ilFornino il3002 Professional Series Wood Fired Pizza Oven Review
Wood fired pizza ovens have become incredibly popular in recent years. Some people watch a cooking show with an Italian restaurant or pizzeria with a wood-fired oven and think “Hey I can do that!” The truth is “Yes you really can do that!” Yet the real challenge is that unless you are a contractor, or cooking appliance engineering is a passing hobby of yours, the construction of a real wood-fired pizza oven is likely beyond you!
ilFornino answers this concern with their line of professionally designed and constructed wood-fired pizza ovens. The ilFornino Professional is the middle of their line. Instead of the exposed brick of their “Basic” model, the Professional has a 430 stainless steel dome and stainless steel interior shell with a thick blanket of ceramic fiber insulation.
The floor of the baking chamber is made from 1 ½-inch thick rated refractory pizza stone. This is the same material that you find in commercial ovens. It provides 1007 square inches of baking space. Of course, some of this will be taken up by the wood and coals, which burns inside the chamber, like a traditional Italian pizza oven.
It’s also worth noting that the ilFornino Professional is assembled in the United States out of Valley, Cottage in New York State. It also comes with a professional, stainless steel pizza peel as well as a brush and a manual.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
When it comes to materials, the ilFornino Professional doesn’t use brick, and it doesn’t have the kind of look that will inspire you to listen to concertina music and sing Volare. Still, it has the sleek stainless steel look, and high-quality materials to do everything you expect in a classic Italian brick oven.
It is largely made from 430 stainless steel, which has superior resistance to corrosion from acid. This helps extend the lifetime of the internal baking chamber. However, as time goes on rain could tarnish the exterior stainless steel of the dome. The best way to prevent this is to cover it when not in use.
Assembly isn’t really an issue with the ilFornino Professional. Aside from placing the oven onto the stand, you only need to install the chimney. The thing you need to keep in mind though is the delivery and transport to its final destination. Most delivery companies will only deliver it to the driveway. Beyond that everything else is your responsibility!
Now the ilFornino Professional weighs in at over 500 pounds in the box! So, you may need to recruit some strong-backed friends, or perhaps rent a heavy duty hand truck. A come-along might be handy if you need to take it up any sort of incline.
The ceramic fiber insulation and stainless steel ceiling inside the baking chamber, and refractory pizza stone base do everything you would normally get from a traditional brick pizza oven. If you build the fire intelligently you can “Potentially” get three pizzas in the 1007 square inch baking chamber.
While this works on paper, I think you’ll find it very challenging to pull off in the real world. The biggest problem is turning, moving or removing the pizzas in the correct time and order. The pizza that is closest to the fire is naturally going to get done faster and is also going to be more prone to burning on one side.
This means you need to rotate it sooner, as well as pull it out before the other two pizzas, which are certain to be in the way. At the same time, unless you have a lot of experience with a pizza peel, the proximity to the fire can cause you to accidentally push the pizza into the fire.
The best way to get around this is to simply stick to two fresh dough pizzas at a time. Try to use a high moisture content dough and keep ingredients to a minimum. This will help ensure that the center is done at the same time as the blistering outer ring.
Starting the fire and proper preheating time is also very important. There are a few different ways to start a fire. Search the internet and you are sure to find a few dozen that will work. One of the more popular methods is to make a loose pile of hardwood kindling, and then blast it for a minute or two with a butane torch. Then add quartered hardwood. This will work and might even be the fastest method. It still requires you to hold your arm awkwardly deep into the oven. Another method is to start a small amount of lump charcoal in a standard charcoal chimney. When it’s ready, you carefully pour it at the back of the oven and add hardwood.
Once the hardwood is completely lit you should give it a solid 20 to 30 minutes to fully preheat the chamber. An infrared laser thermometer will help you test to make sure that all surfaces in the oven are radiating at least 500-degrees of heat.
At this temperature, you should be able to bake two pizzas in around 5-minutes. Afterward, there will still be a significant amount of ambient heat. There’s no need to waste it. You could use it to bake some fresh bread, or even prepare a stuffed pumpkin.
The ilFornino Professional has 1007 square inches of baking space on its commercial-grade pizza stone floor.
Ease to Clean
The ilFornino Professional is relatively easy to clean. You need to let the fire fully burn itself out. Then scrape out the ash and any spent coals. A vigorous scrub with an old towel will help get any ash. Try not to use water, as it can lead to long-term corrosion issues when combined with ash.
The ilFornino Professional comes with a 1-year comprehensive warranty
If you want a classic wood fired pizza oven that is built from state-of-the-art, high-quality materials, then the ilFornino line is worthy of consideration. The Professional model is the middle of their line, blending quality with value.
- Large capacity
- High-quality materials
- Assembled in the USA
- Comes with peel, brush, and manual
- Doesn’t use traditional bricks
- Heavy and hard to move
- Only a 1-year warranty