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Ooni Koda 16 commentary

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    Ooni Koda 16 commentary

    I've seen some questions on here about the Ooni Koda 16 oven but no user reports or official reviews (which means there's probably one in the works as I type). So here's my attempt to share what I've learned the past day or so.

    Somewhere around the middle of July I got the MCS itch to try a different way to cook a pizza. I've got a variety of ways I've been doing them over the years, and in recent months I've had considerable success with a method I "borrowed" from @Dr. Pat using the gas grill with rotisserie burner, with a couple procedural mods to respond to the configuration of my grill. I've posted those to his thread and the results have been very good. It's probably a good time to make the distinction, trying not to sound the snob, that I'm focused on home made dough, not a take and bake style pizza. They're very different animals, the take and bake, as you'd expect, is much more forgiving as to cooking method. Be that as it may. Ooni, as have other producers of outdoor cooking equipment during these Covid times, was completely sold out of inventory, so regardless of where I looked there were none available for immediate shipping. All of the online vendors I queried showed an expected delivery date of the next shipment somewhere between late September and early October. Since I wasn't up against any pressure I placed my order with the expectation I wouldn't see anything until October. As it turns out all of them were doing the "under promise/over deliver" thing. I got my oven on 8/31 late in the day. I burned it in yesterday planning to do the first cook today. During the burn in is a good time to test how the unit performs, how long it takes to get to temp, how well does it hold temp, where are the hot spots, and so on. With the trusty IR gun it appeared that the stone got up to 900ish degrees in about half an hour, but I ran it longer to see what would happen. Those familiar with the 16 know that it has an L shaped burner that extends down the left side and across the back of the chamber. After an hour the stone next to the corner of the burner registered around 990 degrees with the furthest opposite point of the stone showing in the high 700s to low 800s. Okay, no problem reaching the 932 degree advertised. While I was in the holding pattern for delivery I had been reading reports and viewing vids about the operation. As with so many things, each person had their own opinions and methods, but a common theme was............this baby gets HOT! and you'll probably (as most of them did) ruin the first efforts learning how to manage this beast.

    The dough I'm using is one I've been fond of for several months; a NY style dough from KLA at Serious Eats. It did very well with the gas grill method where the stone temps were in the mid 700s. My bride and I like a good char on the puffy portions around the outer form and good leopard spotting on the bottom. Some will see the char on the outer crust and think it's burned, but with this recipe the char has a nutty, almost sweet taste that suits us fine. I had one dough ball left in the freezer so thought; "okay, if I'm going to end up with a burnt offering to the gods of pizza let this be the victim." I wanted to try a couple things as variants but with one dough ball I'd be limited. None the less, I divided the ball into two 180 gram lumps which ended up making two nice 10ish inch neapolitan-esque looking discs. The first one to be cooked was a Margherita style, red sauce and fresh mozzarella, with fresh basil on top at serving. The second one I topped with a parsley/almond pesto and slivers of prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, also topped with fresh basil at service. Having learned from the research, I watched the pies like a hawk and have to say that both turned out very nice for first efforts. At those temps the pies each cooked in less than 2 minutes. I didn't time it as I was too focused on making sure I turned them as needed to avoid any ruination. I use semolina flour as my peel "lubricant" (I detest the mouth feel of corn meal) and that gave me a bit of a surprise on the second pie. I used a bit extra on the second one because the first one didn't load on the peel as smoothly as I'd like. Well, that extra semolina ended up at the back just a touch too close to the back side burner and ignited briefly which gave me just a bit more char than I'd planned. Again, this dough takes that pretty well so it didn't ruin the pie, except for the esthetics. Both had nice leopard spotting on the bottoms. The one difference from the gas grill bake was the crunch of the bottom. I suspect it's a matter of the short residence time on the stone, less than two minutes versus the gas grill being somewhere 4-5 minutes. These pizzas on the Ooni were a bit softer, but then that's a trait of true Neapolitan pies so it's not necessarily a bad thing. Going forward there will be more experimentation seeking to improve if possible. Next time I'll temp soak for a longer time, at least an hour instead of the 40 minutes done tonight. I may tone down the flame size during the cook as well which will likely lengthen the cook time a bit, but it will be interesting to see what that does for the finish texture. I might try a slightly lower hydration dough as well, but I'll have to think about that. Anyway, for a first cook I'm very impressed with what this thing can do. To me, it's well worth it's cost, and is a pleasure to use, not only because of the outcome, but also the ease with which you get there. It's little more than hook up the bottle, fire up the burners, heat soak, and go. Bingo, bango, bongo. I think I'm gonna love this thing. Roasting stuff is likely in the future as well. Then there's smoke boxes, and ........................ Oh, btw, there's only a portion of the Margherita in the pic because my bride got to it before I could take the pic......................................I should take that as a compliment I guess.

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    #2
    Incredible looking pies!
    thanks for sharing, ive been looking at that oven alot lately. Hope to see more future cooks . Congrats on the oven and nice write up.

    Comment


      #3
      +1 great looking Za.
      If I got one of those ovens I'd be next in line for a gastric bypass to go with it.
      Keep em comin.

      Comment


        #4
        Great write up. I was looking at Koda 16 back a few months ago when it was out of stock and didn't want to wait so got the regular Ooni Koda. I probably should've waited as the larger deck and L-shaped burners are real benefits but I'm happy with the Koda. I've done both NY style pizzas and neapolitan styles in the Koda. The former using Kenji's NY pizza dough recipe and the latter using a pretty typical neapolitan dough recipe using Caputo '00' flour and a 64% hydration.

