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Nov 25, 2009 06:06 AM

Coal Fired Pizza

It seems that the best pizza in New Haven and New York are made in Coal Fired ovens; they seem to produce a thin crisp crust with a nice char. Are there any pizza shops in the Boston area other than Angela's in Saugus using a coal fired oven? If not, does anyone know why not?

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  1. Fiorella's in Newton, Gran Gusto in Cambridge, and the Dogwood Cafe in JP all have wood-fired ovens, but coal-fired? Hmmm, that's a tough one.

    4 Replies
      1. re: bakerboyz

        Gosh, I don't know--definitely a good question. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

        1. re: bakerboyz

          i think coal fired ovens are hard to come by. that's a lotta heat. and those ones down in new haven have been there for 60 plus years, yes? probably costs a butt-load to import them from italy or somewhere.

        2. re: hiddenboston

          BTW, Slice keeps a map of coal fired pizza locations which is updated based on comments (it doesn't have the Tyngsboro Angela's location but does have some other recent additions):

          There are a lot of reasons why opening a Coal fired pizza shop is a lot more complicated than throwing in a couple of baker's pride ovens. Just to start, there aren't a lot of businesses producing modern coal fired pizza ovens (it burns hotter than wood, may have different air supply requirements, obviously putting coal in a wood oven will void your warrantee) so the oven itself is going to be an expense from the start. Then you get to permitting which is more complicated with any solid fuel: whether your oven is certified and issues with the local fire marshall, local clean air regulations, neighbor complains, in some cases EPA issues. These are some of the reasons Bertucci's began pulling out their wood ovens and replacing them with gas, this is why some high end churrascarias use gas and some local neighborhood ones are using charcoal. Lastly training and dough development are other investments since you can't just steal the staff and recipe from the guy down the street that bakes at 400 degrees. So you have to be pretty serious about selling coal fired oven pizza (eg hopping on the coal bandwagon) to do it and even if the economics make sense, its adds even more complication to the underestimated complexity of opening a restaurant.

          Coal, wood, gas, infrared, electric pizza is a topic for the General Chowhounding Board, but its worth keeping in mind that not all coal and wood ovens are equal. Even among the ancients, many of those ovens are bread ovens and not pizza. When you get to wood and coal, some ovens use some, but the main fuel is gas, so on. The bake temperature and the oven are very important and coal can contribute to that, but you can't generalize from several excellent coal pizza operators to any coal pizza outfit being better. Its worth seeking out the old time guys where the owners make their own dough and pies, the new operators which take extra care (and sometimes do wood, coal, infrared) to their ingredients their recipes, follow traditions.