That’s Amore: Selecting the Best Pizza Oven For Your Operation
Posted on August 4, 2011
From the wide, thin and foldable crusts that make New York-style pizza so delicious (and portable!) to the endlessly-layered, piping hot dishes of Chicago style pies, there is a pizza for every palate. And if you’re in the pizza business, then you know how important it is to find the best pizza oven for your particular style of pie. In fact, the best pizza oven will not only produce the perfect crust, it will also meet the demands of your business. These demands can include available power sources, cooking times and overall cooking method.
Ready to learn a little more about what makes each pizza oven tick? Let’s dive in and find out what makes the world of pizza making go ’round.
Brick Pizza Ovens
Brick pizza ovens include a hearth and dome made from refractory bricks, or bricks that can stand very high temperatures. This design is a direct replica of ancient bakery ovens. Traditionally, brick pizza ovens are wood-fueled, but contemporary designs can use gas and coal. Still, pizza purists insist that a wood-fired brick oven is the only way to make a pizza.
- Brick pizza ovens are ideal for any operator seeking to create an authentic, brick oven style pizza.
- Brick pizza ovens use three heating methods: convection, reflective and conductive heat. The dome interior creates a natural airflow for convection heat, meaning that air circulates effectively within the oven. Heat reflects off of the dome back to the pizza, and the stone hearth conducts heat to the crust. This creates a unique and flavorful crust.
- On the stone hearth, where the pizzas will be placed, proper temperatures will be between 700 and 1,000°F.
- Brick pizza ovens can use wood, coal or gas to heat up the interior. Some wood-fired units are available with a gas backup.
When the temperature is in the correct range, it can take between 90 seconds and 5 minutes to cook a pizza, depending on the crust thickness and number of pizzas cooking at once.
Pizza Deck Ovens
Pizza deck ovens feature stone shelves, also known as decks. Pizzas are placed directly on these decks to bake. They are the next best thing to a wood-fired oven, and have a much more modern appeal, making it a common choice for contemporary pizzerias.
- Pizza deck ovens are ideal for operators that want to create an authentic, flavorful pizza without investing the time or money in a brick oven.
- The individual pizza stones are heated by burners. The hot stones are what cooks the pizza. The chamber heats up as well, so the toppings and cheese are cooked by radiant heat.
- The stone decks should be between 400 and 700ºF to properly cook the pizzas.
- This type of commercial pizza oven uses either gas or electricity to heat the stones.
- At 500 ºF, a single pizza will usually cook in six to eight minutes.
- Pizza Convection Ovens
With rising utility costs, all restaurants are looking for ways to save money. A pizza convection oven decreases both cooking time and energy use while producing pizzas comparable to traditional, authentic pies cooked in brick ovens.
- Pizza convection ovens are ideal for operators with limited kitchen space. They are also a good fit for business’s that are looking to reduce energy costs while still producing high-quality pizza.
- As the name suggests, these pizza ovens have a fan in the back that circulates hot air for convection heating.
- These pizza ovens cook at 460°F, which is a lower temperature than other pizza oven types. The convection heat requires a lower temperature and saves energy.
- Both gas and electric models are available.
- At 460ºF, pizza convection ovens can cook a single pizza, or its full capacity of pizzas, in five to six minutes.
Conveyor ovens are easy to operate, easy to automate and turn out pizzas in a fast and efficient manner. With a conveyor oven, pizza is pulled through the cooking chamber on a chain conveyor belt. These ovens offer several advantages:
- They can be used for more than simply cooking pizzas, adding greater functionality to your entire kitchen.
- Conveyor ovens are a budget-friendly choice for businesses with multiple locations and matching menus.
- These ovens require less space and fit well in smaller kitchens.
- Conveyor ovens are ideal for pizza shops with small kitchens, high demand or multiple locations. These ovens can handle multiple baked recipes on the menu such as toasted sandwiches, bread sticks and cookies.
- Countertop models use radiant heat, whereas full-size units employ forced air (impingement) for even heating.
- The ideal cooking temperature for a pizza in a conveyor oven is between 400 and 600 °F.
- These commercial pizza ovens utilize gas or electricity.
- A conveyor oven set between 500 and 520ºF will cook a pizza in four to five minutes.