The Wood-Fired Blog

I can’t Wait!

I have been building this up for months to all my friends, family, colleagues, the gardeners, the repairman and anyone else who would listen.

Ever since I decided I wanted my own Forno Bravo wood fired pizza oven, I have been talking about all the wonderful things I am going to bake in the new oven – breads, meats, and most importantly the pizza everyone was dying to try. I spent hours researching the different dough and sauce recipes. I pored through the forums to make sure I didn’t make any rookie mistakes. 

Now, I am not a serious chef. In truth my wife handles all the cooking except manning the barbeque or the occasional baking adventure to satisfy my sweet tooth.  But this was going to be my new adventure. As I waited for my oven to ship, I spent my evenings watching the Food Network and dreaming. I envisioned awesome summer get-togethers with the whole family and elegant evenings sipping wine with friends on the trellis-covered patio. A new lifestyle that you can only dream of was going to come true. 

Once the oven arrived, the anticipation intensified. I eagerly waited as the lift-gate on the delivery truck lowered the crate to the street. The driver talked up the coolness that is wood-fired pizza ovens as I convinced him to help me push my massively heavy new toy up the incline of my driveway. Once we had it up the driveway I couldn’t wait any longer. A few minutes later we had the crate apart and we were staring at a thing of beauty. This was the golden ticket, the desired passport to the summers I had always dreamed of. 

The coming weeks were hard as I waited for weekend days when it was warm enough outside for me to spend the day tending the fire so the oven would cure properly. It is kind of like giving a child a toy and saying they have to wait for batteries. I live in Colorado and in the winter the weather is unpredictable. I can now tell you from experience that maintaining a low temperature fire, like those required to cure the oven, is a challenge when it is 20 degrees outside. I spent days bundled up running in and out of the house as I dreamt of making and tasting that first slice.

Once the oven was cured I was ready to have people over right away. I checked the weather and did a little happy dance since it was going to be 40 degrees outside that weekend and we had no other commitments. My Denver Broncos had already disappointingly been eliminated from playoffs so my Sunday afternoon was free! I invited some family over to help witness the awesomeness that was going to commence, and I spent Saturday afternoon making sure everything was in order: homemade San Marzano tomato sauce, homemade dough, 5 cheeses, 6 meat choices, herbs and drinks. There was nothing I was going to miss.

I woke up the next morning with a big smile on my face. Today was the day. I went outside and triple checked the fire starter stack I had meticulously built. I checked the dough and set out the plates. When the time came I lit the fire, and watched the flame dance across the dome. I felt the warmth of the fire on my face. I knew this was the start of something special.

I’ll save the details and challenges of that first attempt at pizza for another post, but I can tell you this much: it wasn’t perfect and that didn’t really matter. Some day I might be able to make the perfect pizza, but it’s not about perfection, it’s about the joy of the experience. The challenge. The food. The laughter of family. This summer and all subsequent summers and springs and falls will be filled with amazing gatherings of friends that center on our new oven, and I can’t wait. 

Thanks to Feedback from Dealers / Customers on our prints

To the Forno Bravo faithful, we appreciate the feedback and suggestions regarding our print layouts for our wood fired oven kits.  Many of our technical support calls over the years have been because our prints were more about oven use, then install.  That is changing!  We are in the process of updating all our drawings to provide Architectural views for Designers / Installers as well as key component parts.

We are confident that our customers and their contractors will find this new format much friendlier and, as always we welcome input / suggestions.  Just email us at support@fornobravo.com.

When each oven family’s prints are ready, we will keep you posted with Forum announcements.

The Casa and Premio series ovens are all done and ready on our website.  They are under the “Dimensions” tab on the main site.

We are working on the Giardino ovens now and then the commercial products.

For a quick peak, check out the Casa 90 print.Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 6.32.53 PM

Key improvements include:

  • A nice clean visual of the Front, Side and Top view of the oven with all the installed components layered.  This came from all our customers suggestions;
  • We added the minimum recommended foot print for the installation.  This assumes that your pizza oven install is going to use stucco and not a thick structure to enclose it.  Thank you to Home Pizzeria Ovens of Florida / New Hampshire for that suggestion.
  • Insulation and Flue specifications are clearly identified.
  • Ship weight and crate size are listed in the bottom left to make planning for a delivery easier courtesy of Outdoor Pizza Ovens in Canada.
  • Minimum clearances to combustibles are clearly identified in the top view thanks to The Arch in North Carolina;
  • Hearth specification is listed for convenience so you don’t have to refer to the install guide when planning;
  • A Decorative Facade Allowances chart is included to give you an estimate on how different appearances may increase your foot print.

Designing the World’s Finest Pizza Oven into your home keeps getting easier.

Thanks again and have a great Spring planning your project!

Forno Bravo Operations Team

 

Napoli oven in Mobile Catering Application

This photo was recently shared with us by our friends with Concession Nation in Florida.

Another mobile catering trailer built using a Napoli 120 wood oven.

http://www.fornobravo.com/commercial_pizza_oven/napoli.html

Pic_DaveStarkey1_Napoli Pic_DaveStarkey3

Concession Nation’s Roma style Mobile Catering oven

This oven was produced by our friends in Ft Lauderdale – Concession Nation.

The oven installed is from our Roma Product line, modified and installed into Concession Nation’s unique mobile catering trailer.

