Pizza Making Forum

General Topics => Pizza Making Equipment => Pizza Ovens => Topic started by: Fourlix on March 31, 2012, 11:36:31 AM

Title: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on March 31, 2012, 11:36:31 AM
I am going to do it.  We have been burning wood for 1.5 years.   The daily grind, a cord of wood a month, means a lot of soot, irregular temperatures, and we could really use the additional floor space...  Right now we can get only 3  18" pizzas in there at once.  With gas we can go to 4.   Cleaner oven.  consistent temperatures.  Instead of burning alligator juniper for fuel, we will use one oak log next to the gas burner for flavor, and ambiance.      Avanzini Drago,,,Avanzini Bruciatore makes an exact fit for my oven, same company that makes the burners for Forno Bravo.   Electronic, digital, complete system, about $1500.     I still have my wood fired oven in my back yard, which is where it all started 15 years ago, even though I have been making pizzas for about 30 years,,,,,That first trip to Italy in 1972 was where it really started,,,,or was it that pizzaria in NYC at 79th & Broadway next to the Beacon Hotel in 1964....?
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: shuboyje on March 31, 2012, 11:42:30 AM
Sounds like you are doing New York style pizza, I think gas will work much better for that then if you were doing Neapolitan.  Let us know what you think of the burner, I know it is the best one out there so I would love to hear what you think of it.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on March 31, 2012, 01:14:36 PM
Our 18" is very thin crust, only a 15oz dough ball.  Our 12" is more Neapolitan style, with a 9oz. dough ball.    Oh yes, I will be sure to post on the new burner once it is in and we have some experience with it.
  As an aside, and pretty relevant here, is that even though I had built my own oven, from scratch, at home, I chose to use a commercial Italian oven, MAM 505, for the restaurant because of appliance listing, insurance, fire marshall etc.  Using a complete package to convert the oven to gas keeps us legit, and within the manufacturer's specifications, as the oven was designed and listed to use gas as well as wood.   You can do anything you want in your backyard, but commercial applications can be tricky.  Every town is different, but fire marshalls and insurance guys like stickers and stuff that looks right. 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 11, 2012, 11:58:19 AM
I did it!!!  The Avanzini Drago is fantastic!   The flame from the Dragon reaches out across the ceiling 5 feet to the oven door, radiating heat down from the ceiling instead of the intense heat from a wood fire in the corner. Watching this incredible flame is mesmorizing.  I have been looking at some other gas/brick ovens in the area and their flames all look very conventional, like a converted BBQ.  This is different.  This is way better.  Better quality pizzas, More consistent. Cleaner, faster, more available floorspace.  No more burned edges.  Double production. The Avanzini Drago exactly fit the 5" opening in the MAM505 oven, like it was made for it.  Mount the control box, run the gas line, install the burner, and fit the temperature probe into the side wall.  Fairly easy and straightforward installation.  Didn't even have to call my plumber.  Total cost ended up about $2,200 not including labor, which was me. WORTH EVERY PENNEY.    Wood is fine, and fun, for backyard operations.  But for commercial restaurants?  You gotta be nuts.........
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: BrickStoneOven on May 12, 2012, 02:24:29 PM
Wood is fine, and fun, for backyard operations.  But for commercial restaurants?  You gotta be nuts.........

How can you say that? Just because you couldn't get the results you were looking for with wood doesn't mean others can't in a commercial environment. There are countless people who are using wood and getting great results. It's not for everyone.

BTW what oven do you have?
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 12, 2012, 03:23:02 PM
I have a MAM505 oven from Modena.  Here is the deal, bottom line.   Using a laser thermometer, we measured differences in floor temperatures with wood of about 200 degrees F.  The lateral heat of the wood fire vs the 3 to 5 foot long Avanzini flame which almost covers the entire ceiling and radiates down onto the floor simply works better, and differences in floor temperature are less than 100 degrees F, with the cooler zones being to the far right and left, and constant temperatures straight thru to the floor under the oven door.  The burner exactly fit the 5" hole at the very back and center of the oven.
     Now add in soot, ash, labor, inconsistency of temperature, inconsistency of employees, and that is why this is a huge commercial advantage.  I am sure there are gas brick ovens that don't work as well as this, and I have honestly looked at lots of them and none compare to the Avanzini burner. Most gas burners look like a converted BBQ burner.   This is very different.   How they are able to get the length of flame and such consistent temperatures is remarkable, and clearly a huge advantage over other gas burners.   Forno Bravo uses this burner.  Check out the YouTube videos of it.  It looks even better in real life. 
       And sure, there will continue to be great pizzas cooked in wood ovens in commercial settings all over the world...and in my backyard,,,,but not in my restaurant. 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on May 12, 2012, 04:57:47 PM
Wow, congrats. I know a lot of WFO owners may not think much of the upgrade, but that's because they're used to thinking of their traditional VPN-style oven as being the ultimate in... well, everything.  Why else would pay so much for it?   

