Bread and Pizza. Those are two things that take my appetite from 0-60 faster than a Tesla in Ludicrous mode. I love to read about pizza and really enjoy seeing the new gadgets that are available to help the home baker make the best pizzas at home. From steels and peels to cob and wood fired ovens, I’m enamored with the whole pizza making process. One day I found about about the Uuni2. The Uuni2 is the successor to the original Uuni, a very successful kickstarter project. The Uuni claims to be “the world’s first portable pizza oven” and I was lucky to receive one in order to demo it for you all.
Uuni is the brainchild of educator Kristian Tapaninaho from the UK. He grew up around bakeries and was a pretty good amateur baker, and one day decided that commercially available products for the home baker just weren’t good enough. So after designs and tests he decided to start a campaign on Kickstarter. Lucky for all of us, it was a successful fundraising campaign which brought in nearly $25,000 to build the product and launch the business.
Heat is one of the main challenges for home bakers. While a wood fired oven reaches temperatures over 900˚F, a home oven rarely gets hotter than 500˚F. A wood fired oven, however, takes hours to heat. The Uuni2 is ready to cook in under 20 minutes and reaches temperatures over 850˚F. It is also portable which means you can put it away when it’s no longer in use. Also, the Uuni2 costs less than $300 while a brick oven is much more expensive.
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When I got the Uuni2 I thought that assembly was going to be tough since it came with several screws, pieces, and (gulp) an allen wrench. I quickly checked out YouTube for videos and saw a couple where power tools were used, but I wanted to see what it was like to assemble the Uuni2 with just what came in the box. I am happy to report that putting it together was actually quite easy. I did it in about 20 minutes with the “help” of 2 kids and paying attention to a basketball game on the TV. The trickiest part was screwing in the wood chip feeder assembly but I just turned the Uuni2 on its side and got it easily. The part that gives me the least confidence, in terms of build quality and its overall solid attachment, is the main chimney. It is supposed to twist in place and lock with another aluminum piece but it ends up just kind of sitting there. While it works just fine it is a little wobbly and I was leery of it throughout the maiden pizza bake but it was no problem and held on nicely.
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Lighting the Uuni took just a few minutes. You are supposed to add the wood pellets to the main basket and light it using lighter fluid gel, but I used a home made cotton ball/vaseline fire starter and had the basket lit in no time. After a few minutes of sustained fire I added more chips through the feeder and the Uuni2 was off to the races. It heated up rather quickly and since this was the first use, I let it warm up for about 20 minutes so it could get hot and also so that it would clean itself.
Once the Uuni2 was lit and the fire was stabilized, which ended up being easier than I expected, I got all of my supplies and began assembling the first pizza. My first curveball was the dough ball size. I prepared a NY Style pizza dough and made dough balls for a 15” pie weighing in at 400g per. This is much too big for the Uuni so I quickly cut those in half and hastily formed new balls of about 200g each. This was enough but since the dough didn’t have a chance to properly rest after being torn/cut/reshaped the pizzas for the day were a bit thicker and less stretchy than I normally like.
However, true to its advertised word, my first pie was out in under 2 minutes! I gave it one turn too many and underestimated the power of the Uuni and scorched the cornicione on one side. Lesson learned!
Pizzas 2, 3, and 4 got better and better. I accidentally let the fire die down by pizza 4 so it took about 4 minutes to cook as opposed to the sub 2 minutes of the previous pies, but I was out of dough and ready to eat anyhow so it was no big deal.
See what I mean about the thickness of the crust? Had I planned better I would have halved the dough balls earlier in the day and let them relax so that stretching and shaping the pizza would have been easier. But regardless, the dough stood up to the challenge and I was happy with the results even though they pies came out ‘personal size’ as opposed to the ‘party sized’ ones I had planned.
No doubt about it, the Uuni2 makes great pizza. Hands down it’s one of the best budget ovens I’ve ever gotten my hands on. It was easy to assemble, easy to light, easy to clean, and easy to put away. The pizzas were as-advertised ready in less than 2 minutes with a nice browning of the crust and cornicione. I really like this oven and give it a very positive rating and would be happy to recommend to anyone who is considering a new pizza making device.
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