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Review: Solo Stove Brings ‘Brick Oven’ Pizza to Your Backyard

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#Overview #Solo #Range #Brings #Brick #Oven #Pizza #Yard

As an enthusiastic proprietor of a Solo Range fireplace pit, I used to be excited to check out the corporate’s Pi Pizza Oven. Offered for $625, however typically discounted (it is currently $470), the Pi is meant to face in as a transportable, “entry-level” different to a type of customized yard pizza oven setups you see in magazines. 

Solo Range refers back to the Pi as “the pizza oven for everybody.” I have to pause right here so as to add that I’ve an on-again, off-again relationship with cooking. I like meals, however I am not notably affected person within the kitchen — or yard kitchen on this case. That is very true if the recipe is sophisticated or if I do not really feel I’ve the appropriate instruments to confidently strive one thing new. So, a pizza oven “for everybody” spoke to me straight. 

There was a little bit of a studying curve when it comes to getting the pizza out and in of the oven, however after studying the person guide cowl to cowl, exploring numerous on-line pizza boards and making many makes an attempt, I did certainly find yourself with tasty pizza. I like to recommend the Pi Pizza Oven to anybody in search of a transportable different to customized out of doors pizza ovens. You most likely will not make an ideal pie the primary time (I actually did not), however Solo Range’s Pi makes it as painless as doable. 

Like

  • Transportable
  • Tons of equipment
  • Can use propane (with the non-obligatory fuel burner add-on) or wooden

Do not Like

  • Steep studying curve to get pizza from the peel into the oven (and again out once more)
  • Costly for an “entry-level” product

The Pi Pizza Oven fundamentals

Manufactured from stainless-steel, the Pi is decidedly not a brick oven. Nonetheless, Solo says it could prepare dinner a pie equally quick — in simply 2 minutes — with both propane or wooden. To make use of propane, you must purchase the non-obligatory fuel burner for an extra $270 (at the moment $175). 

I obtained the Pi Important Bundle for wooden and fuel ($1,105; at the moment $795). This complete equipment contains the oven and the fuel burner accent, in addition to a pizza stone, an infrared thermometer, a paddle (referred to as a peel) to get your pie out and in of the oven, a second peel for turning the pizza whereas it is cooking, a pizza cutter and a canopy for the oven when it is not in use. 

The person guide even provides strategies for home made dough and a few full recipes, do you have to need further assist. Briefly, the Important Bundle gives every part you must make a pizza with out the substances. 

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Two peels, an infrared thermometer and a pizza cutter include the Pi Pizza Oven Important Bundle.


Megan Wollerton/CNET

Setting the oven up was additionally simple. It comes totally assembled, with elements you’ll be able to add or take away relying on whether or not you are utilizing wooden or propane. The default choice is wooden, however I did not have any available for my first day of testing, so I began with propane through the fuel burner accent. The fuel burner screws seamlessly into the again of the oven with a hose that connects to your propane tank. 

Reduce small items of wooden, insert the ash pan and a fireplace starter. Then add the gasoline grate and the items of wooden. Use the included accent to securely open/shut the again.


Megan Wollerton/CNET

The wooden choice includes a rear door that opens for venting, an ash pan, a gasoline grate for the wooden and a pair instruments since you do not wish to contact the door straight whereas it is sizzling. Solo Range suggests utilizing 5- by 2-inch pieces of kiln-dried wood.

Subsequent, add the pizza stone, which is available in two elements fitted completely to the within of the oven, and begin preheating. Solo Range says it takes about quarter-hour for the oven to get to the specified vary of 650 to 800 levels Fahrenheit. Whereas it is heating up, prep your pizza. The Pi can accommodate as much as a 12-inch pizza, which is usually a medium pizza in eating places, or a pair smaller ones. 

I will be aware right here that I had to make use of a lighter to get the fuel going initially, which Solo Range says should not be the case. (The oven has an igniter, similar to a daily propane grill.) I am unsure what occurred there, however it doesn’t matter what I attempted, I ended up having to resort to a lighter. Then, magically, I attempted once more and it labored superbly. I am prepared to chalk this one as much as person error, but it surely’s value holding in thoughts in case you expertise comparable points.

You should utilize both store-bought or home made dough to make your pizza. Solo Range even says you’ll be able to prepare dinner a frozen pizza within the oven, however you must let it thaw first, as a frozen pizza positioned on the pizza stone could cause it to crack.

