When it comes to domestic pizza ovens, Gozney is second only to Ooni for the ubiquitousness of its products. In fact, its popular wood-fired Roccbox model – which you can read about in our guide to the best pizza ovens – is a popular choice among pop-up pizzaioli (the correct term for a person who makes pizzas, if you must know).
Nevertheless, Gozney’s eponymous British founder Tom Gozney isn’t someone to rest on his laurels, because he’s since developed an even bigger and better oven called the Dome that runs on both gas and wood kindling straight out of the box. Not only that, but the Dome is capable of baking pizzas up to 16 inches in diameter and possibly even an inch or two larger.
I was recently sent a Dome on short term loan and have been eating a lot of pizzas as a result. How did this £1,499 behemoth fare in my tests? Let’s find out.
By the way, if you're new to baking pizzas in outdoor ovens be sure to give T3's how to bake a pizza like a pro guide a read.
Gozney Dome review: Feel the weight
At 58kgs in weight and with external dimensions of 66cm x 63cm D x 73.2cm, the Dome is impossible to lift on your own so you will need someone strong to hand just to get it out of the box. Thankfully, Gozney also sent me its dedicated stand (an extra £289) which is strong enough to support a building. However the stand’s plinth is about the height of my and my helper’s shoulders (we’re both about 5’6”) so hoisting it onto the stand without dropping it was an almost hernia-inducing moment that I would rather forget.
Thankfully the Dome comes with four strong nylon straps on the bottom which makes it easier to manoeuvre. Gozney recommends removing these straps once the oven is in situ but I would advise leaving them in place in case you ever wanted to locate the oven elsewhere. Without them there is every chance your fingers will lose grip and that would be a bad thing.
Gozney Dome review: Design
In the court of domestic pizza ovens, the Gozney Dome is a triumph of design. It really does look the business once it’s on its stand and you can be sure that, if visible from the front door, it will be the first thing your guests will mention on arrival, even before any formal greetings. ‘Streuth almighty, what the hell is that on your patio?’, or words to that effect.
Clad in some kind of heat-enduring ceramic-type coating, the smooth texture of the Dome’s dome is extraordinarily tactile and exceedingly strokeable, though not when it’s been on for 30 minutes, obviously. Its 41cm x 13cm opening, meanwhile, makes it look like a robot with a sad face. In short, it’s an extremely stylish piece of patio kit and far and away the best looking domestic pizza oven this writer’s ever seen.
Gozney Dome review: Features
Heading through the grimacing portal, there’s a cordierite stone inside that’s large enough to accommodate a 16-inch pizza. This is a good thing because most of us non-pros aren’t very good at gauging pizza base size when performing the stretching process. Sometimes they’re close to the average 12-inches in diameter but just as often they end up 14 or 15 inches in width. Having an oven that can accommodate all pizza proportions – including possibly two small eight-inch bases at once – is a handy bonus.
The model I received can run on both gas and wood though you can purchase a wood only version for £300 less. Personally, I would advise spending the full monty and getting the dual-fuel option for two reasons: a) gas is much more convenient and faster at heating the stone, and b) if using wood, you can pre-heat the oven with gas before lighting it.
The model I received also came with a thermometer which snaps into its housing using the magic of magnetism. This thermometer only measures the overall heat of the oven and not the stone’s temperature so I would suggest investing in Gozney or Ooni’s laser thermometer for a more accurate stone reading (more on this below).
Although you can place the Dome on any strong fire-resistant surface, the optional stand makes it much easier to use because the oven door is at eye height. The stand also has large lockable skateboard-style caster wheels fitted so you can easily move the oven around the patio.
Gozney Dome review: Gas performance
I performed two separate sessions using the gas method and clearly made a mistake the first time by not letting the stone reach a high enough temperature. Normally it would take about 35 minutes for the stone to reach optimum temperature of 500˚C, but I relied on the Dome’s oven thermometer and put the pizzas in at 450˚C thinking the stone would be hot enough. It wasn’t. While the ingredients certainly cooked well enough, the base remained half cooked. Of course, I should have reached for my Ooni laser thermometer to check the temperature of the stone before bunging in the first pizza but, of course, I didn’t.
Having learned the hard way, the second batch on a different day was a much more successful session, with a perfectly cooked base and ingredients. However, I did have to turn the pizzas every ten seconds or so because, as is the case with all gas and wood ovens, the flame is hottest near the seat of the fire and before you know it, one side is scorched while the other side is still pale in colour.
While the Dome performed exceedingly well using the gas method, the superb Peddling Pizza dough that Gozney sent with the Dome clearly played a major part in its success. You can read more about Peddling Pizza and other outrageously good pre-made dough balls in our How to Make Pizza at Home guide.
Now here’s the thing. I started my first session with a full 5kg Patio gas bottle – the size I use to review barbecues. I was staggered to discover that just two baking sessions at full blast almost entirely depleted the bottle. It doesn’t surprise me, mind, because the flame coming out of the left hand side of the oven is like an oil rig flare stack. If using gas, I would highly recommend opting for a 13kg propane bottle or the oven might not make it through a long evening.
Gozney Dome review: Wood performance
I only tried the wood method once because, while authentic and manly, it’s a faff to set up mainly because you first need to light a tower of kindling and then feed the flames with regular doses of pre-cut kiln-dried wood. Then you have to shuffle the blazing wood to the righthand side of the oven and brush away the excess ash so there’s space for the pizza base. It took about 45 minutes for the oven to reach its prerequisite temperature of 500˚C. I also found that the resultant fire reduces the size of the base the stone can accept to between 12 and 13 inches. The final results were excellent though, to be honest, I couldn’t tell the difference in flavour between the wood method and the easier gas method.
Gozney Dome review: What else does it do?
The Dome doesn’t just cook pizza. For those wishing to push the boat out, it also sear grills fish and meat in an optional cast-iron skillet and Gozney’s even developed a steam system that is due for a later launch.
Gozney Dome review: Accessories
The Gozney Dome comes with a removable chimney stack, a digital thermometer with timer, two meat probes and an integrated gas burner and regulator. However, there’s a whole bunch of other accessories available, including the aforementioned stand, a weatherproof cover (£59) and a rope sealed door (£45) which is essential if using the oven in winter or windy weather.
Gozney Dome review: How does it compare to other pizza ovens?
I’ve tested quite a few domestic pizza ovens to date and, from personal experience, all pizza ovens of this nature – that is to say models that use gas or wood where the flame licks over the top of the pizza – involve a pretty steep learning curve. You need to make sure the stone is of adequate temperature and then turn the pizzas regularly or the crust on one side will burn, and in mere seconds if your eye’s off the ball.
Conversely, I have have had zero hiccups with the Sage Pizzaiolo electric pizza oven which bakes perfect pizza every time – and I’ve used it about 40 times to date. Call me a heathen for preferring the electric method but I swear I can’t tell the difference between the Sage’s results and all the other ‘authentic’ ovens on the market. And nor, it seems, can my T3 editor Duncan Bell, who extolls the virtues of the amazing Sage in his glowing ‘I tried the Sage Pizzaiolo pizza oven and it is one of the best things I've ever been sent’.
Gozney Dome review: Verdict
While £1,499 seems like a lot to spend on something you may not use an awful lot, I actually think the Gozney Dome is pretty good value for what it offers. Put another way, I’ve reviewed similarly-priced gas barbecues that are nowhere near as well built as this handsome hunk. Yes, you really do need to keep on top of things when using it but once you’ve mastered the art of baking with gas or wood, the Dome will very quickly become your new best al fresco friend.
Looking for something different? Check out our full guide to the Best Pizza Ovens you can by in 2022.