Author Topic: Pizza Oven  (Read 3650 times)

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Offline Glutenboy

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Pizza Oven
« on: September 07, 2012, 08:30:58 PM »
I probably should've put this somewhere else, but people read this section a lot and I wanted feedback.  (Peter - feel free to move it!  ;D) I'm thinking of doing some more extensive catering, and I was wondering if anyone has had any experience with the Nemco 6205 120-Volt countertop pizza oven.  I'm thinking of getting one.  Looks like the most reasonable heavy-duty portable alternative out there to me.  Any feedback would be much appreciated.  The link to the product is below if anybody cares to have a look.

- GB  :chef:

http://www.webstaurantstore.com/nemco-6205-countertop-pizza-oven-120v/5916205.html
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.


Offline Don K

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 08:40:44 PM »
I think that the biggest problem with it would be the recovery time. According to the spec sheet, it takes 60 minutes to preheat to 500 degrees. After making a couple of pies you would probably have to wait a while for it to heat back up.

That's the problem with 120V heating appliances, they're painfully slow.
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Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 10:24:22 PM »
Thanks for the input.  2 specs I'd like to meet:

1) Can use or be quickly and easily adapted to a residential power supply

2) Manageable weight for 1 or 2 guys.

Any additional thoughts?
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

scott123

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 05:28:12 AM »
GB, here are my thoughts on the Nemco:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,18892.msg184324.html#msg184324

The cliff notes? Stay away.

I'm not sure what you're looking for exists. As Don pointed out, 120V ovens are especially anemic.  They're really just toaster ovens with stones.  I'm not sure if you're as religious about lower bake times as I am, but I think it's safe to assume that if you purchase a countertop, you'll want to match the bake times you're getting with your home oven, and, I promise you, you won't find those with a 120V countertop. With 240V there's no guarantees either, but, if you shop carefully, you might find something that will give you the sufficient wattage- for a price.

Here's a 240V Pizzamaster that has 3 times the watts per element (1800 per element vs. 600 for the Nemco).

http://espresso.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=28_153&products_id=449

Ignore the photo and the 'per deck' reference in the description.  This is a single deck oven.

It's also 150 lb., which 1 guy probably couldn't handle, but should be okay for 2 guys, especially if you take the stone out first.

The literature references a 'high temp version' (932 F.) of these ovens, but I'm not sure they all go to this temp or if you need a particular model.  That question would need to be answered before I could fully endorse this, but, other than that, this is a pretty solid product and pizzamaster is a fairly reliable name.

It is 240V, though.  When you go to a home, you will either have to track down a 240 outlet, if they have one, or possibly unplug their oven and plug in this. It's not really all that viable, but if you want a home oven's power, it only makes sense that you'd need a pizza oven with a home oven's voltage and wattage. The Nemco is garbage.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 06:11:37 AM by scott123 »

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 12:17:49 AM »
Yeah, that's the conundrum, Scott.  Performance vs. compatibility and portability.  Is there any sort of transformer or adapter I could use as part of my rig, or is that a project in and of itself?
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scott123

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 06:07:14 AM »
GB, any oven that's going to put out a reasonable amount of heat will require a dedicated 220-240V circuit. I'm sure you're already aware of this, but, for typical 110V outlets (that you might plug a lamp into), those tend to be grouped together, in bunches, on the same circuit/wire going to the main panel. As you get into more powerful appliances, though, they need their own wiring to the panel, along with a special outlet.  You can either temporarily borrow that dedicated circuit/outlet from another appliance (oven, dryer, larger A/C, etc.) with an appropriate plug adapter (if needed) and extension cord, or, you can add another circuit breaker to the panel.

Edit: After going into the details of adding a circuit breaker (see below), I did a little more research on extension cords and found that you can buy long high amp extension cords from welding supply houses. Adding a circuit breaker could still be a viable option, so I'll leave the instructions below, but I think a low gauge cord is the better choice.

The pizzamaster oven that I linked to earlier, for instance, at 3.63 kW at 230V, would pull almost 16 amps. That means that any outlet/extension cord combo rated to 20A would suffice.  As you increase the length of the cable the gauge needs to increase, accordingly, so, if you could get away with a 50 ft. cord, that would give you a more portable cord than 75 ft.  It should also save you some money.

When choosing extension cords, I think it's better to err a bit on the side of caution and go with a wire that's most likely a little too thick.  You probably won't need 10 gauge at 50 ft., but that's probably what I'd get for a 16A device.

You can buy complete cords, but, it's cheaper to buy the cable and plugs separately, not to mention that you'll most likely need an assortment of plugs.

Here's the plugs you might need:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NEMA_simplified_pins.svg

You probably don't need every flavor, and the 15A ones are ruled out, but I'd say you probably need around 8 plugs to cover your bases.  At, I think, around $20 a plug, that's $160. If you have the plugs on hand, you can wire them as needed on site.

