Author Topic: Oven Comparison Shootout  (Read 13694 times)

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Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Oven Comparison Shootout
« on: May 29, 2008, 12:44:38 PM »
It could help others if owners of Wood fired ovens listed Pro's & Con's of their oven.

So far I have looked at the following brands.

Forno Bravo
Woodstone
Earthstone
Mugnaini
Wildwood
La Paynol
Fogazzo
Los Angles Ovenworks
edit add: Superior Clay
Renato Ovens

The first difference I have noticed is the customer service and information flow of the various companies. I single out Mugnaini as offering the least bit of info . . . almost like pulling teeth. I spoke with the owner of Earthstone and the information flowed like water. He would have talked all day about his product. A good sign. The distributor for La Paynol in the US was also very informative and stated that those ovens are an all natural product without any additives like many of the other ovens use.

Please add any other brands to this list and comments about your oven or ovens you have researched. It would be helpful to have all this info in one thread for future buyers/builders to read.

Thanks again

PNW
« Last Edit: May 30, 2008, 01:56:29 AM by Pizza_Not_War »


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 06:06:51 PM »
Earthstone:

Pro's:
-outstanding handholding during construction.
-continued great support over past 7 years
-oven has stood up to non-commercial 900F+ firings once to twice per week for 7 years. Many firings in the dead of winter when the starting temp is in the single digits. Not a crack or any other defect yet in any of the materials supplied by Earthstone.
-also great for baking breads, roasting meats, etc.

Con's:
-I should have put in the Model 110. Model 90 is fine for a single pie with a live fire. There are times I wish had more room. You probably could do more than one pie at a time in the model 90, but with 45-second baking times, it would be a challenge.


 
   

Offline dmun

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2008, 07:28:28 PM »
Homemade firebrick oven:

Pro's:

- At under a buck a brick for 160 bricks almost anyone can afford an oven. The refractory mortar and the insulation (which you have to buy anyway) cost more than the oven.

- Unlimited design choices: you can build your oven any size, any height, with any vent size that will suit your cooking style best.

- Unlimited internet support, on even the smallest detail, from a large supportive oven building community.

- Bragging rights: "Yeah, I built this. Yep. Every brick"

- This is true of commercial ovens too, because more than half the effort of building any oven is the footings, stand, enclosure, and finish, but it's a fun project. You can enlist the help of friends, family, and neighbors, and build your local community.

- A "brick oven" should look like it's made out of bricks. I'm sorry, it should. I know you can get commercial brick built ovens, but most of the ones you can afford look like upside down beige mixing bowls.

Cons:

- Brick ovens crack. Almost every one. Everyone gets paranoid about those hairline cracks, then finally shrug their shoulders and go back to cooking. If a crack in your oven is going to drive you crazy, get a commercial oven.

- You have to make your own decisions, and figure out certain things for yourself. If you want a ready made solution, go commercial.

Like Bill, I wish I had a little bigger oven. Mine is 36, which is fine for what I do, but there would be a little more versatility with a 39.5 (1 meter) oven.





Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 01:55:50 AM »
Thanks for the summaries so far. I added Superior Clay to the list above, as I recall talking to one of the company rep's and he mentioned that I should expect to see hairline cracks developing almost immediately. I was a bit shocked by that revelation and I had liked the idea of buying an all American product, but that was a turn-off.

As to building my own oven from scratch, don't think my back would hold up to the work, although the price is appealing. If I can wait 5 or so years for my son to grow some real muscles, then I would consider it.


PNW

Offline dmun

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2008, 04:46:28 PM »
I had liked the idea of buying an all American product

Almost all masonry products, including firebrick, are US made, and many refractory specialty items are as well.

It is important to note that all the back-breaking work, building footings, stand, and enclosure, are stuff that you are going to have to do with a pre-fab or a hand made oven. A firebrick only weighs nine pounds.

I like the Superior Clay Co., as I used one of their rumford fireplace throats one time, but their ovens are TINY. Look at the sizes on those puppies.

Offline pizza concerto

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2008, 05:12:51 PM »
Earthstone:

Pros:

-Super friendly customer service...they actually taught me how to properly fire and manage the oven in a 2 hour one on one demonstration at their test kitchen in Glendale.
-no problems with the oven, easy to cook in, hardly shows any signs of wear and tear.

Cons:

-Doesn't seem to maintain its temperature well.  Once I fire it to 975 degrees for the first couple of pies, it will begin to drop temp to about a steady 800 for the balance of the night, unless I really get aggressive with the amount of wood I burn. (and then the abundance of coals needs to be addressed to make more cooking room) It just seems that the design prefers this cooking range...

all in all, I'd recommend it for the great customer service.
"Only Irish Coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar, fat." -- Alex Levine

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2008, 02:54:28 PM »

It is important to note that all the back-breaking work, building footings, stand, and enclosure, are stuff that you are going to have to do with a pre-fab or a hand made oven. A firebrick only weighs nine pounds.


