Deck oven workspace size

Hey all,

I will be opening a Detroit style pizza place in early spring.

I will be using a deck oven (new for me as a wood fired pizzaiolo) We have a small space and need to use it effectively.

Can anyone recommend a minimal, comfortable work space from the front of the deck oven to the front of the make space? Basically, a standing area

Any help would be sincerely appreciated

We usually specify 5 ft minimum
George Mills


Thank you for the input. From the front of the oven to the beginning of the make table, correct?

I’m in NYC so space is definitely a premium

I typically recommend a space equal to or greater than 1.5 times the depth of the oven. For most deck ovens that would fall within the 5-foot minimum rule recommended by George. I use the 1.5 rule because it also applies to the deeper wood burning ovens as well as the smaller deck ovens. If space is REALLY tight, have you thought of using an air impingement oven?
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom makes a great suggestion RE use an impingement oven.
George Mills

Thank you for the input. From the front of the oven to the beginning of the make table, correct? yes

Yes, but, if the oven has a door that measurement should be taken from the edge of the door when open as it intrudes into the work space. Just like with an air impingement oven where you need to take into account the in-feed and exit trays at either end of the oven (if they’re going to be used) when considering its overall length, not much of a problem in most kitchens but in a tight kitchen it could be important.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I don’t think an air impingement oven would fly here in NYC. Open kitchen as well

k an


We are willing to consider a forced air impingement oven, if it will bake the pizza better than a deck oven and the best the pizza can be baked. However, I need a crash course in this type of oven as I am extremely unfamiliar. A few questions;

  1. Typically, I finish my square pizzas on the stone deck for a final crisp on the bottom. Can an impingement oven replicate this?
  2. What impingement ovens should i be looking at?
  3. Can the bottom and top be set at different temperatures?
  4. What is the typical volume per belt (assuming I could fit a single conveyor in an 80" wide space…a 6 pie deck oven size?) How does it compare to a deck oven?
  5. Are you aware of anywhere in nyc I could test one out?

Without actually having your present pizza in hand I cannot unequivocally say that an air impingement oven will give you the same pizza as you are now getting from your deck oven using the decking method of baking. My advice is to contact any of the air impingement oven manufacturers (Edge, XLT, Middleby-Marshall, Lincoln) sorry if I missed anyone, to see if they can bring you in to their test/demo kitchen to actually work with your dough formula, or if they can arrange for you to bake with your dough in one of their oven at a facility located near to you. The temperature itself cannot be changed between the top and bottom of the oven but the airflow can (airflow is more important to baking in these ovens than temperature). For example, you could use a bright colored solid pan, close off all of the airflow to the bottom of the oven while baking at 500F and get a pizza that is well done on top and par-baked, at best, on the bottom. The features that control the bake in these ovens is time, temperature, oven airflow, top and bottom finger profile, as well as color and airflow of the baking platform, any of these can be adjusted to provide different characteristics in the finished bake. Add to that dough formulation and you have a lot to work with.
The production volume per hour is much greater for an air impingement oven than for a deck oven but the exact numbers will depend upon the size of the pizza in question as well as length/width of the oven. The main benefits of an air impingement oven are: Greater unit volume production, excellent moisture control with heavily topped pizzas, improved bake consistency, no need for an “oven tender”, ability to bake different types of pizzas side by side (split belt/conveyor option) and less space utilization than other types of ovens, plus, like Tupperware, they’re stackable.
On the downside, you have to have good dough management in place to get the most out of these ovens (GI-GO), they will require some type of baking platform (screen, disk, pan), and they have all of the ambiance of a shoe box, and like just about everything else in a store, they’re noisier than a deck oven, not objectionable, just noisier (some of the old models sounded like a jet getting ready to take off, new models are much improved). I wrote an article in my In Lehmann’s Terms column some time back discussing the different oven types and how they fit into different store concepts if that would be of interest to you check the archives for the article.
I think those are the high and low spots.
Is it right for you? I can’t answer that, which one should you buy should you so opt? I said it in one of my earlier columns on the new generation of air impingement ovens, “put them into a bag, shake them up, and I would be happy with the first one to fall out”, that said, go with the company/oven that you’re most comfortable with.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

Tom said it all .
If you check the Think Tank you will find that most members prefer the edge oven over other conveyors. Less costly to buy,lower gas consumption, expell less heat, lower sound level.
George Mills

I might also add that for anyone thinking about the possibility of an air impingement oven in their future, we have the Pizza Expo (Las Vegas, NV) and NAPIC Show (Columbus, OH) coming up early in 2016. If you can attend either of the shows this would be an excellent opportunity to visit with representatives from the different oven companies to learn more about their product, and while you’re at it, don’t forget to ask them to explain the oven “fingers” to you and ask them to remove one from the display oven so you can see first hand how they work. If you are going to buy one in the future you’re going to need to remove them periodically for cleaning anyways, so get an introduction while you’re at the show. Both shows are great learning tools both from a seminar aspect and from the opportunity to see and learn about different equipment and visit with all the different suppliers.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor