Author Topic: Best Pizza Ovens  (Read 4211 times)

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Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2014, 09:00:57 PM »
I like and agree with your first un-edited response more than your present one, but I would not say you are stupid in any way. 


Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #21 on: March 08, 2014, 09:47:30 PM »
I must be pretty stupid because I find turning out a class pie day in and day out requires a lot of skill and I am continually learning/making mistakes after over 50 years of being around dough :) Walter

I learn something every time I make pizza. There has NEVER been a day when I didn't wish I had done something different and think about how I will do things differently the next time.
Pizza is not bread.

Offline waltertore

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #22 on: March 08, 2014, 10:05:41 PM »
I like and agree with your first un-edited response more than your present one, but I would not say you are stupid in any way.

Sorry for any misunderstandings and I took no offense. after reading my original post I figured it was not really that relavant and I responded  with my Jersey humor which can often be misunderstood in the flesh and on the net :)  Walter
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 08:44:13 AM by waltertore »

Offline JAG

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #23 on: March 09, 2014, 10:33:02 AM »
Speaking of ovens, I'll add this to the equipment section also, there is a used double stack of the Blodgett M1000 at Restaurant Equippers in Columbus Oh. if anyone is near and looking for ovens.

JG

Offline dmckean44

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2014, 01:57:58 PM »
I operated a deck oven with no training at all when I was 19 years old, and we made a lot more than 75 pizzas per shift.  It ain't rocket science.

And 30 years later the same joint is still open and churning out pizzas in the same oven with still untrained college kids.

High school and college kids are the upper echelon of unskilled labor. You can pay someone who will literally be a rocket scientist one day to make pizzas for 50 cents above minimum wage. You only have to put up with a little immaturity. 

Offline PizzaGarage

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2014, 02:27:56 PM »
Sorry for any misunderstandings and I took no offense. after reading my original post I figured it was not really that relavant and I responded  with my Jersey humor which can often be misunderstood in the flesh and on the net :)  Walter

Personally, I completely agreed with the original post.  I think the topic being discussed was baking in a deck oven vs conveyor etc...not so much the quality of the product itself ( outside of how it was baked )  Your post was more about the art of pizza making as it relates to various ovens. I would not put an 18 year old on any deck oven without training. I would be comfortable leaving a person to run the ovens after 3-6 months hands on with supervision. 

Today, so many pizzas are simply terrible.  Shops open and go out of business constantly.   People seem to think making pizza is easy and a kid can do it or anyone can.  This is why they close up.  So I agree with what you stated and facts are that making a pizza that stands out is a very difficult thing to do.

Just my 2 cents

Offline waltertore

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #26 on: March 09, 2014, 03:13:43 PM »
Personally, I completely agreed with the original post.  I think the topic being discussed was baking in a deck oven vs conveyor etc...not so much the quality of the product itself ( outside of how it was baked )  Your post was more about the art of pizza making as it relates to various ovens. I would not put an 18 year old on any deck oven without training. I would be comfortable leaving a person to run the ovens after 3-6 months hands on with supervision. 

Today, so many pizzas are simply terrible.  Shops open and go out of business constantly.   People seem to think making pizza is easy and a kid can do it or anyone can.  This is why they close up.  So I agree with what you stated and facts are that making a pizza that stands out is a very difficult thing to do.

Just my 2 cents

thanks.  Most people here have had little to no experience with a day after day commerical operation and all the stuff that will come up to jam the gears.  I grew up in the NJ/NYC pizza world and a new person had to work years to gain respect in the field.  They also had to be related or well known to the family running the pizzeria.  Now it is like I train you for an hour and you are a peer to the masters. 