To learn more about their Roma style mobile catering solution, click here.

http://www.concessionnation.com/concession-nation-shop-concession-trailers.html#italian-cuisine

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 4.58.18 PM

Concession_Roma

 

 

Casa Grande High School — OLE

Before we moved to the Monterey Peninsula (via Florence), we lived in Sonoma county in the beautiful California wine country. So when we heard about the Casa Grande High School OLE Project (Outdoor Learning Environment) in Petalum, CA, we were really interested. To quote the source:

The OLÉ Project is an exciting new venture that will provide students at Casa Grande High School with an expansive new area to learn about science, literature, history, math, and a variety of other subjects. The Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE) will feature a kitchen with a pizza oven to be used by students, a vegetable garden and fruit orchard, and seating for classes and special events.

You can visualize how a pizza oven can serve as a real catalyst for community activities and student learning. So we decided to donate an assembled Toscana pizza oven to the project. We have done all of the paperwork, and the oven will be shipped and set up shortly. This is really exciting, and we want to wish everyone involved Good Luck!

Happy Holiday Season

Happy Holidays from everyone at FB. Living on the left coast near the ocean has its pluses and minuses. As I look out over a warm day and blue sky (and think about going for a run at lunch), I can’t help but think about our relatives in the UK and our daughter in Boston — who are seeing real winter this year. On the other hand, we’ve been here in Monterey country for five years and I still can’t quite get over the lack of real seasons. Our local area is covered with Monterey Pines (of course), Live Oak and Cypress trees, and very few (almost no) deciduous trees, so it’s always green. Never red or orange, and never bare. In the days after our monster Pacific storms blow through you can barely tell which season it is by just looking out the window. So I guess it’s hard to complain about the weather when it’s so nice.

We often talk about how the best weather is in Florence. That part of Italy gets four real seasons — freezing in the winter and very hot summers; and just as you are getting tired of the heat or cold, you can feel the season starting to change. You never get bored, and there is some rainfall throughout the year.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday shopping season as well. We are getting lots of phone calls and Internet orders for pizza ovens, oven accessories at Forno Bravo, and I think we’re doing a good job of keeping up. If you don’t get connected straight through to a sales agent, please bear with us. If you are looking to have one of our smaller, pre-assembled ovens shipped in time for Christmas, but sure to let our sales people know, and we can work with you to see if it’s still possible. Don’t forget that you will need to cure your oven before doing any cooking, so roasting your Christmas turkey might not be possible at this point. But pizza for New Year’s Eve sounds pretty darn good.

Again, happy holidays to you and yours. It’s a wonderful time of year. Enjoy.

Pizza Oven as Bun Warmer

Over the years we have (rightfully) been poking fun at one of our competitors in the commercial pizza oven market who are located in the great Northwest. They sell a good number of ovens, but on closer examination you see that most of their ovens go to chain restaurants and hotels who don’t really know how to use a real pizza oven. They use them to re-heat pre-made pizzas and “oven roast” chicken. My favorite was an Embassy Suites hotel in Northern California who use their oven to keep bakery goods warm for breakfast. Pizza oven as bun warmer.

You also see their ovens in zoos, theme parks and airports. I’m sure it’s a great business, but as an organization, Forno Bravo wants to work with people who are committed to their craft and really care about their food. We want to work with the best restaurant in town, not the one owned by a conglomerate.

Which brings me to Saturday. Walking around Cambridge, we were in need of coffee, and the really good local coffee bar isn’t open on weekends, so we found a Cosi, a coffee/bakery chain in the Northeast that uses these ovens. Hey, I needed a cup of coffee.

And all at once I was reminded why I don’t like this oven. It was sitting there all done up and looking nice, but basically acting like a bun warmer. It is a gas oven set to 475F with an itty-bitty little flame in the back, that is baking focaccia, heating up sandwiches and making some really awful pizza. haha. I thought I would share a couple of photos. At least the enclosure looks nice. All dressed up, but….

 

It does exactly what it’s designed to do

We came across a nice posting on the FB Forum on a customer’s experience with the Premio2G that I think is worth sharing.

“With the oven cured we had a party this weekend and made 24 medium sized pizzas.  Some lessons learned. It does take from 60 to 90 minutes to gently bring the heat up to 900F.  We started cooking when the floor was 700F and that seemed to be good for us.  At some point the floor was close to 800F and it took very close pie management to keep things from burning.  We had one person on dough, one person on toppings, and one person at the oven.  We managed to do 24 pies in about an hour.  Less is more with the toppings.   Buffalo mozzarella is just amazing.  Olives add a nice touch.  Items like bell peppers just didn’t seem to cook in the 90 seconds to 2 minutes required to cook a pizza.  I’m going to guess more heavily loaded pies would work better at a lower temp, but I’m sure there’s a technique I have got yet.  The Forno Bravo oven is well designed.  It does exactly what it’s designed to do.  It really does work as advertized.  So few things in this world do that.  We had small bits of hardwood at the ready to toss in the fire during the process.  At piece or two every 15 minutes seemed to work best for us.”

 

Wood-Fired Pizza and Camping

Wood-fired pizza might not be quite as familiar around the campsite as smores, but maybe we are going to change that. We received a couple of fun photos from a Forno Bravo community member today, and looking a little more closely, you can see that this appears to be a public campground. What a great idea.

This is a Pompeii oven build, and I can visualize more publicly accessible wood-fired ovens going up across the country — in parks, community centers, churches, campgrounds, community farms, etc. It’s  like a barn raising, except in the end you get to eat some great pizza.

One last thought. In Italy there is an extensive network of Agriturismo’s, which are typically farms that rent out spare rooms to vacationers. The system has been very successful, in that is has almost single handedly kept a large number of small, family-owned farms in business (some people even give the system credit for saving the Tuscan countryside), and it gives us travelers an up-close and personal view into Italian country life. We have stayed in quite a few Agriturismo’s over the years, and many of them have wood-fired pizza ovens where they cook for you, and some even let you use the oven on your own.

We need more of this!