Author Topic: 2stone vs. WFO  (Read 3239 times)

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Offline PizzaioloCow

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2stone vs. WFO
« on: July 24, 2012, 10:17:25 PM »
My parents have told me they would consider either a 2stone grill unit or a WFO as a present, but we have a few questions about both.  We're trying to figure out if the WFO is worth the price and, ultimately, which would be the better choice for a beginning pizzaiolo at the prices on each.

Would the 2stone last?  Do they crack easily, has anyone had one for a long time, etc.?
Can both produce a great pie (NY-elite style)?
Is it worth it, at the prices, to just make the jump to the WFO?
Does anybody have both so they can compare the two?
For someone who doesn't have a lot of experience with brick work, would a WFO be possible to build?

My mom nearly had a heart attack at the estimates on the WFO and I feel very guilty about the prices.  They weren't very thrilled with the suggestion of Jeff Varasano's cleaning cycle-hack, either. ;D

Thanks!
-Jake


Offline pizzaneer

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2012, 10:45:08 PM »
All I can say is, your parents must love you very much to even consider a WFO purchase.  A 2Stone is nowhere near the price, and puts out great results, albeit, as you said, in NY-elite style.

You might consider an LBE (Little Black Egg), or a KPI (Kettle Pizza Insert)/LBE combo as a lower-cost alternative.  Both of them use the Weber Kettle as a build base, and are modified from there.  They get great results, and for bonus points, are easily portable.

I'm going to point you to two parts of one thread.  If you have several weeks, read through the whole thing  :P or as much as you stand.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.0.html
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4753.msg196332.html#msg196332
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline scott123

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2012, 11:13:11 PM »
Brian/Jake, no offense, but I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable with a 13 year old tending an LBE. I'm not entirely certain about a 13 year old at a WFO either.  Perhaps, Jake, if you made the dough and formed/topped the skins, your parents could launch and tend it?

I don't know. I guess I'm sort of picturing myself at 13.  I know I couldn't safely run a WFO at that age.  But then I look at Craig's superhuman kids, and think that maybe I'm making too much of this.  Jake, do you have a fireplace, are you comfortable building fires?

From a safety perspective, I think the 2stone oven is the safest.  It has one pretty serious drawback, though, relating to coal style pizza- size.  The stone is too small to do justice to a coal style pie.

We've had a surge of interest in smaller WFOs on the forum lately, and it seems like nothing in the sub $3000 realm is really standing out.  Jake, if you think that you'll be sticking pretty much with coal style pies, then that gives you a little more leeway when buying an oven, but if you want something optimized for Neapolitan... then I might wait on the WFO.

Coal pizza can be created in a home oven without a cleaning cycle hack. I haven't timed too many coal pies personally, but I have heard people here talk about 3-5 minute bakes.  I've seen photos of Patsy's that look like they could be 2 (very close to Neapolitan).  If you've got an electric oven that goes to 550 you can, with the steel plate, hit 2.5 minutes, which may not be as Neapolitan-ish as Patsy's (or Varasano's), but very much within the coal spectrum. 1/2" steel plate will run you about $40 and would be a nice way to get your feet weight while you take your time shopping for an oven. The down side to steel, though, is that it's a bit heavy and kind of takes over the oven.  Does your family do a lot of baking?

Besides the steel plate, there are lighter, more expensive options like silicon carbide.  No one has tested this yet (someone will soon), but 5/8" SiC should do a very respectable 2ish minute bake at 550.  If you've got a strong enough broiler, you could achieve something very Neapolitan-ish.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2012, 12:03:50 AM »
At 13 I was running a 26 foot fishing boat 20 miles offshore.  That said, I wouldn't let either of my daughters do the same.  Ask your parents to buy a top-notch kitchen oven and perfect cooking pizza in that.

