Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Oven Alterations for Pizza

  1. Jun 28, 2004 #1

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Here's a problem that has the potential for great personal rewards to solve.

    There is a lot more to cooking than might first meet the eye. Setting creativity aside, it is pure chemistry and, on the cooking side, physics. The world's most delicious food (sorry if my bias is showing) is very dependent on how the oven works. Pizza cooks best at high temperatures, 650 F and up (750 F seems ideal), but most home ovens only reach 500 F (if that).

    Being a pizza nut, I've invested heavily in good equipment, but not everyone can afford their own pizza oven. So some try to maximize the use of their home oven. At a website devoted to pizza making (pizzamaking.com), one finds individuals as insane as me trying to figure out how to make the perfect pizza (great secrets there, such as where to find the best tomatoes, flour, why letting the dough ferment overnight is good, why adding ascorbic acid to flour helps, hand stretching vs. rolling, cheese types, etc.).

    In one thread called "Pizza Oven Physics" someone is trying to figure out how to get his lower temperature oven to bake the pizza evenly, and still get the high-temp effects. Check out the details at: http://http://www.pizzamaking.com/yabbse/index.php?board=6;action=display;threadid=439 [Broken]

    Anyway, I was wondering if anyone would like to take a shot at how one might alter a conventional oven, using materials one might easily buy, to get the maximum effects for baking pizza. If you read the link, you'll see they know about pizza stones and tiles to create even radiant heat. Because of the size of a conventional oven, the bottom and top of a pizza cook differently, so they've already figured out to move the pizza between the top and bottom shelves. (I probably shouldn't be thinking this way, but one thought I had was if it might be possible to defeat an oven's thermostat so it will get hotter.)

    Any ideas will be appreciated.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 2, 2004 #2
    I think only once was I able to gaze into a pizza oven. What I saw resembled a giant Lazy Suzan, only hotter. I don’t recall seeing any stones, heating elements, or flame, but it’s been a very long time I didn’t get a good view. I don’t know much about electric ovens, except that certain models had a broil or oven cleaning option. Would the temperatures reached in either of those settings still be too low? If not, then perhaps there is some clever way to do what you’re asking. I don't know what constitutes a good pizza oven (very hot and even heating?), also the link provided doesn't open for me. What are the advantages/disadvantages of gas vs electric ovens.

    If all else fails, the Marines can increase oven temp;
  4. Jul 2, 2004 #3

    Les Sleeth

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thanks for the imput BH . . . sorry the link didn't work, I keep forgetting to check them after I post to make sure they do.

    Part of the problem is the size of a conventional oven, which has too much air to heat. So one solution is to reduce the interior size of the oven. As I said, I finally invested in a pizza oven, a Bakers Pride countertop, where the space inside it is only about 6 inches vertically so it can run on 120v (they have a 220v option).

    Anyway, the administrator at pizzamaking.com is pretty scientific about figuring stuff out, and managed to get great results with quarry tiles. Here's the link that explains how he did it:

    I've been investigating soapstone, which apparently is just about the best material there is at absorbing heat quickly and radiating out slowly (here's a site that gives a great explanation of why: http://www.woodstove.com/soapstone_f.html [Broken].) One place I found using Google, sells tiles of it for countertops, so I am going to suggest in the above thread that he consider using soapstone. I use it now to serve pizza on . . . it is awesome for keeping it hot while serving.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  5. Jul 6, 2004 #4
    The administrator at pizzamaking.com made a great looking pizza and it looks like his contraption is workable, but I think all those tiles represent too much trouble for the average pizza maker. I don’t know how heavy those tiles are but if the bottom part was a single piece it would be a better arrangement and if the sides where also attached it would be better still. Using those soapstone panels might be a way to accomplish this. My preference would be to have some type of handle fashioned as well. So, you end up with a product where, after removing perhaps the upper shelf, you slide it onto the lower shelf of your oven and get on with the fun part (plus, a single bottom piece makes for easier clean up). Sounds like it might have potential for a business venture...
    Is there a link to the type of pizza oven you purchased?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook