(Columbia) Jan. 16, 2004 - A pizzeria bakes its pizzas in brick ovens and they come out with a crisp crust that customers love. If you'd love to make brick-oven pizza at home, a new product promises brick-oven results in a regular oven. It's a three-piece ceramic insert called Hearthkit.
It claims to improve the quality of foods cooked in your oven. Consumer Reports tester John Macchia says the Hearthkit has a hefty price tag of $200 and it's also hefty in size, "The Hearthkit does limit your available cooking space by taking up half the oven."
Testers used the Hearthkit and, for comparison, a regular pizza stone, cooking in equivalent ovens. First, they baked bread. The loaves baked in the Hearthkit turned out nice and crusty.
Testers then made pizzas. The Hearthkit did a great job there, too, baking a crisp and crunchy crust.
You can get the same results for a fraction of the cost. A $35 pizza stone also bakes a nice, crisp crust.
The Hearthkit does a fine job, but you may want to save your dough for something else.
Testers baked cookies and roasted chicken in the Hearthkit and again everything came out just fine, but not noticeably better than baking without it.