Buying a Pizza Oven

I started making pizza when I was 15, back in 1977. Scratch dough. Tomato paste. Mozzarella and salami. Cooked in a pan. In a crappy electric oven. Then eventually on a stone. And over the years I progressed to about as far as you could go in a home oven. I knew that someday I wanted to have a “real” pizza oven…In the interim, I dabbled with small portable propane ovens that were pretty good – a lot hotter than a home oven for sure – but still not the real thing.

First Pizza

In July 2017 I was visiting New York, and I made it out to Juliana’s in Brooklyn. This is Patsy Grimaldi’s second place, in his original location after the guys who bought Grimaldi’s moved it to the building next store. So, I introduce myself to Patsy, get a picture, and we start talking pizza. He asks me, “what kind of oven do you have?”  And I’m stopped cold. “Nothing but portable propane ovens now. Someday I’ll have a real oven!”

When I got home from that trip, I started doing research. I had my wood-fired brick-oven installed in September, and I built my outdoor pizza kitchen around it by mid-November – in time for Pizza Christmas.  By shear luck I built the oven area big enough to accommodate two ovens, and I picked up a Baker’s Pride 251 Gas Deck Oven a couple years ago. Having two pizza ovens is a thing.  

So back to my research about buying an oven. For years I had been visiting Mugnaini in Watsonville to buy pizza supplies (they have since moved to Healdsburg). I always assumed that someday I would own a Mugnaini oven.  I buy oven tools from them and I own Andrea’s “The Art of Wood Fired Cooking” which is a great book!  But I didn’t buy a Mugnaini oven. Why? As I did my research and I found several additional manufacturers, and one that resonated with my thinking.  I’ll go through my selection process below, and also highlight some of the key dimensions.

My first thought was, I don’t really have a dedicated space yet for a pizza oven. Maybe I should just get a better portable oven. Maybe one that burns wood. So that is two dimensions right there: portable vs. built-in, and gas vs. wood).

Portable or countertop ovens are not a bad idea. And for many of my friends who have a more casual idea about making pizza, this is likely a good route. Prices start from around $250 and range upward to $2500 and more.  Some really good counter-top ovens for baking Italian-style pizza are available in the $400 – $500 range.  Look at Roccbox and Ooni.   A little larger, but still portable is the Forno Bravo Bella for around $2095. Similar in category is Forno Venetzia, from $1700 to $5000. One of my neighbors has a really nice outdoor kitchen using components from Alfresco Grills. The Alfresco pizza oven is gas with two temperature control zones. They also have a bunch of other nice outdoor kitchen equipment.

I ultimately decided that I wanted a “real” built-in oven. Like my dream of owning a Mugnaini. So I researched wood-fired ovens. I found three manufacturers local to Silicon Valley – Mugnaini, Forno Bravo, and Forno Piombo. Mugnaini I considered to be high-end, and expensive. Forno Bravo a little lower end, with more options, even portables and DIY kits. The thing that drove me away from the Mugnaini and Forno Bravo was their cast concrete domes. Yes, that gives you the perfect shape that you after. But cooking in a concrete dome just doesn’t have the same appeal to me as cooking in a wood-fired BRICK oven. The only oven that I found locally made, using just pure simple materials, was Forno Piomo.  Pricing for these ovens will be around $10,000+ including shipping delivery. Another great part of buying process for the Forno Piombo was their test-drive procedure at their demonstration kitchen in Napa.  Having that hands-on experience made a big different.

The next thing I will add to this decision matrix is, “what do you want to cook?” If you only want to make a small number of pizzas for family dinner or smaller-sized parties with friends, then the portables are a great option. If you go with a brick oven, the possibilities expand to cooking meats, vegetables, etc., in a wood-fired oven.   Cooking at high temperature in a wood oven opens lots of possibilities.  I do a lot with cast iron pans cooking at 700 degrees and with my Tuscan Grill for firing burgers and steaks over 1100-degree coals. Check out Andrea Mugnaini’s book on the Art of Wood-fired Cooking.  And of course, Italian-style pizza at 800 degrees, cooked in about 90 seconds.

That said, what is it like to own and operate one of these wood ovens? It is a good bit of work! It takes a couple of hours at a minimum to heat the oven up.  And you need to have a wood supplier who will provide you with decent sized wood – I still end up splitting a lot of it down.  

If I had it to do over again, I would have purchased the larger-size oven. I have a 36”. They make a 42”. Even though the larger size takes longer to heat, it offers more thermal stability when you are cranking out pizzas.  The other thing, is now that I have my Baker’s Pride 261, 36” gas deck oven, I find it really easy just to go turn the knob and come back two hours later to start baking NY-Style pizza at 600 degrees.  Ultimately, I like to use both overs together. I can put 2-4 pizzas in the Baker’s Pride, cook them for 5 minutes, and then “finish” them at 800 degrees for about 20 seconds.

