A question I’m often asked is how long to heat up before I can cook a pizza? There’s a difference between using gas only, or wood only.

When it comes to traditional refractory or brick ovens the most important requirement to cook just one or 2 pizzas is 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 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 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 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 you can be cooking pizza quicker with gas only than with wood only.

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

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