Let’s Get Cooking
February 19, 2021
There’s a Keystone in every great invention.
Pizza Ovens and their Electronics
Did you know that February 9th was National Pizza Day? Neither did we, and we are making up for it by sitting down for a slice and exploring the evolution of the pizza oven.
Let’s start with the origins of pizza itself. Modern pizza evolved from similar flatbread dishes in Naples, Italy in the 18th century. Think New York style, not Chicago deep dish. A precursor of pizza was most likely the focaccia. The Romans added toppings to this flat bread and called it panis focacius. The Romans used wood-fired brick ovens, known as a Pompeii oven. Remnants of these ovens can be found all across lands that once belonged to the Roman empire. The word pizza was first documented in A.D. 997 in Gaeta and successively in different parts of Central and Southern Italy. Pizza was primarily an Italian meal until the end of World War II when Allied troops came back from Italy with a proclivity for Italian food.
Traditionally, the Pompeii oven in Northern Italy had a taller dome that offered a wider temperature range from 500ºF to 1000ºF, enabling bakers a larger selection of pizza cooking styles. The Southern style oven had a lower dome for high heat between 800ºF to 1000ºF. This high heat is ideal for Neapolitan style pizza.
In the 1800s, two types of brick, or masonry ovens, emerged. A white oven has a separate fuel source chamber that sits below a cooking chamber. This split fire chamber is more efficient at cooking large volumes of bread and are still used throughout Europe. A black oven has one chamber for both the fuel source and cooking area. One of the most dependable methods for reliable and consistent cooking, masonry ovens store and radiate heat for an even cook. Both versions featured a front loading fuel design where heat can be stored for lengthy periods of time without the need for an active fire. Many restaurants and professional cooks still utilize masonry ovens to cook pizza.
During the industrial revolution, prefabricated ovens and stoves were developed in Victorian England. The new metal ovens heated up faster than conventional brick ovens. Prefab ovens grew in popularity in the 1970’s, both in Europe and the US.
The 1990s brought the development of modern refractory and insulating materials to electric pizza ovens. New composites not only reduced oven heat-up time, but also improved heat-retention. Today, advanced ceramics are used, which are less expensive made pizza oven installation faster, easier, and less expensive than ever before.
Modern pizza ovens come in all shapes, sizes and fuel sources. Electric pizza ovens can be small enough to fit on a household kitchen counter. Ovens used in restaurants are large enough to cook multiple pizzas at once. Some electric models feature wood ovens with gas heated bedplates, while others offer a hybrid gas or wood option.
Pizza oven control systems must be able to withstand high temperatures. A wide range of Keystone products can be found in appliance control systems. From pizza ovens to dishwashers, Keystone products including, Fuse Clips & Holders, PCB Test Points &Terminals; Panel & Computer Hardware and PCB Pins, Plugs, Jacks & Sockets support commercial and domestic appliance applications.