The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Pizza Ovens

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Bear in the Kitchen's picture
Bear in the Kitchen

Pizza Ovens

Does anyone have experience baking hearth bread in a pizza oven? They are not as expensive as used bread ovens, have a good temp range and a large deck . They also can be converted to lpg. Any thoughts would be welcomed.I am looking to expand a home baking business, my mixer and oven need to change so I can make more bread. Thanks

cranbo's picture
cranbo

No experience here, but I'm guessing a pizza deck could do an OK job. I think the biggest issue is steam. I imagine the pizza oven doesn't have a steam injection capability? Steam is really key to achieving different crust effects, and without steam you just won't get the same results. 

 

loydb's picture
loydb

Check out the Forno Bravo forums. Short answer, yes, you can do bread in a pizza oven.

 

 

arlo's picture
arlo

Yes, I have a blodgett 3 deck which was geared for pizzas. It works perfectly fine for bread.

Bear in the Kitchen's picture
Bear in the Kitchen

Thanks everyone,, I am a new member nice to get such a prompt and friendly response. Arlo I have a couple more questions if you would. Is the heat even enough to load the loaves two rows deep ? I will be baking on the deck with a peel not on sheet pans. Or would you recommend a two deck oven to get the loaf count up? Can these ovens handle steam either in a skillet on the deck, or from a mister? Do you have a preference for gas or electric? All the Ovens I am looking at are older and I want to be able to get parts for them.

 

 

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

It is certainly possible to make very good bread in a pizza oven, just as it is possible to make very good pizza in a bread oven.  I've done both. The only real difference is that a pizza oven design is more efficient for pizza, a bread oven design for bread.  Both can be made to retain sufficient steam for bread baking.  Even a steam injection system, properly planned from the outset of the build. I've used both and installed both, residentially and commercially.  Usually, a bread oven has more  mass (thicker), meaning it will retain heat longer, for more bread bakes, than a pizza oven, but that, too, can be altered at the build stage.  The only outsider in this equation is the type of WFOs seen in Portugal and Spain.  The flue is inside these ovens, and they're used primarily for cooking and smoking, not baking of any sort.  The dome is normally too high for either pizza or bread.  This design is fine for its intended purposes, but steam retention is almost impossible and heat loss up the interior flue is next to impossible to control, damper or not.  Using LPG is a bit of a red herring: it's expensive and will not provide the necessary high heat.  The burners alone cost something like $3 K.  Wood is a lot cheaper and provides the kind of flame necessary to heat the hearth, walls (if any) and the dome.

There's a learning curve with any WFO, and each has its own personality.  The trick is to get comfortable with that personality.

CJ

arlo's picture
arlo

Bear,

I load two rows in the oven at work, but it has a stone to help distribute the heat better. Without it, yes maybe, but it really depends on the oven. As far as your need for two decks, that again is up to you and what you feel you are capable of producing. With two decks that fit two full pans, I can turn out about 60 loaves in 7 hours at a slower pace while working by myself each morning. I could do more if I wanted to, I guess I will find out in a month or so when the holidays roll around.

As far as steaming, the blodgett has the option to have steaming added to it for a cost. If using a stone I wouldn't recommend splashing water or anything of that nature to generate steam, but if you are using the steel floors, I am sure some ice cubes on it wouldn't hurt it.

Between gas and electric, it is tough to say. Depends on what your costs are. We use a gas at work and wouldn't consider an electric, but that is the owners thoughts.

Bear in the Kitchen's picture
Bear in the Kitchen

Arlo,

Thanks that is very helpful information I am not making that many loaves at this point but it is nice to know it can be done and that I can work up to that point as a goal!

CJ,

Masonry ovens seem a bit out of reach for me at this point. From both a logistical and cost perspective. However the appeal of no utilities bill, potentially a better bake as (I have not used one myself) and  no moving/breaking parts really holds a lot of intrigue for me. We will see how this goes ultimately  that may be the answer.

arlo's picture
arlo

Bear,

It can be, it just takes time and a developed bake schedule to make the most of your space with limited staff. Blodgetts are great ovens and have been used for a very long time. At work we have a 20 some year old blodgett that works everyday without fail. Master Baker (IBA) Paul Homeniuk who teaches my Bakery Production class on Fridays talked to me briefly last week about ovens. I had brought up how I am in the market for an oven at the moment and wanted some opinions. He mentioned how he worked with a 4 Deck set up with stones I believe on the bottom two decks. He loved his Blodgett and talked greatly about their quality, and said that they work on a budget while you are saving for your pavailler oven ;)

Arlo