Like you said, most pizzerias today turn out garbage.  the conveyor oven came to the rescue and thus they dominate the scene today.  Training takes a few minutes and you are a pizza master, the owner can sell 100's of pies a day, make a ton of money, and be off site much of the time.  The way I learned was a very slow/cross trained approach.  I have been around dough for over 50 years learning from intuitively based teachers (mainly my mother and her family from Italy)  and with my own experimenting.  I still am learning everyday and making mistakes everyday.  If it was a simple process I would be bored with it and move on to something else.  I find dough to be a fascinating thing that is forever changing and the challenge is to try and capture it right each time.   I am also a controlling person around products with my  name on them so I couldn't leave people alone to make the products without me there. Thus I will always be a very small operator with both hands in every product.   Walter


PS:  I have been playing the same 3 chords with my music for over 50 years.  Most people that own a guitar and play it once a year know more stuff than me but I spent 1/3 of my life playing professionally.  I am fascinated with learning the simplest of things and have found the deeper you go into them the deeper it goes and goes and never is the end found. I am glad I am out of music for a living because it allows me to continue exploring the endless pit of the simple 3 chords without interuption and the same is true with running the bakery/pizzeria I do now.  Thus I have spent my life to this point obsessed with the depth not the volume of mastery with whatever interests me.   That is why I posted that remark :)
« Last Edit: March 09, 2014, 03:53:14 PM by waltertore »

Offline bhopper

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2014, 08:54:06 PM »
Rotoflex is the only thing that comes to mind with the quantity and the skill set you have. Deck oven will burn you alot ;) they have a recover time and you need a skilled oven man. Conveyors will not cook a 5 topping and a 1 topping at the same rate and they dry out toppings. So a Rotoflex seems to be the oven for you.

Offline Bubba Kuhn

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #28 on: March 23, 2014, 04:27:08 AM »
Hello my name is bubba and i have an extensive background in developing and redeveloping small restaurants with a speciality in pizza.
I have worked with every oven written about in the prior post and a lot more.  I do not offer advice to often on this board anymore as I find myself occupied with new endeavors.  Best oven is subjective.  Please consider http://www.bakerspride.com/products-hearthbake-e.asp these ovens proform as well as any deck oven either gas or electric that I hve ever used. They are the cheapest to run because of the size and need no venting though i do recommend venting for smoke. They are only one pizza deep so easy management no learning curve, and no burning your arm for the ones in the back. A set of two cooking in rotation will do the volume of two full size deck ovens and when business is slow you can turn off the one you do not need and save the money. The take up 24' x 24' on a counter top and look real good in a shallow brick facade with a vent. These are really a great tool of the industry that is underutilised. I have done 400.00 an hour "15 pies" in one oven with no second for rotating to, and it recovered in 10 minutes and i did it again. Thats working one oven to hard but it stood up. Pan pies will be a bit slower.
Hope this helps. Bubba.   
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Offline Bubba Kuhn

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #29 on: March 23, 2014, 05:21:15 AM »
Sorry I meant to include this data
Model P44S features two independently controlled Cooking chambers with two ceramic hearth baking Decks per chamber, and are designed for fresh dough Pizza par baked crust, pretzels flat breads and bakery Products baked directly on the hearth deck, on screens Or on baking sheets. Each chamber has an independent Thermostat and a 15 minute electric timer with continuous Ring alarm and manual shut-off is standard.  All models Feature stainless exteriors. Ovens are stackable.

Models: P44S, P44-BL The one that I used had 4 20" decks.  two doors each with two decks and two thermostats. One for each set of two decks. If you can get the ones with the glass in the doors and interior light as it saves big and increases production, as you do not have to open it to check the pie and lose the heat nearly as often in the cooking process.  Two of these will hold 8 20 inch pies. As will any two full size blodgetts or wolfs or rotoflex or standard deck bakers prides or Langs "gas or electric, air door or standard"  just to mention a few.  I have used all of these ovens in commercial production settings.  Bubba
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Offline petrpizza

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2014, 08:33:13 AM »
If the goal is to make a thin crust pizza, then the dough must be baked directly on top of a hot stone. Hot stone "shocks" the dough and freezes it's thickness, so that it will develop a thin baked structure, while not increasing much in thickness. In my experience, thin crust pizzas are made from low yeast content dough. Typical Italian guide is for 1g of dry yeast per 1 kg of flour. We use 5g of natural "moist" yeast per 1 kg of flour, which allows us up to 48h of stable fridge storage.

