Gas outdoor pizza oven: all the key features
Yes, it’s possible to bake pizzas in your own back yard, like those made by the best Neapolitan pizzerias. You just need excellent dough and, above all, the right outdoor pizza oven.
In recent years, more and more professionals and amateur pizza chefs are moving towards the purchase of gas ovens; thanks to the characteristics and advantages offered compared to traditional wood-fired pizza ovens.
For example, if you need to position the oven on specific spaces, such as balconies, terraces or gardens, a gas-powered appliance can represent an excellent solution in terms of ease of installation, practicality of use and versatility in cooking.
In fact, one of the main features of this type of oven is that it is much simpler and faster to use than wood-fired models, despite having very similar performances.
However, while the baking turns out pretty much the same, some believe that the flavor of the baked pizza is different. Is this really the case?
In fact, the scent of wood that accents the taste of various dishes is undeniable, but this only happens when it comes to dishes that require long cooking times.
A pizza, on the other hand, only needs 60-90 seconds to be cooked to the right point. This short cooking time does not allow for the smoke to permeate the pizza so there is no noticeable difference in taste when choosing gas over wood.
The real difference lies, however, in the practicality of use. It is not necessary to manage the flame manually, by inserting more wood to increase the heat. In a gas pizza oven’s cooking chamber, it is sufficient to turn the appropriate knob and in a short time the oven will reach the exact desired temperature.
Yet, what are the other features that make the outdoor gas pizza oven the ideal solution for enjoying excellent Margherita pizzas with friends directly from your back yard?
Let’s find out below.
- Why prefer gas ovens for making pizzas?
- The 5 features that an outdoor gas pizza oven must have
- Easy installation of outdoor gas ovens
- Ease of use and maintenance
- Adaptability to any context
- Flexibility to switch to wood-fired cooking
- High level of safety
- Which outdoor pizza oven should you choose?
- Alfa ovens: the unique features
Why prefer gas ovens for making pizzas?
In Italy, as well as in most of the Mediterranean countries, there is still a strong link with wood-fired pizza ovens, especially when it comes to Neapolitan pizzas. However, in recent years, the market is starting to move more and more towards solutions that accommodate different lifestyles and preferences.
Ease of use, models increasingly equipped with cutting-edge technology, high-performance safety systems and ease of movement are just some of the features that are driving more and more people to prefer gas ovens for making pizzas over more traditional wood-burning models.
The functioning of the two ovens is similar. The only difference is the type of flame feeding the oven, which in gas models is the presence of a burner in the cooking chamber, that can be fed with gas or methane.
Cooking pizzas, in fact, is almost identical to that of a wood oven in some crucial ways:
- Conduction: the heat is transmitted directly from the refractory surface to the dough plate or pan
- Radiation: the heat generated by the burner flame
- Convection: the heat currents move in the oven to reach the dough
A correct combination of these three factors allows, even the less experienced pizza chefs, to churn out tasty and fragrant pizzas, both Neapolitan style and in a Roman pan. Despite this, it is often thought that gas pizza ovens are not capable of quickly reaching the high temperatures needed to cook a pizza in seconds.
In the past this may have been true. Today however this is no longer the case: modern gas burners offer a high cooking yield, comparable to that of the classic wood-burning ovens.
Nevertheless, those who are sceptical could object that, despite having the same performance in terms of cooking, the gas oven cannot give the pizza the unmistakable taste of wood.
This misconception was recently tested by Alfa’s R&D laboratory team, in collaboration with professional chefs. These comparison tests determined that the 60-90 seconds required to cook a pizza are nowhere near enough time to allow the dough to capture the aromas released from the wood.
In addition to the reasons we’ve just seen, there are 5 other features that could change the minds of even traditionalists towards the choice of a gas oven for pizzas.
Do you want to know which is the best oven for you?
The 5 features that an outdoor gas pizza oven must have
In order to enjoy a pizza at home worthy of a professional pizza maker, it is important to have a tool that can combine ease of use and high performance, both in terms of cooking and safety.
An increasing number of people are moving towards the purchase of outdoor gas pizza ovens due to the features and relative advantages that these types of ovens can offer compared to the classic wood-burning ovens.
Let’s look at the features in detail.
1. Easy installation of outdoor gas ovens
The installation of gas ovens is quite simple since it is sufficient to connect the purchased model to the domestic gas network.
Furthermore, should it be complicated to connect to the gas network, it can be connected to a gas cylinder, thus removing any installation constraints.