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2012, 12:31:41 AM »
13?  Um, missed that info.  :-[

But then, I think back to what I was like at 13...  and i wonder what I could have done with some great equipment, and years to hone my skills.  Not every 13yo is the same, after all.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2012, 01:51:45 AM »
If youíre really 13, Iím really impressed. I have a 12 year old son who is very impressive, but even with a WFO in his garage and some amazing food experiences for his age, you come across as more knowledgeable about pizza. I also donít think he can write as well as you. You have my respect for your passion and maturity at a young age.

Niceties aside, here are my thoughts on your question: Only a WFO is a WFO.  Yes, you can bake some great pies in a 2-stone or any number of WFO simulants, but they will never be a WFO. I pulled some very good pies out of my BBQ mod (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,9614.0.html, http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13475.0.html, as examples), but I always knew that it would take a WFO to really get to where I wanted to go. Iím getting close (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,14249.msg193257.html#msg193257) Ė a lot closer than I would be if I only had my BBQ.

Iím sure you know that not all WFOs are the same. You can spend $1,500 or you can spend $15,000+. If you decide to go with a WFO, the next decision is probably even tougher Ė which one? Just like the question ďshould I go with a WFO,Ē only you can answer which is right for you. We can give you input based on what you tell us you want to accomplish, but you need to put some long and hard thought into it. What do you want to accomplish? How much will you use it? Is it a passing fad? Will you still be this focused on pizza in a couple years when dating takes center stage. Do you really even know the answers to these questions? Itís a big decision and potentially a very expensive one.  You need to think long and hard on the pros and cons. Also, think about what else you could do with a couple thousand bucks.

There is no doubt in my mind that a focused 13-year old, with some supervision, can handle a WFO.  I also believe it is something you could have great fun with, and you could gain skills that would serve you for the rest of your life. A WFO is a great way to make and impress friends.  But what about your options? Would you be happy with a 2-stone or will you hate it every time you use it because you wish you had a WFO? They are not cheap either. Also, donít discount the pies you can make in your oven as Scott noted above. Under no circumstances would I encourage you to hack your home oven. Donít even think about it.

Is pizza the real deal for you or a passing fad? I had some very strong interests when I was 13 Ė they even lasted for several years, but they are generally not things that interest me today. It would be a shame to spend a lot of money on a WFO only to lose interest some years later.

Itís probably not what you want to hear, but my recommendation to you is to ask your parents to invest the money the WFO you would want would cost in your name. Then, learn to make the best pies you can in your home oven. When you are 22, if you are still as passionate, get the WFO you want and have a good bit of extra cash to go with it. I didnít ďdiscoverĒ pizza until I was in my late 30ís. I didnít buy a WFO until I was in my 40ís. Waiting until youíre out of college for a WFO wonít hurt you.

Feel free to ask me any specific questions you might have about WFOs or other options.

Craig
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2012, 02:12:51 AM »
Have you seen this thread of 2-stone pies? It can make a great pie, but if you are going to wish you had a WFO every time you use it, it might not be your best choice.

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,13911.0.html

I still think your best bet is to hold off, step back, see how good you can get with your home oven (not hacked), and then decide if you want to move up to a WFO.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Online Pete-zza

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2012, 09:12:55 AM »
+ 1

Peter

Offline ringkingpin

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2012, 10:20:57 AM »
I think it's awesome that at age 13, you're interested in making GOOD pizza.  Very cool.

I have a 2stone and I think it's great.  I was considering actually wanting a wood fired oven.  I was going to make one, have someone make one or buy one and was perusing the internet when I stumbled across the 2Stone site.  After reading his argument about the time required to fire up the 2stone vs a WFO, I was sold.  I'm a pretty busy guy with 1000 hobbies and even though I'm a pyro at heart, the ease of being able to simple strike a match and be up to temp in 20 to 30 minutes was very attractive.  My next concern, since I'm a die hard charcoal griller (re: no propane) was how the propane would affect the flavor of the pizza vs a wood fired.  Through more reading, research and common sense, I concluded that, at those temps the fuel source is a fuel source which burns clean. (you don't see much smoke come out of the chimney of a WFO when it's to temp.
So for me, someone that usually bakes 2-8 pizzas at a time, the 2stone is a GREAT way to go.  I think my results are comparable to anything that comes out of a WFO and any differences or deficiencies are likely due to my technique, not the oven I'm using.  Now, if you're organized and ready to go, you can hammer out some decent volume on a two stone.  For example, tomorrow night, I'm going to a friends "pot luck" wine party where I'll be making at least 36 pizzas, probably more. One really nice thing about the 2stone is that since the stone turns, you can turn your back on the oven for a couple minutes and continue to prep while it turns and bakes. 
If you have any questions about my 2stone, the types of pizza I make or anything, please don't hesitate to private message me, I'd be happy to offer any insight I can.
"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are."
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Offline PizzaioloCow

