Before we look at which is the most suitable oven let’s understand how an oven works. The oven is designed to create heat in order to bake. Pizza and bakery products are baked by 3 different elements:
– Conduction: is the heat which comes from the bottom of the oven.
– Radiation: is the heat coming from the flame or the walls of the oven.
Once the pizza or the bread is placed in the oven, the heat spreads from the oven environment inside through the surface and onto the food being cooked. This is a heat transmission called CONVECTION.
In addition, the heat comes from the flame or refractory mass towards the inside of the food This is called transmission by RADIATION.
Finally, from the oven floor, the heat propagates towards the base of the food. This is a heat transfer process called CONDUCTION.
In the product, a temperate content is created with a maximum of 100°C. In this phase there is a movement of molecules of water from inside to out, which goes to the surface and evaporates.
At the end of the baking process the water molecules that evaporate decrease causing the pizza to have a rapid increase in temperature in particular on the surface (now free of water molecules which have evaporated). This causes the formation of the crust. The crust becomes thicker as this cooking phase continues. If the water content disappears completely the pizza colours and eventually burns.
In short: during the baking process we extract water from the pizza. The product temperature is always lower than 100°C, but this depends on the size of the dough of the pizza and therefore on the weight and thickness (e.g. Neapolitan style or Focaccia). If it only reaches 70-75°C inside the product, with their characteristics that we know.
The gas oven is the modern version of the wood oven. Instead of wood the oven is equipped with a gas burner inside the oven which produces the flame – equal to that of a wood fire.
It can be fixed or with a rotating cooking deck. This type of oven is now very common and is taking the place of wood-burning ovens in many pizzerias due to the ease of use. The gas burner is obviously easier to control than a fire resulting in consistent operating temperatures, it is also cleaner, safer and gas is around 50% cheaper than wood to use as a fuel.
There are ovens available that do a gas/wood combination. Combined gas-wood ovens, with a rotating cooking deck is the ideal solution for the pizzeria which is looking for the perfect combo between ease of use, consistency and theatre. The oven looks and cooks the same as a full wood oven, just with a separate gas burner. The temperature is more controlled, and the user has the choice of fuels.
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