From the beginning, we adopted a gas powered deck style oven, which has so far proven to be a rightful choice.

The conveyer type ovens are from my observation more idiot proof, while limited and less flexible. First of all, the conveyor gate width will limit the pizza diameter, while constant conveyor speed may underbake numerous toppings pizzas, while overbaking a margerita. Conveyor ovens require the dough to be placed on a steel pan or a steel mesh. This does offer opportunity to let dough sit in ambient air and thicken to provide the thick crust. It is also known that dough for conveyor ovens contains more yeast and often bake enhancers.
Generally, the composition of dough and rest of pizzas should be "tuned" to the capabilities or limitations of the oven. Rules of thumb are nice for a start, but close monitoring of outcome and willingness to make careful changes will be a good guide towards a desirable outcome. 
Here in PL, most pizzerias that use conveyor ovens are owned/run my ex Pizza Hut employees, and I believe Lincoln is their favored brand.

In closing, I would add that a great pizza has to contain good ingredients, without them no amount of techie stuff will save the day.

Offline TheRailroadBulls

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #31 on: April 25, 2014, 12:26:50 PM »
If none of your employees are skilled with a deck oven you are going to be in very deep waters.  Deck ovens can't be mastered overnight.  I suggest you hire someone to teach you and your staff and or hire someone highly skilled in deck ovens.  Otherwise you are going to make big mess.  I know you said used scared you.  But if you find a reputable dealer in your area a used one will cost a fraction of the price.  That will allow you to hire a pro consultant and or hire one on as an employee.  We run blodgett 1000 deck ovens.  These were manufactured in the 70's.  There are no electronics.  They are such workhorse that all parts are still available and many top pizzerias still use them.  If you can change the oil on a car you can do most of the repairs that will come up and once they are running right rarely do they fail.  Simple fixes that are cheap and easy are the ones that come up and rarely at that.  Plus the 1000's with the original stones far outperform any of the stones in the current ovens.  You can run 4-18" pies at a time, 6-16" at a time.  A single oven with a skilled crew would easily meet your needs unless all your orders come in during a small window.  I am sure you could find a good consultant that can guide you through the purchase and training.  Walter

here are our ovens.  These things are built to work full tilt 12 hours a day 7 days a week without breaking a sweat :)

Hey after reading this I have a question for you, and please be as detailed as possible cause I am a curious dude and will ask a million:

So... I worked at a pizza shop before w/ a converyor, and i've also lived in the woods (i'm an ex hippy or something I guess) for months at a time and mastered making pizza on open flame even... but my ONE gray area is deck ovens. Since I have never even used one. From what I understand it is a stone bottom, and the top and bottom temps are controlled independently... and I know Blodgett and BP are the usual suspects from what i've read... but that is where my knowledge stops.

You mentioned in your reply that a deck oven cannot be mastered overnight, and I am wondering what the hard parts of the learning curve are. I have debated taking a part time job at a local pizza place JUST to learn their ovens (hell... i'll work for free if anybody is in the area), but I am confused as to what would make them so difficult to learn to operate consistently. I'm looking to make NY style pizzas so if that matters then please factor that in when you respond. Thanks!  ;D
"Conveyor ovens make McPizza." - Scott123

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #32 on: April 25, 2014, 02:24:47 PM »
You mentioned in your reply that a deck oven cannot be mastered overnight, and I am wondering what the hard parts of the learning curve are.

Launching

Deck ovens tend to lose a great deal of heat when the door is open, so everything you do needs to be done quickly and efficiently.  You need to be able to launch a topped skin off the peel with a quick flick of the wrist and in a fairly accurate fashion- all while keeping the toppings in place. This takes some time master.

Turning

Again, since time is of the essence, you want to be able to rotate the pie and return it to the same spot pretty quickly. A home baker might lift the whole pizza to turn it, but lifting and pushing the lip is far faster.  It takes a gentle hand, though, not to damage the rim or tear the undercrust.  You also need to be able to develop a sense for when pizzas are both able to be turned (turn too quickly and your working with gooey dough) and ready to be turned.

Hot/Cold Spot Recognition

Some ovens have less disparity in temps than others (such as Walter's old Blodgett with the original stones and a Marsal MB), but every deck oven is going to have hotter and cooler areas. Electric deck ovens have two elements- one beneath the stone and a 'broiler' element, and they usually have thermostats that can be set independently.  But electric deck ovens are not the norm. Gas ovens outnumber electric by a wide margin. Gas ovens have one gas burner under the stone with one thermostat. The heat from the burner rises up/radiates to heat the stones and flows around the stones and up the side walls to heat the ceiling of the oven and bake the top of the pizza.  Better gas deck ovens will incorporate some metal sheeting between the stone and burner to deflect heat away from the stone and send more up to the ceiling.

Burner shape varies.  It greatly depends on the deflection, if any, and the stone material, but in many deck ovens, where the flame of the burner hits the stone, that area tends to be hotter on the top of the stone than other non-flame areas.  Some manuals will give you diagrams of where the hot spots are, and while it doesn't hurt to consult the manual, an IR thermometer is indispensable for confirming hotter/cooler areas. You need to have a clear image in your mind of the temperature geography of your oven.

Retrieving

Again, because of the need to minimize open door time, you'll want to develop a sense for when the pie is done, without having to check it much.

Temperature Determination

Because gas ovens have bottom burners and frequently lack the necessary deflection to direct enough heat to the top of the chamber, as you turn up the thermostat, they tend to go out of balance, baking the bottom of the pizza faster than the top. Bake time is responsible, to an extent, for oven spring, though, so, for NY style, you generally want to bake the pizza as quickly as you can, so the trick is to either get an oven that's balanced at higher temps (i.e., has good deflection), add deflection, if you're in the position to, or, if you're stuck with an imbalanced oven, find the maximum temperature you can work at while still getting good top/bottom heat balance.


Quite a few of these skills overlap with a wood fired oven (which, imo, is considerably harder to master), so if by 'open flame' you mean 'wood fired oven,' then a deck oven shouldn't be that difficult for you.  As far as getting a job in a local deck oven pizzeria... I wouldn't recommend it.  Everything I've outlined above is for people that care about the quality of pizza they make.  Your average Michigan (or, for that matter New York) pizzeria owner might work at minimizing open door time because open doors translates into higher fuel costs, but they're generally not going to care about faster bakes.  Supino (Detroit) might care, but you're not getting a job there.

May I ask why you want to master a deck oven?  For NY style, a home electric oven that goes to 550 and 1/2" steel plate will outperform most gas deck ovens and be far easier to work with (no hot spots, no door opening concerns, typically less turning, etc.). If you're planning on going into the business, it's better to learn on the oven you purchase, because, as I said, every oven is different.

Offline TheRailroadBulls

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #33 on: April 30, 2014, 07:32:04 PM »

May I ask why you want to master a deck oven?  For NY style, a home electric oven that goes to 550 and 1/2" steel plate will outperform most gas deck ovens and be far easier to work with (no hot spots, no door opening concerns, typically less turning, etc.). If you're planning on going into the business, it's better to learn on the oven you purchase, because, as I said, every oven is different.

First of all, this was very helpful and detailed so thank you very much!

