2021 wood-fired ovens: how to choose the best one for your business
Thanks to the possibility to reopen outdoors, lots of restaurants can now take the opportunity to innovate and relaunch their business. There are a variety of ways to do this, especially thanks to a new cooking appliance, choosing from the best 2021 wood-fired ovens.
Another article on our blog shows how to relaunch a restaurant with a new, high-quality oven A choice that can allow restaurants and pizzerias to renew the way they operate, improving both the image of their business and the quality of their products and service.
The wood-fired oven is the soul of the pizzeria and to reopen successfully, a professional appliance that is up to the task, an oven that is capable of cooking well even when under pressure, is an absolute must.
This article looks at how to choose the best 2021 wood-fired oven to relaunch a pizzeria, taking a closer look at the benefits that can be reaped by taking this route.
We will start by talking about the reasons that can motivate a restaurateur to change their professional oven. They involve important factors such as the quality of the products served, ease of management, production efficiency or the use of outdoor space.
Then we will continue by analysing the criteria on which to base the choice of the best professional wood-fired oven: the size of the appliance, the type of fuel used in it, and its design (very important for pizzerias where the oven is visible).
And we will conclude with an overview of the best 2021 wood-fired ovens made by Alfa, to help you understand the differences between the various models and succeed in choosing the right one to suit the different needs of each specific case.
Why change your professional oven?
Let’s start off by discussing the reasons which might make us decide to change the oven we use in our restaurant. First of all, every situation comes with different needs, and the factors that we are about to consider can have a different weight depending on the specific context.
Apart from the first, most ordinary reason, the wear and tear of the oven we’re using at the moment, there are four other main factors that can make us decide to change our professional oven:
- Productive efficiency
- Cooking quality
- Ease of operation
- Exploitation of outdoor space
Do you want to find out which oven is best suited for your needs?
Let’s look at the different factors that can influence the decision to change a professional oven, point by point.
1 – Productive efficiency
The first factor to take into consideration concerns the productive efficiency of the oven, which consists in its capacity to increase the number of cooking cycles we can complete in a given length of time.
It might be necessary to change a professional oven to cope with increased demand for pizzas in a very short time, requiring us to install a bigger, more efficient oven in our restaurant.
Size is one of the main parameters to consider when choosing a new oven and we will take a closer look at this in the second paragraph. Let’s just mention the basic principle according to which an increase in oven size increases its productive capacity, but also increase the amount of fuel needed to run it and the time required to reach high temperatures.
We also need to consider that a more spacious oven is also harder to manage, because it is necessary to monitor the cooking of lots of pizzas at the same time and this means that the chef has less time to dedicate to other stages in preparation (rolling out the base and adding the topping).
As well as increasing the size of our oven, another way to improve productivity is to increase the temperature at which we cook our pizzas, as this can reduce the time they spend in the oven. In this case it is possible to improve productive efficiency in the pizzeria without having to devote more space to the new oven than we did with the old one, but it means paying attention to the cooking process.
Installing an oven that is bigger than necessary and for the chef to cope with could end up being counter-productive, as the running costs would increase without the certainty that our investment is going to be used to its fullest potential.
We have looked at this in detail n another article on our blog, offering five tips to increase the production of pizzas per hour.
2 – Cooking quality
The second reason which might make us decide to change our professional oven is represented by the desire to increase the quality of our food by perfecting the cooking technique.
To make a high-quality pizza, we need to seek the perfect balance between the recipe used for the base, the method used to prepare the toppings and the type of cooking technique we choose. Even the best preparations can become a mediocre pizza if all the hard work that goes into them is ruined by the way we cook them.
This could be the case of someone who has an old oven which, however reliable it may be, is no longer able to perform to its best, making it harder to cook the pizzas properly when you need to make a lot of them.
There are also lots of cases in which changing the oven can also be an opportunity to change the type of fuel we use to cook our pizzas. This often happens in pizzerias which have electric or gas ovens and then decide to replace them with a new wood-fired oven, or vice versa.
Changing the type of appliance complete changes the quality of the products we serve. This makes it necessary for us to learn all about our new professional oven. We have looked at how to choose a professional oven in detail in another article on our blog, offering tips to understanding which type of oven is best for each specific context.
