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Why are pizza ovens so unique?

  1. Jan 8, 2006 #1

    Pengwuino

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    Or are they even unique? I heard pizza ovens cost... pff, $10,000's! What makes them so special? Why is it just so hard to make real pizza at home with your own oven? Does a pizza oven burn at much higher temperatures?
     
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  3. Jan 8, 2006 #2

    My uncle owns a number of Domino's stores in sothern california. One thing is that the ovens always run at 500 degrees farenheit, give or take about 3 degrees. They are also much more open than a kitchen oven. The pizzas are placed on mesh screens, that are placed on a chain link conveyor belt that moves the pizza through the oven. Comes out the other side in about 8 minutes (i forget the exact number, but that was my perception from the times i was working in the stores, though it may have been 10). The oven is about eight feet long, 3, maybe four feet wide, and the cavity the pizzas pass through is about 12-18 inches tall (6 inches of that is under the conveyor) (though whole oven goes from floor to ceiling, 12, maybe 13 feet).

    Now I don't know enough about kitchen ovens to say why you can't get the same effect, but part of it is probably the temperature (i don't know if our kitchen oven even goes to 500, i've never used it higher than 425, and its got digital controls, so there's no dial with a limit on it), and another part is probably how evenly the oven can cook. Because there is a relativley large open cavity both above and below the pizzas, both top and bottom cook at the same rate. We also use a lot of cornmeal when prepping the dough, that's the grainy stuff that's on the bottom of the pizzas when you get them (i assume this would have some affect).
     
  4. Jan 8, 2006 #3

    Pengwuino

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    Well the oven can reach 550 F... so I assume its the large volume
     
  5. Jan 8, 2006 #4

    Moonbear

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    They're not that expensive. http://shopping.netsuite.com/s.nl;j...65In0?c=431688&sc=2&category=301&it=A&id=7714

    Of course, it's a commercial grade oven, intended to run at high temperatures constantly. I don't consider those conveyor belt contraptions to be real pizza ovens. As soon as I see one of those in a pizza place, I leave...it's not real pizza. I want to see someone tossing the pizza and using a pizza paddle to put it in and out of the oven. But, meh, people outside of NY and NJ don't know anything about making good pizza. :tongue:
     
  6. Jan 8, 2006 #5

    Pengwuino

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    What a boring pizza oven :P That's not commercial I bet... unless pizza isnt the restaurants specialty. I remember the pizza oven at this one place I use to go to was ... probably 10 feet tall and it was the type moonbear is talken about (slide in and sits there like a real pizza oven).
     
  7. Jan 8, 2006 #6

    BobG

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    Which kind of pizza oven?

    You have the ovens that franznietzsche described which virtually assures every pizza is cooked the proper amount of time without the employees having to remember how long each pizza has been in.

    You have the ovens where you have to slide the pizza in, remember what time you put the pizza in, and remove it at the proper time (easy enough until you have several pizzas in the oven, each started at a different time).

    The best are the old fashioned wood ovens that are kind of like a dome shaped kiln. The wood burns somewhere inside the dome, preferably out of the way. The pizzas sit inside, preferably not touching the fire. Temperature control is a little harder, but there's also the possibility of getting a few ashes in your pizza, which adds a little character to it.

    Edit: I mean pizza ovens like this: http://www.fornobravo.com/
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2006
  8. Jan 8, 2006 #7
    I don't think it's the oven per se, but the dough. Pizza dough has to be made, frozen, then thawed, to taste like it does from a pizza place. Some pizza places cook it on stone slabs which gives a great texture to the bottom of the crust. You could do that in your own oven if you had one of those slabs.
     
  9. Jan 8, 2006 #8

    Moonbear

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    I think Les Sleeth had posted links around here somewhere to a site with pizza dough recipes. The dough is definitely the key. I don't know about needing to freeze it (I think that's what the chain places do, but I've never seen frozen dough in a real pizzeria), but it does need to rest.

    Here are some recipes I think I need to try.
    http://pizzaware.com/newyorkpizza.htm
    http://pizzaware.com/pizzadoughrecipe.htm

    I use a baking stone, and it really helps get the right crispness.
     
  10. Jan 8, 2006 #9

    Mk

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  11. Jan 8, 2006 #10
    When I was in high school, I worked at a St. Louis-style pizzeria for a time. In case you don't know, St. Louis-style pizza is extremely thin, and is topped with provel (not provolone) cheese. They had a gas oven with some kind of stones, on which the pizza was placed with a paddle. It made for very good pizza.
     
  12. Jan 9, 2006 #11

    FredGarvin

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    The main drawback to most home ovens is not the max temperature it can reach, but the effectivness of it's temperature regulation. Most home ovens go through pretty large temperature swings in it's feedback in temp control. You can probably expect a good 20° variance if it's not a convection type of oven.
     
  13. Jan 9, 2006 #12
    the restaurant i worked at specialized in pizza & pasta & we had 2 of those conveyor-belt ovens, one on top of the other. they weren't 10ft tall though, together they were ~7-8ft tall. they were set at ~495-500 degrees & it took ~9mins for something to go through (pizza, pasta, garlic, focaccia for sandwiches, etc). i would say it's possible, with some cleverness if necessary, to make pizza at home that just as good as at a restaurant. even if a home oven doesn't cook hot enough & you'd have to cook it for longer just make the crust a bit thicker. since cooking something at a lower temp for longer makes things crispy/crusty, making the crust a bit thicker would compensate for the added crispiness of the crust.
     
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