10 Best Home Pizza Ovens | April 2017
- good budget option
- cord wraps up for easy storage
- doesn't have a timer
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
- bakes pizzas quickly
- browns the top of the food well
- middle doesn't get as hot as edges
|Rating||3.5 / 5.0|
- cleanup is a breeze
- comes with a cast-iron skillet
- top gets extremely hot
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
- great for quesadillas as well
- comes with baking pan and rack
- takes up lots of counter space
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
- easy-to-read icons on the display
- made of durable steel
- takes a while to fully preheat
|Rating||4.0 / 5.0|
- swiveling casters for portability
- electric push-button ignitor
- pizza stone is somewhat fragile
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
- easy to assemble
- fully adjustable heat
- comes with a cooking guide
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
- uses less energy than regular ovens
- won't heat up your whole house
- easy to wipe clean
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
- ideal for frozen items
- steady cooking temperature
- quick and easy cleanup
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
- heat shield ensures even baking
- preheats quickly
- hooks up easily to a propane tank
|Brand||Pizzacraft Pizzeria Pro|
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Types Of Pizza Ovens
Home pizza ovens come in a lot of different varieties, so there should be one to fit every type of kitchen and personal taste. There is no hard and fast rule regarding which type cooks the best pizza, though some are better suited to certain styles of pizza. For example, open rotating style ovens are not as suitable to cooking thick crust Neapolitan pizza, but excel at thin crust varieties.
Convection ovens are commonly used to cook pizzas in home and commercial settings. They offer a number of benefits, including a low cost, and quick, efficient cooking. Convection ovens are most often electrical, though some gas models are available. Convection provide even heating throughout the pizza, so the dough and the toppings cook at a similar pace. This even heating does have some drawbacks though as the cheese and toppings may be finished cooking before the dough, making it difficult to get very crispy crust without the addition of a pizza stone.
Revolving tray pizza ovens are a relatively new style of cooking pizza. They are designed to slowly spin a pizza between two heating elements, one above and one below. The rotating nature ensures every inch of the pizza receives the same amount of heat, reducing the chance of having dark spots on the dough. Rotating tray pizza ovens are often small enough to fit on most home countertops, but often cannot get hot enough for very crispy crusts.
Traditional countertop pizza ovens are designed specifically for home use. They will often have a stainless steel exterior, giving them somewhat of an industrial look that some people love, while others may not. Just like traditional commercial pizza ovens, they will have a front loading door that opens to insert a pizza. Many models also feature a pull out tray, making inserting and removing pizzas easier.
For those who prefer to use their grill or stovetop as the heat source, there are models available which are designed to sit on top of these units. These will usually feature a top, bottom, and sides, to reflect heat towards the pizza, with just a small opening in the front to insert a pizza.
Finally, there are clam-shell countertop varieties. These are often very compact, making them ideal for those with minimal storage space. Most will have either a non-stick baking pan or ceramic pizza stone on the inside. Some may include deep dish inserts for making thicker pizzas as well. Unfortunately, most clam-shell countertop models do not feature adjustable thermostats. They do tend to cook at very high temperatures though making them ideal at achieving extra crispy crusts.
Why Pizzas Need Such High Heat
When cooking pizza the pressure of expanding gasses inside the dough are vital to the volume achieved in the end product. To understand why this happens, one must first understand the internal structure of dough. After kneading the dough, it is left with layers of protein reinforced starch. The fermentation of sugars and starches within the dough leaves CO2 and alcohol as a byproduct.
When the dough is put into a hot oven, three types of heat transfer occur, convection, conductive, and radiant. As the heat is transferred into the dough, the remaining moisture, alcohol, and CO2 inside of it begin to expand rapidly. This creates the lift and puffiness found in cooked pizza dough. As this happens, the outer skin of the dough hardens and becomes crispy.
If the heat of the oven is not intense enough, the gases won't expand rapidly enough before the crust hardness. This will result in a pizza dough that is too dense and crumbly. Heat transfer and thermal mass also make a difference in how airy the pizza dough is. The temperature of the oven is relative to the cooking surface. Certain materials, such as clay, have a high heat transfer rate. The quicker the heat can transfer into the dough, the puffier the pizza dough will be. This is why one does not need to set the oven temperature as high when using a nice, thick ceramic pizza stone.
The History Of Pizza
Despite pizza being such a commonly eaten food, there is still much debate over its true origins. Many people mistakenly believe that pizza originated in Italy, and while the most familiar modern versions may have, pizza-like foods have been eaten since neolithic times.
The Ancient Greeks were known to have baked flatbreads flavored with toppings such as onion, garlic, and herbs. Archaeologists have also found records of flatbreads being baked 7,000 years ago in Sardinia. In the 6th century CE, the armies of Persian King Darius I ate flatbreads topped with cheese and dates. It is also believed Roman soldiers topped matzah with olive oil and cheese over 2,000 years ago.
It is most likely that tomatoes made their first appearance on pizza sometime after 1522, when tomatoes were first brought back to Europe from Peru. At first, tomatoes were believed to be poisonous. Once this was proven to be untrue, they eventually found a place on the tables of working class people in Naples, Italy. Tomatoes were combined with other low cost ingredients of the time, such as cheese, olive oil, lard, and herbs, which led to the creation of the modern pizza.