Author Topic: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs  (Read 27093 times)

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Offline italdream

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ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« on: July 03, 2012, 04:45:57 PM »
Hi guys:

What is your opinion of the ALFA 10 minuti pizza oven? The company that produces it is located between Naples and Rome IT. http://www.alfapizza.it/products/Forno-10-Minuti.html

A smaller version also popped up at Costco.com at
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11764859&search=alfa&topnav=&Mo=0&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode%20matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=alfa&Ntt=alfa&No=0&Nty=1&Ntx=mode%20matchallpartial

Basically, I am looking for a low budget (max $3,500-shipping included) WFO to do Neapolitan pizzas (my priority), some bread and the occasional baking-pan of peppers, potatoes meat etc. I am developing a preference for pre-assembled ovens since I do not seem to be able to locate a reasonable contractor in Lower Hudson/NY-CT area.

Any suggestion/link would be greatly appreciated. After over one year with the Little Black Egg (and some frustration), I am ready to go WFO.


Online Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2012, 05:54:08 PM »
Hi guys:

What is your opinion of the ALFA 10 minuti pizza oven? The company that produces it is located between Naples and Rome IT. http://www.alfapizza.it/products/Forno-10-Minuti.html

A smaller version also popped up at Costco.com at
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11764859&search=alfa&topnav=&Mo=0&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode%20matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=alfa&Ntt=alfa&No=0&Nty=1&Ntx=mode%20matchallpartial

Basically, I am looking for a low budget (max $3,500-shipping included) WFO to do Neapolitan pizzas (my priority), some bread and the occasional baking-pan of peppers, potatoes meat etc. I am developing a preference for pre-assembled ovens since I do not seem to be able to locate a reasonable contractor in Lower Hudson/NY-CT area.

Any suggestion/link would be greatly appreciated. After over one year with the Little Black Egg (and some frustration), I am ready to go WFO.
Anything you can cook in your indoor oven can be prepared to its succulent perfection in your wood fired oven, all year long.  hmmm...the info given makes no mention of heat specs., wonder why!
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Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2012, 10:45:02 PM »
Good point. The description was likely prepared by some know-nothing Costco marketing employee.

I know that $3K for the 5 minuti is a bit expensive considering that the oven retails for 800-1000E in Italy. At any rate, the company seems legit and well established. I wonder why nobody on this forum has heard about it.

Here is a video showing some pizzas made with the 5 minuti (smaller) model
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKN6ANqUUSg" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKN6ANqUUSg</a>


I do not think that the guys in the video know what they are doing. However, it looks like a nice little pizza toy, although likely not intended for the serious pizza fan. In the comment area, a guy who owns it, indicates high temps attainable in 30 minutes (350C/480C).

Anyway, suggestions still accepted about my original query for a $3500 or less decent pre-assembled WFO.

Offline scott123

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2012, 01:02:21 AM »
From what I can tell, the dome of this oven is insulated, but it lacks any thermal mass.  It's also too tall for Neapolitan pizza, which can normally be worked around, but between the height and the lack of thermal mass, I would avoid this oven.

Take a look at the rims of the pizzas in the video- no charring, no color whatsoever.

I've read every single oven related post in this forum for the last 3 years and have never come across any pre-assembled WFO that seemed the slightest bit impressive.  They're frequently very pretty, but never truly functional.

Some sanity has recently emerged in the pre-cast WFO market with lower dome heights (Four Grand Mere, etc.), so hopefully that consciousness will spread to the pre-assembled folks and lead to more functional products. Until then, though, I would take a look at the 2stone grill. When it comes to pre-assembled ovens that can reliably do Neapolitan bakes, I think that's it.  Do a search on 2stone and read through the threads.

Btw, I've heard of Four Grand Meres going for $3K.  Add another $1K for installation and you've got an oven that can run circles around the pre-assembleds.

Offline SinoChef

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2012, 07:37:43 AM »

As someone who has no idea what they are talking about,(on this subject :)and has never actually used a WFO.

This thought came to my mind, before I had a chance to scroll down and read it from you...

Quote
it looks like a nice little pizza toy


Also not a Neapolitan purist, but like Gump, Forest Gump says,  I know what it is not. The recipe they offer for Neos is a 2 hour rise, with sugar and oil....  ???

http://www.alfapizza.it/pages/RECIPES-OF-ALFAPIZZA.html

But it is made in the Italy land, so it must be good?

They do fun word games with the wine here.

Embouteillée en France, (bottled in France) means it was made in Turkey, transported to France by tanker, and then "bottled" there.

Fabriqués en France, means it was made from grapes that were actually grown in France. (and if you are native French speaker, feel free to correct my Google translations, I know its off)

The point I am trying to make is, for the Chinese, it is a bottle of wine that has the word "French" on it. therefore it must be better then the rest, and they get ripped off on the product.

Quote
although likely not intended for the serious pizza fan.


