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Apr 18, 2008 08:37 AM

Coal Oven Pizza Problems

While I can understand and appreciate the differences in coal/wood oven pizza vs. standard gas/electric ovens I do not enjoy the charred/burned crusts often associated with this method of baking. Many restaurants using the coal/wood oven method state on their menus that 'sometimes the edges will be slightly charred/burned, which happens with this type of baking etc.'. I would equate this with saying that a restaurant boils water at a very high temperature and that at times their pastas will be overcooked. Charred pizza crusts and overcooked pastas are both unacceptable. Restaurants using high temperature coal/wood ovens simply need to be extremely careful when baking and remove pizzas at the proper time.

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  1. My impression is that if a restaurant has a 'warning' on the menu, it is not because the pizza is not cooked properly. Quite the opposite, it is because the pizza is cooked CORRECTLY, and the restaurant knows that there will be a few customers who don't quite understand that. Anthony's Coal-Fired (Biscayne Blvd in N. Miami, and elsewhere), for example, often has char-marks on the bottom of the crust. But if you are cooking pizza correctly, at 900+ degrees, it doesn't matter what method you use. Any of them can burn badly (incorrect) or char (correct). If there's no char, the oven probably isn't hot enough, and you got your flabby pizza. None of that, of course, has anything to do with overcooking pasta.

    1. Clarification: The 'warnings' seem to be a catch all allowing restaurants to serve 'burned' pizza. I can accept 15% char on my pizza, what I can't accept is the 50% of continuously charred/burned/blackened crust I receive more often than not at these establishments. It is this disproportionate amount of charring/burning that I was referring to on my initial post. It can take 30 seconds for pizza baked in these types of ovens to go from perfectly charred to simply burnt. With any cooking method (baking, boiling, sautéing, frying etc.) a careful eye and timing is the difference between correctly done and burned etc.

      1. I agree. I really don't care for that type of pizza at all.

        1. Funny, I like the char on coal fired pizzas. It gives it flavor and character.