DMUN

I intend to install the oven indoors using a metal frame support to save the weight and headaches of a monolithic cement structure that the masons want to build. For indoor use I would need to have a UL approved device for permit purposes.

Thanks

PNW

Offline Amir

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2008, 01:04:04 PM »
Our Mugnaini is not yet installed so no summary yet :).  But we found their customer service/pre-sales to be excellent.  They invited me to one of their teaching classes free of charge to watch the oven in person!  I got to eat and watch the oven make everything from Pizza to full size Turkey.  And while there, I got a far more complete explanation of their oven construction than any other brand I looked at (Earthstone/Woodstone).  And watched the ovens being assembled.  I walked away most informed.

Woodstone folks were also nice and invited us to a private cooking session.  Their oven though is more designed for lower-temp cooking so we passed on that.  The Pizza coming out of Mugnaini was in a completely different class when it came to the quality of the crust.

So don't give up on Mugnaini based on lack of information.  Contact them and they will be able to provide the information you need.

BTW, I was disappointed with Earthstone.  Yes, Maurice was nice in person but they would not let me see the oven in operation.  Specs don't cook, ovens do :).  We are spending in area of $8,000 for this thing.  That is a lot of money to spend on something without seeing it work. I was willing to fly down to LA just for this but they said Maurice no longer does demonstrations.

Finally, I saw the Italian design that Marco talks about.  I will post pictures later but he is right.  It is in a different class than all the others available here.  At double the cost of our oven given the exchange rate/shipping, it didn't make sense.  But for anyone with unlimited budget, it is the way to go.

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2008, 03:46:34 PM »
Thanks for the info Amir.

I spoke with the Woodstone people and was blown away by the info they gave me. Not in a good way of course. Why exactly would I want to spend all that money & then warm up an oven for four hours to cook at the same temperatures I get in my kitchen oven? Did not get it, they must be selling based on coolness factor and image.

Who did you deal with at Mugnaini? Are you installing indoors with one of the prebuilt units on a metal stand? Or is it an outdoor install?

I am anxious to see how it works out for you.

PNW

Offline tgm

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #9 on: June 08, 2008, 12:02:06 PM »
We put in a Fogazzo 850 a few years ago and it works perfectly. Could not have asked for any better customer service at the time.
We were concerned about shipping as we are located on the east coast and needed the oven for a family reunion.

The folks at Fogazzo said it was not an issue and they arranged for shipping which was less than $200. The damn thing came by air freight from CA!
It went together perfectly and we use it all year round, even in the harsh NW PA winters.

We went with the smaller 850 as it fit our plan and budget better and as Bill pointed out above, we cook 90 sec pizzas all day long and with two of us making and cooking we can keep a hungry crowd fed easily. Not sure that the larger one would do us any good.

I think we are the only outdoor WFO for quite a distance and everyone is always amazed at the final product quality. We owe that to Caputo!

Regards,

Tom in PA


Offline Amir

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2008, 12:49:12 PM »
I spoke with the Woodstone people and was blown away by the info they gave me. Not in a good way of course. Why exactly would I want to spend all that money & then warm up an oven for four hours to cook at the same temperatures I get in my kitchen oven? Did not get it, they must be selling based on coolness factor and image.
Their main business is commercial units operated by gas for ease of use and training by unskilled operators. 90% of "wood fired" ovens I see in restaurants is made by them, being run with gas.

Quote
Who did you deal with at Mugnaini?
Everyone :).  Caryl answers the phone/email.  She is nice but can't give you technical answers.  I think the name of the main person is John.  He is the one you want to talk to.  Just send them email/call and say you have technical questions you like to have answered.  Andrea is the owner and chef and is an excellent resource on cooking in there, but not for ins and outs of material used.  If you can at all go down there to Santa Cruz, I highly recommend it.  John has material used by other companies to show and contrast.  I am not sure if they fully remember me but tell them Amir from Seattle introduced you to them.  Maybe that gets you in the door faster :).

Quote
Are you installing indoors with one of the prebuilt units on a metal stand? Or is it an outdoor install?
I am getting pre-assembled metal stand.  Metal stand is stronger than wood framing my contractor could build.  And I will know that the unit will come ready to go, rather than taking chances with something going wrong.  The main drawback is weight and size.  In our case, size is not an issue since we are knocking down the walls anyway and then build around it.  The thing weighs about 2,000 pounds so a forklift is needed which my contractor is still complaining about :).  We have not yet accepted delivery since our kitchen framing is just getting done now.

Quote
I am anxious to see how it works out for you.

