The Smart Stone Bake Pizza Oven (£89.95, prezzybox.com, a revolving baking stone suspended between heating elements in an enclosed chamber, on which to evenly cook pizza.
Because cooking a pizza is one of the most daunting challenges mankind has ever faced. And it can be tricky to achieve a crispy base.
Hello, large, oblate spheroid in venetian red, footed and buttressed, with dials and a viewing window. Discretion and convenience have their place, but sometimes you want a showman. If this on the counter, nothing else is. It looks like a probe that got lost on the way to Mars. Lifting the lid is like levering the jawbone of a Hungry Hippo. Planting a flag in your kitchen declaring: “I really like pizza” would make the same point, more space-efficiently.
As pizza stones can be had for a tenner, it better bring something special to the table. You can cook any shop-bought pizza in it, or bake your own. I’m making my own, on a sourdough base, because I’m smug. I turn up the temperature and time dials to preheat the stone. The machine starts ticking very loudly, as if I’ve activated a cartoon bomb, which is unnerving. As per the instructions, I wait for the light to go out, indicating the oven is at temperature. I wait, and wait some more. It must have been engineered by Smiths fans, because this is a light that never goes out.
After 15 minutes I get bored, and slide my pizza in, to encounter more problems. With the added weight, the stone struggles to revolve, the ticking now harmonising with the sound of mechanical failure. It is upsetting to listen to a machine in distress, shunting and clanking and trying again, like a fly at a window. When I can’t take any more, I open the lid. Because it hasan’t been turning, the crust is burnt in a pattern corresponding to the shape of the heating element, and undercooked everywhere else. I try twice more with thinner bases, which don’t work either.
All mouth and trousers. Here is more reliable pizza advice: avoid.
Any redeeming features?
You never have to wash it up! Which admittedly is a massive bonus, but also true of all pizza stones.
Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?
Back of the cupboard, or on that one-way flight they’re sending to Mars.