The origin of the oven
Obviously, the pizza ovens originally were wood-fired, with the stone structure. It already existed at the time of the ancient Greeks, with its typical dome shape, which was used for cooking usual round buns and for bread in general. Since then the wood-fired oven has always been used, arriving active to the present day. The real Neapolitan pizza cannot do without the wood oven and therefore continues to be used, although some laws have tried to replace it.
The electric oven has a more recent and much less fascinating history. The first gas model appeared in England in 1820, but only a century later electrical resistances were introduced. The electric oven immediately spread in a comprehensive manner, as it was economical, practical, and clean. In this way, the electric oven also arrived in restaurants. In the 70s the first square electric ovens came with a refractory stone bottom that almost entirely reproduced the cooking of the wood-burning stove. Practical, quick to install, modern, and affordable, they had international success. Abroad they are ubiquitous, even if in Italy there is the prejudice that the pizza is cooked on a wood oven.
Types, strengths, and defects of the ovens
We try to understand, however, the real differences between the two types and the strengths and weaknesses of both.
- Cooking. First, we evaluate the cooking, so we can say that the electric oven is more productive.
- It is important to know that the pizza is cooked in three ways: irradiation from above, conduction from the stalls and convection, inside the pizza cells. In the wood-fired oven, when the pizza is informed, the stalls, at the point where the pizza is placed, cool down for two reasons: due to the humidity of the pizza itself and to the fact that irradiation is interrupted. Therefore in the course of an evening, the wood-fired oven does not always cook in the same way, and its performance varies a lot, forcing the pizza maker to take breaks, to wait for the audience to warm up again.
- Cleaning. Even the cleaning of an electric oven is much more comfortable than that of a wood oven. First of all, it does not require the transport and storage of wood. Secondly, it does not need to remove the ash, sawdust, but it is always clean.
- Installation. The installation of a wood-burning oven is very different from that of an electric oven. The first one, in fact, always needs masonry work and a chimney. It is not still possible to achieve it, especially in specific condominiums or in certain realities. The electric oven, on the other hand, does not require any of this, not even the hood, so it is much simpler and more practical to put into operation.
- Quality. Regarding the quality of the pizza, there is no real difference depending on the oven you use. It is the temperature of the oven that makes the difference, so it is sufficient to raise that of the wood-burning stove to cook the pizza correctly. The electric oven is simpler to regulate, and this allows even those who are less expert in preparing a good pizza.
So if the electric oven, from this analysis, is more advantageous than the other, why does it seem that the real pizza is only the one cooked in a wood oven? Surely the reason is emotional, the charm of the fire and of a skilled pizza maker are priceless.