Okay, so first and foremost we want to address the elephant in the room. Here at Igneus we only make wood-fired pizza ovens. There we’ve said it. Now, don’t get us wrong, there’s plenty of seriously good gas fired pizza ovens out there that can make a mean pizza. But for us, there’s just so many benefits to wood fired pizza that we wanted to stick to what we knew, and what our customers seem to like. So, there we have it, we’ve concluded the debate of whether gas fired pizza tastes as good as wood fired pizza… But rather than this be the world’s shortest blog post, let’s dive into the nitty gritty!
Gas vs Wood
This is often the first consideration for anyone looking to buy a pizza oven, whether that be a portable pizza oven or free standing. Of course, putting our bias to one side, there’s plenty of benefits to both. At the end of the day, it does all come down to personal preference and we always tell our customers to weigh up the pros and cons of both options. In our opinion, the main benefit to gas fired pizza ovens is the easy set up and cleaner cooking. The main benefit to wood fired ovens is the authentic wood-fired flavours that are imparted onto the pizza, or indeed whatever it is your you’re cooking.
Talking about flavours, that brings us nicely onto our next section: flavour profile. When you become a pizza aficionado and start to experiment with the different varieties of wood you can use to fuel your oven, you’ll soon realise that the flavours of the different species of wood impart subtle differences in terms of flavour. This is simply something that cannot be emulated with gas. In fact, from a purely practical point of view in terms of cooking pizza, the sole purpose of gas power is to achieve enough heat to cook your pizza. On the other hand, wood achieves the high heat, but also has a direct impact on the flavour of the food you’re cooking.
The main flavours that wood fired cooking invokes are smoky, charred, earthy tastes, which happen to lend themselves really well to pizza. The high temperatures of wood-fired pizza ovens leads to charring on the crust and surface of the food. This char imparts a slightly bitter and complex flavour and is most noticeable on the crust as the charring often creates an appealing leopard spotting.
Sweetness is another, albeit more subtle favour, that is imparted during wood-fired cooking. As wood burns, it releases natural sugars present in the wood. These sugars can caramelise and create a sweetness in the food, particularly noticeable in bread and pizza dough!
As a general rule then, wood-fired cooking adds a more complex flavour to food, whereas gas fired pizza has a cleaner taste. Again, it’s all down to personal preference which one you prefer.
Wood fired cooking also has an impact on the texture of food as well. If we stick to pizza for the moment, the higher temperatures that are often achievable with wood fired cooking compared to gas fired, allows the dough to cook more quickly and causes the little air pockets in the dough to rise earlier in the cooking process. This subsequently allows the caramelisation and charring to take effect faster.
Of course, pizza ovens aren’t just for cooking pizza. If for example you choose to cook a joint of meat such as a lamb shoulder, the wood fired cooking allows for a deep, rich curst to form on the meat, creating a gnarly flavour profile as well.
Pizza dates back to the 18th Century, and guess what…? Wood was the primary fuel source for cooking it! One of the considerations many of our customers have is being able to achieve the authentic taste and texture of proper wood fired pizza. Perhaps it’s a pizza they’ve had whilst on holiday in Italy, a nostalgic memory from their childhood, or even just a pizza from their local pizzeria, quite often one of the main rationales for buying a pizza oven is to recreate those tastes and those memories in their very own back garden. Of course, gas is easier, cleaner, and more convenient, by the flavours, textures and memories can’t be recreated with anything other than wood.
If you need any advice about your pizza oven purchase, or are still stuck between which fuel is best for you, our dedicated customer service team can help. Contact us today on 01423 575 885 or use our contact form here.