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The Ooni Volt 12 is designed to be used indoors and out, but how does its performance compare to wood- and gas-fired pizza ovens? Read our full review.
Indoor pizza ovens are not a new invention, but the Volt 12 from Ooni is a first for the brand. Designed to mitigate the seasonal limitations of outdoor-only pizza ovens, this oven can be used all year round. If you have access to a mains plug in your garden, it can also be used outdoors.
There’s also no need to buy fuel for this oven: simply plug it in and go, with no risk of running out of gas or wood in the middle of your pizza party. With a few dials to familiarise yourself with, this model requires a couple of attempts to achieve perfect pizza. It’s a costly investment, and in truth, we found ourselves questioning the extent to which the Volt 12 can really be used inside.
We’ve come to expect sleek products that are built to last from Ooni, and the Volt 12 is no exception. It’s very well built and has well-engineered, responsive controls, and looks great, too.
We were delighted to see that the Volt 12 features minimal plastic packaging – it arrived housed in a cardboard box. The only element of set up needed was to put the ceramic pizza stone in place and plug it in.
The only elements that are a little less clear are the dials. Frustratingly, the manual is made up of pictures in the first half and text in the second, so you find yourself having to flip back and forth between the two, which feels less than efficient.
This is a large pizza oven that requires a decent amount of space. It won’t sit on a standard-depth countertop, but instead would be better suited to something like a kitchen island, because it offers good clearance around the perimeter of the oven.
No building is required for this model – just put the stone into the oven cavity.
No tools are included with the Ooni Volt 12. A wealth of accessories are available on the Ooni website.
No lighting or igniting is needed for this model – simply turn the dials to the desired temperature and heat balance, and wait for the pizza oven to 'ding' to signal it's ready.
Unlike traditional wood-fired and gas-powered pizza ovens, it’s difficult to gauge the level and ferocity of the heat in this oven. Plus, there are a number of settings that need to be balanced to ensure delicious pizza every time. The pizza oven can be set between 150-450C. The temperature increases in 50C increments.
For our first pizza, we turned the temperature right up to 450C (the top temperature) and left the balance dial in the default position. The balance dial allows you to choose what level of heat you’d like balanced between the top and bottom of the pizza oven. In other words, you can choose to give the top of your pizza more char and browning or the base of your pizza a crisper crust. The dials are intuitive, and it’s easy to see what stage of the preheating process the oven is at. A loud 'ding' sounds when the pizza oven has reached temperature.
We launched our first pizza and saw the crust instantly rise. It was clear to see the base was browning quickly, while the toppings cooked slowly. We gave the pizza a turn, but pulled it out when the browning began to creep up the crust. When we opened the oven, a significant plume of smoke shot out – we were glad to be outside, because this would have definitely set off a smoke alarm.
Unfortunately, the pizza was completely burned on the underside and not as brown as we’d have liked on top.
We tried again, keeping the oven temperature the same, but adjusting the balance dial so the oven produced more heat on top of the pizza and less on the bottom. This resulted in a brilliantly cooked pizza: perfectly crisp on the base with well-browned toppings and a nicely puffed crust.
Heating up and cooking one pizza cost just 4.73p.
One 12-inch pizza.
The outside was warm, but not dangerously hot.
The Ooni Volt 12 took 20 minutes to come to temperature, then around 2 minutes 30 seconds to cook a pizza. This model comes with a useful “boost” function that reheats the pizza stone quickly, so you can cook pizzas in quick succession.
After some trial and error to figure out the best setting combination, our pizza was brilliantly cooked, with a puffed crust, well-cooked base and browned toppings.
There’s ample space in this oven to cook other dishes. If you get the balance correct, it could be used like a standard oven for things like roast chicken, meats and veg.
Once cooled, the pizza stone can be released from the oven with ease to remove the ash and any burnt bits. Otherwise, the rest of the pizza oven is wipe clean, though there’s very little cleaning needed.
The Ooni Volt 12 should be kept inside.
Large and on the upper end of the price spectrum, the Ooni Volt 12 is the oven of choice for those who are after a pizza oven to use all year round. One rather large caveat to this, however, is that you’ll need a decent amount of ventilation when using it, such as a powerful extractor fan or large windows/doors.
There’s much to love about the Ooni Volt 12. It’s attractive and displays innovation in spades. This model negates the unpredictability of wood-fired pizza ovens and the storage space necessitated by both wood and gas, plus it can be used as a normal oven. As mentioned throughout, this pizza oven can be used indoors, but do be aware that it can produce large amounts of smoke as ingredients burn off on the stone. For this reason, it’s better suited to those who are experienced and confident in using pizza ovens and have the extraction/ventilation needed to use it.
A little trial and error is needed to figure out the best combination for the controls, but once we did, we were very happy with the results. If you’re a traditionalist and like the flavour imparted when cooking with wood, this isn’t the model for you. But for pizza enthusiasts looking to make pizzas at any time of the year, it’s worth considering.
Dimensions (cm): 61.7 x 52.9 x 27.9cm
Fuel: mains powered
Accessories included: no
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