Maybe to decide what you are, before spending any money is good advice. Why go 3500$ deep, if your just going to be disappointed, and  selling it at a loss in a few months. Then investing, again, to the alternative Scott123 is suggesting.  :-\




Offline Woodfiredovenpizzero

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2012, 10:08:11 AM »
Basically, I am looking for a low budget (max $3,500-shipping included) WFO to do Neapolitan pizzas (my priority), some bread and the occasional baking-pan of peppers, potatoes meat etc. I am developing a preference for pre-assembled ovens since I do not seem to be able to locate a reasonable contractor in Lower Hudson/NY-CT area.

Any suggestion/link would be greatly appreciated. After over one year with the Little Black Egg (and some frustration), I am ready to go WFO.

I own  picollo from www.fornoclassico.com for  little over  year nd is in your price range.

Edgar

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2012, 12:40:38 PM »
Thank you scott123, SinoChef, and Woodfiredovenpizzero for the great information.

With regard to 2stone, I have known about it for a while. It seems to me no more than a perfected LBE. I am sure that it would likely make much better pizzas than my LBE, but next year I'd be still here wanting to upgrade to a real WFO.

If the consensus on the forum is that no pre-assembled oven possesses the basic requirements for a decent neapolitan-style pizza, I would just start looking elsewhere instead of regretting the purchase later on. Perhaps, Four Grand Mere is the way to go. Does anybody know any distributor in the NYC area?

Turning back to the ALFAs, I was surprised that there was so little information on this forum since the company seemed to have established a sizable mass-producing operation, now going nation-wide with Costco. My feeling, (as such it is not a factual statement) is that they came out with a nice-looking product, good Italian design, suffering however the  structural defects for pre-assembled ovens identified by scott123.

A final note on the location of ALFA. On matter of Neapolitan-style pizza, I agree that being Made in Italy, even close to Naples, is not an insurance against lack of quality, China or not China. I lived for almost three decades 20 minutes away from Naples before moving on this side of the pond a few years ago. The difference of style, quality and flavor of the final product varies widely, and I presume that it has also to do with the oven used. True Neapolitan pizza is difficult to find outside of Naples, and you'll hear most Neapolitans (including myself) debating endlessly about which one is the standard even in Naples. Personally, I have gone through periods, starting from Michele ai Tribunali to Di Matteo. On a recent trip, I got great pies at il Presidente.

The province (call it the suburbs of Naples) is a whole underworld of different neapolitan-style variants and offshoots. A lot like the dialect changes a little bit from town to town, so does the pizza-style, except that the geographical boundaries are much less defined.

Anything outside of Campania (and basso Lazio to an extent), is often not worth bearing the pizza name not because I want to sound like a purist, but because I'd rather eat a good pizza in New York than an half baked, unsalty, pita like pie in many central-northern italian pizzerias. I suspect that it is lack of pizza-making skills as much as it is lack of good ovens.

Again, more suggestions accepted. It is going to take a while before I make my mind up but I will take a look at the Four Grand Mere. Woodfiredovenpizzero, how do you like the piccolo? -  looks tall but kind of small.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2012, 01:13:04 PM by italdream »

Offline Woodfiredovenpizzero

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 04:05:41 PM »
italdream:

The piccolo has a 24 inches diameter heart and  l4 inches wide door. I've done pies in two minutes and cook bread and chicken with residual heat. Purchased on April last year and still performs well. Give Giuseppe a call. Their customer service is superb.

Edgar

Offline scott123

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 02:10:56 AM »
Edgar, no offense, but if someone's going to spend a couple thousand dollars on a wood fired oven, it would be a tragedy if they didn't get an oven that wasn't optimized for Neapolitan pizza.

With enough tweaking, you probably can get fast Neapolitan bake times out of these ovens, but it takes a considerable amount of time and expertise to do so. Lower dome/smaller door ovens are specifically made for Neapolitan pizza. This is not.

Just because one can, a la Tin Cup, play a round of golf with a baseball bat, it doesn't necessarily mean that golf clubs aren't the better tool for the job.

Italdream, you sound, to me, like a Neapolitan pizza obsessive.  If that is the case, you want an oven that will give you Craig quality results with relative ease.  The piccolo (or the Andiamo) is not that oven.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 04:32:23 AM by scott123 »

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2012, 09:10:17 AM »
Thanks for the advice Scott. Not sure if i view myself as obsessive, perhaps just very passionate for a type of food that i grew familiar with.  :D


And you're right I'm mostly going to try neapolitan style, so I'd prefer an oven that facilitates the task. Do you think that the FGM kits can be assembled DIY or would I need a contractor?

Bread stone ovens has a complete neapolitan solution, including a metal stand that goes for about 2K. i wish they had something similar but a bit bigger.

 http://www.breadstoneovens.com/collections/frontpage/products/outdoor-700-kit

What do you think of that?

« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 10:28:11 AM by italdream »


Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2012, 10:29:20 AM »
Also, for decent Neapolitan-friendly WFO, is a 9" dome too much, should I try to get something lower than that?

