To some people, pizza is just about as simple as it gets. To others, creating the perfect pizza is a task that demands the kind of precision invested in painting the Sistine Chapel. But what few can argue is that when you get your hands on a pizza that’s been both prepared and cooked properly, nothing else on earth comes close to it.
The question being – what’s the best type of oven for cooking pizzas?
Well, every type comes with its own pros and cons including things like convenience, ease of use and of course, the final results. Nevertheless, there’s one specific type of pizza oven that never fails to score top marks above and beyond all others.
Pizza Convection Ovens
In terms of efficiency – by way of both time and money alike – convection ovens take some beating. Both at home and in commercial settings, convection ovens work by circulating air around the interior of the oven to keep an even temperature throughout. This way, the temperature remains somewhat lower and the oven uses much less power to both reach and hold it. The result is an evenly cooked pizza for a relatively low cost, not to mention rapid and consistent results, every time.
Brick Oven Pizza
Anyone looking to replicate the rustic look, feel and taste of a classic Italian pizzeria from days gone by will find all they need in a brick-style pizza oven. You absolutely cannot and will not go wrong with a brick or stone pizza oven, which uses the traditional wood-fired method to reach the optimum temperature. It’s the way in which a wood-burning pizza oven can reach temperatures between 700 and 1,000 °F that makes it a unique and incredibly desirable option. It’s the same method that has been used for centuries and involves no complicated technology whatsoever. If you are looking to please anyone who really knows their pizza – like the Italians – a wood-fired brick or stone pizza oven really is the only way to go.
As for conveyor ovens, some of the world’s biggest pizza chains (which we won’t name right now) use conveyor ovens exclusively. As the name suggests, these purpose-built machines — which are often very large — consist of a gas or electric burner which heats the oven to a precise temperature in accordance with the pizzas being cooked. A conveyor is used to take in the prepared pizzas in at one end and slowly move them through, pushing them out the other side when fully cooked. In places where it’s necessary to put out literally hundreds of pizzas a day, conveyor ovens can be extremely convenient as they make it very difficult to undercook or overcook anything. However, they cannot be used to create the same 100% authentic pizzas as the kinds of ovens that utilize stone surfaces and wood fires.
Pizza Deck Ovens
Last up, pizza deck ovens are ideally suited to those who do not have the space (or perhaps the budget) for a wood-fired pizza oven, but still want to put out delicious pizzas with a more authentic taste. With these ovens, the shelves or ‘decks’ of the oven are made of stone, which is then heated by a gas or electric burner to the required temperature. A pizza deck oven can reach temperatures between 400 and 600 °F, making it superior to some oven types, but not quite in the same league as a wood-fired pizza oven. The use of stone makes a big difference in terms of authenticity, but some would argue it’s still not quite up there with traditional ovens.
If you want to know how to cook the best possible pizza, you only need to ask the Italians. And if you ask the Italians, they’ll always tell you that if it’s not cooked in a wood-fired oven using a traditional stone base, it isn’t a traditional or authentic pizza. You can try all the other tricks in the book, but every element that goes into a wood-burning stone pizza oven adds to the taste, texture and aroma of the pizza from top to bottom.
So while you can’t say it’s impossible to make incredible pizza with any kind of pizza oven going, you cannot and will not make a truly classic Italian pizza without a wood-burning oven.