Thought I would share my top 10 tips for using the OONI Koda, I was struggling to get an even bake and not burn the back of the pizza before the first turn. I spent an evening making lots of pizza to practice these are my findings;
1. Heat up the oven and lean something (metal) over the opening
I’m not saying this is recommended, or safe, I’m just saying it can help to get the temperature up higher, with the front open it takes a while to reach 450 °C (842°F) and if its windy it can take even longer, I used an old aluminium peel and lent it up covering the opening, reflecting heat back in (Caution it gets hot!) This gave me a reading of over 500°C (932°F) in the centre so but the time I had removed the peel and launched it was around 475°C. (887°F)
2. Leave the temperature at full blast
I was turning the temperature down after launch to try and stop the burning, the result was that the pizza was taking longer to cook at a lower temperature so ended up burning anyway.
3.Set a stopwatch running and turn it every 15-20 seconds
learning how long I could leave your pizza before the first turn (before it burned!) helped me replicate it time after time, as you cant see the back you cant tell its burned until its too late. Launch, wait 15-20 seconds, and then keep turning every 15-20 seconds until it is done (between 60-80 seconds in my experience)
4. Don’t over flour the peel
I was using semolina flour, but this was causing small fires behind the pizza as the excess flour burned off, use regular flour but keep it to a minimum. I find it best to flour the dough ball before you stretch and shake of the excess.
5. Use a wooden Peel for launch
This tip came from Richer Taylor posting on Ooni Enthusiasts UK The flat aluminium peel that you can buy from Ooni seems to stick, I have made a Peel from Birch plywood, sanded and lightly oiled with Osmo top oil , once used the surface texture holds some of the flour so you can use less. A sloped front edge also helps the pizza slide off during launch. I have also used a perforated Roccbox peel and the wooden peel is my favorite tool for launch.
6. Make the pizza on the peel – Quickly…
Ok, so the Pros make the pizza on the board and slide it onto the peel after – if you can do it then great, but most people fill find it hard to get it onto the peel without messing it up (me included). Get all of your ingredients lined up and top the pizza super quick once it is on the peel then launch it before it settles in and sticks.
7. Use a round turning peel
This helps you turn the pizza, it can be used to deliver the pizza to the table too, just remember to leave it next to the oven so you don’t have to run and find it mid bake…
8.Use hot (warm) sauce
I’m not talking Tabasco or Sriracha (however nice those are) I’m talking your base sauce, whether its homemade or from a jar have it warmed in a saucepan with a spoon or ladle ready then you can top it in no time and will help the pizza to cook in the middle.
9. Dry your Cheese
If you are using balls of mozzarella which are in a little watery bag, then drain it, slice it and let it dry on some kitchen roll before you use it or it will make your pizza watery on top.
10. Practice without the pressure of hungry guests
Make up enough dough ball for as many pizzas as you can, keep it simple tomato sauce, Mozzarella, Basil and olive oil and just make loads of pizzas, fine tuning as you go. Practicing with hungry guests around just ramps up the pressure. All those pizza can be frozen for an emergency meal (reheated they are still better than a supermarket frozen pizza, if not as good as a fresh one)
Using these tips the pizzas where cooking in just over 1 minute and managing to reduce the burned crust.