Offline Michael130207

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2012, 11:55:04 AM »
That oven from Bread Stone Ovens looks very tempting especially at $2k. I was tempted by it and had a couple concerns. I am not sure if it is just the photo but is looks like you can see sunlight between the dome and floor and that gap looks apparent in the front too. Maybe Antoine could post some more pictures of the fit between the dome and floor. Also it is fairly light.  That makes for quick heat up but the reduced thermal mass may make it hard to keep the temperature consistent although insulation seems reasonable but still on the low side.

I would love to see a standard test on all of these turnkey ovens in which they graph temperature, say 2 inches up from the center of the floor, and plot versus time after it is brought up to 900F temp and all coals have been removed. It would be a great representation of thermal mass and insulation. 
Michael

Offline Woodfiredovenpizzero

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2012, 12:31:02 PM »
Edgar, no offense, but if someone's going to spend a couple thousand dollars on a wood fired oven, it would be a tragedy if they didn't get an oven that wasn't optimized for Neapolitan pizza.

With enough tweaking, you probably can get fast Neapolitan bake times out of these ovens, but it takes a considerable amount of time and expertise to do so. Lower dome/smaller door ovens are specifically made for Neapolitan pizza. This is not.

Just because one can, a la Tin Cup, play a round of golf with a baseball bat, it doesn't necessarily mean that golf clubs aren't the better tool for the job.

Italdream, you sound, to me, like a Neapolitan pizza obsessive.  If that is the case, you want an oven that will give you Craig quality results with relative ease.  The piccolo (or the Andiamo) is not that oven.

Thanks for the clarification Scott, nd by no means No offense taken. Someday I will want to "upgrade" to n NP oven.

Edgar

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2012, 12:58:15 PM »
Thank you guys. Good points. It looks like it is a kit (Four Grand Mere) so there may be something used during installation which reduces the gap. Scott, what do you think of that? Worth exploring? Too Small? DIY installation too much of a stretch? I am thinking- I am somewhat handy but would need idiot-proof step-by-step instructions.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2012, 01:11:38 PM by italdream »

Offline breadstoneovens

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2012, 04:25:24 PM »
Good afternoon,

Ok I am a little late on my reply, sorry about that. I am actually in Europe visiting Four Grand Mere and working with their artisans on a new oven concept.

Regarding Alpha oven, they had contacting me to distribute their products. After looking into it, I saw it was pretty poor quality and decided to stay away from that type of trouble. As mentioned earlier, they use metal to make the dome, so it heats-up quickly, but not thermal mass at all. Also their is issues with getting the floor hot enough to cook the bottom of the pizza and the dome not too hot so you don't burn the top of the pizza. Just not a good oven to bake bread or anything but pizza. Warranty is very limited and complicated.

For the Neapolitan Oven Complete Solution, the photo is a stock photo that is not truthful to the quality of the oven, I will have to replace it as soon as I get back. Their is no gap between the floor of the oven and the dome nor between the arch and the floor. If there was to be any type of gap, we provide a refractory clay with the oven to be placed between the floor and the dome of the oven, so everything is perfectly air tight.
Bellow are a few pictures that show the oven floor and dome, with a dry fit and it fits perfectly. These are not the best pictures, but as I said I am away and it is all I have on my computer right now.

The installation of the Neapolitan oven is very simple, pretty-much idiot proof, I have very detail instruction with great pictures and I can be called for more details if anything comes-up.
Italdream, for the installation I will send you a personal email as I have a few people I work with who could take care of that.

Finely regarding the temperature graph, I will post a chart when I return.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.

Online Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2012, 06:25:01 PM »
I wonder how difficult it would be to make a mold of that baby, hmmm....
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Offline breadstoneovens

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2012, 12:55:14 AM »
I wonder how difficult it would be to make a mold of that baby, hmmm....
Probably not that hard. It is how Chicago Brick Oven started, they ordered a few oven from FGM and stole their design. If you look on their website, many pictures are from FGM ovens they originally ordered.
However CBO can't get the refractory material right and have major issues with their oven cracking.

Antoine
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Online Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2012, 08:50:45 AM »
That u- shaped piece attached to the front of the oven seems very clever to me...it cleans up the vent design (makes it simple?) while also giving a nice smooth look to the unit. Is this a common approach to vent design? Thank you!
Bob
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Offline breadstoneovens

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2012, 09:04:17 AM »
That u- shaped piece attached to the front of the oven seems very clever to me...it cleans up the vent design (makes it simple?) while also giving a nice smooth look to the unit. Is this a common approach to vent design? Thank you!
Bob
For FGM, yes, all of the oven have the same U-shape piece. On this one model it is just refractory concrete. For the rest of their ovens this piece is made of refractory bricks with refractory concrete. Picture bellow.


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Online Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2012, 09:51:25 AM »
Thanks David. Have these ovens been sucessfully used on a mobile trailer(think I saw somebody in Canada)? If so , what size would you recommend to comfortably do 2 or 3 , aprox. three minute pies at a time. Any gas assisted models? Thanks!

Bob
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