Hi, new here, need your educated opinion.


First I want to thank you for allowing me to become a member of this forum. I have lurked a long time, but now I have a question that needs answering from PROFESSIONALS. I have posted in a forum geared towards pizza lovers, but most ARE NOT pros and I am sure that the answers will be a bit skewed towards the ROMANCE of certain ovens instead of the REAL value.

Please, if this info has been discussed elsewhere point me in the direction I need to go and I will follow. I am sorry if it has already been discussed. I HAVE read MANY posts that have SOME info, but none where its all organized in one post.

I have two pizza places. One small, one large. I use 120,000 btu gas fired brick ovens. If I were to describe the TYPE of pizza we make, I would say its pretty close to NEW HAVEN PIZZA, minus the coal oven (though not all NH pizzerias use a coal oven.) I am beginning to design and formulate my BEST restaurant yet. I would like to know what OTHER pros think about OVENS.

I’m thinking about 3 types. I KNOW each one has its pros and cons. I would like as many pros and cons as you guys can give me.

Gas Deck Ovens
PROS: ease of use/ ease of training/ consistancy/ little or no turning/ clean and efficient/ CAN produce
fantastic pizza when using great ingredients (DiFaras)/ cost efficient/ made for AMERICAN type pizza,
in other words, because of the wide doors, a bigger, heavier topped pie can be manuevered easily.

CONS: Well, in all honesty, boring. There is no MARKETING possibilites. Beside that, there really are no cons.

Wood Burning
PROS: Marketable, beautiful, more delicious burnt spots, quick, imparts a slight smoky flavor MOST people like.

CONS: Small opening, really made for a Naples,Italian type pie, smaller, very little toppings, individual pies.
More difficult to use, train. Dirtier. More expensive to run. Can’t really fitt many pies for its size.

Coal Oven
PROS: The most romantic of all east coast ovens. Quick, quick, quick, a flavor MOST find pleasing.
CONS: Local legalities, expensive to buy and use, the most DIFFICULT to train and use. The “next day” slices
are drier than a deck ovens slices.

Well, there you have it. I obviously know the most about deck ovens. The wood burning and coal burning ovens, I need opinions on. I would appreciate ANY info. I know EVERY oven has its good and bad, and I want to weigh all the aspects and make a decision.

Thank you so VERY VERY much for ANY advice. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Oven selection is more than just picking out a box that bakes a pizza reasonably well. Oven selection should be based on store concept, building facility, and type of pizza being baked. Let me give you some examples;
Store Concept: If you are an “old world” pizzeria, a wood burning oven might be a better fit with your concept than an air impingement oven, same thing for a more elegant, dine in pizzeria/restaurant. If you are located on the fringe of a university campus and get a lot of student traffic for lunch and dinner, an air impingement oven might be just what you are looking for.
Building Facility: If you are in a small space such as in a strip mall a smaller foot pring air impingement or deck oven might be the best choice. If you still want some of the old world charm, go with brick faced deck oven. If heat is an issue, you might consider one of the infrared ovens, they’re the coolest operating oven of all the high capacity ovens.
Type of Pizza: If you are going to be proud to offer the greatest amount of toppings within a 100-mile radius, then an air impingement oven might be your oven of choice since it does such an excellent job of drying a pizza made with scads of vegetable toppings.
This is just a very brief summary of what I’ve written on the topic.
There are also issues of training, as you well know, wood burning ovens require some operator technique, plus, its a hot, demanding job to “tend” the oven, so it may be difficult to keep a person at that position very long before they remember that job offer they got at the local auto parts store just down the street. With wood burning ovens there is also the issue of space, you need a lot of it infront of the oven, how much? You will need to have open space equal to the length of the oven peel plus a minimum of three (3) feet. If you don’t allow for this, someone wil eventually end up wearing a hot pizza right out of the oven (this is not good). Much of the same thing can be said for deck type ovens, but depending upon the type selected, it may not be necessary to rotate/spin the pizzas in the oven, and, since the ovens are typically, a lot shallower, you don’t need as much free space in front of the oven. In many cases we can get by with as little as 4-feet of free spacew in front of the average deck oven.
Single fuel coal or wood fired ovens are another story. Local codes come into play here, as well as permits in the specific building (will the building owner allow you to install such an oven?). Then too, you’re married to the oven. Since it can take HOURS to bring the oven up to operating temperature, you can’t afford to let the “beast” go hungry. Think about the days you will be closed, now, you’ve gotta go to the shop to feed the oven. With a duel fuel oven, (gas and wood or coal) you can just set the thermostat down to 300 or 350F and go home, then when the shop reopens after the holiday, it will only take a few hours to get the oven back up to operating temperature.
You mention those delicious burnt spots on the bottom of the pizzas, I love them too, but you really can get them conventional deck ovens as well as air impingement ovens too.
Lotsa things to consider when looking at ovens.
Contact the manufacturers to become as familiar with the ovens as their reps are, then go to the next Pizza Show (Orlando, Florida) to see the ovens and talk to the reps. Then consider some of the above and make your decision.
Good Luck,
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

thank you tom, very much for the info