Over the past year or so pizza ovens have been all the rage, giving people something other than BBQ to do during lockdown if nothing else. Ooni is one of the leading brands on the market and we’ve tested the cheapest model available, the £249/US$299 Fyra 12.
It’s a compact wood-fired pizza oven – the successor of Ooni 3 – that’s compact and stylish, perfect for a beginner who doesn’t want something simple to start off with.
Design & Build
The Fyra 12 is a stylish little pizza oven and is very easy to set up. Simply take it out the box, fold the legs out and slot a few things into place. That means the pizza stone, chimney, pellet hopper, flame keeper and fuel tray.
You can be up and running within minutes since the main body of the oven comes pre-built. And lighting it couldn’t be much easier either. Use the chimney cover as a scoop to load the fuel tray with pellets, add a firelighter, light it and slot it in the back.
The Fyra 12 heats up to cooking temperature in around 15 minutes and when the fire is going nicely (you can check via the small peephole in the door), you can fill the hopper with pellets. This means fuel is added to the fire as the pellets burn down – you just need to top it up every now and then if you’re going to be cooking for a while.
A silver and black combination looks stylish and the Ooni oozes quality with things like the stainless steel chimney and insulated, powder-coated carbon steel shell.
Being only 10kg, the Fyra 12 is easy to move around the garden and although it can be left outside in a bit of rain, you’ll be better off getting the official cover. This is like a little raincoat for it and even has a bag for the chimney and hopper, plus carry handles making it easy to take camping, a friend’s house or the beach.
In-Use & Performance
It’s easy to get going with the Fyra 12 but is cooking pizza as straightforward? Well, no, but that doesn’t make the pizza oven bad, there’s just a bit of a learning curve if you’re new to it.
If you don’t have a digital thermometer, you’ll have to just trust the Fyra 12 is the right temperature after 15-minutes of heating up and then gauge how hot it is after that during your session.
The first pizza I cooked got a little burnt on the base, presumably as the stone was a little too hot. The following few came out excellent then around the fifth one took a few minutes rather than the advertised 60-seconds. As the name suggests, you can make 12in pizzas.
So, it can be a little difficult to keep the temperature consistent with the door coming off regularly while ensuring the hopper has enough pellets. There are also other factors like air flow, which you can control with the vent in the chimney although the handle to adjust it is metal so you can’t touch it without wearing gloves.
Most of the time it will though, with a quoted temperature of 500 degrees Celcius. I didn’t have a thermometer to check but it’s a good job you can cook pizzas quickly as the Fyra 12 does go through the pellets reasonably quickly. 3kg (for £9.99) will last 2-3 hours, according to Ooni but you’re better off going for the 10kg which is only twice the price of 3kg.
Ooni sent me the official 12in perforated peel to get pizzas in and out of the oven and you should probably consider this an essential purchase as there’s no real alternative. Note that it’s not designed to turn the pizza during cooking, you need the turning peel for that which is £49.99.
I managed to turn the pizza around on the big peel with a pallet knife easily enough. As the door is solid you can’t see the pizza cooking so you’ll need to either count (I did around 20 seconds on each side) or look through the peephole I mentioned earlier, although it’s a little tricky to see the pizza properly.
Apart from the slightly overcooked base of the first one, pizzas come out very nicely with bubbling cheese and a crispy crust with hints of smoky burnt bits. With the flames of the fire coating the roof of the oven, you get an authentic wood-fired flavour that you can’t replicate with gas let alone an electric oven.
I haven’t been able to try it but the Fyra 12 can be used for more than just pizza. If you have or buy a cast iron pan – starting at £29.99 on the official store – you can cook almost anything including vegetables, steak and seafood.
As mentioned at the top, the Fyra 12 is Ooni’s current cheapest model coming in at £249/US$299 with free delivery and if you buy from the official store, you get a long three-year warranty, too.
You can also buy it from Amazon UK, John Lewis and, across the pond, Amazon US, BestBuy and Walmart.
Do bear in mind that this is the price for just the oven so you will need to at least buy fuel. Ooni’s official hardwood pellets are £19.99/US$24.99 for 10kg (20lb) but you might also need things like the 12in peel to get pizzas in and out of the oven. This retails at £34.99/US$39.99 or £59.99/US$59.99 for the perforated version.
Other optional accessories include the Fyra 12 cover (£39.99/US$39.99) and the Ooni Infrared Thermometer (£34.99/US$39.99).
It can add up then, but equally, you don’t have to necessarily buy these things from Ooni and might be able to find cheaper third-party alternatives elsewhere.
There’s a bit of a learning curve and it can be tricky to maintain the correct cooking temperature, but other than that there’s little to dislike about the Ooni Fyra 12.
This affordable model is well-made, easy to use and you’ll be up and running in no time at all. What’s also great is how compact and portable the design is, meaning it’s not consigned to your back garden.
Overall, a brilliant wood-fired pizza oven if you want to make authentic pizza at home.
Ooni Fyra 12: Specs
Unboxed dimensions: 74 x 39 x 72cm
Unboxed weight: 10kg
Cooking surface: 33cm
1cm cordierite stone baking board
Folding legs for easy transport and storage
Durable, insulated, powder-coated carbon steel shell
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