When Breville first despatched me the Smart Oven Pizzaiolo to evaluate, the corporate anxiously inquired if I deliberate to seek the advice of my skilled pizzaiolo good friend. I understood their hesitation. Wood-fired pizza looks like a easy dish, however it’s difficult to get proper.
If I hadn’t been making wood-fired pizzas for months, it’s simple to think about all of the other ways I might have messed issues up. I might neglect to let the dough heat up and rise, or not test to ensure the pizza isn’t sticking to the pizza peel—the broad paddle that holds the pie—earlier than sliding it into the oven. The dough might keep on with my palms if I did not wipe my fingertips with oil earlier than stretching it out. Oh, and an excessive amount of contemporary mozzarella typically makes the middle too soggy—so does an excessive amount of pasta sauce. (Try drained, blended canned tomatoes as a substitute.) It’s extra advanced than you’d suppose.
The upshot is that even for pizza novices, the Pizzaiolo is a remarkably simple, foolproof strategy to prove restaurant-quality pie. To use the oven, flip the knob to your chosen sort of pizza (frozen, NY, pan, wood-fired, and so forth.), slide the pizza in, and faucet the timer knob to start out the countdown.
No one wants an $800 pizza oven, however I’ve to say, I’ve fallen helplessly in love with this one. If you eat a whole lot of pizza, you’ll too.
Like all of Breville’s merchandise, the Pizzaiolo has been designed inside an inch of its life. First of all, the gleaming chrome steel field is remarkably compact, a mere 18.5 by 18.three by 10.7 inches that matches on a slender sliver of counter house in my cramped kitchen.
It’s as lovely to take a look at as it’s to the touch, and it comes with some pleasant proprietary equipment, like a oil-coated carbon-steel pan with a detachable deal with for pan pizzas (you will must season it after use) and a tiny, proprietary chrome steel pizza peel that is dishwasher-safe. The sliding slab of cordierite stone can be detachable for simple washing.
It pulls a residential 1,800-watt present to warmth as much as a mind-blowing 750 levels. Even with vents on the left and proper sides, the insulation is so good that I can retailer its proprietary pans on prime and pile books, receipts, and different detritus subsequent to it with out burning them. The heavy door insulates so nicely that I also can sit inside a foot of it on a kitchen chair with out getting roasted.
Inside, a 12-inch pizza sits on a small slab of cordierite stone that slides out and in of the door for simple entry. Three totally different heating components—one beneath the pizza stone and two concentric rings on prime—be sure that no a part of your pizza is both over- or under-baked.
An optimized inside warmth protect protects your fragile toppings whereas your crust crisps, and an ambient air sensor and below-deck sensor makes certain the temperature stays constant all through the cooking course of. I used an IR thermometer to test the temperature in numerous elements of the oven. Each time, the temperature was in step with what the label marketed—400 levels for frozen pizzas, 640 levels for skinny and crispy. It took about 15 minutes to preheat, which is across the identical time as for my convection oven however continues to be exceptional, contemplating that it’s heating a couple of hundred levels larger.
You might not really feel like an actual pizzaiolo for those who’re not anxiously peering by way of the door, continuously rotating and manipulating your pie to ensure the excessive warmth is touching every part accurately. But it does supply extra peace of thoughts, particularly if in case you have pals or small toddlers operating round your kitchen and demanding your consideration whilst you prepare dinner.
You also can change from computerized to handbook mode by urgent on the timer change and turning on the timer knob. It comes with a magnetic cowl which you could slap on prime of the preset knobs, if you would like to set the temperature and time your self to roast greens or simply exert somewhat extra management over your pizza.
If you wish to faux that you’ve the center and stamina to be in meals service, Breville’s machines are enjoyable to play with.
I made pizzas with a wide range of doughs, utilizing the recipe that Breville consists of with the oven in addition to premade balls of sourdough stolen, er, borrowed from an area skilled pizza chef and Jim Lahey’s pizza dough recipe. For frozen pizzas, our two favourite (nicely, my children’ favourite) pizzas are Newman’s Own pepperoni and Table 5’s cornmeal crust pepperoni pizzas.
The sourdough and the Breville recipe labored out one of the best; it is most likely not a coincidence that the 240-gram dough ball specified by Breville’s recipe makes an ideal 12-inch pizza that stretches edge to edge on the peel.
The Pizzaiolo has seven totally different presets, starting from 350 levels to 750 levels; a wood-fired pizza is round 700 levels. The larger the temperature, the much less time the pizza spends within the oven. According to the presets, a wood-fired pizza bakes for 2 minutes; a pan pizza, 18. I attempted baking pizza in accordance with every setting, which was tough for me since I’ve very agency pizza preferences.
On the entire, I used to be pleased with the presets. To my chagrin, I ended up utilizing the frozen setting so much, which allowed me to skip many an emergency Domino’s name. Whenever I make frozen pizza, I’m often in such a rush that I don’t let my typical oven preheat correctly. But the Pizzaiolo forestalls that by beeping conveniently when it’s preheated and when the pizza is completed. Both the Newman’s Own and the Table 5 got here out completely completed, with a crisp crust and completely melted cheese.
It’s additionally arduous for me to evaluate the accuracy of the pan-style and New York-style pizza settings. As far as I’m involved, it isn’t a tasty copy of a pan pizza except it is from Pizza Hut and dripping with oil, and the one New York-style pizza that I’m conscious of is the sort that is the scale of a newspaper broadsheet and sagging off a paper plate. The pan pizza was appropriately puffy and mushy, although it was somewhat drier than I’d like.
But I couldn’t consider how scrumptious the “thin & crispy” and “wood-fired” settings had been. Both produced pies that hit all my benchmarks: Small, evenly-spaced blackish leopard spots on the underside; a crisp crust; and cheese and toppings touched by the barest trace of a flame. Toppings of all types, from delicate sliced padron peppers to very large chunks of sausage, got here out moist and intact.
The Pursuit of Perfection
The excellent pizza crust is a holy grail. It makes some folks (like me) somewhat ragey to go to a restaurant and spend a lot cash on a easy preparation of flour, water, salt, and yeast, simply because I don’t have an oven that may rise up to 800 levels at residence.
I’ve seen a whole lot of loopy contraptions designed for this objective. Admittedly, the Pizzaiolo is much more costly than decking out your range with slate tiles, or any of the waffle-iron-esque doodads that you just might need beforehand used to get a pizza crust in your kitchen desk prior to now. It’s additionally not significantly versatile. While you may roast small veggies in it, none of my different pots or forged irons match within the small pizza slot. Breville additionally warns you to not use Teflon- or nonstick-coated pans in it, or to prepare dinner meat, because the Teflon coating or rendered fats may trigger a hearth.
My husband additionally objected to the Pizzaiolo, simply because it has a door and no open flames—no gasoline, no charcoal, no wood-fired pellets. It appears that meals is much less flavorful when there isn’t any smoke, and no hazard or thriller.
But in case your objective is to eat restaurant-quality crisp, crunchy pizza as typically and as conveniently as doable, and you’ve cash to burn (ha!), it’s arduous to discover a gadget that’s simpler to make use of or yields higher outcomes than the Pizzaiolo. I fell right into a weekly routine of taking the pizza dough out of the fridge earlier than I picked my children up from faculty, after which whipping up a fast broccoli or sausage pizza for dinner. It’s going to be arduous to pack up this dangerous boy.