Those pics made me feel as if I was starving!
What are the major Blodgett oven options out there and the major differences? I would like to be able to do pretzels from time to time and the option for bagels occasionally as well. Is the Blodgett ideal for pretzels and/or bagels or is it just a make shift arrangement. In other words should I really be thinking of a pizza oven for my pizza and a different oven for pretzels/bagels?
And I really appreciated your story.
Barry: First you should figure out what size place you want to run. A stack of 1000's is great for my speed/needs. The temp for the NY style is 500-570. Bagels/pretzels like closer to 400 degrees. Deck ovens can put out a lot of pizzas if you have the crew to man them. Most high volume NJ/NY places have one crew making the pies, and another crew manning the oven/cutting/boxing. My ovens can put out 8-18" pies in less than 1/2hour- figure 3 minutes to make a pie, 6 minutes to bake it. Figure that with 2/3 people making the pies and 1-2 people maning the ovens and you got it. Now figure just me making the pies and maning the ovens and we are down to about 7-10 pies an hour. It takes me about 3-4 minutes to make a pie and get it in the oven. By the time the third one is in and the first is ready to come out if they are just cheese pies and everything is grooving. Taking the first out takes me away from making another pie. Then I have to grate the parmigiano cheese and cut fresh basil on it, slice it, and send it out in box or on a pan for eat in. At this point I am lucky to get 1 more partially made and the second is done and the third is real close. Plus something will often need my attention away from the oven- get more sauce/cheese/topping, etc, and there you got more time gone bye. All that confusion I just spewed basically says I can do 3 pies at a time on my own, then the oven is cleared and I go again.
So I really don't need a second oven for pizza if doing everything myself with a low volume operation. This allows the bottom oven (a bit of a bend on my back for continuous pizzas) at the lower temp of 400 for bagels/pretzels or 450 for artisan breads/baguettes. I have one student that makes pies with me and when we get busy I move between making and oven guy while she stays strickly on making pies.
I don't crunch numbers very good so my figuring above may be off. But you will get the gist of it. The newer blodgett 1048 and Bakers Pride Y series ovens are wider and can handle 6- 18" pies but the new stones will require the oven tender to be constantly rotating the pies on the deck to achieve even cooking and avoid burning the crust. That also means more oven heat loss due to the door being open so much and slower recovery times because the new stones don't hold heat/recover like the old stones. So many places run their ovens wide open at 650 if they want to keep their bakes under 10 minutes. Then you have to deal with your first runs of pies charring more than you might like and then you find your groove but in a lull they heat back up and there you go again. I have seen lots of pizzerias that are high volume have erratic results with thier crust charring levels due to this. With the 1000's I can run them at 550 and have very little heat loss on the stones when they are going full tilt pie after pie. Conveyor ovens are the norm now for high volume pizzerias outside the NYC/CT area. You can run massive numbers through them and I hear the good ones can make a good NY pizza. I haven't witnessed that but to me the art is gone and I have no interest in such an oven. Walter
PS: When I make my bagels/pretzels in the 1000's it is for individual customer special orders only-always a native NY/NJ person. Commercial accounts make up almost all our bagel sales and we make about 300 bagels a day that are sold in the schools/university cafeterias. There is no way I could do that in the blodgetts and make pizzas. So we cook the bagels, after boiling, in a stack of convection ovens. Each oven will cook 120 bagels in 15 minutes. We use full size sheet pans that are drilled out like you see on the french bread pans you can now buy. That is the only way we can get the bagels done and allow enough time for them to cool, be sliced, bagged, within our workday. The old bagel shops I grew up around used the process in the video below. Those ferris wheel like ovens are the way to do bagels if you go high volume and want to do them on stones. bagels, pretzels, breads are a lot more work than pizzas if done by hand and you have to make a lot to make any money.
this a video I suggest anyone serious about bagel making watch many times. There was a bagel shop around the corner from where I grew up and I spent many afternoons watching them make bagels and they used the exact same set up. It was cool. No one ever said leave and they usually gave me a couple of bagels for free which I loved!