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Commercial Alfa Pizza Oven FAQ

Do you have a question about buying, owning or operating an Alfa Pizza oven at your pizzeria, restaurant or take away shop?

We have endeavoured to answer as many questions as we can below. If you can't find the answer you're looking for please contact us

Deciding where to place your oven

How much space should be left in front of the oven mouth?
The working space in front of the mouth of the oven is often insufficient. To meet the need for additional space, Alfa has created a new ultra-thin framed oven arch and oven with which take up significantly less depth than before.
Placing the oven in the kitchen?
Your Alfa oven can also be placed in the kitchen. We recommend however that you ensure there is a window opening in the kitchen that faces the mouth of the oven so that customers will appreciate the oven while you make pizza.
Should the oven mouth be near the smoke exit?
The closer the mouth of the oven is to the chimney, the better the draw of the smoke will be. In the event that the chimney is very far from the oven (more than 2 meters), you must provide forced aspiration.
What height should the cooking floor be?
The height of the oven floor can vary based on the height of the pizzaiolo and his/her needs. We suggest a minimum height of 100 cm and a maximum height of 120 cm. A lower cooking floor makes working with the fire easier, while a higher cooking floor allows the pizzaiolo to control the cooking of the pizza with more precision without having to kneel down.

Modular, kit, monobloc or custom?

When to choose a custom oven?
Restaurants frequently need a custom solution tailored to the specific needs of the restaurant space or aesthetic vision of the client. Sometimes particular restrictions on space or chimney exit may create the need for a custom solution. In these cases, Alfa can work with you to create the perfect oven for your needs. With our team of oven specialists and over 40 years of working with refractory, let Alfa be a perfect resource for you and help you find the best solution for your restaurant.
When to choose a modular oven?
An Alfa modular oven is perfect for situations where you want to change your oven without disassembling the oven base or the sidewalls of the old oven. A modular solution in refractory allows you to retain existing structural elements in your restaurant, without requiring additional costly or time consuming brick and mortar work.
When to choose a monobloc oven?
When you have sufficient space in your restaurant to fit a large oven through the door, you should consider one of Alfa’s monobloc oven solutions. They are ideal for getting a quick set-up going. The cost of installing an Alfabloc oven is lower, since you just need to connect the chimney and that is it!
When to choose an oven kit?
Alfakit ovens are great for new oven installations and rethinking the entire oven space. Since the oven comes in modular pieces, it is perfect for spaces where the main entrance may only be able to accommodate small pieces rather the entire oven itself.

How are Alfa ovens made?

Why is the oven dome high?
The high dome is a signature element of Alfa ovens. Although making high domes has increased cost of production, Alfa has made this choice because we believe you cannot offer the great advantages of a traditional wood fired oven without this design. Thanks to the high oven dome, an extraordinary amount of heat is captured and trapped in the dome. We estimate that every additional 10cm of height in the dome above the oven door results in an additional 10% increase in oven performance, heating time and duration of heat in the dove. Alfa oven domes are generally 20-30 cm higher than the oven door.
Why is the oven floor made from refractory tiles?
The oven floors of Alfa modular ovens is made from professional grade firebrick and comes in sections of approximately 40-50 cm. Alfa has studies other solutions and has found that by offering oven floors in large pieces, we are able to reduce the number of junctions, while at the same time, allowing the oven floor to be replaced. The cooking service of the firebrick is smooth and resistant, allowing for the easy passage of the pizza peels across the oven floor.
Why is the oven made in modular refractory pieces?
The domes many of Alfa ovens are made of pre-cast modular refractory pieces. The advantages, compared to a brick oven are: 1. There is a risk that over time bricks will become dislodged 2. The surface of the dome is smooth and therefor the heat moves smoothly across the surface of the modular oven pieces 3. The shape of the oven is aerodynamic and rounded to perfection These elements of the Alfa domes make them vastly superior to brick ovens.
Why so many different arches
The different oven arches and mouths respond to different commercial and aesthetic needs. Alfa believes that by offering our clients a wide selection of oven mouths, we give them the extra chance to find exactly the oven they need for their restaurant.

Is the oven installation important?

