Pizza is a delicious meal, and you might want to make it at home or commercially. You probably do not know what kind of utility oven you should choose. The best and most common pizza ovens are wood-fired pizza oven and gas pizza oven.
You need to understand what each pizza oven brings to the table, the factors to consider, the benefits and disadvantages before making your choice.
Wood-fired pizza oven
As the name suggests, this oven is fired by organic fuel, this is, wood or coal. It is usually a brick oven.
Factors to consider when choosing a wood-fired oven
When choosing a wood-fired oven, it would be wise to have these factors in mind:
Supply of wood.
It is crucial to ensure that you will have a consistent wood supply, whether you will buy or collect in the bushes and first yourself. Ensure that the supply is constant. Also, take into consideration the type of wood you want. The type of wood you use also affects the flavor of pizza produced.
If you want to have some aroma on your pizza, then you should use fruitwood. This gives a distinct smell to your pizza.
Hardwoods are better than softwoods. This is because softwoods burn too fast, yet the hardwood lasts longer. Hardwoods are also cleaner. They produce less soot and smoke once they are lit.
Storage of the wood.
Storage is an equally important factor that is often overlooked. You have to ensure you have a room or place to place your wood. You want to protect your wood from rain to ensure it remains dry. For this reason, you can build a structure, if you have the means and space, where you will store your wood.
Alternatively, you can store your wood under a shade.
The tools you will use to cut the wood.
You will also need tools to cut the wood. This is important, especially if you are collecting the wood yourself. However, if you are buying this wood, you might be lucky to find them already cut for you. If you have a friendly supplier, you can ask them to cut the wood to your desired shape and size.
Need for kindlings and fire starters.
You will also need lots of small twigs and sticks to start your fire. This is because you cannot start a fire with just your wood.
Starting a wood-fired oven is not easy. You have to know how best to arrange the twigs, fire starters, and wood, or you will end up spending over an hour trying to light the oven. It helps to remember that you need oxygen to support combustion. Therefore, arrange your wood in such a way that it allows oxygen into the oven.
Remember, if you do not light or maintain your wood fire, the wood will produce lots of soot and smoke because of incomplete combustion. This will lead to pizza with some weird smell that none of your family or customers will appreciate.
Benefits of a wood-fired oven.
Smoky flavor pizzas.
Wood-fired oven produces smoky flavor pizza that we all love so much. This flavor identifies an authentic, distinct pizza from a normal pizza. With this kind of oven, you can have a taste of Italy and its traditional Italian pizza from wherever you are.
However, be careful not to overdo the smoky flavor. Remember, lots of smoke and soot do not bring about this flavor. You do not want to end up with a pizza that each bite tastes like a gulp of smoke.
Wood burns to produce a lot of heat. This heat is produced at the bottom. It moves to the top, where the heat is reflected in the cooking cavity at all sides. This means that a pizza is cooked from all sides in the wood-fired oven and gets cooked evenly.
A wood-fired oven can achieve very high temperatures of up to 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. This is not common in other types of ovens, leave alone gas-fired ovens. Because of the high temperatures, you can have your Neapolitan pizza cook in this majestic proven.
Additionally, it is usually made of bricks. Bricks have high thermal conductivity. This makes it absorb heat and retain it for a long time. This means once your oven is hot, it will remain hot for a very long time.
With a wood-fired oven, you can display your cooking prowess for others to see during family gatherings and when you are hosting. This brings about the merry, fun mood that you need for a party.
In a restaurant, outdoor cooking raises customers’ confidence in the restaurant as they can see what the chef is cooking and are sure that the chef is hygienic.
Additionally, traditional wood-fired ovens have this rustic look that decorates your outdoor. If you are in real estate, you know that a wood-fired oven raises a house’s value.
Using wood makes you mindful of the ecosystem and the environment. This is because wood is clean and does not produce carbon. This means it does not add to the carbon print.
Disadvantages of wood-fired pizza oven
It takes a long time to heat up.
Unlike the gas-fired oven that can take between 15 to 20 minutes to heat up, a wood-fired oven can take up to 60 minutes to heat up. This means you cannot use it when you are in a hurry to fix a quick dinner.
Secondly, if you are to serve customers pizza, you have to start heating your oven way before opening your restaurant for the day.
Hard to control temperatures.
It is not easy to control the temperatures of your oven when using a wood-fired oven. You can easily burn your pizza if you are not careful. The oven can also go off if you try to control the temperature and do not know how to do it.
It needs the expertise to operate it.
