113/18- Ooni Pro – First Cook:
I have been cooking on first my Ooni 2S and then my Ooni 3 for a while now and enjoyed some amazing pizza and meat off them both but something was nagging me inside about wanting to cook with wood. I saw a post on Facebook where someone was cooking with wood in an Ooni Pro and it looked fantastic so I mentioned that I quite fancied one. Fast forward a little while and Kevin from Ooni got in touch to say they would like to send me an Ooni Pro! What a great day that was, it hadn’t started off well as it was my first day back at work after 3 weeks off and that’s never going to be easy but that email cheered me up no end! Finally it was time for Ooni Pro – First Cook!
I will do a separate post about the Ooni Pro once I have cooked on it a fair bit, I have a lot to learn first!
This is the view from the back, fuel goes in here.
I used Oxford Charcoal Oak Lumpwood, half a lit chimney was poured in (gloves on). You can light it with a flamer underneath, I will try that next time to compare.
When the charcoal was well lit I added an oak log. This is far bigger than the instructions suggest but neither of my axes could break the logs down and I wasn’t really dressed for safe log chopping and wanted to keep my legs intact so I added a whole log.
There was some amount of heat coming out the back!
And the front! Taking this picture was quite hard work as the heat on my face was so hot!
The Pizza Bible Book:
Flour: Molino Grassi 00 flour
Yeast: Saf-Levure Dry yeast
Tomatoes: San Marzano Plum Tomatoes
6 litre food grade container with lid: I use this to bulk ferment the dough once it’s mixed
Food grade pizza dough trays (x3): I use these to cold proof the dough balls
No Jam Funnel, No Fan, No Wooden Peel – Pro time!
My last two cooks on the Ooni 3 were with a dough recipe from the Pizza Bible, I thought that would be a good dough recipe to use again to compare it to those two cooks. The method is listed in both previous cooks so I won’t repeat it here.
The dough wasn’t quite as good this time, it’s meant to rest for an hour after it’s been kneaded but I had to pop out and it sat for three hours. I also made double the amount this time so maybe I messed some measurements up or maybe it’s harder to get double the amount mixed to the same quality? From the last cook the 265g dough balls were really good so I made three of those and with the remaining dough I did one at 350g and one at 400g as I wanted to test larger pizzas in the Pro as it’s much bigger than the Ooni 3.
I made the New York – New Jersey Tomato Sauce from the same book. The San Marzano tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano, salt and oil blitzed with a hand blender then hand crushed tomatoes were also added.
I had made the Sweet Fennel Sausage mix from the Pizza Bible book as well: Fennel Seeds, Anise Seeds, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Pork Mince and Honey. I split it into little lumps in advance as I felt splitting it out and placing it on the base before cooking would delay things too long and increase the risk of the pizza sticking to the peel.
First Pizza: With the Pizza door on, charcoal base and a big log the stone was over 500c. Just a simple cheese pizza for the kids. It took a while to cook. The flames didn’t seem as fierce as they had been earlier. I managed to grab a slice and it was pretty good, nice crisp crust.
Second Pizza: I added a log when I took the first pizza out so by the time I made the second one and was ready to launch it the flames were lapping. Took less time to cook than the first one and the crust was really nice. The pizza had a good taste from the wood.
Third Pizza: This time I took the pizza door off and replaced it with the other door. A new log was added just before I started shaping the dough. The fire was a lot better this time and the flames were lapping over the roof of the Pro. The temperature gauge was off the scale!
I was starting to get the hang of cooking on the pro a bit better but you can see it’s a bit mishaped! I was using the Ooni Pro peel and didn’t have enough flour/semolina mix on the peel and it might have been a bit warm still when I put the dough on. The pizza itself tasted great though, definitely an improvement taste wise on the pizzas cooked the week before which is interesting as I felt that batch had been some of my best yet. Hard to explain but the pizza tasted crisper, lighter and had a definite wood taste to it.
Fourth Pizza: 400g dough ball, bigger pizza. Flames were a bit crazy and it got burnt on the edges but again, it tasted fantastic!
Fifth Pizza: 450g dough ball!!! This one stretched out really big, slightly bigger than the pro peel. It was round but I had sticking issues again so it stretched a bit. I measured it after I pulled it out and it was 17 inches one way and 10 inches the other! Really odd shape and hard to cook as it wouldn’t fit sideways but it tasted good again. Would have been better round so I could spin it and cook on all sides.
Quite a steep learning curve but it was great fun. I really enjoyed cooking with wood, the flames were hypnotic and the sound of the wood crackling was fantastic! There was an incredible amount of heat coming out the front and back. I ran the Pro on my stainless steel worktop and just at the back of the Pro the worktop surface felt dented at one point but it appears to have popped back into shape. I kept an eye on the roof of the shack and whilst a bit sooty it doesn’t appear to have been at risk of fire but I will keep an eye on it next cook.
The pizzas did taste better than in the Ooni 3 which was interesting. Hard to explain but a crisper, lighter dough which was easier to eat. Great taste from the wood too.
Doors: I cooked on gas at Ooni HQ with the pizza door and it was spot on. Watching the fire with the pizza door it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the fire with the closed door on. In future I shall use the closed door when cooking with wood. It is a shame as the pizza door makes it so much easier to launch the pizza, spin them and take them out but the air flow must be affected by the opening. The closed door did stick a few times but I managed to open it by whacking it. Apparantly you can adjust it so it doesn’t stick so I will have a look at that.
Fuel: Top quality charcoal is a good start and the logs were good but too big to maintain a consistent heat. The fire could be a bit too fierce at times. I also tested some kindling which did burn hot but also sparked a fair bit so I wouldn’t use that again. I also used wood chunks which seemed to work quite well, I will test those again next run.
Dough: With this Pizza Bible dough recipe 265g for an Ooni 3 sized pizza is spot on. I think 400g with the Pizza Bible dough would give you a 14/15 inch pizza but I will test that again. The dough wasn’t quite right this time, I will try it again a bit more carefully next time!
Peel: The Pro Peel is really good for spinning and taking the pizza out. I might need to try a bigger wooden peel for launching though, not had sticking issues for a while thanks to the wooden peel I used on the Ooni 3.
The dough recipe is from The Pizza Bible book:
The Ooni Pro Pizza Oven:
Available on Amazon for £499.