What Type of Pizza Oven Does Your Favorite Pizzeria Use?

Man, do I LOVE pizza! Seeing that the web team has had pizza delivered before it would be safe to say that most of my co-workers do too. Without a doubt, there really is something about melty, oozy cheese, pepperoni, and tomato sauce piled on a great pizza crust. Just thinking about it can make you salivate. Everyone has their favorite pizza places and we THINK we know why we chose that place. Pizza advertisements talk about the importance of fresh, high quality ingredients which, I have to agree are important. The thing is...no one ever mentions a word about the item that all pizza makers must have: a QUALITY oven! I say quality because it can be the difference between a good pizza and a FABULOUS pizza, fresh ingredients or not. So which oven does your pizza place of choice use? Let’s figure it out!

If your favorite pizza parlor is a mom-and-pop kind of place and produces pizza with an authentic flavor they may be using a wood burning oven. These ovens have been used to make pizza for some time now and for good reason! Wood burning ovens cook evenly by radiating heat using electromagnetic waves and infuse the pizza with a slight “woody flavor that keeps us coming back for more. Although the flavor is delicious there is one drawback to these brick-lined ovens. Whereas other types of ovens can be pre-heated and ready to go in less than 30 minutes it can take 2 hours to heat a wood burning oven to the correct temperature. Also it may be difficult to use these ovens without a bit of know-how so the pizza makers who use these ovens have to be dedicated.

Coming in second for flavor is the deck oven. Like the wood burning oven they may call for a cook experienced with its baking style. Overall deck ovens are a little faster to heat than wood burning ovens and have more baking surface options. These include metal, stone, and tile baking surfaces. with metal surfaces still cook great but do not absorb oils and moisture as good as the stone and tile surfaces. This can lead to burning if the oven isn’t cleaned regularly or well enough. So if your pizza is always coming out burnt it could very well be a cook who’s not used to cooking with a or a not-so-clean metal surface.

Most fast paced chain pizza places tend to use a conveyor oven. These ovens are quite a bit quicker and also produce an evenly , consistently cooked product using a conveyor belt system. Their ease of use comes in very handy when new people have been hired and there are tons of orders to be filled...which is exactly why many pizza chains choose these over their wood burning cousins.

Does the pizza parlor you love make a pie with a fairly crispy crust? They may be using a convection oven! use hot air that is circulated by fans or ducts to cook a uniform product. This type of cooking takes lower temperatures and produce shorter cooking times thus making them a very energy/time efficient choice for a pizza establishment or even for home. Did you know many Italian residential ovens have a built in “pizza convection setting? Isn’t that just handy?

Pizza places that still strive for the flavor of wood burning / but need a quicker cooking process tend to go for the revolving tray ovens. These ovens cook by rotating a high capacity of pizzas around a central spot. This action cooks each pizza equally, evenly, and doesn’t call for as much skill as wood burning or . Also heat doesn’t escape from rotating ovens nearly as much due to the fact that the chef doesn’t have to open doors quite as many times as with other ovens.

If you didn’t know that the type of pizza oven a restaurant chooses to use is detrimental to the flavor of the product...well you do now! If you did then GOOD JOB! You know you’re pizza. Next time you get that large pepperoni or the specialty pizza of your dreams think about the flavor and be thankful for the oven that made it!

- Heather ;)