Hanging out with the Ooni
With the growing threat of the pandemic and the absence of an approved vaccine for teenagers, “almost adults” are restricted from going out to public areas. And with a new school year only a few weeks away, teenagers are left with barely anything to do for the remainder of their vacation. So if you’re looking to explore something new to savor the last few weeks of summer, then trying new things and finding new hobbies is a great way to fill up that time, and making pizza from scratch is one hobby I discovered during the quarantine that definitely tops the list.
As a 16-year-old high school student trying to maximize this break, I discovered that making homemade pizza with my family is a fun activity that allows us to bond and to bring the dining experiences from restaurants straight to our home. But I didn’t stop there; if I could have fun with family, I also realized that this could be a bright idea of inviting some friends over to try this new and fun activity to enjoy while still abiding by quarantine rules.
A DAY OF MAKING PIZZAS WITH FRIENDS
Bringing together people in the safety of a home over restaurant-quality pizza made by using the Ooni Pizza Oven was really easy and fun.
Homemade pizza dough can be very intimidating to make, but don’t worry because there are a lot of pre-made pizza doughs that you can buy online (may we suggest checking out All Doughs), so all you’ll need to do is roll it out.
If you’re making this with your friends, the best approach is to split up and work like a well-oiled machine to bake your pizzas. My friends rolled out our dough by hand, which was both the fun yet really challenging part to do , so they ended up using an empty wine bottle which really helped with the shape and size that was ideal for the Ooni Koda 16. While they were tasked with doing that, I was making the sauce from canned tomatoes and adding some herbs like dried basil, parsley, and garlic and onion powder.
The cool thing about making your own pizzas is that you can put any topping you like, and in the desired amount you want without any judgement or an extra fee. For us, we ended up adding ham and garlic on top of layers of mozzarella cheese. We were feeling experimental, as anyone should with their Ooni ovens, and wanted to see if ham was a good topping for a pizza since none of us have ever tried it before.
That’s the benefit of having your own Ooni oven: you get to explore and experiment with what you cook in it. From the dough to the toppings, it’s always a blast to just keep on trying something different --- and that’s just with pizzas. Since the Ooni can be used for more than just that, there are a lot more things to try to cook using its high heat with friends and family.
USING THE OONI OVEN
After putting the sauce and toppings on, it was time to use the Ooni oven. Since we were new to the pizza making experience, my friends and I stumbled on some roadblocks in our first time using the oven. Hopefully, you can learn some tips and tricks from our experience so you can skip those hurdles, but it’s also part of the bonding experience, so definitely be open to it!
We initially found it really hard to slide the pizza into the oven. We discovered that it was because we had not added flour on the pizza peel before launching it in. However, after a few more tries, and adding flour on the pizza peel, we were successful, and our pizza was baking in the 500C heat of the Ooni.
Watching the pizza just cooking was quite the scene. It was a quick 1 minute, so be sure to keep an eye on your pizza. The second tip we learned is that it’s best to keep turning your pizza in the oven to make sure the crust and toppings do not get burned, and for the pizza to cook evenly.
My friends and I enjoyed the pizza so much that we made one more after eating a pizza together. This time around, it was a quicker process since we learned from the first time around. Don’t forget, it’s okay to make mistakes especially on the first try and to always remember that the process of rolling out the dough and choosing and exploring with the toppings is the fun activity that you want to do with friends. It can be really inspiring once you realize the fact that the pizza you’re eating is one you had made from scratch (excluding the pre-made dough, but that’s okay!), and that it’s really all about the experience that you’re also enjoying
THE OONI EXPERIENCE VERDICT
Overall, the oven was really fun to use with friends, which is also one of the primary reasons as to why my family had purchased one. All my friends had said that the experience was really fun and exciting, saying that it was easy and convenient to use, and that they were amazed at how quick it was to cook a pizza. One even commented that they noticed the Ooni oven gave the pizza the characteristics that of those made from a brick oven. The oven gives the pizzas the nice char and texture, which is usually found in classic Neapolitan-style pizzas or those high-end pizzerias and Italian restaurants.
So if you're looking for a fun activity to do with friends or with family, making pizza and using the Ooni Pizza Oven is definitely an option. It also allows you to bring world-class, quality cooking and dining experience in your home or wherever you choose to take the Ooni with you, since it’s also very portable. It was a fun experience, and if you want to enjoy your own adventure with an Ooni, take a look at Oven Depot and choose between the Karu 12, Koda 12, and Koda 16 so that you can start having the same experience we had when we hung out with the Ooni.