In both cases, the Gas Kit made available by Alfa, which contains everything necessary to connect the gas pizza oven to either a network or a gas cylinder, can be particularly useful
2. Ease of use and maintenance of gas pizza ovens
One of the main advantages offered by gas ovens, compared to wood-fired ones, is certainly the simplicity of use, as there is neither the need to manage the flame manually during use nor to buy and find space for the wood.
In order to turn the oven on, in fact, simply press the ignition button, turn the knob and wait for the oven to heat up quickly in total autonomy. Indeed, gas solutions require only a few minutes to reach the desired temperature, since the ignition flame can be set immediately to its maximum power.
Another great advantage lies in the fact that once the pizzas are cooked the oven does not need to be cleaned of combustion residues.
3. Adaptability to any context
Outdoor pizza ovens can be placed in both country house gardens and in small city terraces or balconies. It is essential, particularly in urban contexts, that the oven is used in any outdoor environment without disturbing the neighbors while cooking.
Unlike wood-fired ovens, gas-powered models do not generate smoke and the only emissions they produce can be compared to those produced by a common boiler. This is a great advantage if you don’t want to give up the pleasure of a homemade pizza while living in a condominium.
Furthermore, outdoor gas ovens for pizzas do not require major building works; on the contrary, they can be moved easily if they come with supports equipped with wheels.
This is an especially useful feature for transporting the oven to various areas of the garden or terrace in the summer and to protect it from atmospheric agents by storing it in the garage or under a roof during the winter months.
4. Ability of being transformed from a gas oven into a wood oven
If you are totally undecided between a gas or wood oven it might be useful to know that there are hybrid ovens on the market that can be fuelled by both gas and wood.
For example, Alfa steel gas ovens can easily be transformed into wood-burning ovens thanks to the Hybrid Kit: a great advantage for those who do not want to give up the characteristic scent when baking bread.
The advantage of this accessory, in fact, is the possibility of choosing which form of fuel to use when cooking, based on the type of dish to be prepared.
You simply need to cover the burner with the special burner cover to protect it from soot and the heat of the flame and use the wood guard to keep the burning wood on one side.
In this way, you can fully take advantage of the potential of both types of oven fuels and enjoy both the advantages of the convenience of gas when cooking pizza, and the pleasure and aroma of wood when baking bread and cooking roasts.
5. High level safety standards
When it comes to gas pizza ovens, the safety aspect should not be underestimated.
If you decide to buy an outdoor gas oven, you should not only consider the price of the model in question, but also factors such as the quality of the materials used and the safety systems implemented by the manufacturer.
The reason being, should unlikely gas leaks occur, protective mechanisms must immediately be activated to safeguard the health of the people in the vicinity of the instrument.
In addition to using quality materials and components made entirely in Italy, Alfa installs a patented burner in its ovens specifically designed to prevent accidents related to gas leaks.
The Alfa burner has been designed to ensure perfect combustion and differs from others on the market thanks to two particular devices that make its use extremely safe:
- The pilot light flame: a very small flame that is found in the burner of the oven. This element, in addition to allowing the instrument to be switched on quickly in the event of unexpected guests, prevents gas from accumulating inside the cooking chamber.
- The thermocouple: a temperature sensor capable of detecting the presence of the flame in the oven. Why is it so important? If the flame is not lit and the gas knob is turned on inadvertently, the thermocouple will intervene to prevent the gas from escaping, thus avoiding dangerous leaks.
Furthermore, another aspect that should not be underestimated is that the various components just seen must have passed strict tests and quality controls before being installed on the various Alfa ovens. Only in this way are we certain that the ovens meet the highest safety standards.
Which outdoor pizza oven should you choose?
Ease of positioning, ease of use and optimal cooking performance make outdoor gas pizza ovens one of the best solutions for baking fragrant and tasty pizzas, even at home.
Being able to use these types of ovens also on balconies and terraces makes them particularly suitable for those who do not have a large garden or live in a city apartment, yet do not want to give up organizing lunches and dinners with friends and relatives.
Furthermore, nowadays the best gas-fired ovens have technologically advanced burners that are capable not only of offering cooking that is almost identical to that of a wood-burning oven, but also of being extremely efficient in terms of safety.
Ultimately we can say, therefore, that thanks to modern domestic gas pizza ovens it is possible to obtain results comparable to those of professional ovens, allowing amateur and non-amateur pizza chefs to churn out all kinds of perfectly cooked pizzas.