How to Use a Gas Pizza Oven
Gas pizza ovens, otherwise known as deck ovens, were the mainstay of pizza restaurants for decades. These metal hot boxes have a stone floor that retain heat to crisp the crust. Making pizza in a gas oven is as much art as it is science. It requires good attention to detail, as the pizza must be frequently checked and corrected during the baking process. The method may be somewhat labor intensive, but the end result is worth the time, with a crispy crust on the bottom and perfectly melted cheese on top.
Preheat the gas oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, or whatever temperature your recipe calls for.
Build a raw pizza directly on a pizza screen. These are round metal frames surrounding a grid of metal screening. A pizza screen will hold the dough and ingredients like a pan, but will allow more heat to come through the holes in the screening.
Slide a peel, or large flat paddle, underneath the screen. Open the gas oven door and slide the peel and pizza into the oven. Place the pizza on one side of the oven if it is large enough to hold two pies.
Pull the peel back quickly to remove it while leaving the pizza and screen in the oven. Close the door and let the pizza cook for about 2 minutes.
Open the oven door and check the pizza. When the crust on one side begins to brown, slide the peel under the screen with the handle aimed out toward the right. Pull the handle quickly toward you in a jerking motion. This will cause the pizza to rotate in the oven, orienting a different part of the crust toward the sides of the oven.
Continue checking and spinning the pizza until the crust is brown on all sides. When the pizza is done, slide the peel under the screen and lift it up. Pull the pizza out slowly and slide it onto a table.
Slip the peel between the pizza and the screen and lift it up to deposit it onto a serving tray.
Things You Will Need
- Unbaked pizza
- Pizza screen
- Pizza peel
- Every gas oven has hotter and cooler spots. Spin the pizzas three or four times to take advantage of this when browning the crust.
- Take care not to touch any part of the oven interior. Severe burns could result if you accidentally set your hand on it.