Wood-fired pizza ovens: 5 reasons to choose alfa for your home
The world of wood-burning oven is wide and varied depending on differences in use and context. This situation has encouraged manufacturing companies to specialise in market segments such as home wood-fired ovens with the need to focus on factors like small footprint, easy handling, low consumption and heat-up speed.
The growth of pro-am pizza chefs who want high-performing ovens to climb their learning curve by tackling problems like cooking with fire to bake a Neapolitan pizza and the ever-increasing success of gourmet pizza changed the rules of the game too.
In our blog, we give advice on avoiding cooking blunders, adapting pizza dough to your oven features or picking the model that best suits your needs to make a pizzeria-quality pizza at your place.
In the following article, we will centre on the main characteristics that a wood-burning oven must have to bake top-drawer pizzas, starting from structural features such as size, shape, materials and construction methods affecting its thermal conductivity and ending with the issues related to the use of the appliance such as the choice of the wood, the fire control, ease of use and so on.
Finally, we will emphasize the reasons to choose an Alfa home pizza oven including the tradition/innovation ratio, the reduction of energy consumption and operating times, different fuels, space needs and decorative value.
The features of the wood-burning pizza oven for baking a first-rate pizza.
The subject of our analysis is the wood-fired oven for making pizza at home which represents a market niche with precise characteristics to facilitate the work of the amateur pizza chef.
Special attention will be paid to maximising small spaces and getting the most out of your available budget. We carved up these characteristics into two sections: the structural factors, that is the appliance manufacture that the user can’t control, and the functional ones, that is those pertaining to the use of the oven on the part of the pizza maker.
They determine the oven heat capacity that, in turn, will result in a better and more efficient cooking and they are as follows:
- the size
- the shape
- the raw materials
- the manufacturing quality
Basically, the choice of the size depends on the number of pizzas you want to knock out and how quickly. The larger the oven, the more time and fuel are necessary for it to reach high temperatures; it’s also true that a larger oven retains the heat better and keeps a high temperature for a longer time.
The shape influences the way heat is transferred in the oven and the ensuing cooking. To bake pizza, you must move the fire to the side of the oven, then hot air rises up the walls to the dome that pushes the heat back to the floor to cook pizza perfectly without drying it out. The traditional shape of a pizza oven is a low flat dome (hemispherical ovens are preferable for baking bread instead).
Raw materials are key because they tremendously affect the oven thermal capacity. The best ones are stone slabs or firebricks that, uncoincidentally, were used to build the communal ovens that have been a part of Mediterranean life for thousands of years. Skimping is not a good idea when you want to buy an oven, so get something that will last you many years.
Manufacturing must meet high quality standards all over the process. If you go for a mobile oven, you’d better look for a model that combines robustness and manoeuvrability.
They concern the practical aspects of using the oven. They greatly impact on the end product and encompass all the different steps to fully develop the potential of the oven. Let’s have a look at them:
It can actually be summed up as the main reason for buying a wood-burning oven. Fire awakens primal instincts as the control of it was one of the mankind’s greatest discoveries. You learn to handle the fire, but you never stop learning to do it. Knowing how your oven works is the secret to cooking a smashing pizza.
Cooking with wood
Firewood is a clean fuel that infuses food with great flavour. The choice of the right type of firewood according to the dishes to be cooked, sets the great pizza chef apart. After some time, you will be able to quantify the right amount of firewood for your cooking sessions.
Designer ovens to put on your home cooking show
Nowadays, wood-fired ovens must be beautiful as well as effective, so the design plays as important a role as the technical aspects related to the heat capacity of the oven. It becomes a piece of furniture to prettify your kitchen and to throw fun cooking shows at your home.
Five reasons to choose Alfa ovens
After seeing the features to consider when evaluating to buy a wood-fired pizza oven, let’s focus on how Alfa’s range of home ovens can meet your every need.
There are at least five reasons to prefer Alfa’s ovens, whether it be the impeccable quality of the product or the incessant drive to reduce consumption and heat-up times. Let’s examine them in detail:
1. History and quality, balancing between tradition and innovation.
Alfa was born in 1977 and since then has been committed to excellence in the domain of pizza ovens. Development and continuous innovation deal with key aspects such as the search for high-quality materials that ensure greater heat capacity with an eye to reducing the oven weight to stay at the cutting edge of technological and structural improvements.
The Alfa’s line includes 4 traditional wood-burning ovens: the Cupola, the Cupolino, the Master Vision and the Tradizionale, standbys that proved successful over time.
Alongside, Alfa has developed a series of innovative ovens using state-of-the-art technologies to save time and fuel.
2. Less fuel consumption.
The Forninox technology allows Alfa to make ovens that accumulate heat quickly thanks to a very thick stainless-steel dome. As a result, the heat-up time is lower than that needed for a refractory oven and your appliance will be ready for cooking a pizza in a mere 5 minutes, saving on your energy bills. In this regard, nothing beats the 5 Minuti oven, the company’s flagship product.
3. Wood or gas-powered.
Most Alfa ovens run on wood, but the company also manufactures gas-fired ovens such as the Dolce Vita and the Domo that are easier to handle. They guarantee great cooking with low consumption even though the gas certainly doesn’t give food that pungent, smoky flavour. On the other hand, they may prevent you from making mistakes like, say, choosing the bad firewood.
4. Designer ovens to decorate interior and exterior spaces.
Alfa ovens are furniture in its own right and they can conveniently decorate your home’s inner and outer spaces. They come in various and sundry models with or without base, to adapt to any setting and can also be built into the wall. Whatever the Alfa oven, it’s always the right time to put on a cooking show in front of your guests.
5. Space requirements: large and compact ovens.
If you want to buy a wood-burning oven but space is at a premium, Alfa offers high-performing compact ovens like the Ciao. If, on the contrary, you have a spacious terrace or a garden and expect many friends to show up at your party, the 4 Pizze and the Allegro tick all the boxes as they could easily do the job in a pizzeria.
Keep an eye on price
We have previously seen what are the most important features that you must consider when buying a wood-burning oven to make pizza at home; now it’s time to take into account the price range in which such an appliance falls into. Due to the criteria underlying the shape and size of these ovens, the raw materials and the manufacturing methods, a good wood-fired oven can’t cost less than one thousand euros. Obviously, you can save money by doing it yourself buying the prefab materials for the dome and the floor or paying someone resourceful enough to make it. Then, there’s always the possibility of choosing one of the pizza ovens that make up the wide Alfa range. Home Alfa ovens are professional-grade appliances that begin enhancing and stimulating your cooking skills and end up stealing the spotlight.