So, my final advice. If you’re new to making pizza I wouldn’t over-invest in an oven. The counter-top models make a great addition to an outdoor kitchen. You can always upgrade to a built-in wood-fired brick oven once you gain the experience.

Also, there a lot more pizza ovens out there. I think they are similar within each category and price range. But ultimately you need to find something that appeals to your needs, your environment, and your style.

-Jeff

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Pizza Menu for Saturday, June 27, 2020 4pm – 8pm

We are SOLD OUT for this Saturday. Thank you everyone!

This is our last Pizza Saturday Event for a while… We started out making 24 pizzas per event, and we ended up doing over 50 as we got into the groove. We have raised over $5000 for local food banks, families, and free pizzas for front-line responders. Thank you all for your generous support!

The best pizza staff ever are moving back home to the UK, moving on to new places… and we can’t do 50+ pizzas without them. So time for a little break. If COVID permits, I would love to offer a backyard dining experience starting later in the Fall. But for now, a short break.

New York Style Pizza – 18” Extra Large Crust
Organic Sourdough Crust
Price
Classic Cheese Pizza
Organic Crushed Tomatoes, Grande East Coast Blend Mozzarella
$20
Build Your Own
Cheese plus any combination of Pepperoni, Sausage, Linguicia, Pineapple, Mushrooms, Olives, Bell Peppers, Onions, Jalapeno
$25
Featured Pizzas
Peppered Salami with Mushrooms
This is my favorite pizza. But the ingredient cost is crazy expensive…
Also good with Pineapple!
$25
Sausage Mushroom Olive
It’s popular. It’s a classic. With wild Italian fennel.
$25
Miner’s Banquet (remember Golden Mushroom?)
Pepperoni, Thin-Sliced Mushrooms
$25
Fancy Hawaiian
Prosciutto, Pineapple
$25
Pineapple Vegetarian – You can ask for “spicy” – w/Jalapeno
Pineapple, Mushroom, Olive, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Gluten Free – 14” Crust from Venice Bakery
New supplier, and larger size! Choose any of the pizzas/toppings above.
$20
From the Bakery
Jake’s Banoffee Pie
Banana Toffee Pie with biscuit base (contains walnuts)
Get it while you can! We’ll post the recipe soon.
$5
French Apple Cake
Buttery rum and vanilla cake with apples and love!
$5
Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Limited availability – we bake only twelve loaves – not sliced.
$5

Orders need to be scheduled in advance to support social distancing and our limited availability of items. Please call or text us at 408-461-7410 to order and arrange a pickup time. When texting, please make sure we have your name!  You can pay with cash or make payment via PayPal.Me/ReginaPizzaCampbell or Venmo (“Regina-Pizza”).

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Pizza Menu for Saturday, June 20, 2020, 4pm – 8pm

We are just about sold out for pizzas (3 left as of 2pm) and we are sold out for the desserts today!

New York Style Pizza – 18” Extra Large Crust
Organic Sourdough Crust
Price
Classic Cheese Pizza
Organic Crushed Tomatoes, Grande East Coast Blend Mozzarella
$20
Build Your Own
Cheese plus any combination of Pepperoni, Sausage, Linguicia, Pineapple, Mushrooms, Olives, Bell Peppers, Onions, Jalapeno
$25
Featured Pizzas
Sausage Mushroom Olive
It’s popular. It’s a classic. With wild Italian fennel.
$25
Miner’s Banquet (remember Golden Mushroom?)
Pepperoni, Thin-Sliced Mushrooms
$25
Fancy Hawaiian
Prosciutto, Pineapple
$25
Pineapple Vegetarian – You can ask for “spicy” – w/Jalapeno
Pineapple, Mushroom, Olive, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Gluten Free – 14” Crust from Venice Bakery
New supplier, and larger size! Choose any of the pizzas/toppings above.
$20
From the Bakery
Jake’s Banoffee Pie
Banana Toffee Pie with biscuit base (contains walnuts)
Get it while you can! We’ll post the recipe soon.
$5
Mixed Berry Pie
Boysenberries from our garden, plus organic blueberries and strawberries.
$5
Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Limited availability – we bake only twelve loaves – not sliced.
$5

Orders need to be scheduled in advance to support social distancing and our limited availability of items. Please call or text us at 408-461-7410 to order and arrange a pickup time. When texting, please make sure we have your name!  You can pay with cash or make payment via PayPal.Me/ReginaPizzaCampbell or Venmo (“Regina-Pizza”).

