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thermal mass vs insulation - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
- Each AMA will have a "sticky" thread where the community can post questions they would like answered during the live session. This will allow everyone to participate even if you can't be online for the live session. These questions will not be answered by the host until the live AMA; if you need an answer quickly, you should post it in the appropriate Forum area for the community to respond.
- Another thread will be posted for the live AMA. Registered users who are logged in during the live session can interact with the host by asking questions and receiving responses.
- The live thread will remain in the AMA forum to view after the session.

We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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  • thermal mass vs insulation

    I am building a conventional style dome oven. after the dome is complete ,{ 3" thick] I am wondering if an additional layer of 2 1/2" fire brick would be better as thermal mass for holding in heat and then adding my peralite insulation or just adding the insulation on the cladding over the dome? any ideas? thanks, doug

  • #2
    Re: thermal mass vs insulation

    Assuming you are using fornobravo's current pompeii oven plans, the 'best' answer is going to depend on how you intend to use your oven. If you are cooking mostly pizza, then no. If you will be baking bread, roasts or whatever, then the answer is maybe.

    Any pictures of your oven yet? Most bakers add mass in the floor of the oven, that is, if you aren't alredy past that point. HTH
    Last edited by Lburou; 08-28-2011, 01:16 PM.
    Lee B.
    DFW area, Texas, USA

    If you are thinking about building a brick oven, my advice is Here.
    Our One Meter Pompeii Oven album is here.
    An album showing our Thermal Breaks is Here.

    I try to learn from my mistakes, and from yours when you give me a heads up.

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    • #3
      Re: thermal mass vs insulation

      Are you building an enclosure ?

      The reason I ask is that you have the option of going with the 3 inch mass you have now and adding more some time in the future if you find that is not enough for your use.

      Three inches is adequate for most home cooking. I would be tempted to add an inch of mortar to bring it nearer to the 4 inches or so most ovens are built with.

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      • #4
        Re: thermal mass vs insulation

        I think the answer to your question is NO!
        Adding thermal mass will allow you use your oven in different ways. If you want a WFO for cooking pizza and things with an open flame or a single load of bread with a cleared oven the 3 to 3.5 inch of thermal mass will do fine. then as the mantra goes insulate, insulate , insulate.

        If your looking at doing multiple loads of bread and not re-firing the oven between batches you may want more thermal mass. I have 7 inch all around in my oven but I bake lots of bread. A commercial wfo may have as much as 11 inches of thermal mass.
        Even with the increase of thermal mass the mantra stays the same ...insulate insulate insulate.

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