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Cooking with Gas is a question I am often asked. How long does it take to heat up the oven when cooking with gas before I can cook a pizza? There’s a difference between using gas only, or wood only to cook.

When it comes to traditional refractory or brick ovens the most important requirement is to cook just one or 2 pizzas in a hot floor, say at least 500° F. Of course it needs to be hotter than that for sustained pizza making. The second most important requirement is heat from above to cook the surface. In theory, you can cook as soon as the floor is hot enough.

There’s a difference in the thermodynamics of using wood fired and gas fire, although in both cases the desired result is a the dome saturated with heat that will be retained for a long period and slowly released as radiated heat.

The flame from a gas fired pizza oven circles the dome and heats the mass of the oven wall and floor by both convection and radiation. By contrast the flame from a wood fire heats the dome by radiation. Since a pizza is cooked in a wood fire by radiation, the dome and floor need to be heated almost to the point of saturation.  But as long as the floor is hot enough, a pizza cooked in a gas fired oven is cooked by both convection and radiation.

Cooking a pizza is a slow and enjoyable process, but if you are in a hurry to eat your pizza then you can cook a pizza quicker with gas only than with wood only.

And of course, you get the same great tasting pizza whether you use gas or wood.

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