Second: Nope. I've never operated a wood fired oven. I was a travelling busker/musician, and beach bum/hitchhiker/trainhopper for most of my adult life, so I was cooking over campfires basically. I made a lot of pizza with grill grates, my trusty cast iron skillet (when I had that luxury), and stones, etc... basically, whatever I had. I have been back in a "normal life" and going to school for Medical Assisting (with a 4.0 gpa currently!) for the last 6 months. When I graduate I intend to start saving up for the pieces I will need to eventually build/open my own pizza shop up in Michigans U.P. (Probably near Houghton/Hancock or Marquette). I've been working on the idea for 3 years on and off when I've had time between travelling/being dumb. But yeah... I was thinking I wanted a WFO but down South I fell in love with the places that had the oversized novelty pizzas. I want to offer a pizza that's around 30" (when I was homeless we ate pizza a lot when we had money, and always talked about how 1 was never enough to feed a group of friends) and from what I've seen/read/watched, all the guys putting out the mega-pies are using a deck with screen combo.

My oven at home is a convection oven that reaches 500, and I've had a lot of success cooking on a screen w/ an old BBQ rack set directly on the bottom of the oven, but, as my food gets better and better I am finding that I'm creating a lot of interest. I have several people who regularly check to see if i'll sell them pizza out of my house, and one other who wants to sell my sauce in his stores.... HOWEVER... my research has all gone into product/marketing/recipe ideas/etc... but I have no working knowledge of the science behind the cooking. Like, I know what protein content I'm looking for in my flour, but I don't know WHY I need that, I just know "it makes the dough stretchy." I know that the style of pizza I want is usually made in a deck, but I don't know why.... etc... this forum has been unbelievably helpful to me to fill in the blanks. I'm one of those guys who understands food due to being broke for so many years, and eating whatever I had.... I have a true passion for what I do... but I need to figure out WHY I am doing what I'm doing. haha... crap! I'm ranting!
 
"Conveyor ovens make McPizza." - Scott123

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #34 on: May 02, 2014, 09:26:47 PM »
TRB, you know my feelings on conveyor ovens :) I'm a little more lenient when it comes to screens- at least screens in certain scenarios, but I'm still generally not a big fan, as they insulate the bottom of the pizza and slow down the bake, which, for NY style is counterproductive, imo.

I don't know if one can still get slices like these, but, 30 years ago, Hoboken used to have a pizzeria off the main strip where you could get slices as big as your forearm.  I don't know if they were 30", but they were HUGE.  At the time, I probably didn't know what a pizza screen even was, but they were definitely on par with the fast baked pizza I was getting locally- about 25 minutes away. It was one of the top pizza experiences of my life.

The jumbo slice places in DC both use conveyors:

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/youngandhungry/2010/04/07/no-big-deal-food-wars-episode-on-the-jumbo-slice-airs-next-week/

I really have no idea how one would would do a 30" pie without a screen, and while I'm not a fan of the diamond cross hatch pattern screens lend to undercrusts, I guess, in theory, my main issue with screens are their impact to bake times, and, if their insulating effects can be compensated for with hotter hearths in balanced top/bottom settings, I might, maybe, be able to get past my issues with screens :)

I probably would encourage you to get a 30" peel and actually see if launching a 30" skin would be physically possible, but, if you were hitting a brick wall with that approach, with the right oven (I think very few ovens could pull this off- at least for NY style), then screens would be okay by me.

Offline gabaghool

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2014, 03:30:14 PM »
I've gotta say that deck ovens are ONE piece of equipment that you should NEVER buy new.  It's a very simple piece....very little could go wrong (unlike a conveyor), and the fixes are usually inexpensive.   Lots of time you can practically rebuild the oven for dirt cheap.  I don't even know what a NEW blodgett goes for, but I know it's very easy to find  double deck for far less than ONE new oven costs.....most of the time you're simply paying for the shine.    Replace the thermocouples, clean it good...and bingo...you're ready to go.....MOST NEW restaurant equipment is ridiculously priced.  Always, always buy used, decent shaped equipment.

You'll get burned time to time......but in the long run you will save TONS of cash...