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2012, 01:42:44 PM »
Thanks for all the great responses!

My parents and I read all the responses and we really appreciate all the input.  We're leaning away from the WFO right now and more towards the 2stone.  We have a few more questions:

Do you use the WFO to cook anything other than pizza?  How often do you use it?
Do you feel you got your money's worth with the 2stone or WFO?
How long does it take for the WFO to heat up to 700 degrees on the floor?

I've made pizzas that my family and I have really liked in the home oven, but I think it could be better with some form of high heat.

My mom's convinced that taking it outside would be better; there have been a couple incidents with flour... :-D

@scott123

We're also looking into the steel plate option.  What's the fastest bake time you've ever gotten with that setup?  Do you have any pictures or a thread about it?  I prefer my NY-elites to have a bit of Neapolitan influence on them, similar to the way pftaylor describes Luzzo's crust texture in the first post here: http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,2927.msg25049.html#msg25049

@TXCraig1

Thanks for the compliments.  I'm really 13; after you've had great pizza, there's no going back.  My favorite was Pizza Hut until 2 years ago when I first had Lombardi's.  Also, thanks for the link to the BBQ pizza thread!  I wasn't aware you were making Neapolitan pizza before your WFO.

@ringkingpin

Thanks for the offer!  I'll send you a private message later.

Thanks again!
-Jake
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 01:58:42 PM by PizzaioloCow »


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2012, 03:11:39 PM »

Do you use the WFO to cook anything other than pizza?  How often do you use it?
Do you feel you got your money's worth with the 2stone or WFO?
How long does it take for the WFO to heat up to 700 degrees on the floor?


Jake,

I fire my WFO about 2x per week for baking pizzas, breads, roasting meats and vegetables, baking stews and pies, etc. I get a kick out of using the residual heat in the oven for as many things as I can. For example, yesterday I baked pizzas - there was enough residual heat (~375F) for me to bake dessert calzones for lunch today.

How do you measure "money's worth"? I'd have spent a whole lot less money over the years if I ate only Ramen noodles. How do you put a price on the time and effort that goes into mastering the craft? How do quantify the value of a delicious meal? Am I glad I installed a WFO? Absolutely!

Depending on the season, my WFO takes about 3 hours to get the deck up to 900F, my preferred deck temp, from a cold start. There are a lot of variables including the quality of the wood, the thermal mass of your oven, etc.
 

Offline ringkingpin

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2012, 05:32:09 PM »
Jake, I'm not sure where you're located buy I'm in NW Indiana and my 2Stone sits on a stone base outside of my kitchen and I use it 12 months a year even in sub zero weather.  I have had zero problems with the construction (all stainless) or any of the stones.  Just an FYI, it CAN take some environmental abuse.
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Offline Everlast

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2012, 05:54:54 PM »
Ringkingpin, to clarify, you have the 2stone Inferno. I think Jake was talking about the 2stone pizza grill, right?

Offline PizzaioloCow

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2012, 06:19:54 PM »
@Bill/SFNM

Thanks for taking the time to write out such a detailed response!  I understand what you mean about money's worth - we simply don't want to spend a lot more on an oven that isn't capable of producing a much better pizza than the 2stone, especially given the convenience factor of the latter.  I am, of course, 13, and I understand that the WFO costs a lot of money and we don't want to make a bad decision.

