Woodfired NYC Pizza By The Slice

Hi all

I’ve been running a mobile woodfired pizza cart for a few months now and am looking at taking the next step and getting a permanent site here in Wellington, New Zealand. At the moment we make 17" pies and sell them by the slice at festivals, private parties etc…Because these events are usually very busy, we have not had to deal with the issue of reheating slices and the rapid deterioriation that woodfired pizzas tend to suffer from if they sit around too long. I would naturally love to stick with a woodfired oven for a permanent site but am worried about quality control in a situation where the slices aren’t flying straight off the chopping board into the customers hands (sometimes even skipping the ‘onto a plate’ stage for seriously ravenous customers!!)

Has anyone here seen or worked in a wood fired slice joint? Are they common in NYC? Any suggestions as to how to maintain consistent quality in such a set up? Would I be best par baking whole pies in the wood fire and finishing off slices in a separate gas oven?

Also, i’ve been thinking about the possibility of home delivery of whole pies but have the same concern- we all know woodfired pies are best eaten fresh out of the forno but is there a way to keep a pie in good condition all the way to the customers doorstep? Do those box inserts really work?

any thoughts or comments gratefully received


A few months back I wrote an article, published here in PMQ on A Fresh Approach to Pizza BY the Slice. This article deals with the best way to put a hot slice of pizza into the hands of the consumer with all of the quality characteristics of a just made slice of pizza. In your case, the concept would utilize a wood fired oven to par-bake the base pizzas, and an air impingement oven to finish the slices on order. The concept has been very successfully implemented, with the only change being that a gas fired, Marsal deck oven is used rather than a wood fired oven. My partner Jeff Zeak and I taught this concept at a class we held at the NAPICS (North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show) Show in Columbus, Ohio this past February.
Some of the key components are as follows:
*) Dock the dough skins and sauce them for par-baking.
*) The amount of par-bake is critical, so extra attention must be paid to this critical step. I actually like to use a second air impingement oven/deck for this as it allows for more complete control of the bake.
*) Dress the slices to order with any number/type of toppings.
*) Use a lesser amount of a whole milk Mozzarella cheese over the applied toppings to hold the slice together.
*) The air impingement oven has to be specially set-up to bake the slices. This set-up will look something like this: Partially closed fingers across the bottom to heat and lightly brown and crisp the crust, but not to burn it and essentially full open across the top to fully bake the applied toppings and brown the cheese if desired.
*) Bake the slices on a non-stick baking disk designed to flow a maximum amount of air such as the new, Hex Disk from Lloyd Pans <lloydpans.com>
*) Bake time will be right at 3-minutes at a temperature of 500F (variable).
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor