Pizza ovens come in various shapes and sizes. The sole purpose of a true pizza oven’s design is to cook a pizza pie correctly. The true test of a pizza oven is how consistently it will cook the pizza. This means the pizza’s top is cooked as well as the bottom. The center is cooked as evenly as the outer edges and the bottom is at least slightly crispy and golden brown.
It does not take a great chef to cook a pizza so with a little instruction and a few test runs even a person with little cooking experience should be able to properly cook a pizza when using a pizza oven.
There are many brands of pizza ovens. ©Hubert Company out of Harrison, Ohio carries a several consumer level counter top pizza oven models that can be purchased from their web site. For more restaurant size you may want to look at some of the Zesco Products line of pizza ovens that range from counter top to larger self standing conveyor ovens designed specifically to bake a pizza. The conveyor oven is perhaps the most widely used by pizzerias around the United States. With a conveyor pizza oven, the cook places the uncooked pizza on one end extending out from a tunnel. The pizza will slowly enter the tunnel where it is cooked and then after 5 to 8 minutes emerges out from the other end where it is fully cooked. A word to note: be careful of pizza places that do a high volume business. There is a growing and alarming trend for the cook to reach in and pull the pizza out before it has fully emerged. If this is done in your view, remind the cook that you don’t want your pizza undercooked. If the crust is not golden brown then let them know they pulled it out too soon and demand they remake it.
Another type of pizza oven that has a certain appeal is the wood fired pizza oven or brick pizza oven. These are for the traditionalists that really want the taste and feel of the Old Country. A wood fired pizza oven is characterized by having an opening in the front with a trap door. In some case the door is emitted but the heat is well contained. You will see the cook frequently checking the pizza by using a long wooden spatchula, also called a peel. With the peel the cook will lift up the edge of the pizza to examine the bottom of the crust to make sure it is golden brown while also monitoring the top to check for well melted but not burnt cheese. When the pizza is ready the cook will lift the pizza out with the peel and use the peel as a cutting board. The pizza is then cut and served piping hot. Wildwood Fired Pizza Ovens and BBQs offer these in different shapes and sizes and PizzaMarketPlace.com offers several links to vendors that carry these as well.
If you are serious about purchasing a pizza oven, check out some of the links on this site, talk to other restaurant owners and start researching the different models and features.