As an LBE owner / user, I know that ovens are only as good as the user.  Tweak it, change it, work with it, but never think that its anything but just another tool.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: BrickStoneOven on May 12, 2012, 05:36:51 PM
Wow, congrats. I know a lot of WFO owners may not think much of the upgrade, but that's because they're used to thinking of their traditional VPN-style oven as being the ultimate in... well, everything.  Why else would pay so much for it?   

As an LBE owner / user, I know that ovens are only as good as the user.  Tweak it, change it, work with it, but never think that its anything but just another tool.
WFOs aren't only for making Neapolitan pizza. IMO there is no need to buy a WFO for pizza if your going to be baking much lower than 700F which he is. It would have been better just to get a deck oven.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: shuboyje on May 12, 2012, 05:39:33 PM
Pizzaneer,

That isn't the case at all.  If you read the other thread about this oven a few forums up you will see that Fourlix is not using his oven in a traditional way.  He is baking pizzas at 575F and looking for even temperature and no charring.  You are right in thinking that an oven is just a tool, and in this case Fourlix has the wrong tool for the job, a deck oven would be the proper oven for what he wants.  The strong opinions many of us have on wood fired ovens are actually based on something, lol.  Trust me before I discovered the pizza it can produce I had no interest in splitting wood, building fires and getting covered in soot.  
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 12, 2012, 11:33:56 PM
There is a difference between charring and burning.  The best temperature for this oven, and that is floor temperature, measured with a laser thermometer is 625 F.   Great pizzas were made before laser thermometers.  An Italian friend of mine showed me how to get the temperature right when I built my backyard oven using flour.  Take a pinch, and throw it in on the floor.  If it quickly turns black, the oven is too hot.  If it quickly turns brown, it is just right.  If it stays white, it is not hot enough.  
      Too often Americans take a good idea and get carried away with it, as in taking it too literally...Like Pasta Al Dente.  No Italian would eat the American version of pasta cooked al dente,,,to them it is undercooked.  To me it is raw flour. We make fresh pasta and cook it to order.  It is never dried. Occasionally we get somebody asking, or complaining, for their pasta to be al dente.  Fresh pasta cannot be al dente because it has never been dried.  It is done when the flour is cooked, like all pasta, even the dried kind. Why so many Americans have developed a taste for undercooked flour is beyond me. but I digress...  
        I took my laser thermometer to Grimaldi's coal fired pizzaria in Tucson, AZ.  Floor temp, 550 to 600 F.  Nice oven.  Great pizza.  New York style, not Neapolitan but I am also doing 18" pizzas with lots of toppings, and these are the temps that work.  We can, and do 12" Margheritas and with our new Booster flame we can get the char and Neapolitan effect at the push of a button.  To me this isn't a hobby, or a religion, it's business, it's culinary science.
        So, Deck oven vs. gas fired brick oven?  Really?  Start with aesthetics.  Deck ovens are butt ugly.
 From a culinary point of view a deck oven cooks with hot air, hence the closed door. Wood fired and gas fired brick ovens cook with radiant heat,,,,charring?      
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on May 13, 2012, 01:41:21 AM
from my 30 years of camping... I would use a slice of bread as a test- throw it in the (spot-assembled) oven and see if it browns evenly top and bottom.  No idea what the temp was, but the food was perfect.  I haven't ever gone by IR reading, just experience.  I have one now, but it's not something I rely on.  Kind of like the digital scale.  I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but I make dough by feel, not weights and measures.

I freely admit I have limited experience with "true" WFO's.  I'm looking forward to building one someday, and getting to know it.  But when all is said and done, it's just another tool in the toolbox of the cook.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 13, 2012, 02:34:59 AM
This was a big step.  I came on this forum looking for someone who had successfully converted their wood fired oven to gas.  Can it be done?  What are the results?  How can I do it?  etc.   Nada.  Just a lot of backyard WFO purists waving their flags.  This is a pizza making forum.  Not a WFO forum.  There are obvious advantages to gas for a commercial restaurant, as stated above.  There are technical, legal, monetary, culinary, and marketing issues to consider with a gas conversion.  No answers here, or anywhere that I could find.  I found Avanzini through Forno Bravo, but they wouldn't sell it to me.  So I bought it, sight unseen, except for a you tube video. With shipping my cost came to about $ 2,200.  I installed it myself.
      So now I am sharing this with you.  My experience successfully converting a commercial Italian pizza oven from wood to gas, by an Itallian company that has successfully converted thousands of wood burning ovens in Italy to gas, because it works, and it is better for a commercial operation that is making hundreds of pizzas a week.   I wouldn't expect anyone with a backyard oven to convert to gas.  It is simply too expensive.  For someone opening a pizzaria, I would highly recommend Forno Bravo's Wood/gas Modena oven....it uses the Avanzini burner, but with american Honeywell gas controls.   I have no idea if they are better than the Italian gas controls or not.   I spoke with Mark at Forno Bravo who says the hardware is fantastic, but he has no experience with the Italian gas controls, he just chose to put together their own.  However, if you already have a wood fired oven in your restaurant and are looking to improve consistency, quality and production I would highly recommend the Avanzini Drago.   You are welcome.   www.BillyTheKidBBQ.com
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: scott123 on May 13, 2012, 03:49:58 AM
Just a lot of backyard WFO purists waving their flags.

