- Joined: 7/3/2004
- Location: San Francisco, CA
RE: coal fired brick oven pizza anywhere in MICHIGAN??
Mon, 06/13/05 3:02 AM
Here is an exerpt from a discussion of pizza ovens at: http://www.pizzaovens.com/specifications/messages/Choosingrightoven.htm
Now that you are familiar with the different styles of ovens, let's look at the different ways you can cook with them. There are several different fuel sources to choose from; wood, gas, coal, electric or infrared.
First, let's look at wood-fired ovens. Pizzas cooked in wood-fired ovens look and can taste different and are generally darker in color than those cooked in other styles of ovens. Partly because they absorb some of the smoke, depending on the type of wood used, and the bottom crusts tend to be a little crispier because of the intense heat of the cooking stone. Cleaning is easier, too. You can use an ash pan to collect ashes throughout the day, but most are burned away go out the flue. At the end of the night, simply spread the embers across the deck and remove what ashes are left the next morning.
Select the proper wood for cooking. The most popular choices are oak, almond and walnut, but cherry and apple are good choices, too. Never use pine unless you want your pizza to taste like lumber. The wood must also be seasoned properly. Green wood doesn't burn as hot. You can expect to burn around one and a half cords per month at an average of $350/cord if you run the oven 10 hours a day. Because they take longer to heat, it is usually necessary to keep them fired, even at night. Because they need separate venting, check with the manufacturer about venting requirements if you are considering a wood-fired oven. You will also need to start preheating the oven one to two hours before starting to cook.
As mentioned, this style of oven requires more skill from the cook, but with the right person, the results can be perfect pizzas. You can expect to produce around 100 pizzas per hour and can fit about 12 to 13 12-inch pizzas in the oven at one time. The last consideration is the weight. These ovens tend to be very heavy, which can be a problem without the proper floor support. Coal-fired ovens have many of the same traits as wood-fired ovens. The difference here is you need to have a supplier for coal.
I also found the following which supports what Tony Bad is saying:
Coal-Fired Pizza Oven history
In Italy, pizza is traditionally made in a wood-burning oven, but when immigrants from southern Italy came to New York in the late 19th century, they found that the cheapest and most plentiful fuel was coal. The intense heat of the coal oven was as close as you can get to Neapolitan- style pizza, with its soft, bread like crust and lightly cooked toppings, crisp and slightly charred, with the tomato and cheese clinging to the thin crust.
What distinguishes coal ovens from those burning gas or wood is their heat. The intense heat of the oven gives the dough a crisp, fine-textured crust, slightly charred on the underside. Toppings cook almost instantly, and everything gets infused with the distinctive aroma that only comes from coal.
It’s coal that runs the ovens of New York and New Haven Connecticut’s most hallowed pizza parlors. In New York there are Patsy's, Lombardi's, John's, Arturo's, and in Brooklyn, Totonno's and Grimaldi's. In New Haven there are Pepe’s, The Spot, Sallye’s and Modern. Although Lombardi's on Spring Street is the oldest coal-oven pizzeria (1905). It is Patsy's on First Avenue and 117th Street that has spawned the most offspring.
Three of the four coal-oven pizzerias on Long Island have some connection to Patsy's, all of them through the original Patsy's nephew, Patsy Grimaldi. Hear is a time line of how it all went.
The full text is at http://www.pipizza.com/travel/favorites/coal_ovens.html
But it still isn't obvious to me that coal is superior to wood--just different--and apparently wood-fired, done properly, is the authentic Italian method (but I have to admit that's one good-looking pizza down below).