For most people, a wood-fired oven is not just something you read in a manual and can easily operate. You have to know how to position the wood to allow for complete combustion. You have to know how to light the wood-fired oven before everything else. You should also know how to control the temperature of the oven to keep your pizza from burning.
Most chefs suffer at the beginning while using a wood-fired oven. They struggle with the smoke and soot. However, do not give up. This is a skill that needs time to master completely.
A gas-fired oven uses the energy from burning natural gas or liquid propane. Natural gas is in air form, and it is lighter than air. This makes it rise above it. Propane is heavier and stays below the air. This means you have to be extra careful with propane because it does not vaporize when it leaks. Therefore can easily catch fire.
You are advised to put the propane tank in the basement or a room where people do not frequent that much.
Factors to consider when choosing a gas-fired oven.
Natural gas or propane.
It would be best to decide whether you want liquid propane or natural gas for your pizza oven. However, this might be influenced by the availability of natural gas connected to your house.
It is wise to consider the cost of natural gas to that of propane. Pizza ovens use a lot of energy to heat up. This means you will have to burn a lot of gas to reach the required energy. If you are to use propane, you will have to keep replacing your tank after a short period.
However, the long-term use of propane is cheaper than that of natural gas. However, it is wise to note that natural gas is cleaner than propane and that natural gas is also less risky.
Supply for your gas
You should consider the supplier for the gas that you need to fire up your gas oven. Most houses natural gas connected to them. However, in case you do not, then you might consider using propane. Propane is sold by many dealers all over the country. Just ensure that you have a regular supply of propane whenever you need it.
It is crucial to think of convenience before buying any oven. Fortunately, gas-fired ovens are quite convenient already. However, choose one that is easy to start, starts fast, heat up fast, and allows you to cook much pizza at a time if it is for commercial purposes.
Advantages of a gas-fired pizza oven
Quick to start.
It is relatively easy to start a gas oven compared to a wood-fired oven. You do not need any prior skills. You can as well just read the manual and have your gas oven started.
It takes a shorter time to heat your oven compared to a wood-fired oven. In 15 minutes, you will have your oven ready for your pizza.
Gas burns cleanly.
We want to use an oven that burns cleanly. Gas does not produce soot and smoke. This means that it will take little time to clean your oven compared to a wood-fired oven.
Additionally, it is eco friendly and does not produce lots of carbon monoxide harmful to the environment.
Can control the flame.
One significant advantage of the gas oven is that you have control over the strength of the flame. If you think it is too much, you can reduce it immediately. If you think that it is too little, you can add it to your preference.
Disadvantages a gas-fired oven
In a gas-fired oven, heat is produced from the top. This means that the top gets heated first, before the bottom. If you do not place your pizza well in the oven, the top will cook before the crust leading to the uncooked crust.
The gas oven can reach high temperatures, just not as much as the wood-fired oven. It also loses its heat faster than a wood-fired oven.
You can only cook a small number of pizzas at a time.
Ovens that use gas support less number of pizza per time. For example, most home ovens can only support a pizza at a time. In each deck or chamber, the gas ovens in restaurants mostly produce 40 to 50 pizzas per hour. But a wood-fired oven produces 80 pizzas per deck per hour.
Slower cooking time.
A gas pizza oven can take between 5 to 10 minutes to bake a pizza. Despite how fast it heats up, the cooking process is slower because of the lower heat.
A gas oven also loses heat faster than a wood-fired oven. This is because the metal in a gas oven has a lower thermal conductivity. This further explains the long period it takes to cook your pizza.
Lack of the smoky flavor.
You will notice that most of the best pizzas are made in restaurants that use wood-fired ovens. This is because of the smoky flavor in pizza that is produced in a wood-fired oven. This you cannot get in a gas oven. However, if you want to achieve this flavor, you can add some wood chips to your oven to produce that flavor and sweet aroma. Again, be careful to ensure that your pizza does not end with a lot of smoke smell.
Wood-fired oven and gas oven are both excellent choices of ovens. Depending on your preference and want, you can choose the one that you want. Remember that wood-fired ovens take a considerably shorter time to cook but take a long time to heat up. The vice versa is true for gas-fired ovens.
Some neighborhoods do not allow the burning of wood. It would be wise to confirm before you purchase your wood-fired oven.
Never use charcoal instead of wood in your oven. This is because it produces a lot of carbon monoxide that is not eco-friendly and does not heat as much wood.
Whichever oven you pick, ensure it is the right one according to your needs.