The appeal of a wood-fired oven is unmistakable. Its high baking temperatures, wood fuel, and fast baking times test the finesse of skilled chefs, and customers find the gourmet pies are well worth typically upscale prices. Plus, unlike other oven types, the substantial size and rustic brick or clay construction of a wood-fired oven adds to the dining experience, setting not-so-subtle expectations about food quality.
However, for all of its benefits, a wood-fired oven is among the most selective when it comes to ideal pizza crust types. Simply put, not every crust works in a wood-fired oven — but those that do are deliciously enhanced by the deep, smoky taste and appealing visual characteristics.
Wood-fired ovens are exceptionally hot — usually operating between 600-900°F — translating to bake times under five minutes. The crust used must be responsive to high, dry heat and speedy cooking in order to deliver:
- Crust color that is light golden brown with intermittent deeper browning.
- Crust texture that is light, open-structured and among the crispest available, provided baking is done directly on the deck without a sheet or pan.
- Crusts that significantly bubble and blister for enhanced visual appeal.
Crispness is the signature characteristic of a wood-fired crust. To prevent your pizzas from going awry, it’s important to note:
- The very short baking time doesn't allow pizza tops to dry off, so using too many vegetable toppings could introduce excess moisture and soggy crusts.
- Wood-fired crusts for a buffet or delivery/carryout aren't the best choice. While consistently flavorful, the crusts won’t hold crispness for extended time periods.
As for the best pizza dough or crust types for wood-fired ovens, there’s one basic rule: thin is in. A classic example is the crust preparation for a Neapolitan pie that, by strict definition, can be no more than 35 centimeters in diameter and no more than one-third of a centimeter thick at the center for super-thin and undeniably crisp results.
For wood-fired ovens, Wood Fired HG Dough Balls and Neapolitan 00 Dough Balls from Alive & Kickin' Pizza Crust are the perfect formulations for crusts that showcase gourmet offerings. A mainstay for managing pizza prep time and crust production consistency, these dough balls are able to withstand the high temperatures in wood fired ovens to create a perfectly crisp outside.
A wood-fired oven is an asset you can leverage when you strategically partner with the crust experts at Alive & Kickin’ Pizza Crust. Learn more about getting the most from your pizza crusts and your oven by downloading How To Select The Right Oven For Your Pizza Operation.