One other thing to keep in mind.  If you do decide to go with the Pizzamaster (which, for countertops, seems to be noticeably superior to other brands), it's most likely going to be set up for European wiring. It's not the end of the world, but you'll probably have to take an extra step or too to get it working.  If they are selling a lot of these ovens to the American market, I'm sure they'll have instructions.


Adding a circuit breaker may seem a bit scary, but, if you're careful and you make sure the main power switch is off, as well as avoiding the two hot wires going into the main, there's no danger involved. Turn the main power off, plug in the breaker, turn the main power back on. Since you can have the breaker wired before you arrive to the client, all you're basically doing when you get there is plugging the breaker in.

It's not rocket science.  Here are two videos that show the process:




Both videos are loaded with disclaimers, as they should be, but the safety really boils down to two things- flick the main switch off and keep to the area where you're adding the breaker. The first video points out the wires that, after the main is turned off, still have juice/should be avoided.

They also spend some time on house wiring.  You won't have to worry about that, since you're just running your wire to wherever your oven is. Other than purchasing the necessary circuit breaker, you're talking about 5 minutes worth of work on wiring and plugging in the breaker.

Now, this does require a little extra work on the front end. Since circuit breakers are brand specific, you've got to make a trip to the client before the event and see what brand/model of panel they have so you can get the right circuit breaker from Home Depot.  You also need to confirm that their panel has a space for another breaker and that the main has enough amps to accommodate whatever amperage you're adding.  It's just a matter of reading the number of amps printed on the lever of the main circuit breaker and subtracting all the amps from the numbers printed on all the other levers in the panel. If the resulting number is higher than the amperage you're adding, you're good to go.

When there's a will, there's a way. There is a huge safety factor involved, but, as long as you're conscientious, turn the power off, and avoid the two main wires, you'll be fine. You might find a really old house with a fuse box rather than circuit breakers, but they should still have a large appliance that you can utilize the outlet from.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 10:55:53 AM by scott123 »

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2012, 04:56:17 PM »
Thanks so much, Scott, for all your research.  I've really gotta think this through.  I don't want to do a home invasion every time I cater a party at someone's house.  The electrical prep and weight of the equipment might be prohibitive.  On the other hand, I want to create a consistent, high-quality product.  The other options I'm considering are these:

1) Bringing a steel plate and using it in the host's home oven.  I know you've said that a steel plate goes a long way toward getting an average oven to perform up to snuff.  What do you think of that idea?

2) Using the method that the Casey's Pizza guy in San Francisco started with, the Weber grill with the custom insert.  This one, of course, would restrict me to outdoor prep.

Both seem a bit more manageable, especially until I figure out my process and get the prep down to a science.  Any thoughts?

Thanks again!

- GB  :chef:
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline kdefay

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2012, 09:49:27 PM »
One of the reasons that a professional pizza shop is able to consistently put out quality pies is that they have a reliable oven that the pizza maker can TRUST to perform when they need it.  The thought of having to adapt to a new client's oven every time would scare the heck out of me when I've got hungry people waiting for pizza.  I would want to have an oven setup that I could trust reliably before ever asking people to pay me money for pizza.

There's just too many things that can go wrong when you are not in control of the cooking environment.

Offline Don K

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2012, 10:03:09 PM »
Hows about a small gas oven that you could use outside with propane?
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Offline kdefay

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2012, 10:10:39 PM »
I agree with the Colonel.  Propane is the way to go.  I did some catering gigs with my gas oven a few years ago.  You don't have to worry about any electrical stuff, and you have control of your cooking environment.  Only thing is that the oven would have to be set up outside...

scott123

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2012, 05:06:08 PM »
Thanks so much, Scott, for all your research.  I've really gotta think this through.  I don't want to do a home invasion every time I cater a party at someone's house.  The electrical prep and weight of the equipment might be prohibitive.  On the other hand, I want to create a consistent, high-quality product.  The other options I'm considering are these:

1) Bringing a steel plate and using it in the host's home oven.  I know you've said that a steel plate goes a long way toward getting an average oven to perform up to snuff.  What do you think of that idea?

2) Using the method that the Casey's Pizza guy in San Francisco started with, the Weber grill with the custom insert.  This one, of course, would restrict me to outdoor prep.

Both seem a bit more manageable, especially until I figure out my process and get the prep down to a science.  Any thoughts?

GB, the home oven wouldn't be a reliable option.  At least, not on it's own.  I would estimate that maybe 1/4 of ovens have dials that go up to 500 or less and half of those actually don't exceed 500 air temps.  I would also estimate that 1/5 of oven owners have gas ovens without broilers in the main compartment. In order to have all your bases covered, you'd need at least stone configurations ready to go, and at the 500 places that don't actually exceed 500, there may not be a stone that gives you want you're looking for. Silicon carbide might do it, but, right now, it's just a theoretical possibility.

