Author Topic: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?  (Read 2653 times)

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Offline jonathan.copeland

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How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« on: June 14, 2012, 06:25:06 PM »
I'm interested in opening a 60-80 seat pizza restaurant that will cook 16" pies in 4 minutes out of a wood-burning oven...for a busy dinner service (including carry-out) I estimate I will cook 200+ pies. My number one concern is quality, so I obviously do not want to overcrowd the oven...I also want service to go as smooth as possible, so I will need to be able to cook 6-8 pizza at a time???? so as not to incur huge waits.

Anyone have any ideas?


Offline dellavecchia

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2012, 06:56:01 PM »
Hi Jonathan - Welcome to the forum. It sounds like you want to cook NY style pies (16", 4 minute bake), so you will want a deck oven, not a wood burning one. You can build a deck oven in modules to get as much space as you need. A good example of this style of bake would be Apizza Scholls in Portland, Oregon. A wood burning oven is more akin to cooking neapolitan pizza, which cooks in 60 to 90 seconds. A NP oven will accommodate up to four or five 12in pizzas, but that is only if the person baking has the skills to manage such a task.

John

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2012, 07:01:14 PM »
I have no direct experience in the commercial realm, but it is obvious that your skill level is going to be a factor. Have you ever baked pizzas in a WFO? You may find this video of a highly-skilled guy working an oven to the max very interesting:




Offline Tscarborough

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2012, 08:21:09 PM »
"Highly skilled" may be a bit understated......

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 08:31:13 AM »
You may also find this thread to be of interest, should you want to preserve the impressive "look" of a WFO, with the convenience of gas.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18350.0.html
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline jonathan.copeland

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 03:04:51 PM »
I cooked Neapolitan pizza at Franny's in Brooklyn, NY for 2 years...200 plus pizzas a day, no more than four at a time, temperatures north of 850. My ideal pizza cooked in about 90 seconds...and I like to think I have some chops. I then started a pizza program at a cafe that had a wood burning oven and grill. Our pizzas there had a 7-8 minute bake time, and were mall and a bit on the bready side. The owner wanted the dough to be fully baked and crisp on the bottom.

The pizzas I'd like to cook for my own place are more akin to Lucali. And I would like to do them in a wood-burning oven, not a deck oven.

Thank you for your ideas and help!

Offline dellavecchia

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 07:17:10 PM »
I cooked Neapolitan pizza at Franny's in Brooklyn, NY for 2 years...200 plus pizzas a day, no more than four at a time, temperatures north of 850. My ideal pizza cooked in about 90 seconds...and I like to think I have some chops. I then started a pizza program at a cafe that had a wood burning oven and grill. Our pizzas there had a 7-8 minute bake time, and were mall and a bit on the bready side. The owner wanted the dough to be fully baked and crisp on the bottom.

The pizzas I'd like to cook for my own place are more akin to Lucali. And I would like to do them in a wood-burning oven, not a deck oven.

Thank you for your ideas and help!

It seems like you want a Lucali clone, so that should be easy to figure out in terms of oven size. Any barrel-type oven will do. Lucali's claims 800 degrees but it must be lower if they are stretching to 4 minutes. And that oven is gas-assist. It is also hand built. Here are some pics of the inside of the oven:

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2006/10/loucallies.html

John

Offline jeffereynelson

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2012, 01:07:40 AM »
I am unsure how you derived 6-8 pizzas at a time, but I would think it would be closer to 4 which would be a huge difference. If you did 70 seats, with 90% occupancy over a four hour dinner period, with 85% of your customers ordering their own pizzas, and tables turning at 50 minutes on average you would sell 257 pies and need to bake 4.2 at a time.

If my numbers are close to correct (they very well could be very very wrong) then that could greatly affect your needs because that could be up to 50% less capacity then you were thinking.

Offline jak123

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2012, 09:45:08 PM »
I have no direct experience in the commercial realm, but it is obvious that your skill level is going to be a factor. Have you ever baked pizzas in a WFO? You may find this video of a highly-skilled guy working an oven to the max very interesting:





Man, that guy could move....and he worked to the music. Love it.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2012, 12:33:06 PM »
Speaking as a guy with more oven than he really needs, I would suggest erring on the side of too much oven.

