We love pizza, and we already can make good pizza on the barbecue. And although home-made pizza is better than a purchased one, it never becomes perfect on the barbecue. We would love to make some really great pizzas at home.
So you need a real pizza oven for that and preferably one that can easily handle 350°C (650F) or higher. Then you immediately think of a large stone and wood-fired oven, but unfortunately, we do not have space in our garden for such a large device.
We also have a practical problem with those large pizza ovens. It takes at least an hour and a half, or longer, to get the oven up to temperature so that you can bake 4 pizzas, and after that, it takes a long time before the whole thing has cooled down again.
During that cooling period, you could, of course, bake bread, but sometimes we just want just pizza. And preferably every week. Such a huge wood-fired pizza oven is very cool to have but not efficient, let alone sustainable.
On social media, we regularly saw Ooni’s table model pizza ovens passing by where incredible pizzas came out. But it wasn’t until we saw the Ooni Koda pass by that we became really curious.
We liked the shape and size very much, and Ooni promised that the Koda would be up to temperature in 15 minutes. Then you could also put fresh pizza on the table during the week after work. Without messing with wood and without smoking out your neighbors. We needed to know more about that.
What is the Ooni Koda
The Ooni Koda is a gas-fired portable pizza oven. The smooth and round shapes and the use of black carbon and brushed aluminum give the Koda a very modern look.
The Koda comes beautifully packaged in a very sturdy double-walled cardboard box. You know that it had to be very difficult if the contents were being damaged during transport. When you open the box, you see first see several booklets. 1 with the warranty, another with the user manual, and a third with some useful tips, tricks, and recipes.
A 10 millimeter thick cordorite stone serves as a pizza stone. There is also an extendable match holder. If the electric ignition ever stops, it can always be ignited with a match.
The Koda is folded 40 x 29.5 x 63 cm ( 15.7 x 11.6 x 24.8 inch) and weighs less than 10 kilos (22 lbs). So in our opinion, really portable. You can buy a handy carrying bag which fits the whole oven neatly. You do not even have to disassemble the gas hose because you can also dispose of it in the bag. So the Koda can join the next barbecue party with friends.
In the back of the Koda, you have a whole row of burners for an excellent wide heat source. The burners have special protection that shuts off the gas supply if the flame goes out.
How does the Ooni Koda work
We love it when a product is designed to be ready to use right away. It is a matter of opening the legs, placing the pizza stone, and connecting the gas hose to your bottle. With the push and turn of the knob, you light the flame, and then you have to wait until the stone is hot enough. The gas hose and gas pressure regulator are not included as standard. Keep that in mind when you buy the Koda.
The first time you may have to let the burner burn a little longer to burn the inside clean, but after that, the Koda is ready for your first pizza. In the beginning, the gas flame makes some noise. It sounds like a jet afterburner but much quieter, of course. After a few minutes and a new start-up, you will hear practically nothing.
What do we think of the Koda
The Ooni Koda is almost as fast as promised. It took us a little longer than the promised 15 minutes before the stone was really at the right temperature. This will often be the case in cold weather. If you let the stone heat up for another 5 minutes longer, then you are in the right place. In those 20 minutes, you can prepare everything for the first pizza.
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The Koda is only a small pizza oven, so the temperature in the dome is influenced by the outside temperature. We are now testing the Koda during the autumn months, and we can imagine that you have to open up the gas tap further in winter to get the right temperature. In the summer you possibly need less gas.
Now that we know that it works, it is time for the first pizzas. We made the dough a day earlier, and it was left in the fridge overnight. 2 hours before the Koda was turned on, we turned it into balls. They have now become twice as large and relaxed enough to make the pizza base.
We go for Neapolitan pizzas with the structure of bread and a soft center. Thinly topped with good tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil as a base. This pizza oven must be ideal for this.
Because the Koda gets so piping hot and the heat source only heats the pizza at the back, it is essential that you turn the pizza a quarter turn every 20 seconds. When you have the pizza oven at the right temperature, and you forget this, you will burn the dough, and you will get black edges.
Because the Koda is fully open from the front, you can see very well how far your pizza is. That also saves precious seconds when you have to turn the pizza. With a little skill, you put the pizza scoop under the pizza, take it out and turn it a quarter turn on the scoop.
It remains a matter of feeling and baking a lot of pizzas to get to know the Koda. That is certainly no problem. Neither is it for the children. Luckily we already had some experience with making pizzas, so it went pretty well. In any case, we felt confident enough to invite guests to taste the next row of pizzas.
That was a success. Everyone loved the pizzas. The only criticism we received was that the Koda is, of course, not a wood-fired pizza oven. We wonder if you would notice the difference. In the 1 to 2 minutes it takes to bake a pizza, little to no smoke flavor will be absorbed by the pizza.
Most of the flavor comes from the high heat released on the dough and toppings. The so-called Maillard reaction that causes this taste comes from heat and not from that little smoke from burning wood. Actually, the neighbors and we are happy that the Ooni Koda does not smoke.
Do we have anything negative to say about the Koda after making dozens of pizzas? Sure, if only a few.
Due to the compact size of the Koda, you are bound to a maximum size of pizza. This pizza with a diameter of 30 cm (12 inches) is a great size pizza. But if you accidentally make a larger one, it will scour the burners verybriefly so that it is actually guaranteed that you will get a burnt edge.
Setting the perfect temperature is not always easy, either. There is no thermometer for the internal temperature, and we would like to see a small white line on the dial. Now it is occasionally difficult to see what position the button is on.
For the rest, we are really only very positive about the Ooni Koda. The Koda is quickly ready to start, so you can also surprise the family with pizzas during the week. It’s really portable, so it’s easy to take the oven to parties, camping or beach.
It is also effortless to keep clean. You can burn off the dirt that remains on the stone by turning the stone over. Next time, turn the stone again and brush it clean.
What you might miss from a wood-fired pizza oven is amply restored by the ease and speed with which you can put delicious pizzas on the table.
Because we also got a lovely cast iron pan, we grilled a tasty ribeye that was just too thin for the barbecue. Add some roasted bell pepper and onion and some cheese, and you have a delicious Philly Cheese Steak. This is really fun to do, but the Koda is really made for pizzas, and it does it really well.
Why do we think the Koda is a very good pizza oven? We are lazy by nature and consider the ease and speed with which you start up the Koda the main reason why this is such a proper pizza oven.
Besides, it makes really great pizzas through the design and placement of the gas burners. And because the Koda always gives off its heat at the same level, it is straightforward to serve the same quality pizzas all evening.
In our opinion, the Ooni Koda is a cheap solution to make really great pizzas at home. For € 299 you have the Koda and the gas hose and regulator. We also recommend that you purchase a good pizza shovel. And then you are done.