Ooni can be accredited with having brought home pizza making to the masses with a great range of small and large outdoor pizza ovens that use wood, gas or charcoal for fuel, and you can read about them in our guide to the Best Pizza Ovens (opens in new tab).
Well, the UK-based company has just announced the launch of the Ooni Volt 12, its first electrically-powered indoor pizza oven that won’t smoke out the house, set fire to it or kill the occupants with carbon monoxide poisoning.
Let’s take a look at some of the stats as it hits the UK market.
What, pizza in an electric oven?
Any pizza purist will tell you that the aroma of wood is essential to pizza, much like a BBQ pitmaster will insist that only the very best lump wood charcoal will do. Both parties would rather stick their faces in the blades of a combine harvester than ever be seen using a pizza oven or a barbecue that uses electricity.
Call me a Philistine but the honest truth is that I’ve never been to a wood-fired pizza restaurant and come to the conclusion that the main reason the restaurant’s pizza tasted so incredible was that they were using a wood-fired oven. I agree, there may well be a faint difference in flavours between wood, electricity or gas but for me, it’s all about the dough. I’m talking about the crispiness and lightness of its leopard-spotted crust and the faint but undeniably delicious saltiness and overall scrumptious flavour that dough when introduced to high temperatures is so good at delivering. Honestly, you could cut out the pizza’s entire centre and just give me a circular crust and I’d be as happy as a kid in the proverbial candy store.
In fact, I’m so hung up on good pizza dough I went searching online for the best dough balls I could find, having tried making them myself with very poor and messy results. Well, I found quite a few amazing pre-made dough balls you can buy online and you can read about them in my feature on How to Make a Pizza (opens in new tab).
But I digress, because what I’m trying to say is that, for me at least, what source of heat the pizza was made with isn’t as important as the quality of the dough and how well it was proved, stretched and dressed. If the oven gets to 450˚C and above and the person making the pizza knows what they’re doing, I’ll be happy whatever the heating method.
I only discovered electrically powered pizza ovens when Sage sent me its Smart Oven Pizzaiolo (opens in new tab) to review. I was sceptical at first but, the truth is, it blew me away. And it didn’t just blow me away because my editor at T3, called in a Sage Pizzaiolo a year later for a different feature and he said, and I quote, ‘I tried the Sage Pizzaiolo pizza oven and it is one of the best things I've ever been sent – and I get sent a LOT’ (opens in new tab).
Let’s hope the new Ooni Volt 12 can produce pizzas as good as those out of the Sage. Needless to say we’ll be getting hold of one to let you know.
The Ooni Volt 12 in detail
The Ooni Volt 12 gets its name from the unit of electricity we’re all familiar with and the size of pizza (ie a standard 12 inches) the oven can accommodate. Having not seen the Volt 12 in the flesh as it were, I can report that it keeps to Ooni’s trademark angular design and looks most like its Karu 16 model, only without the chimney. At 61.7 x 52.9 x 27.9cm, it doesn’t look too large for most kitchen worktops and, at 18kgs in weight, it should be easy enough to carry outdoors.
The Volt 12 uses a similar heating system as the Sage Pizzaioli – an electric oven ring under the stone and another one above it. It’s a simple tried-and-tested method that works supremely well because the heat is evenly distributed across the stone and the entire top surface of the pizza meaning less turning is required and both sides of the pizza receive the same level of heat so you get bubbling-hot ingredients and a dark crispy base.
Unlike the Sage Pizzaioli, the Volt 12 doesn’t have the same level of bells and whistles like individual settings for New York or 450˚C ’wood fired’. Instead, it’s manually operated using just two simple dials – one for temperature and the other to time the pizza. Hence, if you crank the temperature control all the way up, it bakes the pizza at 450˚C, taking around 90 seconds to complete the process. Since the Volt 12’s lowest temperature is a more modest 150˚C, chances are you could cook a number of other things in there too, but we’ll know more about that once we get our hands on a review sample.
Furthermore, according to the press notes, the Volt 12 has a ‘balance function’ that ‘allows users to control the power given to the top or lower elements’ and a ‘boost function that supercharges the stone reheat time so the last pizza is as good as the first’.
Like the Sage, the Ooni Volt 12 apparently takes just 20 minutes or so to reach optimum operating temperature and that’s several minutes faster than gas and a good 30 minutes or so faster than wood. While the Volt 12 doesn’t appear to have an articulating stone plinth that pops out a few inches when you open the door, as on the Sage, the door does come with a good swathe of triple-glazed borosilicate glass to keep the heat in and let you see inside. And with its IPX4 rating, this oven should be safe against a few seconds of light rain while you panic to get it back indoors again.
As I've already said, once we get our hands on a sample we’ll be able to tell you a lot more about this pizza oven, but until then you can go ahead and buy the new Ooni Volt 12 direct from Ooni (opens in new tab) for £799.
Incidentally, Ooni has also launched a new outdoor 12-inch version of its popular Karu 16. Like its larger sibling, the new Karu 12G runs on wood, charcoal or gas, reaches temperatures of 500˚C and bakes a 12-inch pizza in just 60 seconds. The Karu 12G retails at £379 and is available direct from Ooni (opens in new tab).
- Now check out our guide to the Best Pizza Ovens (opens in new tab)