How are Alfa ovens insulated?
When installing a modular oven, proper insulation is paramount! You can have the best oven in the world, and if it is installed incorrectly you will never be able to make pizza properly. We strongly recommend that when you install a modular oven, you insulate the dome with 6 layers of Alfa ceramic fiber. Alfa mobile ovens and Alfakit ovens are insulated at our factory with several layers of ceramic fiber prior to being shipped. Alfa knows that proper insulation means great cooking, which is why we use the best materials in generous thicknesses to ensure no heat is lost from our ovens. All our customers appreciate the fact that Alfa ovens do not lose heat through dispersion thus keeping the firing temperature in the ovens constant.
How should the oven be decorated?
After the oven has been insulated with ceramic fiber, the oven is complete from the functional perspective. Afterwards, you can add any sort of decoration to the oven dome or facade to enhance its aesthetic appearance.
How should the oven floor be installed?
The proper installation of insulating materials under the oven floor is essential for maintaining the heat of the oven floor. Assembly should proceed by applying a layer of the Refrax mortar where the oven floor will be placed of approximately 2-3 mm and then placing the oven floor pieces. – How should the dome be mounted? The pieces of the dome should be placed together to verify their positions. After checking their positions, add a layer of Refrax mortar to the joints. For greater thermal mass, we recommend a full layer of Refrax mortar of approximately 3-4 cm applied to the dome prior to covering the oven with the insulating materials.

Is it a good idea to add a gas burner to a wood fired oven?

How can I control temperature during cooking?
If you choose the Alfa Easy control unit, set the temperature and the oven will take care of the rest.
How soon before cooking should I start the gas burner?
For a professional oven in a pizzeria that is open every day, pre- ignition of the oven can begin an hour or less before you expect to begin working.
Is it expensive to add a gas burner to a wood fired oven?
Adding a gas option to your wood fired is oven is both practical and economical. It costs about half as much as an electric oven.
What kind of chimney flue should I use for a gas-fired oven?
If working only with gas, the chimney flue can be less wide than a traditional wood-fired oven at around 20 cm in diameter, if there is a good height.

Residential Alfa Pizza Oven FAQ

Do you have a question about buying, owning or operating an Alfa Pizza oven at home?

We have endeavoured to answer as many questions as we can below. If you can't find the answer you're looking for please contact us

Cooking Pizza

How do I know when the oven is ready for cooking?
When the wood fire begins to slow down, the flame becomes more sluggish and the dome becomes a clear color, it is a sign that the initial combustion is complete and the oven temperature exceeds 250° C.
Is it easy to make pizza with Alfa ovens?
Everyone who has tried to make pizza in an Alfa oven can verify that inserting the pizza, baking it, rotate it in the oven, and removing it from the oven when it is cooked is an easy and pleasurable experience. Usually the first two or three pizzas are not perfect, but the oven is very forgiving and you will be making pizzas like a pro in no time!
What does Alfa mean by “cooking with a live flame”?
Cook with high heat means cooking with burning wood. The fire is located on one side of the oven and the pizza on the other. This is the typical setup with any wood fired pizza oven. Many people have also found it very easy to grill meats and vegetables with this cooking method also.
When should I fire the oven before cooking?
If the oven is used regularly – 2-4 times a month – it should only take 30-40 minutes to heat the ovens with refractory domes (Modular Ovens, Forno Fiesta, Forno Vero)) and 10-20 minutes for those with stainless steel domes (Forno 5 Minuti, Forno 10 Minutiand, Forno 4 Pizze).

About woodfired ovens

How is the oven floor made?
The oven floor is made from high quality refractory material that guarantees more genuine and perfect cooking. In fact the refractory floor releases accumulated heat gradually this cooking the food without burning it.
How should the oven dome be made?
The ideal oven dome should be high with a low smoke exit. This can be achieved by keeping the oven opening small, so the hot air and smoke are forced to travel the course of the dome, heating it quickly and trapping heat in the dome. A high dome ensures that more heat remains trapped in the oven, allowing the oven to keep high temperatures and reducing the amount of wood needed to cook! All ovens Alfa follow this basic rule..
Should the oven be insulated?
The job of the refractory materials in a wood fired oven is to produce and manage heat. 