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Pizza Menu for Saturday, June 13, 2020, 4pm – 8pm

New York Style Pizza – 18” Extra Large Crust
Organic Sourdough Crust
Price
Classic Cheese Pizza
Organic Crushed Tomatoes, Grande East Coast Blend Mozzarella
$20
Build Your Own
Cheese plus any combination of Pepperoni, Sausage, Linguicia, Pineapple, Mushrooms, Olives, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Featured Pizzas
Tomato & Garlic
Cheese Pizza with thin-sliced tomatoes and garlic
$25
Sausage Mushroom Olive
It’s popular. It’s a classic. With wild Italian fennel.
$25
Miner’s Banquet (remember Golden Mushroom?)
Pepperoni + Mushroom
$25
Fancy Hawaiian
Prosciutto, Pineapple
$25
Pineapple Vegetarian – You can ask for “spicy” – w/Jalapeno
Pineapple, Mushroom, Olive, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Gluten Free – 14” Crust from Venice Bakery
New supplier, and larger size! Choose any of the pizzas/toppings above
$20
From the Bakery
Lemon Meringue Tart
Fresh local lemons and eggs from the chickens in our garden
$5
Tiramisu
Lady Fingers, Espresso, Rum, Whipped Cream, Mascarpone, Chocolate
$5
Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Limited availability – we bake only twelve loaves – not sliced.
$5
Regina Pizza Menu for June 13, 2020

Orders need to be scheduled in advance to support social distancing and our limited availability of items. Please call or text us at 408-461-7410 to order and arrange a pickup time. When texting, please make sure we have your name!  You can pay with cash or make payment via PayPal.Me/ReginaPizzaCampbell or Venmo (“Regina-Pizza”).

Net proceeds from this week will be donated to Sacred Heart Community Services. Check out their work here: https://sacredheartcs.org/.

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Pizza Menu for Saturday, May 30, 2020, 4pm – 8pm

We are Sold Out for this Saturday. Please make sure we have your order and you have your time. Thanks! -Jeff

New York Style Pizza – 18” Extra Large CrustPrice
Classic Cheese Pizza
Organic Sourdough Crust, Organic Crushed Tomatoes, Grande East Coast Blend Mozzarella
$20
Build Your Own
Cheese plus any combination of Pepperoni, Sausage, Linguicia, Pineapple, Mushrooms, Olives, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Ground Beef and Red Onion
Grrr Beef is back this week!
$25
Sausage Mushroom Olive
It’s popular. It’s a classic. (Secret – I add wild Italian fennel)
$25
Miner’s Banquet – Remember Golden Mushroom?
It’s here to stay, Pepperoni + Mushroom
$25
Fancy Hawaiian
Prosciutto, Pineapple
$25
Pineapple Vegetarian – You can ask for “spicy” – w/Jalapeno
Pineapple, Mushroom, Olive, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Gluten Free – 12” Ancient Grain Crust – Same as above but half the price. Limited quantity.$12
From the Bakery
Jake’s Banoffee Pie
Banana Toffee Pie with biscuit base (contains walnuts)
(We won’t let him stop making this!)
$5
Chocolate Raspberry Brownies
Chocolate and fresh raspberries.
$5

Orders need to be scheduled in advance to support social distancing and our limited availability of items. Please call or text us at 408-461-7410 to order and arrange a pickup time. When texting, please make sure we have your name!  You can pay with cash or make payment via PayPal.Me/ReginaPizzaCampbell or Venmo (“Regina-Pizza”).

Net proceeds are being donated to local families and food banks. We are trying to keep our efforts micro-local, giving back to our local community. Pizza for any front-line responders or anyone currently without a paycheck is free!

Net Proceeds from this week’s event will again be going to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. Check out their work here: https://www.shfb.org/impact/our-work/

This is the final Pizza Saturday in May, 2020. We’ll be taking a break for the first week of June. Watch this space for an update on our next open date, likely June 13.

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Pizza Menu for Saturday, May 23, 2020, 4pm – 8pm

New York Style Pizza – 18” Extra Large CrustPrice
Classic Cheese Pizza
Organic Sourdough Crust, Organic Crushed Tomatoes, Grande East Coast Blend Mozzarella
$20
Build Your Own
Cheese plus any combination of Pepperoni, Sausage, Linguicia, Pineapple, Mushrooms, Olives, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Sausage Mushroom Olive
It’s popular. It’s a classic.
$25
Miner’s Banquet – Remember Golden Mushroom?
It’s here to stay, Pepperoni + Mushroom
$25
Fancy Hawaiian
Prosciutto, Pineapple
$25
Pineapple Vegetarian – You can ask for “spicy”  –  with Jalapeno
Pineapple, Mushroom, Olive, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Gluten Free – 12” Ancient Grain Crust – Same as above but half the price.$12
From the Bakery
Apple Frangipane Tart$5
Carrot Cake$5

Orders need to be scheduled in advance to support social distancing and our limited availability of items. Please call or text us at 408-461-7410 to order and arrange a pickup time. When texting, please make sure we have your name!  You can pay with cash or make payment via PayPal.Me/ReginaPizzaCampbell or Venmo (“Regina-Pizza”).

