The type of oven dictates the style of the pizza, which subsequently dictates the type of oven. Or something like that. It’s pretty much all one big circle, as it usually is with pizza, even when it’s square.
Most pizza ovens are first defined by their heating source—wood, coal, gas, and electric. The old-style brick ovens tend to be fired with wood or coal, although gas may be used, too. The newer commercial ovens—convection, deck, or conveyor—are powered by gas or electricity. In convection ovens heat is circulated by a fan. This blowing will cook the pizza evenly and may also dry it a bit, which may or may not be a desired effect. Deck ovens employ conduction, cooking the crust through direct contact between the pizza’s underskirt or undercarriage, to use the parlance for its bottom surface, and the stone or ceramic base of the oven chamber. Heat in a deck oven also radiates from gas or electric burners positioned either above or below the baking chamber. In conveyor ovens a conveyor belt carries the pizza from one end of the oven to the other, heating the pizza through forced-air convection, infrared heat, or radiation. In all ovens conduction heat can be applied directly to the crust from heat absorbed by a pan, as in the pan pizzas of Detroit, Rome, and Argentina.
Oven temperature affects the character and color of the pizza. A wood-fired oven heated above 900°F (482°C) can char and blacken a crust even before its crumb is fully dry and cooked through. The pizza is typically done in 90 seconds or fewer. A gas oven heated to 700°F (370°F) will brown more gradually, cooking in approximately 5 minutes, depending on the thickness of the crust and the desired crispness.
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