More than any other food, pizza inspires vigorous debate. Is Hawaiian pizza good or is pineapple as a topping an abomination? Is it okay to dip a slice in ranch? Thin New York or thick Chicago? Breville doesn’t care. The small appliance manufacturer’s new Pizzaiolo Smart Oven is designed to perfectly bake any kind of pizza, from Neapolitan to frozen. It’s a ridiculous appliance nobody really needs. But, man, we want it.
Brick ovens utilize three kinds of heat, so the Pizzaiolo does too. Conductive heat comes from the element on the bottom of the oven, heats the natural Cordierite stone, and perfectly chars the bottom of the pizza. Radiant heat comes from the parabolic roof of the oven. It produces the leopard spotting that’s a trademark of fancy Nepolitan pies. The deflector shield under the top element prevents toppings from burning while producing enough convective heat to ensure that they are properly cooked.
Breville bills the Pizzaiolo as the first countertop oven that can reach 750 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature that brick ovens reach that allows them to cook a pizza in less than two minutes. That’s a lot less time than you’ll spend waiting on the delivery guy to bring a pizza that won’t be nearly as fresh.
Breville modified their Element IQ technology, an array of sensors and algorithms that constantly optimize their ovens, to adjust the three separate heating elements in the Pizzaiolo. The big knob on the front of the oven lets you choose between frozen, pan, New York, and “Wood Fired” settings, among others. The small knob adjusts how light or dark your crust will be, just like a toaster.
The Pizzaiolo is about the size of a regular toaster oven, wide enough to accommodate a 12-inch pizza. It comes with a stainless steel pizza peel and a carbon-steel pan, so you can make great pies out of the box.
At $800, it’s not the cheapest thing you’ll ever buy. But if you want to make restaurant-quality pizza at home and lack the space, money, and or patience to get a wood-burning brick oven, the Pizzaiolo is an excellent substitute.