3 – Ease of operations
The third important reason for decided to change a professional oven is to simplify the operational management of the pizzeria.
A poor-quality oven, or one which is very old and no longer able to perform to its best, can be a chef’s nightmare. An oven which is complicated to manage can take up a lot of the chef’s time, requiring more attention to ensure that the pizzas are cooked properly.
This prevents the chef from making the most of his or her time and causes a reduction in the pizzeria’s productive efficiency, as we saw in the first point.
By changing the professional oven, the chef can go back to devoting all his or her attention to preparing the pizzas, safe in the knowledge that they will be cooked to perfection,
Once we have learned how to use the new oven, we will be able to make lots of pizzas without a reduction in quality, streamlining operational management.
4 – Exploitation of outdoor space
The last reason which might encourage a business to change its professional oven is the desire to move the pizzeria to the space outside.
This can be necessary for various reasons, such as the need to save space in the indoor kitchen or to accommodate a decision to renew the outdoor area of our pizzeria.
Starting up again after Covid-19 begins with the use of outdoor spaces, due to the fact that there is a lower risk of infection outdoors. This is why many restaurants are taking steps to use their outdoor spaces as efficiently as possible, organising their service safely and optimising the resources available.
Moving the pizzeria outdoors can also allow us to exploit another advantage that can help enhance our image: a warmer welcome for our customers.
The oven is the soul of a pizzeria and the decision to work with a visible oven is proof of the passion we put into our work.
An outdoor professional oven can also be used to enrich our service with cooking demonstrations, using the pizza chef’s work as entertainment for those who are waiting for their pizza.
The four factors we have seen can contribute to the decision to change a professional oven, yielding benefits in terms of our production capacity, the quality of our dishes and simplified operational management.
Moving a professional oven outdoors can allow us to reorganise our space, making efficient use of the area outside the restaurant not only for production purposes but also to improve the image of our business.
Our blog offers a handy list of points to check whether it is time to change your professional oven.
Do you want to find out which oven is best suited for your needs?
How to choose a professional oven
After looking at the reasons that contribute to the decision to change the oven in our restaurant, we need to examine the parameters to be considered when choosing a new professional oven.
Every different context has different requirements, both in terms of the space available and the needs dictated by the products to be made. The style of the restaurants and the design of the areas (both indoor and outdoor) also implicate different choices.
The criteria for choosing a new professional oven are:
- Type of fuel
- Ease of movement
Here are the four factors to consider when choosing the best 2021 wood-fired oven.
Dimensions of the oven
The first point concerns the dimensions of the cooking appliance and their effect on productivity and the amount of space required.
In the previous paragraph, we saw that a bigger oven can guarantee an increase in productivity, as long as you have the necessary skills to manage it efficiently and enough space.
Space is often one of the main problems in organising a professional kitchen, and a pizza oven is usually one of the bulkiest pieces of equipment.
Those who have problems with limited space indoors may decide to move the pizzeria to their outdoor space, as we mentioned earlier. Even those with smaller outdoor spaces can choose a high-quality but smaller sized professional oven from the best 2021 wood-fired ovens.
This type of appliance has a high production efficiency, even with an average capacity (from four to eight pizzas at a time), as well as important advantages such as reduced fuel consumption (thanks to high thermal efficiency) and an extremely attractive design to beautifully furnish the outdoor space.
Those who, on the other hand, decide to dedicate their entire outdoor space to dining can replace the indoor kitchen oven (which may or may not be visible to customers). Once again, the renewal of a professional oven can be used as an opportunity to save on space by choosing a compact but highly efficient professional oven.
Type of fuel
The second aspect to consider is the type of fuel you want to use to power your new professional oven.
The way in which the heat is produced and distributed in different types of oven has a significant impact on the quality of our food, making this a decision of considerable importance.
We can summarise the differences between the various types of fuel by saying that the wood-fired oven is definitely harder to manage (as it requires constant attention). This said, it can reach very high temperatures and gives our food the aromas of natural fuel.
Gas and electric ovens, on the other hand, are much easier to manage, thanks to automatic temperature control and easy cleaning.
However, they lack the aroma of wood and these types of oven struggle to reach the higher temperatures reached by wood-fired ovens.
