Cooking Equipment: Wood-Fired Ovens

Types: Gas-fueled and gas-assisted stone-hearth ovens come in many different configurations to meet a variety of production requirements.

Capacities/Footprints: Pre-assembled and downsized ovens are designed for use in metropolitan areas, where restaurant layouts are most often small and/or irregular in shape. Pre-assembled models generally offer interior cooking spaces ranging from 23” to 64” in diameter. When not pre-assembled, wood-fired ovens can be built-in or freestanding.

Energy Source(s): A variety of burner and fuel configurations are available with some models. One type of oven has two manually adjustable radiant flame walls and a thermostatically controlled gas infrared burner beneath the oven deck. Any or all of the radiant burners can be omitted to accommodate wood. Wood-fired ovens can reach temperatures of 800 °F., producing up to 240 pizzas per hour. Gas/wood combination ovens or all-gas units make more sense for operators and are much easier to train staff to use.

Manufacturing Method: Wood-fired ovens consist of an insulated cavity for burning wood. Brick or stone blocks retain heat and dispense it evenly.

Standard Features: Modular wood-burning ovens can be easily assembled. Some come with expanded clay for use as insulation, and refractory cement for grouting floor pieces. One oven line features a refractory material composed of 80-percent alumina and other advanced elements. Also included in some kits are an opening arch, a metal door with thermometer and a flue. Most models include a ledge near the cavity door that provides additional workspace and a box for storing wood.

New Features/Technology/Options: Accessories include design artwork, custom facades, chargrills, viewing windows, doorway extensions, granite or stainless-steel hearths, custom oven-mounted exhaust hoods, spark arrestors, spray filters/flue scrubbers, stainless-steel or glass doors, built-in digital/analog thermometers, high-temperature fans, internal spotlights and wind cowls.

Key Kitchen Applications: These ovens are best suited for roasting and baking a wide variety of foods, including meats, poultry, fish, vegetable dishes, pastries and breads and, of course, pizza.

Purchasing Guidelines: With their visible hearths and flames adding a measure of drama, wood-burning ovens are attention-getters in all of their front-of-the-house applications.

Maintenance Requirements: Some floors may need to be reinforced in order to accommodate wood-fired ovens, which can weigh as much as 5,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs.

Food Safety & Sanitation Essentials: End-users should use a long-handled brush to sweep away food particles that accumulate on the floor of an oven during use. The oven floor can be cleaned with a damp rag. As with any other piece of equipment, operators should maintain a periodic cleaning schedule. When end-users operate units at lower temperatures, a buildup on the interior walls and/or cavity top of ovens can occur. To alleviate food safety threats, these ovens should be heated up to approximately 600 °F. until all signs of stuck-on food are gone.