Fourlix, if I'm hearing you correctly, it seems like you might be implying that the people here that aren't agreeing with you/sharing your excitement are amateurs and that if they were actually in the business, they might be in a better position to see how momentous your wood to gas conversion breakthrough really is.

If that's what you're implying, then I strongly disagree. When it comes to oven expertise, these are professionals in every sense of the word. The reason why no one here is sharing in your excitement is because, within the industry, a Neapolitan temp wood to gas conversion has become a well recognized holy grail, not a 600F wood to gas conversion. It's an 850F conversion that the pros are waiting with baited breath to see.

This breakthrough is wonderful for you, but, for the countless number of us working at higher temps (for both Neo AND NY, in backyards and storefronts) it's not applicable, so please understand why we're not as excited as you are.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on May 13, 2012, 07:49:32 AM
Scott,
  He did say he can get Neopolitan temps at the push of a button, using the "booster flame".  His regular 18" heavily topped pies cook better at 625.  Why is he making NY-style pies? Because people order them.  It's a restaurant.

Forlix, the mod sounds like it duplicates the EarthStone oven - probably for a lot less...  I would love to see some pics and/or video. 

Heres the FornoBravo link http://www.fornobravo.com/commercial_pizza_oven/gas_fired.html


 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 13, 2012, 10:53:27 AM
This has electronic controls that are set to turn off at 500 degrees Celsius.....But that can be reprogrammed to whatever you like.   The temperature probe for the Drago is installed on the right hand wall 4 inches above the floor, but I still use my laser thermometer, which is in Farenheit, to measure floor temperatures.  You want 850 F?  900?  No problem, push the buttons, but you have to convert from Celsius.  I have had this oven up to 1200 F.  But that was with wood, one of my cooks....you get the idea.  
      Now I am a very good welder, over 40 years, and I have sold a few things I have made, but I have never made a living as a welder....therefore I am an amateur, and not a professional.  If you have a backyard pizza oven that is not open to the public, don't pay taxes on it, deal with health inspectors, fire marshalls etc.  then you are not a professional you are an amateur. You may be very good at what you do, but the fact that you don't do it every day and rely on it for your economic survival makes you an amateur.   
      The point I am trying to make is that I am posting this for someone who, like me, is looking for this information.  This information is simply not out there.  I don't care what you do in your bedroom or in your backyard.   I am excited by this because I figured it out, it works, and it will make me money.  Training 20 year old kids to run a wood fired oven,,,as many as 3 a month because of the turnover, is a pain in the ass.  Teaching kids how to deal with running a wood oven is now something I don't have to do. Increasing quality, consistency and production means I don't have to deal with angry customers on a busy night because their pizza is taking too long.
      A good pizza out west is very hard to find. Grimaldi's in Tucson is the closest thing to real pizza anywhere close.  Deck ovens and ordinary crust is not what I am about. I have been to Italy and spent a lot of time in New York City.  I know what pizza is and we serve great pizza. It has just become a little easier....
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: shuboyje on May 13, 2012, 11:11:07 AM
You came here already planning to buy that burner, had you not that is the only gas burner I would have recommended.  Nobody is knocking the burner or you for using it.  I think most of us take issue with you declaring wood obsolete for commercial purposes when you aren't even operating the oven at traditional wood oven temperatures.  If you were running your oven at 900F on the deck with this burner and producing 60 second Neapolitan pizzas all night long I don't think anyone would take issue with what you are saying.  Instead you are telling us that this oven can perform the exact same way that gas deck ovens have for eons and somehow using that as basis for dismissing wood fired ovens.  Then for the heck of it you threw coal ovens into the mix just to jumble things up a bit more.

At the end of the day if you are happy with the oven, and your customers are happy with the result why worry about anything else?
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: shuboyje on May 13, 2012, 11:16:18 AM
There is no button in the world that can bring a 625F oven up to Neapolitan temperatures in seconds.  The more intense flame will probably char the pie more but nothing short of a Nuclear reaction is going to increase all that mass 300-500F in seconds.  My reading on gas fired brick ovens leads me to believe that type of temperature increase would take hours, not seconds or minutes.

Scott,
  He did say he can get Neopolitan temps at the push of a button, using the "booster flame".  His regular 18" heavily topped pies cook better at 625.  Why is he making NY-style pies? Because people order them.  It's a restaurant.

Forlix, the mod sounds like it duplicates the EarthStone oven - probably for a lot less...  I would love to see some pics and/or video. 

Heres the FornoBravo link http://www.fornobravo.com/commercial_pizza_oven/gas_fired.html


 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: BrickStoneOven on May 13, 2012, 11:25:12 AM
There is a difference between charring and burning.  The best temperature for this oven, and that is floor temperature, measured with a laser thermometer is 625 F.       
If a WFO built for pizza cant hold consistent temps above 625F then it was most likely built improperly. The whole point of having a WFO is so you can hit those high temps(700-750+) where most deck ovens(not all) have a hard time getting to and maintaining.

I am also doing 18" pizzas with lots of toppings, and these are the temps that work.  To me this isn't a hobby, or a religion, it's business, it's culinary science.   
Shuboyje makes 18" pies in his WFO at high temp and they look great. I never said(or anyone else for that matter) you weren't getting the results you are looking for now with the gas conversion. All I am saying is why bother getting a WFO if you knew you wanted to make NY style pies at 550F-625F when a deck oven can do the job perfectly. This isn't a hobby for some people on here either there are many here who have started their own WFO businesses; baking above 750; and putting out great pizzas.

So, Deck oven vs. gas fired brick oven?  Really?  Start with aesthetics.  Deck ovens are butt ugly.     
How are deck ovens ugly? You could get a Marsal MB60 with a brick facade and they look good and they are great ovens which are perfect for what you were looking for temp wise, very consistent. This is obviously all business so it would make even more sense. You said you needed the room the coals were taking up in the oven so now that their gone you can fit 4 pies in there. With MB60's that would have been no problem or a double stack and get 8 pies. Time is money right.

This was a big step.  I came on this forum looking for someone who had successfully converted their wood fired oven to gas.  Can it be done?  What are the results?  How can I do it?  etc.   Nada.  Just a lot of backyard WFO purists waving their flags.  This is a pizza making forum.  Not a WFO forum.
This is a pizza making forum, but it is mostly concentrated with enthusiasts and hobbyists who sometimes graduate into a commercial environment. It is actually said in the masthead of the entry page of the site, PizzaMaking.com is more than just pizza recipes, it's a place where pizza aficionados can meet and share their passion for making (and eating) the world's greatest food… Pizza!. Asking the question you asked and expecting an answer if someone has done it was most likely never going to be answer because there are maybe a bakers dozen of people on here with WFO's and the odds of them converting them to gas would not be likely. You'd have better odds of winning the lottery. Like Peter would say, you should try asking over at PMQ Think Tank. It's more of a professional forum for pizza makers.


So now I am sharing this with you.  My experience successfully converting a commercial Italian pizza oven from wood to gas, by an Itallian company that has successfully converted thousands of wood burning ovens in Italy to gas, because it works, and it is better for a commercial operation that is making hundreds of pizzas a week.
There are places making hundreds of pizzas a day using wood with no problems. Just because this statement applies to you doesn't mean its true for everyone else.

However, if you already have a wood fired oven in your restaurant and are looking to improve consistency, quality and production I would highly recommend the Avanzini Drago.   You are welcome.   www.BillyTheKidBBQ.com
Again this only applies to your experience with your oven. Telling someone else that they will have better success converting their oven to gas is just conjecture.

The reason why no one here is sharing in your excitement is because, within the industry, a Neapolitan temp wood to gas conversion has become a well recognized holy grail, not a 600F wood to gas conversion. It's an 850F conversion that the pros are waiting with baited breath to see.
Scott SF actually makes a gas model which looks to work pretty good. You know Dino right :-D, he used one at the International Pizza show last year and the pizzas he made looked pretty good. Here's a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcH1efI87l4 and some pictures http://www.dinosantonicola.com/dinosantonicola.com/Dino_Santonicola/My_Albums/Pages/International_Pizza_Expo_2011_-_Las_Vegas.html.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 13, 2012, 11:26:22 AM
The booster raises the temperature about 5 degrees Celsius per minute.  If you were doing true Neapolitan  pizzas you would raise the first burner temperture and maintain a higher temp of say 700, then hit the booster for the char.  The booster also imparts a radiant heat aspect as it covers the ceiling and radiates down on to the pizza.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 13, 2012, 11:32:50 AM
You are right.  I am on the wrong forum. This is obviously a place for people who just want to argue.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: BrickStoneOven on May 13, 2012, 11:38:50 AM
You are right.  I am on the wrong forum. This is obviously a place for people who just want to argue.
You hit the nail on the head ::).
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: shuboyje on May 13, 2012, 11:41:33 AM
No this is a forum with people who know a little bit and didn't just drop to their knees and declare you a savior because you freed the world of evil wood fired ovens.  You on the other hand are using a brick oven as a marketing gimmick and have essentially turned it into a very expensive and inefficient gas fired deck oven and fail to see that.
You are right.  I am on the wrong forum. This is obviously a place for people who just want to argue.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: buceriasdon on May 13, 2012, 11:58:36 AM
Jeff, You bring up a very good point about gas consumption, something I've wondered about throughout this topic. Some years ago here in Bucerias, Mexico a couple of partners had a gas fired brick oven built for their new pizzeria. I looked at the setup before they opened and remarked they were going to use a lot of propane, they waved my comment off, but two months later they tore out the oven and replaced it with a deck. Granted I'm sure the burner this gentleman is using is much more efficient. Just curious.
Don
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 13, 2012, 11:46:00 PM
And since you have not been forcoming about whether you are professionals or amateurs let me clue you in as to how this goes.
      When you build a restaurant, from scratch as I did, you accumulate and purchase a lot of equipment.  Stoves, hoods, blowers, mixers, ovens, plates, dishwahers, sinks, pans, coolers, tables, etc. It is all expensive and some of it is not what you thought it would be.  I have replaced many major ticket items, like stoves and coolers all at considerable expense.
     I purchased a MAM505 on ebay for a really good price, and built it into the wall and tiled around it.  It exactly fit the space that was available, and my full intention was to do wood fired pizzas, although adding gas was a consideration.  So a year and a half later, after probably 20,000 pizzas I realize that I have to do something about our quality, consistency and production.  Going to gas was a gamble, but if it worked it would be an easy fix.  Wood was not working for me. And buying a deck oven was completely out of the equation because I would have to demolish half my pizza kitchen, it wouldn't fit, it would cost 10 times what this burner cost, I would have to close the restaurant for at least a week, and I don't want a hot air oven anyway.  But honestly I had no clue as to how well it would work, or not. 
     There is very little information out, especially regarding someone who had made the switch. I looked on here BEFORE I POSTED ANYTHING.  I took a chance and am absolutely delighted with the result. Maybe it is a charactaristic of this oven but it works better with gas than wood.   Whether it is gas, coal or wood, it is just a source of heat to cook with. But certain ovens are going to work better with certain fuels.
       In my original post I say that I would let you know how it turns out.  And I did.  Excuse me if I Enthusiastically endorse what I did.  It worked for me, and might work for someone else.   I gave specifics, temps and locations.  Names and numbers for anyone interested.  I still have a wood fired oven in my backyard that I designed and built myself, that I will not be converting.
    You guys have done nothing but bitch and moan because I made gas work for me, and it might work for someone else. 
     If you are not interested in a gas conversion why are you reading this thread other than to just flame me?
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 14, 2012, 09:16:59 AM
And another thing.  This thread is about CONVERTING A WOOD OVEN TO GAS......COMMERCIAL.   Not any of the crap you backyard WFO purists are talking about.   Not a deck oven,  Not achieving perfect Neapolitan at 850, but converting a Commercial oven from wood to gas.  PERIOD   
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on May 14, 2012, 12:51:16 PM
Erm, first let me say "Congrats" on your happiness.   
 I can appreciate the trouble high turnover of staff would cause in running a WFO in a restaurant.  There are many, many WFO pizzarias that produce wildly inconsistent product, and this is largely due to operator error.  So sometimes they just give up on high-difficulty items in favor of what the staff can handle producing reliably.    In turn, this gives WFO's a bad name to the general public.  Not  us, obviously, because we're pizza-obsessed.  But in general.
   Again, your solution seems very satisfactory, given that it allow you consistency, even when cursed with your high turnover rate.  That kind of leads to another point. 
   I don't mean to offend,  but retaining good workers is a sign of a good work environment.  You seem a little... touchy, and quick to anger.
Again, congrats on your oven.  Best of luck in exploiting its new characteristics to benefit your bottom line.
 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 14, 2012, 03:11:08 PM
Exactly.  And I really shouldn't have brought this whole thing up on this forum.  I didn't realize I was going to stir up such a hornet's nest.  This is a delicate subject from several perspectives, and I went right to the wrong place to talk about it.  PMQ would have been a better choice as suggested, but I am done for now.  Looking for, finding, and sharing information is what I have always used forums for. I guess I need to be a little more discriminating.
"Seacrest out".....
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: scott123 on May 14, 2012, 09:12:41 PM
PMQ would have been a better choice as suggested, but I am done for now. 

Good luck with that.  PMQ is a ghost town.  Pizzamaking gets around 30 times more posts per day. Any pizzeria owners with an online presence are here, not there.  Not to mention that if someone does reply to you there, it will most likely be less friendly.

Believe it or not, we're friendly in this forum.  Even though you're getting less pats on the back than you were hoping to get, doesn't mean that the members here don't value your contribution or your experience.  If you can frame this in a way that's applicable to John Q. high temp WFO owner, you will get that pat on the back that you're looking for.  Instead of reacting emotionally to perceived slights (that, frankly, aren't happening) crank up both burners, see how high it tops out at and give the Neapolitan fanatics here the info they're looking for.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 15, 2012, 11:04:06 AM
Here are some pics,  But it/they look so much better in real life...
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: buceriasdon on May 15, 2012, 11:15:58 AM
Thanks for sharing the photos. Impressive. I have a question if I may. Is this a low or high pressure system? TIA
Don
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on May 15, 2012, 12:00:35 PM
This is natural gas. Which is pretty cheap here in New Mexico.  It is possible to jet it for Propane.  It is going to be very interesting to see what my gas bill is next month.  I predict it will be the same as what I was paying for firewood.
The girls however are high pressure,,,at least as far as my blood pressure goes when they are around...
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on June 13, 2012, 10:43:39 AM
I just got my first gas bill...Last month was $168, This month $188.  Natural gas.  $20 Bucks?  That's it?
wow.  I talked to the gas company, they said the bills go out right after the meter is read.  We have had the Drago for a little over a month.   With wood fired we would have some sort of "train wreck" in pizza land twice a week.  "In the weeds".  people waiting 45 minutes for a pizza with a rail full of tickets. Pizzas burnt on top, undercooked on the bottom. Customers complaining of soot on the bottom of their pizzas. ALL GONE>>>>>>
 We have had only one incident where the guys got behind in this entire month.  I have also reduced the number of employees from 3 to 2, except for Friday night where we still use 3.  The pizzas look more golden brown with a little charring.  Where the wood fire would radiate laterally from the fire, the long flame of the Drago wraps itself against the ceiling and radiates down on to the floor.  The pizzas are coming out with very well done bottom crusts.  We do have to be carefull when cooking a lot of pizzas to let the floor temp recover, hit the booster with no pizzas in the oven to reheat the floor. 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on June 13, 2012, 11:05:43 AM
Sweet!

Sounds like you have hit a home run with your oven mod.

Just recently I was at a local place for a friends birthday.  They had an EarthStone, a BIG, BEAUTIFUL oven, with gorgeous tile inlay, marble landing, stainless steel everywhere.   The fire was on.  It looked nice. 
   Guess what?  THERE WAS NOTHING IN IT. The LED temp readout on the front said "480".  This was on a busy Saturday night.  I had a look at their pizzas for slices that were in a glass case on the counter.  Utterly horrible.  Flat as a f**kin pancake, white as a ghost.

   So, now that you are happy with your oven, and you seem to know how to use it, how about sharing some pictures of your pizzas? 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on June 13, 2012, 11:46:13 AM
Oh yeah.  The secret is in the dough, not the oven, not the sauce, not the cheese.  Of course that all helps, but without a good dough recipe/technique it is all a waste of time and money.  I know a place....where they have a great big earthstone oven, tiled, beautiful,  lousy pizza, and it is because of their dough.  When I built my backyard oven I thought I would automatically be able to make great pizza....yeah, didn't happen.  My pizzas were still lousy.   I paid $25 for the "secrets from a pizzaria" and was finally on the right track.  I didn't stop there.  I kept researching, and experimenting with flours and techniques.  It's simple, but elusive.  We have a simple and reliable technique now, with great tasting crust.  I'll post some pics,,,,but it is all in the flavor of the crust. I can use our dough from work and get a pretty good pizza in my home kitchen gas oven....for that lazy day I don't want to do any more than I have to. 
        Some basics that we use:   All Trumps 50143 unbleached, unbromated flour, Fresh yeast, sea salt, filtered water.  24-48 hour cold rise.  The rest is secret. 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on June 13, 2012, 12:28:06 PM
        Some basics that we use:   All Trumps 50143 unbleached, unbromated flour, Fresh yeast, sea salt, filtered water.  24-48 hour cold rise.  The rest is secret. 

Keep your secrets, pal.  Don't want them.  I'm not a commercial maker, and I'm pretty happy with my dough too.  Don't you wish you had found this site a long time ago, back before you shelled out money for someone else's recipe, then had to spend years tweaking it?

We're all here to help each other, show off our pies and trade stories.  People with secrets tend to not hang around.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Nebula on June 13, 2012, 03:41:56 PM
Dang, you already have a secret recipe. I was hoping to put you in contact with the pizza savant in this thread (http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19493.0.html).

