The Concept of Making Pizza

The oven

So what makes a good pizza?

A pizza is basically a bread base with ingredients on top. Thats it, nothing else! What ingredients you use, what base you use, what temperature you cook it at, what you cook it in are all factors on how it will taste.

The base (or crust) is a type of bread. We use the bases from a local bakery. They are a proven reliable source of delicious bases with the correct amount of flour and semolina. Because ours is a woodfired oven, we do not offer thick, thin, cheesy, etc types of bases. These types of bases will not work properly in a woodfired oven, only in a "cold" electric or gas oven. For better results in a house oven, use a pizza stone.

Generally speaking the oven in a house will cook up to 250 Celcius, a woodfired oven can get up to 500 Celcius!

The leftovers in a house oven (the last roast, freshly cleaned, etc) will affect the taste of the pizza. Same as a woodfired oven with the exception that most left over flavours in the woodfired oven will be carbonised. Any flavours left on the brickwork will be turned to carbon due to the extreme temperatures involved. This will add to the flavour of the pizza but not what most people are used to as the house oven will not achieve this. This is one of the factors that contribute to the unique taste of woodfired pizzas.

When the woodfired oven is fired the next time all these flavours are removed, so you start with a "virgin" oven. This way the pizzas can be cooked to the same flavour every time! It's normal for a slight carbon taste in the beginning of a cooking session but becoming more tasty as the day goes on and as the woodfired oven stabilises in temperature at around the 400 Celcius range.

The next contributing factor is fuel. House ovens use either gas or electricity. Given a choice between the two, I prefer electric over gas as there isn't any gas fire residue on the pizza adding an "interesting" modern taste. Personally and ultimately I prefer the woodfired oven. Yes, there is ash and the burning wood flavours on the pizza, again contributing to the unique "old school" or "original" flavours.

We at Pizza2u have chosen locally grown gnarly redwoods for our oven fuel. We have explored various wood sources (yellowbox etc) but have been disappointed with the results. Too cold, too much ash, burns too quick, etc. We now source our wood exclusively from a property in the Murrumbateman area (supporting local industry).

The oven

A woodfired oven cooks a pizza in three ways.

Firstly, you "fire" the oven to get the heat into all of the internal oven surfaces. This takes approx two hours, depending on what you will use the oven for. We use ours exclusively for pizza production so it takes approx 1.5hrs to heat, then about 30mins to "rest".

After the proper preheating, the oven will radiate heat from the roof, the floor and from the fire itself. The floor will cook the base, the roof bakes the top of the pizza and the flame front will crisp the crust (try saying that fast five times).

The fire continually puts the thermal energy into the floor and roof, resulting in continual cooking temperature even though the door of the oven is open for hours.

It also puts thermal energy into the pizzaiolo (the person in front of the oven). Because we expect to be in front of the oven for hours, we use protective gloves, clothing and sunscreen (same type of radiation as the sun).

With the much higher temperatures in a woodfired oven, all the meat ingredients must be cooked prior to going on the pizza and into the oven. The pizza is only in the oven for approx 90 seconds, it is an intricate art with little window of opportunity between undercooked, just right and burnt.

In a house oven, due to the lower temperatures and longer cooking times (10-15mins), meat products actually cook in the oven so they can be put on raw, depending on type, thickness and composition.

Our oven is a catering size tunnel oven capable of producing over 100 pizzas an hour. Our team has produced approximately fifteen thousand pizzas in this oven since March 2010.

We can service a party of up to 120 people eating "finger food" over a two hour period. Just perfect for bigger parties or corporate catering, especially the Xmas parties at the end of year. Could you imagine trying to cater pizzas to 50 or 100 people in one evening? We can continue cooking longer if required.

You certainly wouldn't enjoy the party or even be part of it!

So call us to do the work, give you & your guests the ultimate gourmet pizza taste (and as much as you want to eat) AND no cleaning up afterwards :-)


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