PNW
I will surely report back.  But having tasted 2-minute Pizza that was as light as air coming out of the unit, I am confident it will meet our needs without doubt.

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2008, 08:21:39 PM »
We put in a Fogazzo 850 a few years ago and it works perfectly. Could not have asked for any better customer service at the time.
We were concerned about shipping as we are located on the east coast and needed the oven for a family reunion.

The folks at Fogazzo said it was not an issue and they arranged for shipping which was less than $200. The damn thing came by air freight from CA!
It went together perfectly and we use it all year round, even in the harsh NW PA winters.

We went with the smaller 850 as it fit our plan and budget better and as Bill pointed out above, we cook 90 sec pizzas all day long and with two of us making and cooking we can keep a hungry crowd fed easily. Not sure that the larger one would do us any good.

I think we are the only outdoor WFO for quite a distance and everyone is always amazed at the final product quality. We owe that to Caputo!

Regards,

Tom in PA

I called Fogazzo after reading your post and Sergio was very helpful and informative. He compared his oven with a few other brands and did not trash them at all. Said that they were all capable ovens except for one that he did not name, but I knew who he meant. They have a vent right in the middle of the dome as compared to most other ovens with it up front. He seemed pretty willing to help walk an unfamilar contractor through the process of site build out and installation.
Thanks

PNW

Offline pcampbell

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2008, 09:48:31 PM »
I don't see why a pizza oven needs to be UL listed.  Masonry fireplaces are not UL listed, they are built by hand.  It is the same concept.  You will have the oven inspected by buildings inspector and/or fire dept and notify your insurance company and they should not have a problem.
Patrick

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2008, 11:15:42 PM »
I don't see why a pizza oven needs to be UL listed.  Masonry fireplaces are not UL listed, they are built by hand.  It is the same concept.  You will have the oven inspected by buildings inspector and/or fire dept and notify your insurance company and they should not have a problem.

1. Building inspectors want life to be easy.
2. You don't normally cook foods in a fireplace. Ovens can create grease, you need to have a grease trap on the flue pipe, etc.

PNW

Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2008, 11:19:23 AM »
PNW, my building inspector treated my handbuilt oven just like a fireplace.  He was just baffled by the whole process and took more pictures than measurements.  I gave him a drawing and that was it.  The only part of the code that does not seem to jive is the 18 inch stone hearth figure.  As the mouth of the oven is elevated I went with 60 inches,  but he wasn't worried about it.  Just for those wondering-marc   Oh,  and about the grease trap,  I have never heard of needing one,  as you already need a chimney rated for solid fuel, which is dealing with creasote anyways.  I would be suprised if any grease got up into the chimney.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2008, 11:21:45 AM by widespreadpizza »

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #15 on: June 12, 2008, 11:38:19 AM »
PNW, my building inspector treated my handbuilt oven just like a fireplace.  He was just baffled by the whole process and took more pictures than measurements.  I gave him a drawing and that was it.  The only part of the code that does not seem to jive is the 18 inch stone hearth figure.  As the mouth of the oven is elevated I went with 60 inches,  but he wasn't worried about it.  Just for those wondering-marc   Oh,  and about the grease trap,  I have never heard of needing one,  as you already need a chimney rated for solid fuel, which is dealing with creasote anyways.  I would be suprised if any grease got up into the chimney.
marc

I am going by what Maurice of Earthstone told me and several others as well. I have not got to the talking to the building department stage yet. It seems to require a restaurant grade double or triple wall stainless flue pipe with a grease trap. Maybe they are giving me a can't fail the building department kind of set up idea.

Ultimately it will be the usual back and forth with the inspector. I once installed an indoor Endless pool and that was a complete nightmare with the inspector and seemed to require a complete re-write of the codes to suck all my $$$ from me. A true nightmare.

PNW

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #16 on: June 15, 2008, 05:10:01 AM »
All,

Finally someone else with some sense here.

Even if the grease is the problem, the Flue pipe/chimney is the one that have to be UL listed and have to deal with the grease trap, not the oven itself. We have had many of our ovens approved in US now, just by providing very little supporting evidence of this.

When I was helping Forno Napoletano investigating any certification needed for the US market, we got in touch with the UL rep in Europe and in basic terms they told us that a certification was not really needed....

Ciao

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #17 on: July 02, 2008, 02:15:06 PM »
Here is the oven style I am looking to do. Obviously a smaller version - that is huge. This image was sent to me my Le Panyol distributor in the US, Main Wood Heat.

PNW

Offline sourdough girl

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #18 on: July 02, 2008, 02:38:20 PM »
"Gort!  Klaatu barada nikto!"
Never trust a skinny cook!

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Oven Comparison Shootout
« Reply #19 on: July 02, 2008, 03:05:47 PM »