Ovens for high volume (Grokster)

Decks have a charm and a baking quality that most conveyors cannot repeat. They also afford some flexibility of use. For high volume of pies per hour, you gotta have a conveyor. Period. Or a BUNCH of decks.

Each pizza on the conveyor begins cooking the moment the leading edge enters the baking chamber. When the first pie is coming out at minute 7:25, the one right behind it is almost done, and they come out every 30 seconds (for example) after that. The first pie takes the longest lag time … then if you put a continuous stream of pies on the belt, they will pop out continuously.

Decks have the drawback of having to recover heat each time to you open that door, and each time you drop a cold pie in the deck. You gotta let a spot recover from the last pie before using it again for a new pie. Maybe only 45 seconds, but that’s production lime lost in the efficiency equation.

All hat said, I personally prefer deck ovens. Call it a character flaw. :o)

Haha, yeah I seem to have the same flaw in character. There are a few places around here with conveyors and from what I can tell they just don’t have the same texture. It could be the dough used however, I don’t have one so I can’t experiment with it unfortunately.

I enjoy the deck ovens I have, both are bakers pride. The one major flaw I’m having is that the stone is starting to disintegrate so I can’t cook things like garlic toast or finish off pies on those surfaces (we do a lot of pasta, and not being able to toast more than 6 slices at a time can be a pain in my ass sometimes). I can’t find anybody in my area with any type of stone to replace them with though which is definitely frustrating.

We use a stack of blodgett 1000’s with the original stones. Recovery time is nill and there is no need to rotate the pies as they cook. Those stones and oven design are killer! I will take my ovens over any new blodgett or BP. The drawback if one sees it that way is the oven stones are 37" deep x 47" wide and we make only 1 size - 18" so getting the oven loaded (4 pies each oven) takes some skill to shape the pies right and then fit them in the oven. I will always be a small, low volume operation, using deck ovens. Being raised in the 1950’s- late 70’s NJ/NYC pizza world that is the only way to go. There is something in my bones and soul about the sound of that door banging closed, tossing pies, sliding them on the stones, scraping the stones… The burns on the hands and arms I could do without:) It is nice to hear there are other deck oven users here. I don’t post here much because it mostly high volume conveyor oven type shops.

Grokster: Stones are readily available. Do you live outside the USA?

Hey don’t be afraid to post thinking that it is only high volume types here. I’m nowhere near high volume compared to some of the guys, as are a lot of others.
We are here to discuss anything and everything about pizza from anyone and everyone and wht you ask, or say could be the missing link for someone

Dave: Thanks. I have learned a lot reading here about the buying of a business. I was raised making pizza in what many will say is the top pizza center in the USA. It was a great learning ground but I never ran my own shop. I do now but as a teacher at a public high school(link below). This has been a wonderful thing but I need to learn much about the buying/getting it all legal and safe. I have much to offer with old school NY deck pizza and need to learn much about buying a place. When I “retire” I will be opening a small place, under 2,000sqft total, with my 2 blodgett 1000 ovens, my wife, a couple people with developmental delays to do cleaning basic prep, and best friend. I only want seating for 10-20, open only 4 days a week, 100 doughes a day, top ingredients, 1 size pie(18") with limited topping choices, pepperoni, sausage(homemade from my grandfather from Italy recipe), mushrooms, peppers, sell by the slice as well, open from mid afternoon to 9, orders 24 hours or more in advance will be encouraged. We are not out to to make much, just enough to add a few bucks to our retirement and to continue the commitment to providing work for people with disabilities. Walter

Yes, I’m in Canada, western Canada at that, the nearest supplier I found for bakers pride was in Ontario (north of Michigan) and I’m north of Montana. So shipping would be a bit of a problem, they tried to get me in touch with dealers near me but there wasn’t any.

Grokster: That sounds tought. I wonder if there are health issues like dust getting in food and you lungs? I would get the new stones. Walter

SWH: We cook all of our pizzas in 1" deep dish pans so there is never any worry of that. I would however love to get new stones and do a thin crust summer menu all baked on the stone. Future plans!

Some time ago I wrote an article on the new generation of air impingement ovens that might be of interest to some. You can find it in the archives for “In Lehmann’s Terms”. There are a number of reasons for noticeable differences in the characteristics between a deck baked pizza and an air impingement oven baked pizza. Probably the biggest offender is in trying to bake the pizzas too fast. I’ve seen truly great pizzas come out only second class just because they were baked 30 to 60-seconds less than they should have been. This is especailly true with many of the bigger chains where bake time (as in the shortest possible) is the goal rather than finished pizza quality. Another problem is that I’ve found a good many ovens that are not correctly profiled for the type of pizza being made, this is more so the case when used(previously owned) ovens come onto the scene, but I can attest to the fact that it also happens with new ovens too. Formulation can enter into the equation too, sugar, milk, and eggs are generally not a good match for an air impingement oven if you are trying to achieve a hearth baked type of characteristic. Lastly, we now have some excellent baking disks that are designed specifically for use in air impingement ovens where a hearth baked crust characteristic is sought after. When using these disks, the best results are achieved when all sugar, eggs, and milk are deleted from the dough formula and the bake temperature is increased to 475 to 500F for newer generation ovens or 525F for older generation ovens. All of this said, you must also be willing to bake the pizza until it’s done, remember, short baking will destroy even the greatest pizza.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor