An outdoor pizza oven isn’t necessary, but it’s a lot of fun. It can also achieve things that a standard oven cannot: Reach the scorching heat needed to bake the ideal pie.
You must choose between the oven’s body materials when searching for an outdoor pizza oven.
Should you get a stainless steel or brick pizza oven? What fuel should you use for a pizza oven? Electric, gas, coal, or Wood fired oven?
While determining that you want a pizza oven is straightforward, deciding which type best fits your needs is far more complicated.
You might just guess, but if you don’t know the difference, your pizza-making experience will always be marred by the nagging suspicion that you selected the wrong oven.
Thankfully, we’re here to squash that potential anxiety and give you all the information you need to choose the right pizza oven material for you.
Let us first go through each pizza oven type and how they work.
What is a wood-fired pizza oven
If you’re new to wood-fired pizza, you might wonder, Is it similar to brick oven pizza? You’ll quickly notice that wood-fired pizza is where the fuel is wood. People consider it the same as brick ovens, primarily using wood as the primary fuel source.
However, you can find brick ovens that use gas instead of wood. And it is not rare to see stainless ovens using wood as the primary fuel.
So, the main thing differentiating a wood-fired pizza is using wood as fuel, whether the oven is built on brick, stainless steel, or other materials.
A wood-fired pizza oven cooks pizza using burning wood rather than electricity or gas. The wood burning creates flames and tremendous heat, which cooks the pizza in less than a minute!
The conventional wood-fired pizza oven is composed primarily of bricks and cement and is installed in your home kitchen or outdoor living space.
Inside the oven are enormous ceramic stones on which the pizza is baked. You’ve probably seen one in a pizza restaurant; they’re hard to miss!
Brick ovens may achieve greater temperatures than typical household ovens, allowing pizzas to cook differently than they would in a standard oven.
How does a wood-fired pizza oven work
Pizza connoisseurs know that a pizza prepared in a classic wood-fired brick oven is something exceptional. But what makes this pie so much superior to one made at home in a domestic oven?
Many pizza lovers feel that using a wood-fired oven is the finest method to make the most genuine pizza.
Wood-fired pizza ovens are more analogous to those seen in a traditional pizzeria. A wood fire is built over the cooking surface to heat this sort of oven until it reaches the proper temperature. The wood and embers are then cleared away, and the pizza cooks on the hot surface.
The fact that a wood-fired pizza oven can get incredibly hot is something you realize once you understand how to heat one.
Wood-fired ovens cook by concentrating heat. The heat of the fire does not cook your pizza. Instead, you heat up the oven’s bricks and walls, allowing the oven to reach extremely high temperatures.
Seasoned (and dried) wood is used to build a fire on one side of the oven. It might take hours to heat up, but once heated, it can cook a pizza in minutes. Furthermore, the inside surfaces might remain heated for days.
Once the oven has reached temperature, the pizzas are cooked along the fire’s edge, with the flames licking the pizza. In fact, several of these massive ovens can cook three pizzas at once!
Science Behind Wood-fired Pizza Ovens
A pizza oven produces three kinds of heat. The first is the fire’s heat. The second type of heat is radiated heat. After a while, the dome of the oven becomes white-hot, and the heat from the dome radiates downward on your pie.
Finally, the dough is baked by convection heat from the ambient heat within the oven and the tiles on the oven floor.
Wood is used to ignite the fire and get the heat going in a wood-fired pizza oven. The fire can reach temperatures high enough to heat the dome, tiles, and floor. You may then push the wood away. Otherwise it could be in the rear of the oven.
Next, position a slice or complete round of dough at the front of the oven, away from the logs, to allow radiant and convection heat to cook it.
Layers of insulation and materials that trap heat within pizza ovens are used.
Maintain the fire to maintain the temperature high, and add more logs to feed the fire and raise the temperature.
Many meals do not require or desire the intense heat of live fire and a very hot 700oF oven. Allow the fire to go down and your oven to cool before continuing with this sort of cooking.
You can roast, brown, sear, and grill with the heat of the coals and a hot oven, as well as guarantee that your oven retains enough heat for longer durations of cooking.
Your oven will cook for hours with preserved heat while baking bread and other meals at temperatures that would ordinarily be cooked in a traditional oven.
After raking the coals from the fire, close the oven door to allow the oven temperature to regulate.
These ovens are powered by wood or wood pellets, use ceramic baking stones for cooking, and can achieve temperatures of up to 700 degrees Celsius.
This implies that they can precisely reproduce Neapolitan pizza ovens.
What is a stainless steel pizza oven
A stainless steel pizza oven is rarely an essential item. However, you might want one if you’re really into making the best possible pizza at home but don’t have the budget or space for a backyard brick oven.
And if you’re ready to up your homemade-pizza game, this will definitely help you do that.
Whereas brick ovens use thermal mass, stainless steel ovens use heat reflection. Steel warms up rather rapidly and is a good heat reflector and conductor.
Steel ovens do not need to be cured, so you can buy one in the afternoon and have it cooking by dinnertime. They also heat up rapidly.
Because of the quick cooling, you may need to briefly warm the oven between cooking pizzas or risk your base and toppings cooking at different rates. The good thing is that reheating is a short procedure.
How does a stainless steel pizza oven work
The stainless steel pizza oven, as opposed to the brick pizza oven, operates on the heat reflection concept. While brick is an excellent thermal mass material, steel excels as a heat reflector and conductor. Steel may reach the point of maximum heat faster.
The steel pizza oven requires no preparation time before cooking. If you want to cook rapidly, this is a plus.
So, how do you prepare many batches of pizza? Simply preheat the ovens slightly. It does not take you long.
As previously stated, stainless steel operates on heat reflection principles. As a result, if you want to make a lot of pizza dough, it will need to be warmed several times.
Remember that swiftly heating up implies quickly cooling down. Because of its low thermal mass, this material cannot maintain high temperatures for an extended period.
What is a brick pizza oven?
Until recently, if you wanted an oven that could get hot enough to bake a pizzeria-quality pie, you’d have to shell out thousands of dollars and set aside space for a brick oven.
A typical brick pizza oven relies on thermal mass and heat retention. Simply said, when you ignite a fire in a brick pizza oven, the heat is absorbed by the oven’s construction, stored, then reflected throughout cooking.
This oven uses bricks to keep temperatures high, and heat is provided by a fire driven by gas, wood, or even coal.
The different types of fuel add different tastes to the pizza, while the naked flame generates a char or crisp crust.
When we talk about brick oven pizza, we’re referring to the process of cooking the pizza.
Gas fire offers less flavor but burns cleanly and has the potential to scorch the pizza dough.
A wood fire gives the pizza a smoky wood taste while also charring the dough. All other forms of pizza pale in comparison to the smokey taste, crisp toppings, and fluffy dough of wood-fired brick oven pizza.
A coal fire is rarely used in the kitchen since it is an unsanitary manner of cooking, although it may be used to power a brick oven.
How does a brick pizza pizza oven work
Brick ovens are often wood-fired, but they can also be gas-fired. These might be more fickle when it comes to maintaining a stable temperature.
Other establishments utilize coal to power their ovens, which creates a similar char while maintaining a more steady level of heat, although it may be a bit untidy to have in a kitchen for the chefs.
A wood-fired oven works on a very basic concept. A wood fire is built at the back, side, or center of the oven to heat the inside dome and hearth area (mass).
Long after the flame has been out, the oven will retain heat to maintain optimal cooking temperatures. A brick oven is designed to keep its heat evenly distributed between 300 and 700 degrees Celsius for extended periods of time.
Your oven must heat up rapidly! Because a larger oven takes longer to heat, it may be used less frequently than a smaller oven.
Inside the brick oven, a fire is kindled with wood or, in some circumstances, gas.
The heat created by the energy source employed warms up the oven’s interior mass.
The wood-fired (or gas-fired) brick oven is designed to retain heat and distribute it evenly throughout the cooking area. To cook correctly, the top and bottom of a pizza must have equal heat. Your fire might be entirely extinguished or, preferably, just hot ashes and embers remain.
Pizzas should be cooked directly on the hearth, whereas roasts should be prepared in cooking trays. The recommended hearth temperature for cooking pizza is between 350 and 425 degrees Celsius.
Wood-Fired vs Stainless Steel vs Brick Pizza Oven: What’s the difference?
Understanding the distinctions between a regular and a pizza oven is essential for producing excellent pizza. There are several oven kinds, including wood-fired, electric, gas, and commercial.
The critical distinction is the highest temperature and heat retention these ovens can attain.
Different woods, pizza flours, and oven types introduce so many variables that it is hard to point to one building material and say it is superior to another.
That being said, various aspects to consider while deciding between steel and brick.
Since a brick pizza oven is less conductive, you’ll find that getting it up to cooking temperature takes a fair amount of time. This also means that a brick oven will hold its temperature longer and be able to maintain much higher temperatures. Because of this, an outdoor brick pizza oven is a perfect choice if your cooking habits fall into two styles.
You’ll also enjoy a brick pizza oven if you prefer slow cooking. A brick oven can maintain a lower temperature for longer, allowing you to make great wood-fired recipes that call for a slow bake.
A stainless steel pizza oven is a great conductor that will heat up rapidly. That said, it will also lose its heat more quickly if its fire isn’t maintained.
Ease of Cooking
Because brick ovens retain heat incredibly well, you won’t need to stop cooking to reheat if you’re making a large batch of pizzas. You will have less mess to clean up if you use brick.
Because of their increased thermal mass, they can also provide a more constant cooking environment, especially in colder locations.
Steel ovens lose heat almost as quickly as they heat up, so you won’t be able to shovel a street party’s worth of pizzas through it without some reheating.
The fact that stainless steel is somewhat lighter than clay distinguishes them. Some even have wheels for convenient transportation. As a result, a steel oven is clearly the more convenient alternative. This implies that transporting the pizza oven from one location to another will be simpler.
A portable pizza oven is made of stainless steel. You can move it as needed, so you can either alter its placement in your yard to put up tables and chairs or toss it in the back of a truck to be the star of a pizza party.
A brick oven is also incredibly heavy and, because of its concrete base, can be difficult to transport. A brick oven is an excellent option if you don’t mind shifting the oven later.
Brick ovens require more time to heat up, must be cured before cooking, and require extra exterior protection.
Steel ovens heat quickly and may be used the same day they arrive.
One more consideration that may help you decide is how your oven looks. Since its debut appearance atop a New York City pizza business decades ago, stainless steel has gone a long way. It has almost attained the same degree of aesthetic brilliance as wood-burning fireplaces.
However, a brick oven has the benefit of having a lovely, rustic appearance. As an architectural supplement, masonry and historic styles suit yards and many homes exceptionally well.
Cleaning And Maintenance
It is expected that you would protect your brick oven from the elements when maintaining it. Stainless steel versions require far more maintenance than their brick equivalents. For one reason, they must be cleaned more frequently, yet steel is easier to clean than brick.
Furthermore, stainless steel requires a certain quantity of oiling to avoid corrosion. Brick, however, does not.
Curing brick ovens entails generating little flames over a number of days. This means you won’t be able to cook in your oven until the curing process is completed.
Water is a brick oven’s worst nightmare; therefore, covering your oven while not in use is critical to a brick oven’s long-term integrity.
Covering your oven is crucial for protecting it from rain, snow, and sun, but if you fail to cover it, a metal oven will not suffer the same damage as a brick oven.
What should you do for choosing the right pizza oven?
If you have more preparation time than cook time, a brick oven will come in handy. You may start a roaring fire, preheat the oven, and then worry less about keeping the fire glowing while you cook.
A stainless steel oven is ideal for those who need to make superb pizza quickly. You can preheat your oven, toss the pizza in, and have it done in no time. This is a significant benefit, for example, if you have children who are begging for supper when the second pizza is discussed.
While a stainless steel oven is easy to carry, it lacks the rustic quirkiness of a brick oven. This makes it a preferable option for someone whose house may not complement the aesthetics of a brick oven. Also, if you need to move your oven more frequently, then you need to look at it.
What makes a good outdoor pizza oven
These ovens are not magical gadgets that can instantly transform you into a master pizzaiolo. A super-hot oven is simply the final and most important step in making outstanding handmade pizza.
Aside from pricing, the most important aspect to consider when purchasing a pizza oven is the fuel source. Propane, charcoal, or wood pellets can be used to heat ovens (there are also electric options for indoor models). Determine which heat source is best for you before purchasing an outdoor pizza oven.
You should also consider the size of the oven itself. The majority of outdoor pizza ovens can produce pies with a diameter of around 12 inches, but some can produce bigger, 16-inch pizzas, which may be a better alternative if you need to feed a crowd. Some feature a taller interior, making them more suited for baking other foods like bread.
Finally, evaluate if you have enough room for an outdoor pizza oven before purchasing one. These ovens should be placed on a separate table at least a few feet away from any other construction, and they should not be placed beneath another enclosure (an upstairs deck, for instance).
Sum Up: Stainless Steel Pizza Oven vs Brick Pizza Oven
To sum up everything. Brick ovens are a perfect permanent installation for someone with enough time and patience to cope with their extended preheating time and enough hungry mouths to wish to produce a lot of pizzas.
Brick pizza ovens are the way to go if you want a real Italian rural atmosphere. But, let’s face it, we live in a modern society where everything is flashy. If you want a modern aesthetic, a stainless steel wood-fired pizza is the way to go.
And, if you’re on a tight budget, stainless steel wood-fired pizza ovens are a must. They are not only less expensive, but you can take them with you when you move.
Both stainless steel and brick pizza ovens are excellent backyard additions; the only question is which one best matches your cooking style!
What is the best material to make a pizza oven?
I am using specially built fire bricks and other refractory materials engineered to endure high temperatures, results in a more efficient and long-lasting oven than standard masonry items.
A cast oven floor is considerably less durable than commercial baking tiles. These floorings are less prone to cracking.
The oven fire (gas or wood) may recharge the floor, allowing for consistent high-throughput baking.
What steel is best for pizza oven?
A thick Modernist Cuisine Baking Steel is your best hope for generating a pizza with the black-spotted crust of a brick-oven Neapolitan pizza. It transmits heat better than any ceramic stone we tested, resulting in black and fluffy crusts on pizzas.
You should know that stainless steel is a good conductor of heat. It will heat up rapidly. However, if the fire is not maintained, it will lose heat more quickly.
And, steel gives off too much intense heat for baking bread and more-delicate baked goods, and it will scorch the bottoms of cookies or croissants.
Can you use stainless steel in a pizza oven?
Yes, you can use stainless steel in a pizza oven. As we said, stainless steel pizza ovens are a great choice if you want a quick solution and don’t need your oven to retain heat for an extended period.
Is it worth buying a wood fired pizza oven?
A wood-fired pizza oven is an excellent investment. Adding a pizza oven to your outside space may delight you and make pizza night more thrilling! Furthermore, this well-made, high-quality cooking device will endure for years if properly maintained.
‘Pizza ovens provide a terrific solution to save energy expenditures since instead of using electricity or gas, you use just wood to create the heat necessary to cook your pizza.
Wood-fired pizza is more than simply tastier than other types of pizza. It’s also better for you. The high heat of a wood-burning oven cooks the pizza quickly, allowing the toppings to retain their natural nutrients.
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