a 90° angle, the vent is closed.
- To remove the stone, the door needs to be completely off. Lift the stone by pushing it up through the hole underneath it.
- When the oven is as hot as you want, turn the flame down just prior to cooking. You’ll probably need to cook a few pizzas to get a feel for it.
- Keep the pizza close to the front while cooking (the side facing the rear will cook faster).
- In between pizzas, turn the flame back up to the maximum and let the stone reheat for a few minutes.
- If your pizza dough has dried out, turn the heat down before cooking it.
- If using wood, make sure it’s dry hardwood like ash or birch.
- Use roughly 6-inch pieces of wood for better airflow.
- Make sure chimney vent is open before lighting and while preheating.
- Closing the vent lowers the temperature and results in a smokier cook.
- Fuel grate should sit an angle for maximum airflow.
- Keep an eye on your pizza while it cooks – you may need to turn every 10-15 seconds.
- Planning to cook off and on all day? One user keeps the fire going in between with lump charcoal, adding wood right before cooking to raise the temperature.
The key to making your perfect pizza is to experiment and practice. I hope these tips help, and if you have any to add, please share!
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