Selecting a Pizza Oven
Consider your needs before investing in a pizza oven. Here are some tips for selection.
To use a conveyor or to use a deck? That is the question. Maybe you just need a convection oven. Or maybe, you are a purist looking to put an authentic stamp on the pizza world. Whatever your pepperoni fancies, there is a commercial pizza oven for it.
Let's take a quick look at the breakdown of what each oven type has to offer.
Pizza Convection Ovens
This is a great selection for quick-serve locations with limited space. A pizza convection oven also uses less energy to power, reducing utility costs for budget conscious owners.
Best for: Food service outlets with limited space and budgets.
Heating Method: Hot air is circulated from a fan in back.
Cooking Temperature: 230ºC (probably not hot enough)
Power Type: Gas and electric models are available.
Preheat Time: 15-20 minutes.
Cooking Time: A single pizza cooks in five or six minutes at 230ºC.
Heat Recovery: Perforated metal shelves increase cooking efficiency and reduce heat recovery time close to nil.
Conveyor ovens cook pizza along a cooking chamber on a chain conveyor belt, creating a slower and methodical method for large quantities.
Best For: Small-scale pizzerias with less staff.
Heating Method: Countertop conveyor oven models use radiant heat and full-size units use forced air for even heating.
Cooking Temperature: Between 220 and 315ºC.
Power Type: Gas and Electric models are available. Gas models will still need an electric outlet to operate the conveyor and controls.
Preheat Time: Ready to go when the power is turned on.
Cooking Time: Four to five minutes when set between 260 and 280ºC.
Heat Recovery: Forced air or radiant heating retains heat without recovery time.
Pizza Deck Ovens
Pizza deck ovens feature stone shelves, creating the next best thing to wood-fired ovens for commercial pizza restaurants.
Best For: Economically ideal for creating authentic taste without a brick oven.
Heating Method: Each pizza stone is heated by a burner. When the stones are hot, the entire chamber will heat up and creates radiant heat for even baking.
Cooking Temperature: Between 220 and 340ºC.
Power Type: Gas or electric.
Preheat Time: One hour.
Cooking Time: One pizza will take six to eight minutes at 260ºC, crust style and toppings dependent.
Heat Recovery: Several minutes during a rush. Each pizza will remove some of the heat from the stone deck. Busy restaurants will need to purchase a large enough oven size to accommodate their rush demand.
Brick Pizza Oven
Designed after ancient bakery ovens, this traditional pizza cooking method is fueled by wood, gas or coal. Built from refractory bricks with a hearth and dome, this is the oven for pizza purists.
Best For: Any pizza establishment looking to create an authentic taste from traditional methods.
Heating Method: Convection, reflective and conductive. The dome creates a natural airflow for convection heat. Heat also reflects off of the dome onto the pizza. The stone hearth conducts heat to the crust.
Cooking Temperature: Between 370 and 550ºC.
Power Type: Wood, coal or gas. Some wood-fired units are available with a gas backup.
Preheat Time: 45 minutes to an hour. The bricks will turn white or clear when ready.
Cooking Time: 90 seconds to 5 minutes depending on the style of crust and number of pizza in the oven.
Heat Recovery: Only a few minutes with well-maintained ovens