Quick: simple syrup, and then a margarita recipe.
Due: Ridgewood, NJ: New and improved, now with extra Weissening.

Black Stone Pizza Oven: serious pizza-making at home

PizzaPancetta, sauce, mozzarella, olive, thyme, peppadews. 100 second cook.

The Black Stone Pizza Oven is a somewhat inexpensive, high-heat cooking device, which many pizza-obsessives are going nuts over--especially those who want to produce Neapolitan-style pizza at home, but who don't have a wood-burning oven.

My first few cooks on the Black Stone yielded decent enough results, but it did take some time to learn how to manage its heat. What I found is that a few quick mods help me produce the style of pizza that I'm looking to make--Neapolitan.

The main mod, called the "chauflector," directs the flame more to the rim of the pizza. This helps the crust cook while ensuring that the toppings aren't burning. I think it also helps cook the pizza more quickly, which means the bottom is less likely to burn. I find the results with the chauflector are more to my liking than without, although many people aren't using one and producing fine looking pies. Cutting the sheet metal to make this thing, I should note, was not pleasurable.

IMG_56632 minute cook.

I'm sure it could be argued that cook times north of 70 seconds aren't going to produce true Neapolitan-style pizza, but I'm very happy with the results I get in the 90-100 second range: a light, chewy and crisp crust with some leopard spots and char, with the toppings still fresh and alive.

  Black stone pizza margherita90 second cook.

My current dough is 62% hydration, '00' Caputo flour, 3% salt, with 3% of sour dough starter that I've had for years. I have been doing a room temp bulk rise, and balling (11 ounces each) 5 hours before cooking. With this last batch of dough, I had two leftover balls, so into fridge they went. One came out the next day 5 hours before cooking, and the other came out the day after, 5 hours before cooking. Both were ready to go and reacted agreeably in the oven.

There's a newer version of the Black Stone Pizza Oven, which addresses some of the issues that the original version had. If you're in the market, I'd suggest making sure you get the newest model available.

Like any tool, this oven can up your pizza-making game--especially if your goal is quick cook times--but it won't magically make you a better pizza-maker. That can only come from being a really piss-poor pizza maker for a long time. For me, I'm just hoping there's a time when I can look back on a pie I made a year prior and not be embarrassed.

Pizza undercarriage