The task of the insulation is to not allow the dispersion of heat from the oven. All Alfa mobile, kit and monobloc ovens come insulated. For modular oven installations, we strongly recommend insulating the oven with 6 layers of Alfa ceramic fiber. With a good insulation, the oven will retain a surprising large amount of heat, allowing you to cook the next morning with the oven at 200° C.

Why are foods tastier when they are cooked with a wood-fired oven?

For three reasons:

  • the wood imparts the great taste of tradition to the food, which is unmistakable, it is even possible to choose woods with different scents to give foods a particularly delicate taste;
  •  in a wood fired ovens cooking temperature is uniform thus food is cooked evenly without undergoing sudden cooling;
  • with wood fired ovens, you can reach higher cooking temperatures suitable for cooking roasts and pizza.

Starting a fire in a woodfired oven

For how long does the oven need to remain fired?
The more you use an Alfa oven, the less time it takes to start up before baking. For people using the oven every day, you will need about 20 minutes to heat the oven. Usually, the oven needs about 30-40 minutes of flame in order to reach temperatures high enough to make pizza. For Alfa ovens with stainless steel domes, heating times are cut in half, since the steel domes heat up much more quickly than refractory.
How do I heat the oven?
The dome of the oven heats the cooking surface. It is surprising but true! The cooking surface of the oven is heated by the refraction of heat from the oven dome, which immediately becomes hot and reflects heat downward heating the oven floor. For this reason, high domed Alfa ovens capture more heat in the oven dome thus more effectively heating the oven floor!
In which part of the oven should I lite the fire?
The first fire is lit near the mouth using thin sticks, leaves, etc.. Once the fire has started burning, add larger pieces of wood gradually to keep the flame alive. After about 10 minutes, when one has created a beautiful fire, move the wood to one side of the oven and continue to feed it wood gradually. In wood-burning ovens and particularly in high-domed Alfa ovens, moving the fire to one side of the oven is the best solution to heat the oven quickly and well, taking advantage of all the warmth of wood.
What kind of wood should I use to fire my oven?
All types of wood are good for firing the oven. However, we do not recommend using conifers (pine, spruce). In the rural tradition, the wood-burning oven was reserved for small cut wood, kindling, prunings, dead leaves, etc.

Only Pizza?

Are Alfa ovens only for making pizza?
The wood oven is a formidable machine of cooking! All foods can be cooked in the oven. Just imagine that until a few decades ago, the only method of cooking was a traditional wood fired oven. Wood fired oven offer you the ability to maintain a consistently high temperature for optimal cooking results.
Can an Alfa oven also work as a barbecue?
Ovens are also the best barbecues! Here is why: you can grill in an oven, but you cannot light a fire on the barbecue. The reason is simple: the oven is an efficient cooking machine and does not disperse heat, instead using it all for the goodness of the barbecue..
Can I still cook in the Alfa oven the next morning?
If the furnace is refractory-type dome (Forno Fiesta,Forno Vero ,Forno Master Visions,Forno Grande Chef) and is well insulated, just close the door and the next morning you will have a temperature for the small bread and scones, cakes , legumes, etc..

Mobile oven or modular oven?

Are Alfa ovens only for making pizza?
The wood oven is a formidable machine of cooking! All foods can be cooked in the oven. Just imagine that until a few decades ago, the only method of cooking was a traditional wood fired oven. Wood fired oven offer you the ability to maintain a consistently high temperature for optimal cooking results.
Can an Alfa oven also work as a barbecue?
Ovens are also the best barbecues! Here is why: you can grill in an oven, but you cannot light a fire on the barbecue. The reason is simple: the oven is an efficient cooking machine and does not disperse heat, instead using it all for the goodness of the barbecue..
Can I still cook in the Alfa oven the next morning?
If the furnace is refractory-type dome (Forno Fiesta,Forno Vero ,Forno Master Visions,Forno Grande Chef) and is well insulated, just close the door and the next morning you will have a temperature for the small bread and scones, cakes , legumes, etc..