        For both, I preheat the Koda on full blast and then turn down the flame slightly because there is like a second between leopard spotting and burnt on full blast. Maybe the Koda 16 gives you more leeway just due to the bigger size. In the regular Koda a 10 inch pizza needs to launch pretty much dead-on or the dough is too close to the flame or too close to the front and hard to get to spin quickly. Even on a smaller flame, my neapolitan pies have been around 90-100 seconds. The NY styles have been closer to 3-4 minutes and I turn down the flame even lower.

        I also find for multiple pies the stone cools down pretty quickly, so I give a few minutes before I start stretching the dough for each successive pie. Still working on my skills, so haven't cooked for a larger group outside of my family (max of 4 10-inch pies in one night)

        Although I've made some good pesto pizzas and marinaras, etc. I still think the oven really sings with a simple margherita with mozzarella d'bufala and uncooked san marzano tomatoes that have been blended with salt


        I also just bought a cast iron fajita pan that I plan on using to sear steak in the Koda but haven't had a chance to break it out yet.

        Comment


        • Uncle Bob
          Uncle Bob commented
          Editing a comment
          Good commentary. I chose to go full blast on the burner the whole way to see what happened. It wasn't as scary as research implied, though did take extra vigilance. Again I didn't time myself precisely but started building the second pie as soon as I brought the first in, so maybe 5 minutes between them. The 16 probably heats better, maybe only marginally. Next cook it'll be full blast before each cook, but turn down during looking to add a little more crunch to the bottom.

        • smarks112
          smarks112 commented
          Editing a comment
          Even in Koda 16 I have found full pre heat to turning down to 50% while baking gives a better cook. Pie is still done in 90 seconds

        #5
        Very good review. Lots of great info. Thanks

        Comment


          #6
          I so want one of these.

          Comment


            #7
            You can see from the discussion above that temp and timing are critical in these ovens. Now imagine trying to control it with burning pellets instead of gas. I'm doing just that with the Fyra. The Fyra is just 12 inches wide, like the Koda; there is not a lot of space for placing the pizza and turning it. So, I've had minimal success so far with the Fyra. While it is fun to try, I haven't perfected it yet, and don't know if I ever will. The pellets light easily, burn efficiently, and the oven does get super hot, as advertised. Here are some of the cons... the pellets need to be fed often, when fresh pellets are fed onto super hot pellets they can produce sooty acrid smoke, the inside of the oven gets a super fine coating of soot all over, some creosote builds up in the pellet feed tube, when the front door is opened to turn the pizza the flame will shoot out of the back of the oven, it is difficult to adjust the temperature if you want it to be different, and the small cook space. The pros... super hot as advertised, well built, burns well, portable, same fuel as pellet grill, excellent for searing meat after sous vide or low smoking, fun to experiment.

            Knowing what I do now, if I were to do it again, I would opt for the Koda for its ease of use and portability, or maybe Koda 16 for its extra cooking chamber size (I suspect even a smaller 12" pizza would be easier to handle and perfect in the larger cooking chamber).

            Comment


            • Uncle Bob
              Uncle Bob commented
              Editing a comment
              Good commentary. The 16 isn't awful for portability at 40ish pounds, but they do show two people toting it in their ads. I've only been doing 10-12" pies so far, and yes, plenty of management room. Best so far, for ease of control, is heat on high for an hour to heat soak stone, then turn flame down to low just before launch. Gives a little more crunch to the bottom relative to upper doneness.
              Last edited by Uncle Bob; September 14, 2020, 02:44 PM.

            #8
            I also recently got a Koda 16 and am a huge fan. See attached for 2nd time taking it for a spin. I have been using Forkish Dough recipes at 62% hydration. Have tried both 24h cold ferment and also sourdough. My favorite pie thus far is a 4 cheese white pie with basil, Calabrian chili, speck, hot honey and pistachios. Also love a marg with sopressatta and dressed arugula.
            Attached Files

            Comment


            • Uncle Bob
              Uncle Bob commented
              Editing a comment
              Good work. It's National Pizza Month so keep on makin' them pies.

            • marshall
              marshall commented
              Editing a comment
              Stunning pies nice work!!!

            #9
            We just got our Koda 16 about 3 weeks ago. My first attempt wasn't too bad, but I've watched tons of videos. My first pie was a margherita and even though I thought I knew exactly when to turn it the back got burnt on one side (we still ate it ). The second pie was a pepperoni. This one turned out great, nice leopard crust. I surprised myself.

            I still have to work on adjusting the oven. I started out on high and only turned it down a little. I think maybe heating on high and then turning down to low will help with a crispier bottom crust, as someone stated above.

            I've been using Vito Iacopellis recipe for 70% hydration dough and we love it. I have been launching with a wooden peel, which works great, but the end is getting burnt, so I need to get a metal peel. I do use semola flour on the bottom and a couple of times I had a little too much on the peel and it caught fire.

            The 2nd time using the oven I made a homemade pesto pie. I mixed the pesto with some ricotta and lemon zest. After putting the pesto on the pie I added shallots, zucchini and spinach. Very good.

            The picture I attached is my 2nd pie. We love this oven.
            Attached Files

            Comment


            • Uncle Bob
              Uncle Bob commented
              Editing a comment
              Gorgeous, and that pesto pie sounds like a winner on the flavor profile.

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