Price (RRP): $899
Everyone loves pizza, so why not have a genuine pizza oven? That is where Roccbox portable pizza oven comes in although you are going to have to eat a lot of pizza to justify it.
If you identify with the cartoon character Garfield’s love of pizza, then you may just need to run out and buy a Roccbox portable pizza oven. You can use it in the backyard, at a beach, hell anywhere you need pizza.
But before we review the oven, let me give you some sage advice. I was a qualified pizza chef. In the 70’s I was a training manager for a little-known start-up operation that built a chain of red-roofed, pizza restaurants – Pizza Hut. To say I have made thousands of pizzas and trained hundreds in the secret art is an understatement. I miss the old dine-in Huts.
Dough is the key
A true aficionado will make dough from plain flour ($3 per kg), water (650ml), yeast ($2.40 for 5 x 7g sachets – two per kg), salt (tablespoon) and olive oil (4 tablespoons). It is easy, foolproof, there are many online recipes, and you do not need a commercial mixer to do so.
Once mixed, leave the dough to rise. If you like thin and crispy use half the recommended rise time. If you like thick and doughy use the full rise time. Cut the dough into 200-300g chunks (10-12-inch).
1kg of plain flour makes three to four pizza bases, so this is under $1 each. Hand roll this out, being careful just to use enough flour to prevent sticking and not to over-roll or knead as it removes the air in the dough.
You can store unused bases in the freezer – just separate with cling wrap and place in a large Ziplock bag.
Store-bought pizzas and bases are dull and boring
A typical store-bought pizza costs from $5-10 and frankly they never have enough topping or cheese (you can never have enough cheese). They cook at about 220° in an oven for 10 minutes and if you like eating cardboard (the box may be tastier) then fine.
Store-bought bases are just as bad as they have had any semblance of rise beaten out of them and preservatives added. A typical two-pack costs around $4-6.
Less is more
When I first made a pizza, I piled it high with my favourite ingredients – mile high. Now there was a pizza that the base could not support.
I soon realised that pizza is a delicate balance of dough (thin for less, or thick for more ingredients), passata (tomato cooking sauce – a $2 bottle covers about ten bases), sparse toppings, mozzarella, parmesan and herbs and spices.
The more you load a pizza, you need a thicker base and longer cooking times. If you use a thin crust, you underload and cook very quickly.
And the correct temperature is?
I cook a thin base at about 350-400° Celsius for around 2 minutes and thick base at 250-300° for around six minutes. The best pizza comes from direct contact with a preheated stone base in an open pizza oven.
Why the temperature variance?
- If you use sugar in the dough (I don’t) it will brown/burn faster
- You should use thinly sliced toppings, and they may quickly burn at the edges
- The choice of cheese can make a huge difference in cooking temperature and time. Mozzarella is about 17g of fat per 100g (so it does not burn as fast) compared to ‘pizza mix’ at around 30g of fat and may be higher in sugar and salt, so it burns faster. Parmesan has 29g of fat, but you should use that sparingly
- If you use fresh leaves like basil, put them on at the end of the cook for just a few seconds
So, to our review – remembering I know pizza.
Roccbox portable pizza oven