Specialty equipment like pizza ovens are essential to any Italian restaurant or pizzeria. Even traditional restaurants and small diners choose to invest in pizza ovens, as pizza has become such a popular menu item. Additionally, the evolution of these ovens have made them ideal for cooking foods in addition to more than just their namesakes! Fortunately, all pizza ovens are not created equal, and different types are designed for different outputs, space constraints, and different types of products altogether.
Brick Pizza Ovens
Made from refractory or high heat bricks, these ovens utilize a hearth and dome modeled after the styles of ancient bakery ovens. These can be fueled by wood, gas, or coal but pizza lovers generally agree that wood is the best source when you’re opting for a true, authentic taste. Brick pizza ovens are generally a favorite for any authentic-style pizzeria due to their aesthetics and wood-fired taste.
Temperatures: The range for these ovens will typically fall between 700 and 1000 degrees on the hearth.
Times: Preheating can take upwards of an hour since you’re utilizing slower-burning sources (unless you opt for gas-powered, of course). Once heated, though, pizzas can be cooked anywhere from 90 seconds to five minutes depending on how many you’re cooking at once. Heat recovery should only last a few minutes before your next pizza is ready to be baked.
Pizza Deck Ovens
Deck ovens utilize a metal, stone, brick, or ceramic tile deck within an oven where an uncooked pizza is placed and heat is then transferred from the deck to the pizza. This allows for both crust and toppings to heat at the same time. Some gas deck ovens can be purchased to look like an old style wood oven which is a great customer focus and can make a quality statement.
Temperatures: Stone decks should be between 400 and 700 degrees for proper cooking.
Times: Save an hour of time for preheating, but once heated, a deck oven at 500 degrees will thoroughly cook product in 6-8 minutes depending on thickness and toppings.
High Speed Ovens
This oven decreases time and utilities compared to the previous two counterparts, making it an affordable option for restaurants or establishments that don’t solely focus on pizza production.
Temperatures: Cooking at a low 460 degrees, these ovens help to conserve energy costs.
Times: Cutting down drastically on preheating, these ovens can preheat in 15 minutes or less! Similarly, cooking times for a single pizza or full capacity of pizzas will only take around 5-6 minutes.
Conveyor ovens get their name because of the conveyor belt that is used to transport products through the oven. The product is then transported to a resting place outside of the oven, allowing for little to no supervision during a majority of the process. There are many sizes available from single units to triple-stacked full size decks!
Temperatures: Ideal cooking temperature within a conveyor oven is between 400 and 600 degrees.
Times: Because there are no decks or hearths to heat, there’s virtually no preheat time. Conveyor cooking also takes 4-5 minutes for a pizza when the temperature is around 500 degrees.