Can you make Neapolitan pizza at home? Yes! I love my Ooni Pizza Oven to make delicious homemade pizza right in my backyard. Here's why they are worth the hype and my tips for success.
Backyard pizza nights will never be the same when you have an outdoor pizza oven. The second you fire it up you become a pizza expert and hero! Make authentic Neapolitan pizza dough, get your toppings, and cook some pizza!
Ooni Pizza Oven Review
I was gifted an Ooni Karu 16 pizza oven as part of a tip column I wrote for Magnolia magazine. These opinions, reviews and tips are my own.
There's just no comparison, pizza made in a multi-fuel pizza oven are just better than any others. They cook in about 90 seconds, the crust puffs perfectly, and the oven is as easy to use as an outdoor grill.
I live in a NYC apartment and you must have outdoor space to use a multi-fuel pizza oven. So, I set my Ooni Karu 16 up in my neighbors backyard (they were excited to share their space!) and set it up with a propane tank. I love that you can choose to wood-fire your pizza, or use charcoal or gas with the Karu 16.
The oven reaches a temperature of 950º in just a few minutes (I cook my pizzas around 750ºF to 800ºF), and has a hinged door for easy access and viewing, and holding in the heat.
I got an Ooni Perforated Pizza Peel and have several wood and bamboo pizza peels for prepping and serving. The Ooni Pizza Turning Peel is a must to turn your pizzas quickly as well. I also have a cover to protect my oven from the elements since it lives outside.
Is Buying an Ooni Pizza Oven Worth It?
If you want to start making great pizza at home, gather friends and family around food outdoors all year long, and enjoy cooking and creating delicious things then yes, it is worth buying an Ooni for your backyard.
Also an Ooni pizza oven makes a great gift. It's true! If you are looking for that one-of-a-kind, impressive gift for a loved one, this is that thing! Christmas, birthdays, Mother's Day or Father's Day gifts can be a challenge. And outdoor oven will be the fit of all gifts!
The Ooni pizza ovens really dominate the market because of their variety (small and portable to large), and have competitive pricing and excellent performance.
You and your family will be making the best pizza of your life in no time.
What is Neapolitan Pizza?
You'll hear about Neapolitan pizza, pizza Napoletana, or Naples-style pizza in reference to pizza with simple, fresh ingredients and a signature puffy, chewy crust. This style comes from the Campania region of Italy, and to serve Neapolitan pizza commercially there is a certification you have to go through!
Thankfully we just want to make awesome pizza at home, so here is how this style stands out.
One of the defining characteristics of Neapolitan pizza is the crust. It's a dough made from a highly refined flour called tipo 00 wheat flour. It's a super soft, finely ground Italian flour that creates an airy crust that cooks through in a high heat oven in 60 to 90 seconds. Find my authentic Neapolitan pizza dough recipe here.
Naples-style pizza is also topped with tomato sauce, cheese and other toppings but has a thin crust, so it's not as suitable for by-the-slice serving. Thus, these pizzas are usually made to be a bit smaller like 10, 12, and occasionally 14-inches in diameter.
The final product is soft, and elastic enough to fold in two. It's got a raised, golden and sometimes charred-in-parts crust, with minimal but flavorful toppings. Every bite is incredible.
Tips to make perfect Neapolitan pizza
Once you have your Ooni pizza oven you'll want to know how to create perfect Neapolitan-style pizza with ease.
Use the right flour
While there are recipes for Neapolitan pizza dough using all-purpose flour, I have tried it and highly suggest you get a high protein, type 0 or 00 soft wheat flour. In my experience all-purpose flour creates a heavier, doughy crust.
Follow my recipe for a fermented, make-ahead Neapolitan dough.
You'll want a high-end outdoor pizza oven like Ooni for the most authentic-tasting pizza. These ovens heat to temperatures in the 700ºF to 900ºF range–much hotter than a home oven could ever get.
There are options for indoor cooking like a baking steel for a home oven, but you will struggle to get the perfect cook.
Tomato vs. Tomato sauce
You will find all different camps regarding sauce vs. whole tomatoes for your homemade pizza. Most authentic is the San Marzano peeled tomatoes, simply crushed with your hands and an addition of salt. You'll get a nice chunky spread of flavorful tomatoes on your pizza.
Some say NEVER use tomato sauce. But I differ! I can find lovely Italian tomato sauces here in New York stores and find a little goes a long way, to perfection!
Sometimes controversial: the best tip I can give you is "less is more!" The tender, soft crust of Neapolitan pizza doesn't hold up to loads of sauce, cheese and meat. A little of everything is the best way to dress your authentic pizza.
Those choosing to not veer from tradition use only Mozzarella di Bufala. I find small bits of any kind of cheese works well! Fresh mozzarella, shredded, brie and ricotta can make your pizza delicious.
Choose thin sliced meats and pepperoni, cooked and crumbled sausage, and thinly sliced vegetables for other toppings.
Finish your pizza with fresh basil, herbs, arugula, and olive oil or hot honey after it comes out of the oven.
Cook other things in the Ooni
You can cook other things in an Ooni pizza oven with success! Always use appropriate cookware, not your standard pans. The heat is extremely high so cast iron cookware is best.
Everything from steak and pork chops, to wood-fired vegetables and even fruit crisp can be cooked in your high heat outdoor oven. Check out more recipes on the Ooni website.
Should I get an Ooni Pizza Oven?
If this is a question you've asked yourself, the answer is yes! That's my opinion!
Or you can hint to your best gift-giving loved one to get one for you! You'll reward them with pizza after all.
Having an outdoor pizza oven truly makes it fun to make dinner and to entertain. I love that I can prep all my dough and toppings in the days before a party and entertain with ease.
Cooking pizza with your friends and family is an interactive, enjoyable event that you don't have to stress about as the host. Create a place for shaping the dough, a spot for pizza toppings, and a landing spot for cooked pizzas to be served and your party is complete.
You can learn the ins and outs of your oven from Ooni YouTube videos and their online resources and become an expert in no time.
Do you have an Ooni? Let me know in the comments why you love it!