His eye’s on the pies

Managing a kitchen where as many as 300 pizzas are made in a night should raise an eyebrow

(Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe)
By Sheryl Julian
Globe Staff / September 15, 2010

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Q. How hot are your ovens at The Flatbread Company @ Sacco’s Bowl Haven in Somerville?

A. From 600 to 800 degrees.

Q. Where is the baker standing?

A. Where they can feel the heat and burn their eyebrows.

Q. How do you heat the ovens so that they get that hot?

A. With kiln-dried wood, so it ignites. It’s so dry, it produces very little smoke, that’s why there’s not much venting. Coals build up from the wood that heats the oven from underneath. Pizzas are baked on a soapstone. Someone gets here at 8 in the morning and lights the fire to get the coals built up. It takes around three hours. The bigger the logs, the more coals they’ll produce. You want to do it slow and steady. If you heat the oven up too fast, it promotes hot spots.

Q. How many pizzas can you fit into an oven at one time?

A. We’ll get up to six large pizzas in there.

Q. How does your line work?

A. We have a stretcher, an assembler, a baker, and an expediter. The ticket will print up, the stretcher will hand-stretch the dough onto a peel with a little cornmeal and brush the pizza with garlic oil. The assembler puts the topping on. The baker bakes it. The expediter cuts the pizza and makes sure the correct toppings are on there.

Q. In the kitchen hierarchy where is the baker?

A. It is the most prominent position; we make them wear collared shirts.

Q. What’s your favorite pie?

A. Co-evolution — it’s always on the menu. It has fire-roasted red peppers, red onions, Kalamata olives, goat cheese, our whole-milk mozzarella, a little Parm, herbs, and little bit of rosemary. No tomato sauce.

Q. How many nights a week do you eat pizza?

A. At least three times. You can’t get tired of it.

Interview was edited and condensed. Sheryl Julian can be reached at