Many people dream of owning a pizza oven but in reality, this isn’t always possible. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot make tasty pizza at home. It is perfectly possible to cook pizza in convection ovens and a lot of people do this.
But the question still remains; what is better, a wood fired pizza oven or your home oven? In short, both types of oven are great for making pizza but it largely depends on the type of pizza that you will be making. Some are more suited to a wood fired oven whereas others would only burn in this extremely heated environment. If you want to make the best pizza possible, it is vital that you choose the right appliance for baking it.
In this guide, we will be taking a look at the pros and cons of both and discovering which will give you the best pizza.
How Is A Pizza Oven Different From A Regular Oven?
If you have ever used a wood fired pizza oven then you will know that the cooking time is massively reduced and this is the main difference between a wood fired pizza oven and your regular home oven.
The reason for this is that the temperatures inside a brick oven are massively hotter than the heat in convection ovens. As soon as the pizzas land on the wood oven floor, the residual heat begins cooking them from the bottom up, giving you a crust that is fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside.
If you prefer the thin crust pizza style, the wood fired oven will deliver this perfectly and is one of the reasons that you will see a wood fired oven being used in a pizza restaurant.
Another key difference between brick ovens and normal cooking ovens found in the kitchen of almost every home cook is that you end up with a different flavor. This has nothing to do with the temperatures in the oven but more in the way that the cooking happens.
You see, the cooking environment in a wood fired pizza oven is filled with wood smoke and this caramelises the pizzas, thus changing the overall flavor of the pie.
The appearance of the pizzas is vastly different when cooking in a wood fired oven compared to a gas oven. If you have ever seen a traditional Italian pizza, you will know that they have a kind of spotted appearance. This is known as leopard spotting and is one of the key differences of a cooking a pizza in a wood fired oven.
Finally, since the temperatures are dramatically difference in a wood deck oven, this causes what is known as oven spring which is where the faster cooking causes the crust to rise making it larger. You may be familiar with this when going to a pizza restaurant where the crusts look incredibly fluffy and this is something that a lot of domestic cooks strive to achieve.
Which Type Of Oven Is Best For Pizza?
The types of oven that are used for cooking pizza do vary. There is no denying that deck ovens give beautifully cooked pizza but that isn’t to say that you gas oven won’t come in handy, especially if you use a pizza stone.
If you are cooking an NY style pizza then using a gas oven may work better. In this case, you would increase the cooking time and end up with a thick, fluffy crust that can be loaded with your favorite toppings.
Furthermore, a gas oven will have far more benefits than a wood pizza oven when making a Detroit pizza. This is because the temperature in wood pizza ovens is far too high for the thickness of this pizza. Various places will cook them differently but on the whole, a Detroit pizza will be anywhere between 1/2 inch and an inch thick. Putting this into a pizza oven would burn the base before the inner parts were properly cooked.
But it doesn’t need to be a huge task, the answer is to bake the pizza at a lower temperature such as those created in your regular kitchen oven.
However, for other types of pizza, wood fired ovens tend to produce the best results. Again, this is in relation to the temperature inside a wood fired brick oven which the heating element in a gas oven simply couldn’t reach.
This is especially important if you want to make Neapolitan pizza. The only way to get a great result with this type of pizza is by cooking them in wood fired ovens. This is because this very thin pizza requires fast cooking at a high heat. Even the smallest temperature change can drastically alter the end result, with Neapolitan pizzas that have not been cooked correctly being too dry and lacking in flavor.
Although with all of this in mind, some pizza companies will use conveyor ovens. Conveyor ovens are great when there are a lot of hungry customers clamoring for a delicious pizza. They feature conveyors that move the pizzas through the radiant heat of the oven cooking them quickly which is super convenient for a restaurant.
That being said, we would still back using wood fired pizza ovens as this is all part of the fun of recreating an authentic experience.
Why Are Pizza Ovens Better?
Some people will always prefer brick ovens to a regular oven and this is largely down to personal preference. While we do love cooking in a an outdoor oven, neither type is superior as they both serve different functions. However, there are some things that set wood fired ovens apart from the rest.
As we have discovered, the hear inside a wood fired pizza oven is far hotter than that of gas ovens. The maximum heat will depend on the fuel source but in the main, you would use wood.
The type of wood that you use will affect the heat, the flavor and the burn time but the great things about wood fired ovens is that once the heat subsides and you have finished making pizza, the oven will remain warm enough to slow cook other foods for a good 24 hours. This makes them very diverse and convenient to use.
What’s more, when you cook pizza in a wood fired pizza oven, you end up with a much more even result. While the baking time may only be a few minutes, the high temperature under the base cooks the dough quickly while the heat around the top of the oven will cook the toppings. This is not possible in gas ovens and unless you use a preheated stone, you will find that the food doesn’t cook as evenly.
That being said, one of the major benefits of the stone is that it can somewhat mimic the conditions of a wood fired oven.
One of the main problems with a gas or electric oven is that they need to cook the pizza for a long time. As a result of this, the dough tends to dry out leaving you with crusts that are more crunchy and brittle than crisp and delicious like the New York pizzas you are used to eating in your favorite pizza chains.
The science of making pizza is something that chefs all over the world have been trying to perfect for years. There are many different styles of pizza, each with their own unique taste and texture.
Some of these can be successfully cooked in an electric or gas oven and have an excellent quality, especially when cooked on a baking stone. However, there are a few types of pizza that have to be cooked in pizza ovens to get the best result. Most importantly, Neapolitan pizza must always be cooked in a pizza oven in order to get the taste and texture that is so commonly associated with this style.
If you want to enjoy a very traditional and authentic pizza experience, then used a wood fired pizza oven is one of the best ways. But a lot of home chefs do not have access to pizza ovens and that’s OK, especially if you want to make NY or Detroit pizza as these won’t be well in a wood pizza oven.