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Choosing an oven for baking - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Choosing an oven for baking

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  • Choosing an oven for baking

    I am an uninformed novice.
    I want to purchase and install an oven this spring.
    The oven, beyond pizza, should be able to reliably cook 12 one pound loaves of bread the morning after a firing.
    We have looked at Mugnaini, Chicago Brick, Earthstone, Le Panyol, Renato, Tuscany Fire, as well DIY plans. We think that the FB Premio 2G100 may be best for us.
    Our intent is to cook for small parties generally, though on occasion we may cook pizza for our retirement community and could need to feed as many as 100; hence, our tentative choice of the larger P2G100.

    MY QUESTION: Will the P2G100, if properly installed, yield heat adequate to do three full bakings of bread the morning after a firing?

  • #2
    Re: Choosing an oven for baking

    My casag110 will handle about 15 pounds of bread (I do 7, one kilo loaves typically) in one batch the morning after a pizza bake. I can get another batch easily, or three. Not sure if you mean 3 bakes of 12 one pounders or 12 loaves in three batches of four. If the latter, you'd have a lot of extra space in a casag100. Depending on shape, you might be able to fit 12 one pounders in a casag100 but I'm not sure. Properly insulated, you could certainly do it in two batches. Unlike making pizza, the fire will be removed for bread so you have the full diameter to work with.

    The key is insulation. My casag110 came, I think, with a one inch ceramic blanket, I imagine the 100 comes with the same. I built mine in a brick structure which I then filled with vermiculite. It holds the heat very well indeed. I'm not sure you would have bread baking heat (I want 550 or so) the next morning if you only used the insulation that comes with the casag100. You can get an extra blanket to go to 2", or more.



    • #3
      Re: Choosing an oven for baking

      I am going to suggest No, it will not work! While it is no doubt possible to build an oven that would retain enough heat after 8 to 12 hours to do three bakes of 12 pound loaves, that is well beyond the mass/insulation of a typical pizza oven.

      Lets start with ovens that DO bake three batches of bread. They are typically a barrel vault design with subtantially greater mass (nine to 12 inches of refractory is common). They typically require 3 1/2 hours to heat load using bigger fires than you will use for pizza. Once heat loaded they are typically then sealed for one hour to equalize to a temperature of around 550 to 575 when the first load of bread is placed in the oven. Baking bread draws a LOT of BTUs from the refractory. It is my understanding that even in a barrel vault design the last batch will probably be baked starting at 475 or so.

      To not be well below baking temps after 8 to 12 hours will require the oven be particularly well insulated. While the Premio is thicker than the typical Casa, has better insulation, and may be at 400 24 hours after the fire is removed, I don't think it is nearly thick enough to hold enough heat to do 3 batches.

      I would suggest determining your primary purpose. IF you really want to do three batches of bread the next day with no additional firing, then I would suggest you build a modified Allen Scott barrel vault design with extra insulation and accept that it will take more wood and time to heat load for doing pizza. If one batch is usually enough to make you happy, the Premio should work. At worst you might need a small "refresher" fire the next morning to pump a bit of extra heat into the refractory. At proper temp, the Premio is thick enough it SHOULD be able to do two batches - with the second batch at a substantially lower temp. I seriously doubt it can gracefully bake a great third batch.

      Note: sequencing of breads in the three batches is critical if you want great quality. I would assume you would be making a variety of breads... Breads with sugar and dough conditioners are baked in the later batches. Wetter doughs earlier.

      All WFOs are at some level a compromise. Basically you have to decide what is most important/critical to you and then decide what level of compromise(s) is/are acceptable.

      Good luck!

      PS: For the Casa or home built, I would add extra refractory - I added one inch to my Casa 100 and it will reasonably do two batches of bread totalling about 15 pounds each. I would want better insulation than I have under my hearth but...FB plans and insulation strategies are now better than when I built mine (which has an Allan Scott inspired (and somewhat heat leaky) hearth).
      Last edited by texassourdough; 03-17-2012, 11:32 AM. Reason: Add PS


      • #4
        Re: Choosing an oven for baking

        I just wanted to say thank you to the three people who responded to my post. Though I have been subscribed to this forum for over a year, I had not used it. How ver helpful! Thank you all.


        • #5
          Re: Choosing an oven for baking

          Jay is right on the money, IMO. You would need some stout refractory mass to carry through three bakes from a firing the night before.

          Jay, if you're still here, isn't this similar to what CanuckJim does for his classes? And if I remember right, he uses a pretty hefty Alan Scott design. I don't have his book in front of me at the moment (an excellent wood fired source, BTW), but I seem to recall him firing the night before. He may refire in the morning though.

          Last edited by Pdiff; 03-29-2012, 12:34 PM.