Offline mobilepizza

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2014, 03:17:14 PM »
A mobile wood fired oven is the way to go. I personally have been getting into this business after a long corporate affair that left me flat. I'm helping a friend out at his mobile catering business, and in the summertime it is sssooo busy, and the money is good! I'm learning so much and although if I started a mobile business myself, I would probably buy the dough from an established pizza restaurant and hit the farmers markets using what they have available there. It is the total hippy adventure and I'm loving every minute of it. At the end of the day I feel like I worked hard and made a product people want. I'm converting my old 86 Chevy to a mobile catering unit. A guy in New Haven puts the ovens on trailers mobilepizzatrailer.com, so I'm using him. I plan to start off with my friends with horse farms, and yoga retreat parties. So there is my idea for you to start something small and get your feet wet and then you can build from there. I also know that if you build a custom mobile wood fired oven, you can resell it pretty easy to other pizza making dreamers.(which a friend of mine does already).

Offline Tampa

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2014, 03:36:35 PM »
A mobile wood fired oven is the way to go. I personally have been getting into this business after a long corporate affair that left me flat. I'm helping a friend out at his mobile catering business, and in the summertime it is sssooo busy, and the money is good! I'm learning so much and although if I started a mobile business myself, I would probably buy the dough from an established pizza restaurant and hit the farmers markets using what they have available there. It is the total hippy adventure and I'm loving every minute of it. At the end of the day I feel like I worked hard and made a product people want. I'm converting my old 86 Chevy to a mobile catering unit. A guy in New Haven puts the ovens on trailers mobilepizzatrailer.com, so I'm using him. I plan to start off with my friends with horse farms, and yoga retreat parties. So there is my idea for you to start something small and get your feet wet and then you can build from there. I also know that if you build a custom mobile wood fired oven, you can resell it pretty easy to other pizza making dreamers.(which a friend of mine does already).
Best luck to you Pizza Trailer Girl.
Dave

Offline TheRailroadBulls

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #38 on: September 16, 2014, 09:15:46 PM »
TRB, you know my feelings on conveyor ovens :) I'm a little more lenient when it comes to screens- at least screens in certain scenarios, but I'm still generally not a big fan, as they insulate the bottom of the pizza and slow down the bake, which, for NY style is counterproductive, imo.

I don't know if one can still get slices like these, but, 30 years ago, Hoboken used to have a pizzeria off the main strip where you could get slices as big as your forearm.  I don't know if they were 30", but they were HUGE.  At the time, I probably didn't know what a pizza screen even was, but they were definitely on par with the fast baked pizza I was getting locally- about 25 minutes away. It was one of the top pizza experiences of my life.

The jumbo slice places in DC both use conveyors:

http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/youngandhungry/2010/04/07/no-big-deal-food-wars-episode-on-the-jumbo-slice-airs-next-week/

I really have no idea how one would would do a 30" pie without a screen, and while I'm not a fan of the diamond cross hatch pattern screens lend to undercrusts, I guess, in theory, my main issue with screens are their impact to bake times, and, if their insulating effects can be compensated for with hotter hearths in balanced top/bottom settings, I might, maybe, be able to get past my issues with screens :)

I probably would encourage you to get a 30" peel and actually see if launching a 30" skin would be physically possible, but, if you were hitting a brick wall with that approach, with the right oven (I think very few ovens could pull this off- at least for NY style), then screens would be okay by me.

You know... I've been knocking it around I my head for a while now, but I thought maybe it was a stupid question.... and now that you mentioned Hoboken and how it was 25 minutes away, I HAVE to ask.... are you Scott from "Scotts Pizza Tours"?

Also, I have been away from the site for a while but I'm trying to make time to get back to learning now (since my future goal is to open my own shop). I just graduated and started working for the University of Michigan Health Center so I've been extremely busy/tired. Good news is that once I fix my car situation I can start saving for my new (used) oven!
"Conveyor ovens make McPizza." - Scott123

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Best Pizza Ovens
« Reply #39 on: September 16, 2014, 09:30:07 PM »
Scott123 a pizza tour guide?   Oh man, I have heard it all now!!   :-D
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