Maybe you need a buffalo wing recipe...  ::)
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on June 13, 2012, 04:28:54 PM
LOL, that thread is the whole reason for my reaction to the "secret recipe"!  What a nutjob.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on June 13, 2012, 11:49:39 PM
 I am attaching a pizza pic I took today, and a picture of our cold proofer, which is an old Pepsi fridge. And for those of you who like Coke better.......keep it to yourself.   You seem to want to argue about everything. 
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on June 14, 2012, 12:29:57 AM
Alex,
  thats one nice looking pie!  Without telling us any of your trade secrets, what's on it?
Brian

and I like the um, soda case too. Very handy.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on June 14, 2012, 01:40:55 AM
The "Gila Monster" is Jalapenos, GYRO meat, pepperoni, hot Italian sausage, Green Chile, & onions.
It's a really good combo, especially for Southwest tastes.  We have a "Gila Monster Challenge", eat two of them in 40 minutes.  Get them for free and a T-shirt.  That's 5 & 1/2 pounds of pizza (5-6 lbs is what the guy on Man v Food can eat) Nobody has been able to get eat more than 1 & 1/2.  The Jalapenos are a big factor, it is hard to eat a lot of them.  And the next day........Caca Fuego !!
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on June 14, 2012, 10:15:02 AM
Giving credit where it is due.....I found Jeff Verasano's website shortly after buying the "secrets of the pizzaria" recipe.  I think that has to have been about 10 years ago?  I only found this forum about two years ago, when I was gearing up to go commercial.
     Jeff's website is still up, and is still the best and most thorough discussion of pizza dough I have yet seen.  I have seen some professional baker's sites lately with some more intense discussion of dough temperatures than Jeff covers, but Jeff's info really does get you where you need to be.
      Secrets of the pizzaria was a push in the right direction, but the bitch is from Dominos....How good could that be?  But I got the high protein flour, KA Sir Lancelot, and cold rise from her. There is a lot of discussion, or scuttlebutt on NYC water. Water out west is loaded with minerals. I used to use bottled distilled water, but thanks to Grimaldi's in Tucson, I discovered that a good water filtration system works just as well. 
     But  I got that zing, that tangy sourdough like flavor I was looking for because of Jeff and his discussion of hydration and secondary enzymatic action. I may have found All-trumps on here, as I used KA when I was still amateur, but then I also discovered that I could make great pizza with just good bread flour too. I think one of the real pluses to All trumps is the addition of malted barley flour.  What is good for beer is good for pizza......
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on June 14, 2012, 10:23:24 AM
Thats interesting.  Currently theres a lot of discussion going on in the NY style thread about different types of flour used in the "old-fashioned" pizzerias compared to what they use these days.  One thing that was mentioned was that they used to use bread flour, but eventually went more to the high gluten flour.

Heres the link for that thread.  I think you'll find it interesting.
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19253.msg188257.html#msg188257
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: SinoChef on June 15, 2012, 09:31:26 AM
Fourlix,

Thank you taking the time out of your day to post this. Very informative and succinct. Never mind the negative responses. I actually may need your advice in a couple months for the never ending, “next project” here. I have never used one, and for a 21,000 square meter, tri level monstrosity, open in lees then 2 months I don’t have time to learn it. And my employer knows nothing, only that it aesthetically pleasing, and trendy to have one of these things in an open kitchen.

 
Quote
Too often Americans take a good idea and get carried away with it, as in taking it too literally...Like Pasta Al Dente.  No Italian would eat the American version of pasta cooked al dente,,,to them it is undercooked.  To me it is raw flour
.

That killed me. That’s makes 2 of us saying the emperor has not clothes. Raw bloody flour packed up in my molars, and I am supposed to sit there and be impressed because someone learned a new catch phrase? Crunch,crunch,crunch.

Quote
We make fresh pasta and cook it to order.  It is never dried. Occasionally we get somebody asking, or complaining, for their pasta to be al dente.  Fresh pasta cannot be al dente because it has never been dried.  It is done when the flour is cooked, like all pasta, even the dried kind.
Numerous times I have been rebuked in my own dinning room in the US, for not “knowing” how to cook pasta “properly”. Dried is one thing, but when I take the time out of my day to make fresh, and get complaints……

Last hotel I had there. 6 inch hotel pan, filled with water, and some Liquid smoke. Spare ribs poached for 6 hours in water with S&P. Covered in bottled KC master piece. Umm, no.

 I went a bought a home smoker from Target (don’t tell the Health dept.) and started doing some baby backs out on my loading dock. Holy hell, what a mistake! I made some people very angry with ribs you could not mash into paste with your fork.
Quote
Why so many Americans have developed a taste for undercooked flour is beyond me.
That and risotto. Risotto, risotto, risotto. Respect it, or don’t serve it. I think I had the only restaurant in MPLS that did not have risotto on the menu in the mid 90’s. I remember that, because I actually had some people thank me for not doing it.