On the plus side, if you invest in a wide variety of stones for every possible oven, you'll answer most of the forums burning questions relating to untested materials  >:D

Another big issue with home ovens is that quite a few homeowners have filthy ovens, and, when you start hitting pizza temps, it can get smokey, and, in a worse case scenario, dangerous.  You could put something in the contract about the client cleaning the oven prior to your arrival and you could also have a few different stone configurations on hand, based on the potential oven scenarios you find, but it seems like a lot more work than buying an extension cord and 8 plugs, confirming they have an electric dryer and running it to the dryer plug when you show up.

Casey had an LBE.  LBEs get a lot easier when you're not striving for Neapolitan bake times, but they're still a bit of work to use, and, as you said, they'd need to be outside. LBE's are also, imo, not quite as consistent as decks/home ovens, although, like WFOs, it might come down to the skills of the person tending the oven. Variation might also be part of the appeal. Out of everything you're considering, I think an LBE would be the least expensive and easiest to set up.

How many pies are you hoping to bake at a time?

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2012, 08:04:20 AM »
As soon as you turn the power off all their clocks have to be reset,etc. Just bring your own generator. Have you thought of a modded home oven inside a enclosed trailer. Something big enough to also fit you and a refrigerated prep table in there maybe?
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Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2012, 05:46:40 PM »
Okay.  I'm thinking either propane or LBE.  Whatever happened to 2Stone?  Scott, what do you think of that as an option?  He made a propane model.
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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2012, 09:44:02 AM »
GB,
Just yesterday I read where a member was trying out his new 2Stone for the first time. Sorry I can't link you.Pies looked real good.
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Offline 2stone

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #15 on: September 16, 2012, 08:48:28 PM »
Whatever happened to 2Stone?

Glutenboy,

Been real busy, trying to keep up with everything. We have just revamped our oven lineup, and everything is rock solid.....working pretty good.
We have a pizza chain in Chicago "Homemadepizza" https://www.homemadepizza.com/ that use several of our ovens and just did over 10,000 slices at "Lolapalooza" (a big rock festival in Chicago) http://www.lollapalooza.com/ recently. They got rained out the last day so they said they missed out on a bunch more. You can see their catering page here: https://www.homemadepizza.com/catering.html

There is a real good (smart) group of guys at "Crushed Red" in St Louis MO http://www.crushedredrestaurant.com/#!about/c42f that have built a complete new restaurant concept around four of our commercial ovens. Some of them were lead people at "Panera Bread" and from what I understand they are doing great.

Another great guy in Seattle WA "Streetzeria" http://www.streetzeria.com/ has a real cool cart built around the 2stone Pro that is also doing well.

Otherwise I sell a lot of residential models you can see here: 2stonepg.com   One guy who runs a commercial bakery that sells to some of the national chains has purchased five of my ovens for personal use and claims they perform up there with the $250,000 ovens he uses in his business.

I many times get repeat sales by word of mouth, which is good since I don't have the means for wild / expensive ad campaigns.

My goal has been and is to design and make one of the best ovens on the market for low profile baking......so I'm here sweating it out every day doing the best I can.

I will be opening up a test kitchen / restaurant in Buchanan MI soon (I'm a former builder so it has taken some time to restore an old historic building, doing a lot of the work myself) and anyone on the forum in the area is welcome to stop by and see me once we are open. The pizza will be on me.

I wish you the best in your venture.

regards
willard
« Last Edit: September 17, 2012, 07:05:32 AM by 2stone »
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scott123

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2012, 09:21:12 PM »
GB, what size pizzas are you planning on selling?  For NY, 15" is a little small.

Fwiw, I've never seen a 2stone put out a stellar NY style pizza, at least not an authentic NY style pie.  It most likely can be done, and perhaps Willard could give us some photos (thin crust, please Willard), but until I see what a 2stone can do for NY, I wouldn't recommend it for your needs. You are going to be selling something NYish, correct?  Or, if you can get a Neapolitan bake time, would selling Neo pies appeal to you?

Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #17 on: September 18, 2012, 06:30:13 PM »
I'm definitely shooting for NY style, though size is negotiable since I'll be doing private parties.  Propane is looking like the most flexible yet powerful option for me, I think.  Thank you all for the input.  If anyone has anything to add, it's more than welcome.  I'll be watching.  Now it's time to think and discuss with my cohorts.  Please keep the advice coming!

Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

scott123

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Re: Pizza Oven
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2012, 07:34:34 PM »
GB, one thing to consider is that smaller dough balls ramp up your labor- more time spent forming balls, more skins to stretch and more containers to wash. Also, if you've got a hungry crowd breathing down your neck, it takes a greater number of smaller pies/longer time to satiate everyone. Now, if you're doing 2ish minute Neapolitans, you can feed people pretty quickly, but small-ish 4+ minute NY pies are going to limit your output a bit. If you want something crispy 7 minute-ish, like you're doing now, then you're going to have a pretty angry crowd on your hands.

You don't see many people doing mobile NY pizza- this is one of the reasons why.