Pizza Saturday Events are being planned through the month of May, 2020. Net proceeds are being donated to local families and food banks. We are trying to keep our efforts micro-local, giving back to our local community. Pizza for any front-line responders or anyone currently without a paycheck is free!

Net Proceeds from this week’s event will be going to Sacred Heart Community Services, https://sacredheartcs.org/. When we first moved to Regina Way, 20+ years ago, our neighbor Bob used to pick up produce and food from local restaurants and deliver it to Sacred Heart once a week. Nice to be able to circle back to that now!

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May 2020 Saturday Pizza

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Pizza Menu for Saturday, May 16, 2020, 4pm – 8pm

New York Style Pizza – 18” Extra Large CrustPrice
Classic Cheese Pizza
Sourdough Crust, Organic Crushed Tomatoes, Grande East Coast Blend Mozzarella
$20
Build Your Own
Cheese plus any combination of Pepperoni, Sausage, Linguicia, Pineapple, Mushrooms, Olives, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Ground Beef & Red Onion
We call it Grrrr Beef
$25
Sausage Mushroom Olive
It’s popular. It’s a classic.
$25
Miner’s Banquet – Remember Golden Mushroom?
It’s here to stay, Pepperoni + Mushroom
$25
Pineapple Vegetarian – You can ask for “spicy”  –  with Jalapeno
Pineapple, Mushroom, Olive, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Gluten Free – 12” Ancient Grain Crust – Same as above but half the price.$12
From the Bakery
Jake’s Banoffee Pie
Banana Toffee Pie with biscuit base (contains walnuts)
$5
Tiramisu
Lady Fingers, Espresso, Rum, Whipped Cream, Mascarpone, Chocolate
$5

Orders need to be scheduled in advance to support social distancing and our limited availability of items. Please call or text us at 408-221-3858 to arrange a pickup time. When texting, please make sure we have your name!  You can pay with cash or make payment via PayPal.Me/ReginaPizzaCampbell or Venmo (“Regina-Pizza”).

Pizza Saturday Events are being planned through the month of May, 2020. Net proceeds are being donated to local families and food banks.

Net Proceeds from this week’s event will again go to a family from one of our local restaurants impacted by the Covid-19 closures. We are trying to keep our efforts micro-local, giving back to our local community. Pizza for any front-line responders or anyone currently without a paycheck is free!

Posted in Bakery, Food, Grocery, Pizza | Comments Off on Pizza Menu for Saturday, May 16, 2020, 4pm – 8pm

Pizza Menu for Saturday, May 9, 2020 — 4pm to 8pm

New York Style Pizza – 18” Extra Large CrustPrice
Classic Cheese Pizza
Sourdough Crust, Organic Crushed Tomatoes, Grande East Coast Blend Mozzarella
$20
Build Your Own
Cheese plus any combination of Pepperoni, Sausage, Linguicia, Pineapple, Mushrooms, Olives, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Sausage Mushroom Olive
It’s popular. It’s a classic.
$25
Miner’s Banquet – Remember Golden Mushroom?
It’s here to stay, Pepperoni + Mushroom
$25
Pineapple Vegetarian – You can ask for “spicy”  –  with Jalapeno
Pineapple, Mushroom, Olive, Bell Peppers, Onions
$25
Gluten Free – 12” Ancient Grain Crust – Same as above but half the price.$12
From the Bakery
German Chocolate Cake$5
Apple Frangipane Tart$5

Orders need to be scheduled in advance to support social distancing and our limited availability of items. Please call or text to arrange a pickup time. When texting, please make sure we have your name!  You can pay with cash or make payment via PayPal.Me/ReginaPizzaCampbell or Venmo (“Regina-Pizza”).

Pizza Saturday Events are being planned through the month of May, 2020. Net proceeds are being donated to local families and food banks.

Net Proceeds from this week’s event will go to workers from one of our local restaurants impacted by the Covid-19 closures. We are trying to keep our efforts micro-local, giving back to our local community. Pizza for any front-line responders or anyone currently without a paycheck is free!

Posted in Bakery, Food, Pizza | Comments Off on Pizza Menu for Saturday, May 9, 2020 — 4pm to 8pm

wickamo.com is back!

This site was hacked at the end of 2019. I had to delete everything to get rid of the injected code. Now I’m re-building what is still relevant and adding more for Regina Pizza, Bakery, and Grocery.  

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