Restaurants Prefer Wood-Fired Ovens

More and more lately we are seeing the presence of wood burning ovens in restaurants, not only physically in the restaurant itself, but in the title. Gourmet chefs and restaurant owners are slowly discovering how much better food can be in a wood burning oven. They are turning out wildly creative and delicious dishes that are having their customers raving. So what is the secret behind wood burning ovens that have all of these establishments changing their practices? One reason is that these wood-fired ovens are really able to pump out the heat. Wood burning ovens can reach temperatures far higher than normal gas ovens, and thus can create flavors that you would otherwise never be able to get.
Another reason customers and restaurants love their wood burning ovens is the spectacle. Burning wood creates a smell and display that is quite unlike any other restaurant experience. Many establishments decide to display their wood-fired ovens in easy to see locations so that customers can gaze on their pizza and other dishes as they cook next to open flames. This experience creates a buzz in the dining room and gets word about the restaurant spreading quickly. For all of these reasons and more, private homeowners are also finding the experience of wood burning ovens to be fantastic. Nothing is quite as special as baking a gourmet pizza or dessert right at home but with time honored cooking traditions that come straight from Italy.

What Makes a Wood Burning Oven Special?

Everyone knows what an oven is. You heat it up, put some food inside, close the door, the food gets hot, then you eat it. It’s old, old technology by which food gets better when the molecules inside heat up and release tons of flavors that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Cooking food has been around in human culture since we have written records and far before that. But through industrialization and modern technology the way we cook has become sterilized. Families and tribes used to cook around a wood burning fire, but now we cook in metal ovens heated by electric coils and a lot of the flavors have been lost.
Wood burning ovens bring families back to a traditional cooking style that is a huge part of our evolution. Food cooked with the heat of burning wood develops a distinct flavor profile that completely eclipses the flavors you get from a regular oven.  While a normal oven only imparts heat upon cooked food, wood burning ovens impart the flavor of the wood and smoke into everything that is cooked in the oven. This added flavor creates really unique dishes depending on the type of wood you use. This is why the best pizza and Italian restaurants in the world use wood burning ovens to cook their high quality items.

Making Great Pizza in a Wood Burning Oven

There are so many places out there that make bad pizza it’s hard to count. There are a lot of reasons for this. Pizza is so popular that a lot of people try to take advantage by making a cheap mass marketed but ultimately flavorless product. Some people just don’t know how to make a great pizza because they don’t have the right ingredients or the right tools. Truly great pizza needs a few things to be great. It needs fresh high quality ingredients, attention and it needs to be cooked in a wood burning oven.  There are two very important reasons for this.
Using wood burning pizza ovens for cooking is a time honored tradition in Italy. If you want Italian food that tastes like it does in the home country, or you simply want your food to taste better period, cooking in a wood fired oven in a superior option. One reason this is true is that wood burning ovens can reach temperatures far higher than your traditional kitchen oven. This higher heat creates flavors in your food that you might have never tasted before. Second, the wood in wood fired ovens helps create unique flavors in your dishes, especially pizza. Pizza cooked at high temperatures has caramelized flavors and textures that you simply can’t get from a normal oven. It also absorbs the wonder flavor from the wood smoke, making each pizza you make unique and delicious.

More than just Pizza in a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven

Most people know that wood burning ovens are great for cooking traditional pizza, but not everyone is aware that these ovens can be used for almost any type of recipe imaginable, creating unique and interesting flavors.  One of our favorite ways to use the Forno wood burning ovens aside from pizza is to cook time honored Italian dishes.  You’ll be shocked at the flavor differences you get between cooking things like lasagna in a gas oven compared to a wood-fired one. Baked Ziti develops flavors in the meat and sauce that you might have thought were never possible. One of our favorite classic Italian meals, however, is porchetta.

If you have never heard of porchetta before, well, let me introduce you to it. Pronounced as ‘porketta’,  porchetta is basically a whole lot of pork stuffed with a bunch of delicious herbs as well as a bunch more pork.  We’re so excited about this item that we made a video on how to make porchetta in a wood burning oven. Making this item may seem like a lot of work, and the presentation may seem really foreign to people who are not used to working with whole pigs, but we promise that the flavor you get out of porchetta is second to none. It would be a shame to have a wood-fired oven and not experience that magic that is the whole roasted pig.

Porchetta from Lisa D’Addazio on Vimeo.