Use the infrared thermometer to verify your progress. Getting the appropriate temperature vary is a vital step to attaining that scrumptious bubbly cheese and toasty crust, in accordance with Solo Range. I discovered this half considerably unreliable, since pointing the thermometer simply an inch or so off from the final location resulted in important temperature variability, typically as a lot as 50 levels. To strive to make sure the very best outcomes, I waited till each studying hit throughout the 650- to 800-degree vary, even when there was some variability in temperature.

As soon as the Pi is ready up and preheated, it is time for the most effective half: pizza. 

Testing it out

I made eight pizzas utilizing this oven, attempting totally different combos of store-bought and home made dough (in addition to a few frozen pizzas) and switching between propane and wooden. My first try was comical. I learn by way of the person guide a number of instances earlier than establishing the propane tank, preheating the oven and prepping two pizzas, one for me and one for my husband. I adopted the directions to flour the floor of the peel and the dough to mitigate sticking and began with simply one of many pizzas to simplify issues.

As soon as the oven reached temperature, I confidently stepped exterior with the peel holding the raw pizza and the smaller peel to show the pizza as soon as it was within the oven to make sure a extra even bake. Solo Range says the pizzas prepare dinner in 2 minutes, so you must work quick, which could have been the beginning of my issues. 

The pizza would not budge. We tried a number of issues to no avail. In the end, we had to make use of the smaller peel to “roll” the pizza into a really makeshift calzone form to get it within the oven in any respect. We additionally could not get it out of the oven. So as soon as once more, we employed each the massive and small peel to get it out. My husband ate the “calzone,” but it surely was a fail total.


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For my pizza, I attempted extra flour, extra evenly coated on the underside of the pizza and on the stainless-steel peel. Similar outcome. What began as a stunning raw pizza was a messy lump of dough, sauce and cheese each time we tried to maneuver it both into — or out of — the oven. Mine did not even move the check for edibility as a result of no matter pile of substances we managed to get into the oven cooked so inconsistently that it could not be salvaged. 

Thankfully, it bought progressively higher after every try. Pizzas three and 4, additionally made utilizing the identical store-bought dough as the primary two, labored significantly better. However as a substitute of unrolling the dough from the fridge, including some flour to it and the peel and tossing on the substances, I labored the dough a bit extra with flour on my palms and primarily reshaped it, eliminating a few of the stickiness whereas I labored. 

I rapidly discovered that if the pizza is not budging whilst you’re prepping it on the peel, it is not going to budge while you attempt to get it into the oven, it doesn’t matter what method you employ. 

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You may prepare dinner thawed frozen pizza within the Pi Pizza Oven too.


Megan Wollerton/CNET

Subsequent up, I attempted out two medium thawed (keep in mind, do not put a frozen pizza straight on the pizza stone or it may break) store-bought frozen pizzas, one skinny crust and one common crust. These labored extraordinarily effectively and moved simply from the peel into the oven and again out once more. They have been additionally simple to show within the oven with the smaller peel. 

For my final spherical of checks, I used this pizza crust recipe to check out a pair smaller home made pizzas. I used to be intimidated by this check, but it surely ended up turning out very well. The dough was simple to work and yielded a properly toasted crust with a crusty exterior and softer center. This dough additionally transferred from the peel out and in of the oven a lot simpler than the store-bought dough.

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The home made dough plus wooden gasoline yielded the tastiest outcomes.


Megan Wollerton/CNET

Whether or not you employ wooden or propane is a matter of choice. Propane is easier, as a result of you do not have to are likely to the hearth as a lot. However the wood-fueled oven was extra satisfying, each when it comes to making a extra satisfying campfire-like cooking expertise and a greater total style. The ultimate pizza I cooked utilizing the home made dough and wooden (photograph above) was positively the most effective total. That is due partially to getting extra aware of the oven over time, but in addition as a result of home made pizza and a wooden oven make an important combo.

Ultimate ideas

The Pi Pizza Oven is straightforward to arrange and there are a ton of equipment accessible that can assist you make an important pizza. There was a particular studying curve to maintain every pizza from sticking to the peel and in some circumstances, getting it out of the oven. Nevertheless it bought simpler. I am sure that pizza-making lovers have numerous private suggestions and methods to make this studying curve a bit smoother. (Please share them in case you do!) Till then, the Pi Pizza Oven is a well-designed and principally easy-to-use product that makes good pizza in your yard.

If you happen to’re a pizza fanatic, however haven’t got the finances for a full-on brick oven set up in your yard, Solo Range’s pizza oven is a superb different. 

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