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Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo
Does the Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo get you the best pizza you’ve ever made at home? For about $1,000, it had better.
Published Dec. 6, 2019.
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What You Need To Know
The Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo is an attention-getter. It promises to reach up to 750 degrees—about 30 percent hotter than most home ovens. That means that it’s theoretically possible to make restaurant-quality pizza (even approximating Neapolitan-style, which usually requires a scorching-hot wood-fired oven) at home. Up until now, two styles of indoor pizza ovens have been available to home cooks: huge, expensive options that require professional installation or small, countertop options that don’t work any better than a home oven. At about $1000, this oven comes with a big price tag, but it promises a lot. Does it deliver?
To find out, we bought one and threw a two-week pizza party in the test kitchen, testing six of the oven’s seven preprogrammed settings for baking different kinds of pizza as well as roasting vegetables. (The seventh setting, “350°F,” is designed for reheating pizza and we didn’t test it.) First, we baked frozen pizzas. (It may sound silly to bake frozen pizzas in a $1,000 pizza oven, but we wanted to test the oven’s “Frozen” setting.) Next, we tested the “Pan” setting by making pizza in the carbon-steel pan that comes with the machine, the “New York” and “Thin & Crispy” settings by making our recipe for Thin-Crust Pizza—both plain cheese and loaded with toppings, and the “Wood Fired” setting by making Neapolitan-style pizza. Finally, we roasted broccoli rabe and asparagus at the “750°F” setting to see how the oven handled foods other than pizza. When applicable, we compared pizzas and vegetables we baked in the Pizzaiolo to pizzas and vegetables baked in a regular oven.
The Pizzaiolo Is Fast, Easy, and Fun to Use
The Pizzaiolo has two heat zones: coiled heating elements located below the baking stone and another set of coiled heating elements located above the baking stone. These sets of coils did a great job at heating the oven quickly. Our pizza recipes generally call for preheating the oven and a baking stone at 500 degrees for an hour. The Pizzaiolo needed just a fraction of that time—just 10 to 20 minutes—to reach 750 degrees.
In addition to getting very hot very fast, the Pizzaiolo was easy to use. The baking stone (or the “deck”) is attached to the oven door, so it slid outward and downward each time we opened the door, giving us easy access to the stone when inserting, rotating, or removing a pizza. A curved backstop at the rear of the deck prevented the pizzas from sliding off. When we closed the door, the deck slid back into place. The preprogrammed settings were also easy to use, as well as a “Darkness’” dial that increases or decreases the heat level in the oven while...
Everything We Tested
- Speed: 3 stars out of 3.
- Ease of Use: 3 stars out of 3.
- Pizza Quality: 3 stars out of 3.
Just 30 minutes after you plug in the Pizzaiolo, you can be sitting down to homemade pizza that rivals the pizzas served at top thin-crust and Neapolitan pizza joints. Heating coils below the baking stone blast the bottom of the dough with heat, while upper coils cook the toppings and outer edges of the crust. Thin-crust and Neapolitan pizzas cook in just 2 to 4 minutes, which means that their crusts remain impressively tender but still chewy. The downsides are its hefty size and weight, its high cost, and the fact that you’re limited to pizzas 11 inches or smaller in diameter.
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The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Kate is a deputy editor for ATK Reviews. She's a culinary school graduate and former line cook and cheesemonger.