CL
Pizza is not bread.


Offline jonathan.copeland

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2012, 02:14:57 PM »
How big is your "too big" oven? And I want wood only, not a gas/wood combo.

I also like to err on the side of too large, as I use it for all sorts of roasted vegetable prep, bread and other good stuff.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2012, 02:46:32 PM »
How big is your "too big" oven? And I want wood only, not a gas/wood combo.

I also like to err on the side of too large, as I use it for all sorts of roasted vegetable prep, bread and other good stuff.

My oven is 47". I didn't say it was too big, rather that is is more than I really need. Which probably isn't correct either. I like the size. The only reason I would replace it with something smaller would be because of a size constraint which at the moment isn't a concern.

IMHO, ceteris paribus, the larger oven (within reason) will bake the better NP pie. The better the balance of radiant heat from the fire and from the wall, the better the pie. Smaller ovens make this balance more difficult because they force you to bake closer to the fire.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14249.0.html

CL
Pizza is not bread.

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2012, 02:47:36 PM »
it wouldn't hurt to do a search on the member name so you can get some familiarity with the history here.  that way you will know more about the differing opinions expressed on varying topics.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2012, 02:51:20 PM »
For a commercial setting where the oven will basically be hot 24-7, too big is not really an issue.

Offline jonathan.copeland

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2012, 01:24:04 PM »
Does anyone have any insite into the size of the ovens at Frank Pepe's or Lombardi's? I know Pepe's is coal, but does it have a dome shape on the inside? What about Lombardi's?

Thank you.

Offline The Dough Doctor

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2012, 02:54:10 PM »
One oven company that comes to mind when we think of wood burning is Woodstone <www.woodstone-corp.com> They have everything from gas, to wood, to coal and combinations of both gas and wood or coal. I'm partial to the combination with gas, that way you can close the shop down for a day or two without the need to "feed" the oven.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

scott123

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2012, 08:31:19 PM »
Does anyone have any insite into the size of the ovens at Frank Pepe's or Lombardi's? I know Pepe's is coal, but does it have a dome shape on the inside? What about Lombardi's?

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Quote
All Pepe's ovens are coal fired and built in exactly the same manner from brick, based on the original. They measure 14 feet (4.3 m) by 14 feet (4.3 m)

Lombardiís Restores Oven Interior

I have yet to meet Scott Wiener, but assuming he's in the 6' realm, I'd say Lombardi's oven is probably around 5' deep.  Width?  It seems wider than deep, so I'd go with 7'.

As you can see from the photo, Lombardi's oven is barrel vaulted.  I can't track down any photo of Pepe's oven interior, but I think it's safe to assume that it's barrel vaulted as well.  Barrel vaulted ovens are pretty much the standard for coal fired pizzerias. Both pizzerias use coal.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2012, 10:48:09 PM »
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

Lombardiís Restores Oven Interior

I have yet to meet Scott Wiener, but assuming he's in the 6' realm, I'd say Lombardi's oven is probably around 5' deep.  Width?  It seems wider than deep, so I'd go with 7'.

As you can see from the photo, Lombardi's oven is barrel vaulted.  I can't track down any photo of Pepe's oven interior, but I think it's safe to assume that it's barrel vaulted as well.  Barrel vaulted ovens are pretty much the standard for coal fired pizzerias. Both pizzerias use coal.

As bad as Lombardi's pizzas are now-a-days after the oven re-do, they must have been utterly terrible before.
Pizza is not bread.

scott123

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Re: How do I decide how big of an oven to get?
« Reply #18 on: July 04, 2012, 01:55:32 AM »
Craig, uneven heating can normally be worked around with conscientious tending. I don't think they re-did the oven because the pies were suffering, but because the uneven heat was most likely requiring more turns and the oven was noticeably falling apart.  If anything, I think the re-do, with what appears to be a taller ceiling, could have played a role in the abysmal results you witnessed and not have been a mitigating factor.

In other words, part of what makes the pizza you had so horrible is the even, chain-like browning. The uneven heat in the pre-re-do might have produced something better, not worse.

Lombardi's is best known for it's history, but, prior to your visit, I had never heard anyone complain about it, so the odds of the pre-re-do pizza being worse then today's pizza are pretty slim.


 

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