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Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
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Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

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  • Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

    Greetings; On my path of study I decided to visit as many restrauants with WFOs. I was amazed to find that most run the oven well below 700 degrees. And the lower the temp the worse the pizza was (big surprise). But my newbie question is WHY do they run the oven at lower temps? My guess is that at lower temps it takes longer to cook and any idiot can do it without the risk of burning the pizza? Kindly advise...tim

  • #2
    Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

    Maybe the ovens don't go any higher? Or they have lower temps so that other foods can be cooked in the same oven - lasagne for instance. But your explanation sounds just as likely...
    "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

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    • #3
      Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

      Or maybe they want you to buy more drinks whilst you're waiting.
      If you are half tanked when you finally get it/them, then maybe you won't taste the poor pizzas!
      They could also be saving wood?
      Their insurance company could have a say if they use high temperatures? OR
      they simply don't know the difference!

      Neill
      Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

      The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


      Neillís Pompeiii #1
      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html
      Neillís kitchen underway
      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f35/...rway-4591.html

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      • #4
        Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

        Most of the "brick oven" places around here have gas fired ovens, that at the most burn a little wood for decoration. And yes, lower temperature = lower skill needed for workers.
        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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        • #5
          Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

          Tim
          I think dmun hit the nail right on the head with "lower temperature = lower skill"...being one who is giong into such a business with my wife...staff training will be a huge issue...teaching them to toss a good base is one thing but...to teach them to manage such pizzas in an environment as potentially unforgiving an environment as a 800F oven is another...if you turn your head too long it is toast!!!
          Best
          Dutch
          "Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
          "Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch

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          • #6
            Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

            Greetings; Many thanks for all the interesting and kind thoughts. I had one user contact me privately and tell me that the 'real' reason is that the restrauants are 'cheaping' out. That is to say, they run the oven cooler because of the cost of wood. Less wood = less cost. And finally, (I could not resist). It appears there are a number of 'half-baked" reasons to run the oven on the cool side.

            tim

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            • #7
              Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

              I think the answer might be in the fuel consumption. At the higher pizza temps we use the oven burns wood up pretty fast and the maintenance of the high temp, for a restaurant which is open for hours, would be considerable.
              Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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              • #8
                Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

                It may also be the local market. We had a coal fired pizza place open a few months ago that started with 700+ temps and made pizzas very much like some famous NYC joints. When the local press reviewed the place after a couple months, the owner was reported as having lowered his temps as too many customers were sending back the slightly charred pies as "burned". The problem was compounded by the fact that he was doing thin crust pies rather than the fat boys that are more popular here in upstate NY. hopefully they will return to the original plan and let the customers catch up though that is a tough play for a new place.

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                • #9
                  Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

                  Originally posted by bernerdog View Post
                  When the local press reviewed the place after a couple months, the owner was reported as having lowered his temps as too many customers were sending back the slightly charred pies as "burned"
                  Boy, what I wouldn't give to get a "burned" pie at a commercial place around here. Seem like EVERYTHING served up this way is very un-appetizingly undercooked.

                  We were actually thinking of ordering one "well-done" next time we eat pizza out.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

                    As I tell my young boys (6,4 and 2). Our WF pizzas are never burnt just "over carmalized" for those times when I get slightly distracted while tending the oven.

                    Dick

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why do so many restrauants cook at low temp

                      Originally posted by thebadger View Post
                      As I tell my young boys (6,4 and 2). Our WF pizzas are never burnt just "over carmalized" for those times when I get slightly distracted while tending the oven.

                      Dick
                      Remember also that the "added" Carbon settles the stomach and removes impurities

                      Phill

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