Few foods come with such passionate preferences as pizza. Everyone has their favorite styles and a strong argument for why that one is the best. Whether your pizza of choice is the deep, pie-like pizza from Chicago, or thin, soft New York pies, the right oven is a crucial part of its production. Each oven type has different cooking times, heat sources and temperature controls. Understanding the function of each pizza oven style will help you to choose the one that is right for the pies you want to produce.

Brick Ovens

A brick pizza oven is created from bricks crafted to withstand the high, intense heat. Traditionally wood-fired, newer styles support gas or coal fuel as well. If you want that classic brick oven product, wood-fired brings the origins of pizza to the forefront.

Brick pizza ovens rely on a combination of three heating methods to get the job done. The dome-shaped area inside the oven encourages air flow, producing a convection environment. The dome surface reflects heat down onto the pizza surface, and the hearth conducts direct heat onto the crust. This design creates a gently cooked surface and a crisp, well-cooked crust.

Temperatures on the hearth itself can reach over 700 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will cook pizza quickly. You can turn out a pie in as little as two minutes in some situations. Depending on how many pizzas you have in the oven and how thick your crust is, it may take five minutes or more for thorough cooking.

Deck Ovens

Deck ovens get their names from the stone shelves inside. These shelves are called decks. The pizza rests directly on the deck to cook. If you are looking for brick oven flavor with a more modern design, this may be the better alternative.

Deck ovens are more affordable than brick oven designs, and can produce comparable pizza. The stones inside the deck oven are heated, and the direct heat from the stone cooks the crust. The radiant heat coming from the decks cook the cheese and toppings.

Unlike the wood-fired brick oven style, deck ovens rely on gas or electricity for heat production. They cook at a lower temperature than brick ovens, with a temperature range between 400 and 700 degrees Fahrenheit. At these average temperatures, pizzas will cook in less than ten minutes.

Convection Ovens

Convection cooking is a great way to reduce your cooking time and energy demands. Convection ovens are cost-effective, and can produce high quality, consistent pies. They are an ideal option if your kitchen is compact and you have limited space for your oven installation.

The convection cooking method relies on a fan-driven hot air circulation to cook evenly. The fan distributes the heated air throughout the oven, creating a balanced cooking environment. This makes it more consistent than a wood-fired or deck oven, which may develop hot spots.

A convection pizza oven, whether gas or electric, cooks at around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This may seem low, but the convection cooking method allows it to work effectively at a lower temperature. In fact, even at this low temperature, a convection oven can produce a pizza in less than ten minutes.

Conveyor Ovens

Go into any smaller neighborhood pizzeria, and you are likely to see a conveyor-style pizza oven. You place the pizza on a conveyor at one end and the pizza exits the oven on the other end. Most models have control dials that allow you to adjust the speed and temperature as needed.

The biggest benefit to these ovens is the versatility. They are ideal for more than just pizzas. You can toast sandwiches, sear fish or bake other products. Small conveyor ovens use radiant heat for cooking. Most full-size standing conveyor ovens use a forced air system.

Conveyor ovens use either gas or electricity. The baking environment inside is approximately 500 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, a conveyor can be set to cook a pizza in roughly five minutes.

The right pizza oven for your restaurant depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are aiming for that charred, wood smoke flavor of a wood-fired brick oven, a conveyor system is not going to work. Consider the type of product you want to produce as well as your budget and space availability. With the right investment, you will be able to create perfect and famous pizza for your pizzeria.