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Muti 09-12-2006 08:05 PM

Scientifically! Why wood-fired/gas-fired ovens?
Does anyone know why wood-fired ovens cook better pizza scientifically?

Does anyone also know that ‘the term of better Pizza’ include ‘healthy’ as well as delicious?

Any comments/help/suggestions are much appreciated.

Thanks a lot.

janprimus 09-13-2006 08:01 AM

Better pizza?
Retained heat ovens in particular make better pizza because the cook more rapidly and give you qualities in the crust and toppings that are difficult if not impossible to replicate in a standard oven. The fuel is not that critical. What is critical is the intense heat radiating from all sides. Granted, if you have a smoky fire, it will impart some flavor to the product, but generally it is the huge reservoir of heat that makes the difference.
Any claims as to more healthy would not hold any water. It is the quality of the ingredients that make it more healthy.

james 09-13-2006 08:54 AM

Ciao Muti,

Chad has it right that the biggest benefit is that heated refractory material cooks different than a conventional oven '' that pushed around hot air in a metal box.

Here is a good link with more info on how refractory ovens work relative to conventional ovens:

As to the health benefit, I cannot see that one.

maver 09-13-2006 01:57 PM

I bet most homemade pizza (especially a thin crust, lightly topped pizza) is a lot healthier than domino's. My problem is the brick oven pizza is so good I don't really know when to stop - bye bye health benefits!

james 09-13-2006 02:17 PM


Exactly. That comes down to the ingredients. I shudder to think what the chains put in their pizza. Scary.

The folks at Caputo and Vera Pizza Napoletana think a good brick oven pizza has about one third the calories and fat of a chain pizza. No bad. And it tastes better.


maver 09-13-2006 06:01 PM

It' about 1/3 the calories of a chain pizza. It's tough finding nutritional information on our kind of pizza, but 1/8 of a large domino's "hand tossed" pizza with just cheese, sauce and sausage is 360 calories. I found a Whole Foods recipe for Margherita calling for 1 5/8 cups flour, 1/3 cup of San Marzano tomato and 1/2 lb of mozzerella for pizza margherita where 1/3 of the pizza is 650 calories. I use 1/2 that much flour, about 1/3 that much cheese, and probably about that much tomato sauce. I also cut 8 slices usually, so each slice should be about 100 calories. I probably eat 8-12 slices though :eek:

Muti 09-18-2006 09:34 PM

wooden/gas flame!
I sincerely appreciate comments and suggestions you have made guys. Thanks a lot.

But I was expecting a little more scientific explanation. I am joining this forum from Japan. I used to work for big, nice Pizza restaurants in London. From my point of view, and as far as my experience goes, Three is a huge difference between wooden-flame cooked and gas-flamed cooked pizza in terms of taste. But I just want to found out the chemical explanation behind this difference. Any ideas/opinions/suggestions/comments??

Thanks again!

maver 09-19-2006 01:13 AM

Weird science
Muti, I think Janprimus addressed this the best that can be done - he approached the topic by what's different (from the physics standpoint) about wood oven pizza. What are you looking for as far as the chemical difference question?

I'm not sure I'd be willing to spare a pizza slice for analysis in a mass spectrometer or high pressure liquid chromatography setup. From a taste bud analysis I feel there is a difference in the taste of the pizza - a faint carmelization flavor in the crust and toppings due to the high heat cooking. It's the difference between seared ahi on a smoking hot cast iron skillet and ahi grilled at a lower temperature on my grill - on the skillet you get that caramelization more quickly without losing the delicate texture of the raw fish. Chemically that's burnt sugar (oxidation of carbohydrate) or a Maillard reaction when in the presence of amino acids. :rolleyes:

Maybe you can clarify why you are asking this - I'm not sure we're addressing what you want to know (but it may also be a question that does not have a ready answer).

Muti 10-09-2006 05:11 PM

I have been a little busy and could not log in!! :cool:

Thanks a lot for the comments and advice you have given.

Muti 10-09-2006 05:13 PM

I have been a little busy and could not log in!! :cool:

Thanks a lot for the comments and advice you have given. :)

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