I imagine that if my rice cooker got it on with my Roomba, their offspring might look a bit like the new Breville Crispy Crust countertop pizza oven, a new plug-and-go appliance that promises "professional brick-oven results right in your own kitchen." Considering how poorly our testing of previous countertop pizza cookers has gone, we weren't holding out too much hope of the Breville contraption producing anything but middling results. Happily, I can report that the oven indeed doesperform as advertised, pumping out crisp-crust 10-inch pies in about 7 minutes, crisp bottom crust, decent charring and all.
'Pizza Ovens' on Serious Eats
Who knew that Omni Consumer Products had gotten into the pizza-oven game?
Good news: we finally got some good results out of the KettlePizza after-market insert that supposedly turns your kettle grill into a wood-burning pizza oven. Strike that, we actually got great results. In fact, I'd even say the pies I've been pulling off my grill for the past few weeks have been some of the best I've ever made at home. This time, we've tried out a few different inexpensive hacks to modify the existing insert into something that really produces a great pie. By the time we were through, we were pulling out neapolitan-style pies that cooked through in a mere two to three minutes, producing excellent charring, a moist, cloud-like interior, and a crackly, blistered crusts.
We tested the KettlePizza insert back in 2010 when it first came out and were not extremely impressed with the results. Since that early look, the inventor, Al Contarino has jumped into the conversation to let us know that he's come up with a new and improved model that should address many of the problems we had with the old one. We were all too happy to give the new model another shot. Here's how it went down.
"...that's become one of our qualifications for new friends: 'How much pizza can you eat and how often? Oh, you don't like pizza? Nice knowing you.'"
The Pizza Pilgrims are Thom and James Elliot, a couple of brothers from the UK who flew to the tip of Italy, picked up a Piaggio Ape (it's pronounced ah-peh, Italian for "bee"), and drove it back to London. On route, they stopped at various pizza destinations in Italy, from pizzerias to an olive farm, where they boosted their knowledge of the dish they would make back home.
The KettlePizza insert does indeed add some juice to Weber-grill pizza-cooking—once you get the coal temperature and stone temperature up to snuff. And doing that takes a boatload of fuel and a lot of attention.
Dome masonry ovens, regardless of size or which end of the cost spectrum they sit, are inefficient when used infrequently—as they are in most home settings—since they operate by virtue of retained rather than direct (or continuous) heat. Enter the barrel oven...
It's been a while since we've had a My Pizza Oven, so I'm happy to welcome Neil Gunning, a chef from Bellingen, New South Wales, Australia, who has built a wood-fired earth oven in his back yard.
This fire-breathing dragon pizza oven makes its lair at recently opened Source in San Francisco. According to Source owner Andrew Fox, who sent us this photo, he and his brother make their fresh mozzarella on premises and are from The Bronx, so they "know their pizza."
Pizza oven terminology can be a bit confusing. I recently mentioned that a couple new pizzerias had installed "mobile" wood-fired ovens. But mobile to wood-fired pizza geeks is something entirely different from what most folks might initially imagine. Let's break things down with some easy-to-relate-to visuals. For a quick tour through some of the oven types you'll read about on Slice, I've taken the liberty of comparing them to different styles of housing stock. For a truly useful guide to oven terminology, see Forno Bravo's glossary. For a goofy diversion, peep the slideshow here »
"It was installed when we built our house, circa 2006. It is made of French stone and has has a honeycomb shape (the inside portion that is). It is alleged by them (the manufacturers) that this particular stone retains heat better than most, so the baker does not need to feed the fire as often. It came as a kit, but the builder put it all together. The outside stone is from a portico on one of the buildings on our property which fell down. The stone mason built this around the honeycomb inside kit. It probably took a few days to build because the granite had to be cut and fitted around the oven."
While he is not well-known here on Slice, a relative newcomer to the wood-fired homemade pizza scene has been posting pictures of some mouthwateringly delicious-looking pizzas over at pizzamaking.com under the screen name dellavecchia. Dellavecchia has made rapid progression with his wood-fired oven and his curiosity, passion, and constant experimentation convinced me that he needed to be featured on My Pizza Oven. Let's put him in the hot seat! —PB John and his Primavera 70 Oven. [Photographs: Marcus Aaron Walker, courtesy of John Della Vecchia] Name: John Della Vecchia Location: Natick, Massachusetts (just outside of Boston) Oven: Forno Bravo Primavera...
When Tom Scarborough made his My Pie Monday debut yesterday and mentioned cooking in "my WFO for a couple minutes at 800°F," I knew we had our next victim for http://slice.seriouseats.com/tags/My+Pizza+Oven">My Pizza Oven. Let's put him in the hot seat!
[Photograph: Adam Kuban] "That's one hell of an oven these guys are working with. Wish I could cook in something like that," said dmcavanagh in a comment on my Best Pizza review today. What I didn't show you all, though, is the surplus oven real estate that extends into the Best Pizza backyard area. You can see it above. That's all oven, folks. Unused oven. See, that's an old coal-fired bakery oven. The back half of it, which extends about 15 feet into Best's backyard, is walled off from the portion that's actually used. (Best Pizza uses wood, too,...
I interviewed David Sheridan yesterday for the latest installment of My Pizza Oven, but what I didn't mention is that David had actually invited me out to see him in action and taste the pizza fruits of his oven labor. Scott Wiener of Scott's Pizza Tours joined in on the fun, as well, helping us sample six pies. Peep the slideshow here for outtakes from the MPO photo shoot.