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California Pizza Kitchen - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



New Forno Bravo Forum Feature

Forno Bravo Forum Community,

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:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

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.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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California Pizza Kitchen

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  • California Pizza Kitchen

    You gotta get a kick out of this. I went into a California Pizza Kitchen for the first time today just to see what it looks like. They have an American made gas-fired oven (you know who I mean), and the temperature gauge was set to 450ºF. I asked the pizza chef how long it took to cook a pizza, and he said 10 minutes, but closer to 15 if they have a few pizzas cooking at the same time.

    Ouch. You can do better than that on Weber with pizza stone.

    As an aside, I also popped into a generic pizzeria that had a gas-fired deck oven running at 500ºF that cooked 5-7 minute pizza.

    Which one do you think makes better pizza??
    Pizza Ovens
    Outdoor Fireplaces

  • #2
    Re: California Pizza Kitchen

    James: We've always loved CPK as a restaurant chain, been to quite a few because of the variety of flavors they use in their Pastas, Salads and Pizzas. Vegas/Chicago/DC/Ann Arbor...to name a few.

    We bought their cookbook a few years back. They had a good crust recipe. But as I remember, they also kept wood burning in their oven....was that a combo gas/wood?

    BTW I thought that chain was started by a couple of California lawyers....go figure.
    sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!


    • #3
      Re: California Pizza Kitchen

      I can't even bring myself to order the pizza there anymore...although the chicken ceasar sandwhich and the tortilla soup are great.

      I think a gas fired "brick oven" makes the pizzas way too tough and chewy - plus I think the dough there makes the pizzas taste like donuts.

      I'm sure it is a high volume/consistency issue with relatively untrained kitchen staff as to why they use wood ovens with gas flames. It's just much easier to cook multiple pies and have a lot going on in the kitchen too. With a wood burning oven you really have to pay attention before your pies go nuclear.

      I definitely don't like the trend of wood/gas combo. Fireside Pies opened a new location in Plano, TX and they have a few logs going but then have the gas flame going too. I think the pizzas have really suffered from their first location (exclusively wood), but the local paper gave them glowing reviews and said the pies were perfect - so what do I know. Coal Vines in Dallas uses anthracite coal to fire their ovens and their pizzas are good - but it's the same thing...they cook them long because the oven is not hot enough so the dough gets tough in my opinion. Their is a huge taste difference when you cook a pizza for 90 seconds vs. 10-15 mins.

      We use deck ovens in our pizzeria - not my first choice - but the pizzas come out very good and do get a crispy edge. Part of it is our dough because we do use Caputo and we have actual Neapolitans making the dough every day. Our second restaurant will have wood fired ovens.


      • #4
        Re: California Pizza Kitchen

        A quote from She Who Must Be Obeyed in regards to CPK



        • #5
          Re: California Pizza Kitchen

          The one that I saw was pure gas, not a combo.

          I think Jay's right in that there are many (at least three I can think of off the top of my head) things going on. First, it doesn't matter if the oven is gas, wood or coal, if you run it below 500ºF and cook 10 minute pizzas, you are going to make a tough and pretty terrible product. Second, if the restaurant is truly running the oven hot (750ºF+) with gas, I still think a wood-fired oven makes a better tasting and better texture pizzas -- though the difference gets tighter. And third, you will make a better pizza if you use Caputo flour -- whatever type of oven you use; a wood-fired oven, gas oven, deck oven or a pizza stone. Nearly everybody agrees on that.
          Pizza Ovens
          Outdoor Fireplaces


          • #6
            Re: California Pizza Kitchen

            Jay, when is the southlake location opening?
            Keller TX
            Artigiano 39"
            former Phoenix resident and Pizzeria Bianco fan



            • #7
              Re: California Pizza Kitchen

              Mark - we will hopefully be open by mid-late March. Construction is under way but is complicated because we are building the rooftop patio and need all kinds of support - we basically have to build an internal skeleton to support the weight of the roof. A headache but will be cool when its open.