The pizza may have changed very little (except for the toppings) since it was invented hundreds of years ago in Italy. Little may also have changed about how it was being made and where it was cooked. Naturally, the finishing of the pie was done in hot sweltering brick ovens.
Today, the modern way of life has encouraged engineers to remake the pizza oven mainly for portability and other aspects that would make delicious pizza available for anyone who has the time and resources. What then is the best type of pizza oven? It is the one that can be carried anywhere, especially outdoors, and can be easily set up to reproduce authentic pizza, complete with the great flavors that it is known for.
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What Are the Types of Pizza Ovens?
Let’s look into the general types that you will see described below all with the same goal, which is to make delicious mouth-watering pizza.
Freestanding Outdoor Pizza Ovens.
Generally described as stand-alone and portable, this kind of outdoor pizza oven is transportable and can be used to cook 12-16-inch pizzas one at a time only. It was made small enough so that it could be carried around. Even though it is heavy and rather large, it still can be set up anywhere, anytime.
With an outdoor gas or wood-fired pizza oven, you can enjoy a delicious pizza when you are out camping or having a day out at the beach with friends and family.
Propane and Gas Fueled
Outdoor gas-fueled ovens are exclusively used in open-air situations and are the most convenient subtypes to operate by far. It heats up a lot faster and can quickly get the right temperature needed in the shortest amount of time. Cleaning up a gas-fired pizza oven is also a breeze, with no ash and leftover burnt wood to contend with after use.
But for all that, gas-fired pizza ovens, convenient and quick as they might be, any pizza lover who knows the complex and smokey flavor of pizza cooked in wood rather than gas, may think that it is lacking in flavor and therefore lacks authenticity. It may sound rather harsh, but that opinion may be correct for enthusiasts who know how true Italian pizza is made. And, of course, how it tastes.
·Easy to use and quick to heat up
·No mess, No leftover woodchuck or ashes to clean up after
· Has good temperature control
·Gas fuel is abundant and readily available
·Finished pizza might not taste as great than it would if wood fuel was used.
The great thing about wood-fired cooking is that you would get better-tasting pizza each and every time, and the same is true even with other types of food. They are also for outdoor use only due to the ash and smoke that it produces. You may want to use savory, fragrant wood such as mesquite, hickory, and other popular wood-burning options.
They must be thoroughly dry so that they burn cleanly. They all impart delicious aromas and that unique smokey flavor that only a wood-fired pizza oven can deliver.
·Best tasting pizza with the desirable complexity of smokey flavors infused into the base and even into the crust
·Quick cooking at high temperatures of up to 700 F
·Has that authentic appeal to discerning pizza lovers
·Looks great as a decorative piece in your home
·Takes longer to heat up
·Needs patience and constant attention to maintain heat
·Needs preparation before burning, like sawing and seasoning
Charcoal can also be an excellent alternative to wood. It may require the same effort in building up and maintaining heat, albeit without the flavor and other after-benefits that wood can offer. It can heat up really well, though you would have to consistently watch it and top it up whenever needed. Also, you will have to burn the charcoal to white to achieve maximum temperature and is best for smaller grates.
·Briquettes burn fast and clean
·Does not provide the same aroma as wood
·Burns much hotter than wood
·Ordinary coal ignites slower than wood and takes longer to achieve the correct temp.
· Needs work when cleaning up.
Another subtype of a freestanding portable oven is the hybrid. This subtype can change from wood to gas-fueled range by simply interchanging components to transform it into whatever is appropriate for use at that time. You can even shift from gas to wood mid-burn to achieve higher temperatures.
·You can switch from less than authentic to authentic taste by making some minor adjustment
·Good for indoor and outdoor use
·Efficient and easy to use
·Easy to maintain temperatures when on gas mode
·Could cost you a few hundred dollars more than your regular portable pizza oven
·You might need to clean more often so that ash and other debris won’t clog its gas lines
Indoor Electric Pizza Ovens
This countertop appliance uses electric-powered heating grills located at the bottom and the top of the inside of the oven. The advantage to this is you will be able to control the temperature so that the topping and crust get cooked at different temperatures to get the finish you want.
·Convenient and easy to maintain
·Small enough to fit on your countertop
·Fast and consistent heating
·Can only reach a maximum of 600 F, which is less than what an authentic brick oven can achieve
·May not taste like restaurant-quality style pizza
If you already own a gas-powered grill, you may opt to buy a grill insert that will temporarily transform your barbecue grill into a pizza oven. A grill insert usually is made out of a double-walled roof and a stone base to hold the heat inside.
·Nice to look at and very portable
·Can reach a maximum of 1000 F and may create restaurant-quality style pizza depending on the maker’s skills
·Will consume a lot of coal/fuel to maintain the desired temperature
·Not easy to store ( you will need to keep the original box)
·Trial and error cooking for beginners
Brick and Clay Pizza Ovens
These are purpose-built ovens that can be featured as a functioning oven and, at the same time, a great conversation piece on your patio or your barbecue area at the back of your house. Enjoy an evening with family and friends and have a fire roaring in the oven while pizzas are cooking. Because of how brick oven retains heat and the unique enveloped environment inside, brick oven produces the highest quality artisan pizza that most enthusiasts prefer.
The pizza inside the brick oven cooks quickly while simultaneously retaining the moisture in the dough that gives its soft doughy texture that high-quality pizza crusts are known for. You can have your brick oven either pre-made and installed on-site or build your own following a pre-built model ready for assembly.
The real advantage to having a brick-walled oven constructed at home or even at your business is that they are large enough to cook several pizzas at any one time and even have a portion of the oven to keep your other pizzas warm.
·Best quality pizza produced
·Quick cooking time while preserving pizza quality
·Even heat all throughout with minimal recovery
·Very nice feature for your rear veranda or patio at home
·Heat needs to be monitored and maintained in a brick oven which is much more laborious than gas-fired ovens.
·Expensive to buy and or build
·Needs some skills to use. The operator needs to train how to use the brick oven
Criteria for a Good Pizza Oven
We conclude that all the ovens presented above have their purpose and qualities that cannot overlap the others. Let’s go ahead and try to find out which one has the most points on some of the criteria that we deemed as indicators of the best type of pizza oven:
|Product||Portability||Affordability||Best Tasting Pizza||Ease of Use||Cleaning|
|Freestanding gas-fired oven||✓||✓||✗||✓||✓|
|Indoor Electric pizza oven||✓||✓||✗||✓||✓|
|Grill Insert pizza oven||✓||✓||✗||✓||✓|
|Brick and Clay pizza ovens||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
The unique flavor and texture that only traditionally done pizza can come up with is quite hard and even impossible for some to imitate. Therefore, the brick pizza oven has always been the best and probably will continue to be the best. However, the freestanding wood-fired oven comes in a real close second to the brick oven. Some may even consider them equal depending on the purpose and location of cooking the pizza.
The freestanding wood oven can impart the same flavors and simultaneously be ready to cook anytime, anywhere.
Suffice to say, based on that edge, both the brick and portable oven can considerably be recognized as the best outdoor pizza ovens today.