Stone Hearth ovens use the great heat stored in their dense refractory roof and floor to cook pizza and other foods very quickly.
Once chefs become familiar with these ovens, they find them incredibly versatile and are able to cook a wide variety of foods at different times of the day.Dough can be made using a mixer or by purchasing from a bulk dough supplier or your local bakery. Although there may be a million dough recipes.
Once you have made your dough, there are 3 ways to roll it out (Roller, Dough Press or Manual). Choose the method most suitable to you.
The first two mechanical methods lend themselves to kitchens with less experienced staff.
The weight of the dough will depend on the size of the pizza you wish to make and the desired thickness of the base. Individual sized 10″ “gourmet” or “thin base” style pizza will contain 5oz to 7oz dough; a large family size 16″ thick base pizza will contain approx 22oz.
Once you have selected the dough weight and style of pizza, you need to determine how much dough you need per day and how to store it ready for use. Busy pizzerias will use either a separate fridge designed to hold pre-rolled pizza or a chrome rack which can hold up to 20 pizzas.
Some people place pre-rolled pizzas on floured metal pans, which are then placed in their storage area ready for prepping and cooking. Some clients who do not use pans at all use round plywood trays the size of their pizzas for storage prior to cooking.Allow oven to get to operating temperature. Do not be afraid to experiment to get the perfect temperature.
Ensure the floor has been cleaned with a moist (not wet) rag on a broom and move around the floor. A wire brush on a handle can also be used.
Prepare dough into dough balls according the thickness and size required. 5oz balls are suitable for 10″ round thin pizzas.
Roll the dough into bases to the size and thickness required. Use a liberal amount of food release to stop the dough from sticking to the bench and peel.
Place finished dough onto peel and place the pizza in the middle of the oven. Pizza can be cooked either direct on the floor of the oven or in trays. Experiment with different areas of the oven. The hottest area will be close to the fire and the temperature will reduce as you move away from the fire. The coolest place in the oven is next to the mouth. Cooked pizza can be left there to keep warm if business is slow.
When cooking pizzas (either on a pizza-baking tray or directly on oven floor) the pizza should be turned and moved about to ensure even cooking, due to the ambient and reflected heat conditions inside oven chamber. Ideal pans are black perforated, these absorb heat quicker than aluminium pans.
A typical pizza should cook perfectly in 5-6 minutes. The time taken to cook the perfect pizza will depend on how thick the ingredients are and how thick the dough is. If cooking time is greater than 7-10 minutes, the temperature in the oven is too low. This can be caused by a number of factors. Refer to document “Heat in Oven”.
The pizza base may puff up during cooking. If it does, simply prick it with a pointy object. A roller with lots of fingers is available which is rolled across the dough. This has the effect of stopping the dough from bubbling.Eg. Roast chicken, lamb, beef etc can be cooked in roasting dishes (an oven rack should be placed on oven floor with roasting dish placed on rack to prevent excessive heat from base).
Some meats may require aluminium foil placed over top to prevent fat splattering onto pizzas.
Pasta dishes, eg. Lasagne can be baked in the oven; other dishes such as ravioli, canelloni, tortellini can be portioned into individual servings, placed into ceramic oven proof dishes and finished in oven.The pizza oven is designed to cook pizza very quickly at high temperature. With experience you can utilize the effective available heat from the oven by cooking items requiring a lower temperature outside rush hours. By letting the oven cool down to 392°F, you could bake breads all prep food etc between peak periods. Half an hour before your peak demand time, raise the oven temperature with fresh timber and it then ready for maximum temperature and throughput. If you have a particularly demanding peak period, dough bases can be par baked for 1-2 minutes or until the dough holds its shape and stored on individual aluminium / stainless plates in readiness for orders. These can be prepared with tomato paste and cheese prior to par baking.
Once finished cooking for the day, simply leave the fire to burn down, place the door in front of the flue or place another log on the fire.