Let’s Do This: Making Your First Pizza
Picture this: You’re the lucky recipient of a new Ooni oven. The oven fits seamlessly into the design of your outdoor kitchen, so you take it out there and unbox it. Already, you can practically taste the hot, fresh pizza.
Now, how to get there? Here’s a quick guide to get you prepped, baking and cheese-pulling as quickly as possible.
Every Ooni oven comes with an owner’s manual, and most of the process should take just a couple of minutes. We pride ourselves on how easy it is to set up our ovens, but if you are struggling or have a question, just contact our incredible support team.
Seasoning the baking stone is a step you don’t want to miss; to do it, just run the oven at top temperature for 30 minutes. (This gets rid of any oil and remnants left over from the manufacturing process.) Once cool, wipe down the inside with dry paper towels and your oven will be officially ready to go. If you do this the day before your first cook, you’ll save about an hour in cooling time, but you can also do it the day of. You do you.
Before firing up, always make sure your oven is placed on a sturdy, heat-resistant surface in a well-ventilated area.
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Getting ready to cook
Depending on which oven you have and the kind of pizza you want to make, you’ll need to decide on the type of fuel to use. The short answer is Fyra (pellets), Pro (gas, wood, or charcoal), Koda (gas), Karu (gas, wood, or charcoal), or Volt (electricity). Review your Getting Started guide or consult the Essentials Guide that came with your oven for detailed instructions if needed.
No matter the fuel, you’ll want it to be quality. In the same way that fresh ingredients make for better food, quality fuel burns better and produces more delicious pizzas. We source high-quality pellets and logs that are designed to work with our ovens at their very best.
Preheat your stone.
When it comes to pizza, the stone is the surface that has the most immediate impact on the finished pie. A super hot stone is what actually cooks the base and initially helps the dough rise, so preheating is essential for that crispy crust we all know and love. Depending on whether you're using solid fuel or gas, preheating can take up to 30 minutes. You’ll know when it’s ready when the baking stone reaches 400°C, which you can check with an Ooni Infrared Thermometer. While that’s happening, it’s time to get your hands on some dough.
Gather your dough.
Whether we’re making our own dough or using premade dough balls, we always make sure ours contains high-quality “00” flour. This finely ground Italian style makes for pizza dough that’s easy to work with, stretches beautifully and has great texture and flavour.
Of course, if you are making your own dough, you need a great recipe to match. The Ooni Classic Pizza Dough recipe is simple, reliable and delicious, but you can also use another recipe or a great quality mix. Important to note: Most doughs should be made the day before you plan to make pizza so they have time to rise, though some recipes may take even a bit longer to proof.
Your first pizza probably isn’t going to be perfect. In fact, most aren’t. At Ooni, we embrace imperfection and experimentation. Even a team of Ooni experts sometimes produces a flop: a little too much char, a misshapen pizza, a hole in the base. These are all normal parts of the learning curve. There’s a simple way around it, though: Make more dough than you think you’ll need.
And if you still have issues you can’t solve with a little trial and error, give our customer service team a shout and they’ll talk you through your next bake.
Stretch it out
While your oven is preheating, it’s time to start stretching your pizza. Pizza dough is easiest to stretch at room temperature, so if you’ve cold-proofed your dough, be sure to give it at least 4 hours out of the fridge before you start working with it. If your dough is too cold, it will be hard to work with. On the other hand, if your dough is too warm, it will stretch too far and tear easily, and will also stick to your peel.
Before you begin working with your dough, sprinkle flour on your hands and work surface. Then, starting from the centre of the dough ball, use your fingertips to press gently out toward the edges, leaving a bit of space for the crust at the end. Evenness is key, so once you’ve pressed your dough out a few times, lift the top of it onto the backs of your knuckles and, letting the bottom drag along the work surface, gently “steer” your dough in a giant circle, stretching gently as you do. If a hole appears, just pinch it back together to keep it from sticking to the peel later.
Once your pizza base has reached the desired size, add a generous sprinkling of semolina to your pizza peel to keep the dough from sticking. Place your base on the peel and give it a shake. If it sticks, add a bit more flour so it’ll easily slip off when you’re ready to launch. Don’t forget this last step, since you won’t be able to do it once you’ve added your sauce and toppings.
Tips for topping
Heed our advice: Less is more. Overloading the dough makes it much harder to launch and retrieve your pizza, so you don’t want a pie that’s loaded down with everything but the kitchen sink. Go light on the toppings (at least until you get the hang of things), and you’ll still end up with a delicious end result.
Take care when spreading your sauce over the dough. If any drops onto the peel, it may be more difficult to launch the pizza into the oven.
Preparing to launch
The moment you’ve been waiting for is here: It’s time to launch your pizza into the oven! This trick, called the “hovercraft technique” will make your launch a little easier: Lift one edge of the pizza base and blow a gentle stream of air beneath the dough. This creates pockets of air that help distribute excess flour to any spots where the dough might be sticking.
As you approach the oven, remember that confidence is key. You want to move quickly and decisively when launching your pizza, since the longer the dough sits on the peel, the more likely it is to stick. Just step calmly up to the oven and, in one quick movement, slide your peel at an angle toward the back of your oven. Immediately begin shimmying your peel away from the pizza, depositing a little more of the base onto the stone with each shimmy until you can pull the peel clear.
Want to see it in action? Check out this video for more tips.
Now you’re cooking.
First, repeat after us: Hotter is not always better. Yes, most Ooni ovens can get up to 500°C, but that’s not always the temperature you want to cook at. We find 400-450°C to be ideal for cooking Neapolitan-style pizza. Our infrared thermometer helps you check the temperature inside your oven to find that sweet spot for your pie.
Cooking in an Ooni is quick and easy, and once launched, your pizza will cook in just 60-90 seconds. Use a turning peel to rotate your pizza every 20-30 seconds as it cooks for an overall even bake. Once everything looks crisped and colored to your liking, use your peel to remove it from the oven carefully, because it’s going to be hot, hot, hot.
Congratulations, you just made your first pizza with Ooni! We hope you now have the confidence to experiment with different flavour combinations, try new recipes and make ever better pizzas for your friends and family. Now, take a big, cheesy bite to celebrate.