As an enthusiastic owner of Solo Oven, I was excited to try the company’s Pi Pizza Oven. It sells for $ 625, but is often discounted (that is), Should stand as a portable, “entry-level” alternative to one of the custom yard pizza oven installations you see in Pi magazines.
Solo Oven refers to Pi as “a pizza oven for everyone.” I have to take a break here to add that I have a recurring connection with cooking. I love food, but I’m not very patient in the kitchen – or in the backyard kitchen. This is especially true if the recipe is complicated or I don’t feel I have the tools I need to try something new with confidence. So a “for everyone” pizza oven spoke directly to me.
There was a bit of a learning curve in terms of putting pizza in and out of the oven, but after reading the user guide to cover it, researching countless online pizza forums, and making many attempts, I ended up with a really delicious pizza. I recommend Pi Pizza Oven to anyone looking for a portable alternative to custom outdoor pizza ovens. You probably won’t be able to make a perfect cake the first time (of course I didn’t), but Solo Oven’s Pi makes it as painless as possible.
- Accessory with tones
- You can use propane (with the optional gas burner) or wood
- A sharp learning curve for inserting (and re-removing) pizza from the crust into the oven
- It is expensive for a “beginner” product
Basics of Pi Pizza Oven
Made of stainless steel, the Pi is by no means a brick kiln. Again, Solo says he can bake a cake with propane and wood just as quickly – in just 2 minutes. An additional $ 270 to use propane (currently)).
I bought a Pi Essential Bundle for firewood and gas ($ 1105; currently). This comprehensive set includes oven and gas stove accessories, as well as a pizza stone, an infrared thermometer, a paddle (called a crust) to insert and remove your cake from the oven, and a second crust to turn while cooking the pizza. Cover for cooking, pizza cutting and oven when not in use.
The user guide even gives suggestions for homemade dough and some complete recipes if you want extra help. In short, the Essential Bundle provides everything you need to prepare a pizza without ingredients.
The oven was also easy to install. It comes complete with components that you can add or remove depending on whether you use wood or propane. The default choice is wood, but I didn’t have anything for my first day of testing, so I started with propane through a gas-burning accessory. The gas stove is perfectly screwed to the back of the stove with a hose connected to the propane tank.
The wooden option includes a back door that opens for ventilation, an ashtray, a fuel grille for firewood, and several tools so you don’t want to touch the door directly when it’s hot. Solo Stove offers the use of wood dried in a 5- to 2-inch oven.
Then, add a pizza stone consisting of two pieces that fit perfectly into the oven and start preheating. Solo Stove says it takes about 15 minutes for the oven to reach the desired 650 to 800 degree Fahrenheit range. Prepare your pizza while heating. Pi can usually place a 12-inch pizza or several small pizzas, which are medium-sized pizzas in restaurants.
I will mention here that first I had to use a lighter to start the gas, the Solo Stove should not have been like that. (The stove has a lighter like an ordinary propane grill.) I don’t know what happened there, but no matter what I tried, I had to use a lighter in the end. Then I magically tried again and it worked fine. I’m willing to explain it by user error, but if you encounter similar problems, it’s worth considering.
You can use store-bought or homemade dough to make your pizza. Solo Stove even says that you can bake frozen pizza in the oven, but you must first allow it to thaw, because the frozen pizza placed on the pizza stone can cause it to crack.
Use an infrared thermometer to check your progress. According to Solo Stove, getting the right temperature range is a critical step in achieving that delicious frothy cheese and toasted crust. I found this part a bit unreliable, as the fact that the thermometer was only an inch or more away from the end resulted in significant temperature fluctuations, sometimes up to 50 degrees. To try to ensure the best possible results, I waited for each reading to reach the 650-800 degree range, even if there was some variation in temperature.
Once the pi is set up and preheated, it’s time for the best part: the pizza.
I made eight pizzas using this oven, tried different combinations of store-bought and homemade dough (as well as a few frozen pizzas), and switched between propane and wood. My first attempt was funny. I read the user manual several times before setting up the propane tank, preheating the oven, and preparing two pizzas, one for me and one for my husband. I followed the instructions to sprinkle flour on the surface to reduce the stickiness of the crust and dough, and started with just one of the pizzas to make things easier.
When the oven temperature reached, I grabbed the crust and small crust of the uncooked pizza and went out with confidence to ensure that the pizza was cooked more evenly after it was in the oven. Solo Soba says that pizzas cook for 2 minutes, so you have to work fast, which could be the beginning of my problems.
The pizza would not move. We tried a few things, but to no avail. Finally, we had to use a small crust to “roll” the pizza into a very temporary calzone shape to get it in the oven in general. We couldn’t get him out of the oven either. So again, we used both large and small shells to remove it. My husband ate “calzone”, but generally failed.
I tried more flour for my pizza, the bottom of the pizza and the stainless steel shell were more evenly covered. The same result. What started out as a favorite uncooked pizza turned into a piece of mixed dough, sauce, and cheese every time we tried to take it out of the oven or the oven. My food didn’t even pass the test, because any ingredient we could get in the oven was cooked so unevenly that it was impossible to save it.
Fortunately, he got better after each attempt. Three and four pizzas made using the same store-bought dough worked better than the first two. But instead of taking the dough out of the fridge, adding flour and crust to it and rubbing the ingredients, I worked the dough with a little more flour with my hands and changed it essentially, removing some of the stickiness. worked.
I quickly realized that if the pizza crust didn’t peel when you made it, it wouldn’t move when you tried to put it in the oven, no matter what technique you used.
Then I tried two medium-melted (remember not to put the frozen pizza directly on the pizza stone, or it could break) store-bought frozen pizza, a thin crust, and an ordinary crust. These worked very well and easily moved from the shell to the oven and back again. It was also easy to turn them into a smaller crust in the oven.
On my last test tour, I used this pizza crust recipe to try a few small homemade pizzas. This test scared me, but it turned out very well. The dough was easy to work with and gave a nice fried crust with a crusty exterior and a softer middle. This dough is also transferred from the crust to the inside and outside of the oven, which is easier than store-bought dough.
It is preferable to use wood or propane. Propane is simpler because you don’t have to be so prone to fire. However, the wood-burning stove was more satisfying both in terms of a better cooking experience as a bonfire and in terms of creating a better overall taste. The last pizza I cooked using homemade dough and wood (pictured above) was generally the best. This is partly due to the fact that over time, the stove becomes more familiar, but the home-made pizza and wood stove create an excellent combination.
The Pi Pizza Oven is easy to install and has many accessories to help you make an excellent pizza. Each pizza had a certain learning curve so that it didn’t stick to the crust and in some cases took it out of the oven. But it was easier. I’m sure pizza lovers have a variety of personal tips and tricks to smooth out this learning curve. (If you do, share it!) Until then, the Pi Pizza Oven is a well-designed and mostly easy-to-use product that makes good pizza in your yard.
If you are a pizza lover but don’t have the budget to install a full brick oven in your yard, Solo Oven’s pizza oven is a great alternative.