@ringkingpin

Where I live in Ohio, the weather is probably pretty similar to what you're getting in NW Indiana.  We're looking at the grill unit, not the Inferno or Pro, so it might not be quite as sturdy.  It sounds like 2stones in general are constructed very well, which is comforting. Thanks for the help!

@Everlast

I am, indeed, referring to the 2stone Pizza Grill.  Thanks for clarifying!

-Jake

Offline PizzaioloCow

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2012, 05:41:25 PM »
We found a brick layer who would like to market WFOs and would do ours as an experiment at a low cost.  It's been hard to find good insulation locally, but we found someone selling thermal ceramic cerablanket that goes up to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Is this the right product to use to insulate it?  Has anyone used it?

I wouldn't be starting the fires myself; my dad said he would do that.

Thanks!
-Jake

Online BrickStoneOven

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2012, 07:31:00 PM »
We found a brick layer who would like to market WFOs and would do ours as an experiment at a low cost.  It's been hard to find good insulation locally, but we found someone selling thermal ceramic cerablanket that goes up to 2400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Is this the right product to use to insulate it?  Has anyone used it?

I wouldn't be starting the fires myself; my dad said he would do that.

Thanks!
-Jake

What type of oven is he making, a barrel vault or a pompeii?

Offline PizzaioloCow

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2012, 08:23:08 PM »
What type of oven is he making, a barrel vault or a pompeii?
Sorry, forgot to specify; we're trying to make a traditional, circular, low-dome Pompeii oven (on a lower budget).

Thanks!
-Jake
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 08:25:05 PM by PizzaioloCow »

Offline weemis

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2012, 12:38:04 PM »
Do you use the WFO to cook anything other than pizza?  How often do you use it?
Do you feel you got your money's worth with the 2stone or WFO?
How long does it take for the WFO to heat up to 700 degrees on the floor?

One thing I was surprised to find out is how much wood is used to get the oven to temperature. It takes a couple hours to get my oven to temp, so if you're only planning on making a couple pizzas, it's hard to justify all that wood. Thankfully, I have a lot of friends who are more than willing to make the pizza cooking worth my while  ;D

If you're going to invest in a wood fired oven, just be sure you're aware that the process is a lot more involved than just turning on an oven, but the rewards are amazing! And you can use to cook just about anything.
Nick Gore - just a dough eyed wanderer

Offline mitchjg

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2012, 05:11:13 PM »
For what it is worth, my advice would be to buy the 2stone pizza grill and start with that.  Relative to the cost of a WFO, it is very inexpensive - not quite "throwaway" but almost.

Use it for months or a year or beyond and then decide.  Use the time to improve you knowledge and techniques and you will also know how committed and interested you are to continue in your quest for great pizza and more.

Truth be told, I am describing to you the path I have been taking - I am now planning on purchasing a WFO.  I have zero regrets about taking this path and having used the 2stoen.  I learned a ton and can see more clearly how likely I will be to stick to this hobby and not move on to another.

You do have to care for the 2stone and watch out for, and arrest, any rust development (I had to) but I would not let that change my mind and it is not a big deal.  It is a great product.

Although the pizzas from a WFO are likely to be better in some ways, the 2Stone will produce excellent pizzas.

Here is one of my better ones.  I just made it a few days ago

- Mitch

Offline Everlast

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Re: 2stone vs. WFO
« Reply #19 on: July 27, 2012, 06:10:47 PM »
One thing I was surprised to find out is how much wood is used to get the oven to temperature. It takes a couple hours to get my oven to temp, so if you're only planning on making a couple pizzas, it's hard to justify all that wood.

That is of course, unless you have a smaller WFO. Mitch, I'm assuming you have a medium to large oven. I have the Forno Bravo Primavera 60. It takes 40 minutes to reach 1000F on the dome and 900F on the deck. This is accomplished with 5-6 medium size pieces of wood. It's a great feature of a smaller oven. The downside is there's less floor space to work with - 24" in my case.