So, you’re thinking about making some dough in the pizza business.
Before you start, there are three things you’ll need: a Mixer, a Prep Counter and an Oven.
Not sure which is the best for you? Let’s have a run-through…
The Dough Mixer
If you want to make dough in-house for that authentic finish, you’ll have two main types of mixers to choose from: planetary or spiral.
Your choice will depend on what kind of pizza kitchen you’re looking to develop.
If you’re intending to dedicate your kitchen to the pizza-making craft, you’ll want a spiral mixer.
These specialised machines can work large quantities of dough in a short space of time, with the added ability to produce a variety of textures, ranging from the moist and loose to the dry and dense.
If you’re looking for added versatility and the potential to prepare more than just dough, planetary mixers are the way to go. Planetary mixers can handle as much or as little dough as you need, with 5 litre countertop mixers such as the Metcalfe SM-5, right up to the largest floor-standing Metcalfe SP-80HI model holding up to an 80 litre capacity. They are much more adaptable: with a change of attachments, they can grind meat or slice vegetables, beat eggs or whip cream.
If you’re buying one of these, it’s important to check the one you choose comes with the dough hook attachment you’ll need – if not you may have to buy one separately.
The right capacity mixer for your business will depend on the size and turnover of your kitchen: how much dough you’ll need to be mixing at any one time and how fast you’ll need it done. You’ll likely be choosing from amongst the counter-top mixers (which can handle up to 30 litres) – but, if you really need to handle dough in bulk (60 litres or more), you might want to take a look at floor-standing models.
Once that decision is out of the way and your dough’s all mixed up, you’ll need somewhere to lay it out and add the all-important toppings:
The Pizza Prep Counter
Pizza prep counters are purpose built to make pizza-topping quick and easy – by gathering everything the pizza preparer will need in one place.
A pizza counter consists of an easy-to-clean granite work-top, which the dough will not stick to as it’s stretched into shape. Pizza counters also possess refrigerated Gastronorms for storing various ingredients, from sauce to vegetables and meat to cheese, within easy reaching distance of the prep-area. Below the worktop, most have refrigerated cabinets or drawers for storing back-up supplies of those ingredients.
There are a few varieties of Pizza prep counters available. Take a look at www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/ to help you decide on which is best for you.
Your ultimate decision will likely come down to size and placement. How big is your kitchen? How hot is the part of the kitchen you’re intending to put your counter in? Are you going to put the counter within view of your customers – and give them an insight into the magic of the pizza prep process as they gaze lustily across your restaurant, waiting for their food?
Once you’ve got that decision made, and your dough is mixed, shaped and topped, you’ll be wanting…
The Pizza Oven
There are four main types of Pizza Oven: there are convection ovens and conveyor ovens, there are classy brick ovens and, finally, there’s the industry favourite: the Pizza Deck Oven.
Convection ovens will be familiar to everyone – like most home ovens, they cook food using hot air blown by fans. They are adaptable, able to cook a wide variety of baked goods – which makes them ideal if you’re only intending to dip your toe into the pizza world, without going full pizzeria.
But, if you’re serious about saucy flatbreads, you might want to consider some more specialised ovens.
For the fast and furious, a Conveyor pizza oven may be the one to go for. With less need to monitor the cooking process they are good for the busy pizza-preparer who, perhaps, has a few other things on their mind. But that autonomy and speed may cost you a little authenticity. They’re good for a fast-food joint – but not ideal for a sit-down and tuck-in restaurant.
If you want quality pizza, and you’ve got the space and the skilled staff, you’ll want to take a look at a brick or deck oven.
Brick ovens look the business: their striking aesthetics will make your open-plan kitchen look delectable to the consumer. And the looks come with superb heat retention and energy efficiency. Plus, as you cook your pizzas on baking stones, you’ll be able to put Stone-Baked on your menu – an attractive adjective for customers to see. They do have a draw-back however: capacity. Compared to Deck ovens, that is.
Like the Brick oven, Deck ovens cook the pizza by conduction, through the base. Like Brick ovens, Deck ovens are also very efficient, retaining their heat. But, unlike Brick ovens, Deck ovens can cook many more pizzas at once. With the possibility to expand capacity by going for a twin-deck rather than a single-deck oven, you’ll be able to crank out much more of the good stuff much faster. Choosing an electric Deck oven over a Gas Deck oven, you could also gain the ability to set different temperatures per oven shelf, allowing you to cook a variety of baked goods at once.
Persuaded? You’re not alone – our pizza oven recommendations were recently the subject of a glowing review: find out more here.
As you set up your pizza palace, remember that: If you’re in any doubt, ask an impartial supplier for some advice tailored to your business plans and they’ll be more than happy to help.