If you ask a seasoned pizza chef, what is the best oven for baking pizza, chances are he will answer that nothing beats a wood-burning oven. To back that up, he will give reasons such as the high temperature it can reach, the special flavour that firewood imparts to food or the respect for the Neapolitan art of making pizza.

Anyway, many professionals choose electric or gas-fired ovens for their restaurants because they have major advantages over their wood-burning counterparts. In this article, we will focus on the benefits of the commercial electric pizza oven, namely their high efficiency and ease of use that go hand in hand with great cooking thanks to the innovations in technology and materials being used for their manufacturing.

The Zeno revolution: the commercial electric pizza oven | Alfa Forni

Benefits of having a commercial electric pizza oven.

By comparing the performances and the operating modes of the different types of oven we came to the conclusion that, cooking-wise, present-day electric ovens do stack up against wood-fired counterparts and on top of that they are really easy to run. The latest technological innovations have significantly increased the thermal performances of electric ovens that now come packed with a lot of operating and economic advantages. Let’s summarise the main points:

The Zeno revolution: the commercial electric pizza oven | Alfa Forni

1. Low running costs

The cost of electricity necessary to operate an electric oven may vary according to different factors such as your geographical location, the tariff you are on and, most of all, the oven you use. The price range of firewood varies from 5€ to 15€ per 100 kg. Firewood does not only provide heat but also an additional ingredient, special flavour to food and this explains the growing demand for aromatic and higher calorific value woods (the increase in temperature per 1 kg of firewood). The electric oven does not run on fuels such as wood that needs to be transported and stored for future use in your restaurant or pizzeria. Besides, you can further reduce your electricity bills by investing in renewables like solar panels which are subsidised in many countries.

2. Automatic temperature control

The biggest advantage of an electric oven is that, basically, it looks after itself thanks to automatic temperature control. Just preheat the oven two hours before cooking and set the right temperature. Besides, most modern ovens allow you to modulate the vault and floor temperature separately to find the perfect balance of heat and humidity coming from the top and the bottom. The best models also enable you to change the settings as you go, for instance, choosing a programme to start heating the oven up, then switching to another one to raise the temperature and finally using residual heat before you call it a day.

On the contrary, refractory wood-fired ovens usually take a long time to reach the right temperature to bake pizza (but watch out, for wood or gas-fired ovens with stainless-steel chamber is a different kettle of fish). When the wood-burning oven is hot enough and you can start baking, you must keep the fire going all the time. Nothing of the kind with gas or electric ovens; the pizza chef does not fret over the fire and devotes himself to cooking dishes.

3. Easy to clean

Cleaning the electric oven is an effortless task, you will only need a scrubbing brush. Furthermore, it is more energy efficient than wood-burning oven because it bakes most of the time with the door closed thus reducing the heat loss.

4. Easy to maintain

The electric oven is built in such a way as to facilitate maintenance as much as possible. The main problem is that heating elements may break or wear out over time. In this case, it’s the right moment to replace them and you can do it on your own in a few minutes. At present, the breakthrough in building materials has rushed the manufacturing of electric ovens as reliable and durable as wood-fired ones.

5. No restrictions to installation

The electric ovens are no subject to any restrictions on their installation in commercial kitchens other than the setup of a ventilation system. You can’t say the same for wood-burning ovens that produce much smoke and for this reason they need a flue whose installation might require you to comply with certain regulations. The choice of an electric oven may also be dictated by the kind of pizza you want to bake. If pizza by the slice is your business and you don’t need very high temperatures, go for it!

In conclusion, you can surely bake the most delicious pizzas in a wood-burning oven but the result is not guaranteed and they need a lot of investment in terms of time, effort and money. Electric ovens are easy to install and to operate and deliver proper results every time.

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The Zeno revolution: the commercial electric pizza oven | Alfa Forni

Alfa Forni’s technological innovations in commercial electric ovens.

Until recently, commercial electric ovens couldn’t reach the same high temperatures of wood-fired ovens so there was no alternative to them for baking crunchy Neapolitan pizzas in 60-90 seconds. But not anymore! All pizza enthusiasts who, for one reason or another, can’t use a wood-burning oven can now count on a new model that expand Alfa Forni’s product range.

Zeno is the new commercial electric oven that cooks a pizza at 500°C, just like a wood-fired oven does. Alfa Forni has managed to combine the ease of use of electric ovens with the high thermal capacity of a wood-fired counterpart by using its special refractories.

Zeno, which was launched at the Host 2019 trade fair in Milan, is our try to get a foothold in the commercial electric oven market and has two features that make it an excellent product:

  1. The combination of high-performance refractory materials and the improvement of heating elements that boost up the power and at the same time cut down energy consumption.
  2. The exposed elements favour the heating by radiation of the oven floor as well as the refractories of the baking chamber, allow a rapid increase in the internal temperature and a better heat retention to extend cooking time.

Hitting 500°C, Zeno gives pizza the typical wood-burning oven charred spots. The high temperature fully enhances the texture of the true Neapolitan pizza dough and dramatically reduces baking time. Some say that the major advantage of the wood-fired oven is the smoky flavour that it imparts to pizza but, actually, as pizza is baked in a few seconds, this is not quite so evident. We could bet that if a pizzeria changed the type of firewood for its oven, most customers wouldn’t even notice it. An innovative oven like the Zeno comes with many benefits but for baking many pizzas at high temperatures running on electricity it really hits the spotProvided with an intuitive interface, the touch screen near the oven mouth allows you to easily set the different functions. The 9 exposed elements of the vault quickly heat up the Alfa refractory materials that, in turn, retain the heat longer to allow you to cook cutting your energy bills. Zeno is available without base to place onto a pre-existing surface or with a 4 retractable casters base to move it wherever you want.

The Zeno revolution: the commercial electric pizza oven | Alfa Forni

The main features of Zeno in a nutshell.

Zeno is the first commercial pizza oven targeted at people who choose electricity. Thanks to Alfa Forni’s technological and functional innovations, a commercial electric pizza oven that bakes at high temperatures just like a wood-fired oven does, is now possible. Below, we give a brief overview of the major benefits and features of Zeno.

  • First-rate Alfa’s refractory materials throughout the baking chamber, 4 cm thick panels and 5 cm interchangeable bricks in the oven floor completely coated with insulation material to retain heat and prevent energy loss.
  • High-performance heating elements (9 on the vault and 6 on the floor) that can be adjusted separately to satisfy all your cooking needs.
  • Colour touch screen to look up, save and amend about one hundred combinations of temperatures, set 7 days programmable timer and save up to 99 recipes..
  • Elegant design fit for an open kitchen setup with a lava stone landing, a cooker hood to extract smells and odours, a STAINLESS-steel pipe, a valve to regulate the vapour flow and a light mobile structure.

In the end, we can clearly say that Zeno is the best choice if you are looking for a high-performing electric apparel that makes cooking a breeze and a perfect fit for Alfa’s wide range of wood and gas-fired ovens.