Ooni Koda 16 outdoor pizza oven Test
Everyone loves pizza! And as almost always, it tastes best when you make it yourself. With a good thick pizza stone you can already achieve good results in the home oven, it gets even better on the gas grill, also with a stone. Convinced charcoal grillers can also make pizza with accessories, but at least the grills are designed for temperatures in excess of 450° Celsius. This is where the pizza oven comes into play.
Hot, hotter, Ooni
If you want really good pizza, you need your own dough, a blazing hot pizza stone and well-balanced top heat. A few years ago I came across the Ooni 3 pizza oven and had to buy it. The manufacturer promised temperatures of 500°C and ready pizza in 60-90 seconds. And what should I say? It was true! With a little practice, more on that later, I had prepared the best pizza of my life. And as soon as I had mastered the device and technology, the British from Ooni brought out a new oven. But my pizza was better than any I’ve made before. Is there more?
Appearance: Ooni Koda
Visually one could think that a mini spaceship had landed. The Koda is rounder and, especially in the interior, much tidier than the Ooni 3. The 16-inch version is also really big, but it also bakes larger pizzas. Theoretically, up to 40 centimeters fit on the stone, in practice it is more like 35 centimeters – enough for every five people in the household to get a piece. Despite its size, two people can assemble the stove in no time at all: fold out the stilt-like legs, place the Koda 16 on a stable surface, insert the stone and connect the gas bottle – done. It takes much longer to break down the cardboard monster into bites the size of a paper can. Anyone who has already prepared the ingredients can light it up now and enjoy their first pizza in 25 minutes.
Consistently improved concept
The Koda does nothing new, but everything better than its predecessors. Gas is the only fuel used in the Koda. Instead of a concentrated heat source in the rear of the oven like the Ooni 3, the burner flanks the entire back and left edge of the interior. This ensures even heat distribution on the stone, more power overall and – and this is most important in practice – you only have to turn the pizza once. With the Ooni 3, I had to rotate three times to get all four “quadrants” of the pizza perfectly. Another positive aspect is that the pizza stone has a clean border on the inside, so you can’t accidentally push the pizza against the burner if you don’t get it right with the shovel. The risk of a serious pizza accident with a stone stuck in it is considerably reduced here.
Performance that impresses
After twenty minutes, the infrared thermometer in the center of the stone shows a full 450 degrees Celsius, on the edge closer to the burners I measure the promised 500 degrees quite accurately. At this temperature you have to be careful like the notorious gundog. The dough immediately rises, throws bubbles and the enormous top heat makes the sauce and cheese bubble. The pleasingly large opening of the Koda 16 gives you a good view of the pizza. Crispy brown is followed seamlessly by black spots – now at the latest it’s time for a change! Pizza out, turn 180°, back in and about 20-30 seconds later it’s served. The developers have managed to balance the top and bottom heat so well that the base is perfectly crisp and the topping does not burn.
No master (baker) falls from the sky
The biggest challenge with all pizza ovens is getting the raw pizza onto the pizza stone without accident. It is strongly recommended to practice this “dry”. The moisture in the dough “brakes” it, so you always have to make sure that the pizza is moving on the slider. On top of that, be economical with the topping, otherwise inertia will ensure that instead of the pizza, only half the topping ends up in the 500°C hell and completely soaks the stone. But fear not, with a little practice, you’ll be putting pizzas in the oven like you’ve never made anything else.
If this were a review of the Ooni 3, we would have had to talk about less than perfect heat distribution, long heating times between two pizzas and a cooking chamber that was only moderately visible. But Ooni did what a good manufacturer does: build a good product, listen to customer feedback and build an even better product. If you want to complain, then perhaps about the hefty surcharge of 170 euros compared to the “normal” Koda. If the Ooni 3 came with a metal sheet as a pizza peel, you have to order this tool separately for the Koda. As you can see, we complain at the highest level. If you like pizza, you will love the Koda 16.