The Wood-Fired Blog

Proper Seasoning. Seasoned Wood That Is.

I don’t think you can overstate just how important dry wood is to an enjoyable session of wood-fired cooking. Damp wood is hard (dare I say impossible) to light, it smokes when it burns (that’s because the fire needs to bake all the moisture out of the wood before it actually combusts) and it takes much longer to fire your oven for cooking. It can take all of the fun out of your afternoon. Burning damp wood can also be dangerous on the long run, building up creosote inside your chimney that can catch fire. If your oven is installed indoors, or if it has a long run of chimney pipe, remember to have your chimney regularly inspected by a professional for creosote build up.

Well seasoned wood lights bast, burns clear and hot and can bring your Forno Bravo oven up to pizza baking temperature remarkably quickly. For a visual example, check out our YouTube video on the “top down” fire building method—where we build a blazing fire in a couple of minutes and fully fire a Primavera oven in less than 20 minutes. That gets you baking Pizza Napoletana in about the same amount of time we used to spend lighting charcoal bricks in our Weber grills. :-)

But it all comes back to having well seasoned wood.

The tricky part is that freshly cut wood can have up to 50% water content, where seasoned wood has water content below 20%. Like a lot of things, such as oven temperature, you can either manage your wood by feel, or with a gadget. For example, many of us enjoy using an infrared thermometer to check our oven temperature at various spots—even though we have learned to do a good job of estimating oven temperature by sight and feel. And the same is true of firewood moisture. You can use a fun little gadget that tells you the water content of your wood.

I just bought this moisture sensor for $20 on Amazon.com and I will be doing some tests and posting some photos on how well it works. This should be fun.

Why Blog

We have a number of different ways of communicating with our community of customers, dealers, Pompeii oven builders, partners and friends. Fornobravo.com itself is a labor of love, as much as it is a company web site, and we also have the FB Forum, the Wood-Fired Newsletter, the Community Cookbook, FB FAQ, Facebook, YouTube, and we host Peter’s wonderful Pizza Quest. Why blog?

My response is that I am often struck by things that are happening at Forno Bravo that I think are pretty interesting—that don’t fit in other communication vehicles. I have found myself writing articles for the Wood-Fired Newsletter that were too long, or writing about topics that are simply too technically intricate. And if you have spent much time on Fornobravo.com recently, you have found that it keeps getting deeper and deeper in information, and that new (and hopefully interesting things) might be getting lost in a sea of details.

So I have decided to blog.

One quick comment on comments. I have turned on “responses”, but we will not be answering questions in the comments. We will be moderating responses for spam, but we can’t promise that we will respond. We have a number of outlets oriented toward sharing and community building—primarily the FB Forum and our Facebook page. We really enjoy hearing what you think and we have learned a huge amount from community. Your input has been truly invaluable and we looking forward to continuing to build the community dialog. But not here. haha. Also, I am looking forward to using this outlet to share the things that I am seeing and learning, without the demands of responding to the great things that you are thinking. It’s a practical limitation, but it’s a real one.

One last note. The photo thumbnail in the upper righthand corner of the blog was taken by our 13-year old daughter. I think it’s great. Here’s the full photo.

With all of that said, off to blogging.

James