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.
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[Photograph: Adam Kuban] The Pizza Bella oven was manufactured and sold in the early 2000s in the U.S. by small-appliance-maker Deni. It's since been discontinued but is available used on eBay and elsewhere. It's a subject of interest among at-home pizza-makers because it purports to solve a problem inherent in cooking pizza in a home oven — namely that the bottom of the crust always cooks faster than the top of the pizza. With the Pizza Bella and other countertop electric ovens like it (see Rene Walhout's G3 Ferrari oven), a powerful heating element in the top of the...