Quote
And another thing.  This thread is about CONVERTING A WOOD OVEN TO GAS......COMMERCIAL.   Not any of the crap you backyard WFO purists are talking about.   Not a deck oven,  Not achieving perfect Neapolitan at 850, but converting a Commercial oven from wood to gas.  PERIOD
Quote
You guys have done nothing but bitch and moan because I made gas work for me, and it might work for someone else. 
     If you are not interested in a gas conversion why are you reading this thread other than to just flame me?


+1

Looked at your site. Your not a dedicated pizza restaurant. You a restaurant that delivers a dinning experience.

Success is found at your till count at the end of the night.

 Not if you have imported Italian water from the tap of your Italian grandmothers home, and tomatoes picked by a one legged, blind guito leper from the hills of Tibet. Who has perfected the pinch and twist method of harvesting, rather then the direct pull from san marzano tomato plant which is located at at 160.6 latitude, and 5.68 longitude. Which has been decided to be the most ultimate spot on earth to grow a tomato, according to “experts”.

Good on ya.

Thanks for the info.
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Fourlix on June 16, 2012, 05:34:05 PM
Thank you.  Pizza provides an inexpensive alternative to our more expensive BBQ brisket, ribs, pasta, grilled salmon or seabass, and most recently steaks, (hence the new gas grill).  Silver City, New Mexico is a small town with a struggling economy (like everywhere else), and our customers need that option.
       Pizza out west has always been a real challenge, (kind of like Mexican food back east, yuk). Our town, population 15,000, only has Papa Johns, Pizza Hut and Dominos, and none of them serve beer.  It is big enough to have McDonald's and Burger King as well, but doesn't reach the population level needed to support an Outback, TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, Chili's etc.  So that is good for me, as I am trying to fill that "dining experience" you mention.  And because it is a small town I have to rely heavily on repeat customers, and give them enough variety that they don't get bored with the menu. My restaurant is about half the size of one of these big chain "dining experience" restaurants, with 100 seats.   And because I designed and built it myself, it cost a tiny fraction of what a "chili's" costs.  I already owned the building which was my failed ATV/Motorcycle dealership, which was blown away by the new economy. We had wanted to add a restaurant to the Dealership, and I had already started accumulating equipment, so when the dealership went down in flames, it was the restaurant idea that we went with.
       We have tried a lot of different things, ideas, and menu items.  My crystal ball doesn't work very well though, and it is amazing what works and what doesn't. I am very fortunate that the original premise of good pizza, fresh pasta, good cold beer, real BBQ, interesting decor and cute waitresses has been successful.
    And, pizza sales are up, I am using one less employee, customers like the new pizzas better, and we have not had one customer complaint about not having wood fired pizza any more. I also changed the menu to read "Brick oven Pizza".
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on June 16, 2012, 06:07:27 PM
Thats a great story, and I'm glad to hear things are working out well.   So many businesses bit the big one, or have just limped along since 2007, my own included.  At the end of the day, your happiness is the most important thing.

Could we see some more pictures of the cute waitr... er pizza?  :P
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Tscarborough on June 16, 2012, 07:17:04 PM
Exactly on all cylinders.  I also looked at your site, and your concept seems to be the same as another member is attempting to open, Jak123, here:  http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19431.0.html

He should call you and get the scoop.  Good luck and keep it going!
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Chicago Bob on June 16, 2012, 11:21:36 PM


Could we see some more pictures of the cute waitr... er pizza?  :P
Ha!  Nice try Brian...maybe they could add a new section to the site, eh?    >:D

Bob
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: SinoChef on June 17, 2012, 01:18:10 AM

What are you saving in just fuel costs every month with the switch?

And then over all, what do you guess, with out the hassle of extra maintenance, staffing, etc..
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: pizzaneer on June 17, 2012, 07:17:25 AM
Ha!  Nice try Brian...maybe they could add a new section to the site, eh?    >:D

Bob

That would be the Hot Pizza topic!   ;D
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: Chicago Bob on June 17, 2012, 10:18:25 AM
Here we go.................. :angel:

Does that nice looking young lady work for you Pizzaneer?
Title: Re: converting wood oven to gas...commercial
Post by: PizzaPolice on August 08, 2012, 01:40:11 PM
I will certainly agree the MAM 505 is a mutha to get up to temperature.  From a cold start, it takes 4 hours.  Even then, the dome is not all white.  It takes quite a while to master or at least, get the hang of it.  It came out of a college town restaurant that made pizza.  They had a deck oven in the kitchen and burned wood in the damn thing just for the effect.  A college kid doesn't stand a chance.  Once home, it took forever to burn it out. 
It's nice you found a solution for your oven management.