The main aspect to consider when choosing the type of professional oven that best suits our needs is the quality of the food to be cooked and the possibility of using the oven to cook other dishes in addition to pizzas.
It should also be remembered that lovers of the Neapolitan tradition are very fond of the wood-fired oven, which really does offer better performance if we are able to use it efficiently.
The more complex management not only of the cooking process, but also of cleaning and managing fuel stocks, means that many restaurateurs prefer to use gas or electric ovens, which offer greater convenience and versatility of use.
But we can avoid having to choose if we focus on the innovation represented by the hybrid oven.
This technological solution, developed by Alfa, allows you to use a gas oven as if it were a wood-fired oven, choosing which fuel to use each time. This is made possible by the hybrid kit, a special cover for the gas burner that makes it possible to switch on the oven with gas and then fuel it with wood.
The innovation of the hybrid oven is therefore extremely useful for those who want all the benefits of both fuels, wood and gas, and can make the most of both according to their needs.
Ease of movement of the oven
The third criterion to consider when choosing a new professional oven concerns its manoeuvrability, i.e., the possibility of moving it easily. This is increasingly important to professional chefs as it allows extreme operational versatility.
With a mobile oven it is possible to set up the outdoor area in a different way every day, so that the space available can be arranged to meet case-by-case requirements.
The mobility of the professional oven is an extremely useful factor for pizzerias that work in more than one way. Examples include those equipped with a foodtruck to take part in large events or those that organise various activities in their restaurant (such as cooking classes or special menu tastings).
For traditional pizzerias, that want to focus on the traditional fixed oven made of refractory stone, this is a negligible parameter, as this type of oven cannot benefit from mobility due to its heavy weight.
Mobile ovens use refractory stone for the floor slab only, with the rest of the structure being made of steel, a material that reduces the weight of the appliance and improves thermal efficiency by reaching high temperatures in much less time.
The last point to consider when choosing a new professional oven concerns the design of the appliance and its ability to enrich our surroundings.
This is a fundamental point, especially for pizzerias featuring a visible oven, whether indoors or outdoors.
Good design consists of developing shapes and selecting materials to combine functional benefits with aesthetic taste, resulting in efficient cooking appliances that decorate the restaurant.
A beautifully designed oven allows you to offer clients a very warm welcome, showing them immediately how much passion we put into our work, thanks to an appliance that communicates that passion.
The four points we have analysed can help you choose the best 2021 wood-fired ovens. It is necessary to consider the specific characteristics of your business in terms of the products you intend to serve and the style you want to create in your restaurant.
Why choose one of the best Alfa 2021 wood-fired ovens?
The choice of a new professional oven is therefore a process that involves several factors which, as we have seen, can play a more or less important role depending on the specific context.
In the first paragraph, we saw that the need for a new cooking appliance can stem from various requirements. These are related to the quantity and quality of cooking, to simpler operational management or to the desire to exploit outdoor space.
Depending on the situation, we will have to consider the four factors we have seen to choose the best new professional oven, based on the size, fuel, manoeuvrability and design of the cooking appliance.
To conclude this article, we would like to mention the various possibilities offered by Alfa’s range of pizza ovens for professionals.
Alfa has been making pizza ovens for more than forty years and has established itself as a leader in the development of the sector, thanks to important technological innovations made to this cooking appliance.
These mainly relate to the continuous improvement of the materials used and some innovations already mentioned, such as hybrid oven technology (gas and wood) and the benefits of the steel oven (lightness and mobility).
In addition to excellent thermal performance, our ovens can also boast an extremely attractive design which communicates a passion for the restaurant business.
It is possible to choose from Alfa’s best 2021 wood-fired ovens models that are very different in style and size.
In addition to traditional ovens, there are various models of steel ovens (wood, gas or hybrid) ranging in capacity from small, as in the case of Quattro Pro, to larger, such as Opera.
Whatever the working context of your business and the type of food you want to cook, Alfa’s range of professional ovens can help everyone find the perfect solution for their needs.
Alfa models are among the 2021 best wood-fired ovens and, by choosing one of the solutions we offer, you can equip your business with a high-quality professional appliance that can guarantee a large quantity of perfectly cooked pizzas for many working years to come.