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  • just a few basic questions...

    At the end of April our hearth was poured (3" concrete + 4" of the vermiculite/concrete mixture), this ended up sitting for 2+ weeks due to construction delays. The floor was set, dome placed, 2 rolls of blanket overlayed, then 4" of vermiculite/concrete added over. Several days later the stucco was applied. From the date of the stucco the oven sat idle for ~10 days. Then the fun began, I started with a small fire day one (paper + kindling), day two paper + more kindling, day three paper plus even more kindling. At this time the interior of the dome was still covered with soot. On day four started the fire with kindling, added a piece of almond wood, then another 30 minutes later. On day five two pieces of wood and I finally saw white at the top of the dome! Day six I cranked it up and added three pieces of wood anad got flame coming out the front and up the flume for a few minutes, the interiopr of the dome went almost entirely white. Note: after each day I let the oven cool but the morning after day 6 is was at 300 degrees F. Day 7 I noticed two hair line cracks in the exterior of the stucco :-<
    Now the questions...
    Two days later went to cook for the first time (fire in center then moved to the side using almond wood) and the oven took 2 hours+ to get what I thought was hot enough...floor registered from 700 to 500 depending how far I got away from the fire, is this normal? or should I have been patentient and let it get hotter?
    Dough was hand made and surely stuck to the peel almost every time...I think to many toppings were added plus not enough flour on the peel, any and all suggestions are welcome...
    PS: my son graduates from high scool in two weeks and we have 50+ coming for pizza and wine...here's where I really need help

  • #2
    Re: just a few basic questions...

    By all means, let the dome get completely white. I don't use a laser thermometer but 500 to 700 seems really low to me. Don't be afraid to build a big fire and let moderate a while before shoving it over to the side, to soak your bricks with heat, especially if you are planning on multiple pizzas. I try to err on the side of the too-hot oven, and watch the pizza like a hawk, rather than one that's too cool and you have to sit and wait.

    For the pizza peel: some rice flour from the health food isle will make your pizza slide like it's on ball bearings. I keep it in a commercial salt shaker. Other people use seminolina, I've even heard of salt. Avoid corn meal at WFO temps.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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    • #3
      Re: just a few basic questions...

      I agree with David. Definitely get the whole dome white -- that's when you know you are ready to cook, and if you stop firing before that, your oven might run out of gas, just when you want to hit the accelerator.

      Some ovens need a larger number of fires to really dry out to where they jump forward to become ready to cook.

      On the sticky peel, my vote is more flour. There is a nice level where the pizzas don't stick to the peel, but you don't have a lot of excess flour under the pizza, which tends to burn. Try to find that nice level where they don't stick.

      You can do it.
      James
      Pizza Ovens
      Outdoor Fireplaces

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      • #4
        Re: just a few basic questions...

        Originally posted by dmun View Post

        For the pizza peel: some rice flour from the health food isle will make your pizza slide like it's on ball bearings. I keep it in a commercial salt shaker. Other people use seminolina, I've even heard of salt. Avoid corn meal at WFO temps.
        I use corn meal... and it does burn!

        Does the rice flour burn ?
        My thread:
        http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
        My costs:
        http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
        My pics:
        http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

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        • #5
          Re: just a few basic questions...

          I put cornmeal on my peel, but I will probably switch to rice flour.
          But... I put cornmeal on... then the stretched dough.

          and then I shake it back and forth

          then the sauce.. and shake

          then the cheese... and shake

          then the .. toppings and shake

          and then I haul butt to my WFO ... shaking the whole time

          then i place the peel where i want the pizza to sit
          and pull it fast enough for the pizza to slide in place
          My thread:
          http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
          My costs:
          http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
          My pics:
          http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

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          • #6
            Re: just a few basic questions...

            thanks all...will try the rice flour this weekend...
            has anyone else used almond wood? I was told the commercial pizza folks prefer it over oak for pizza...

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            • #7
              Re: just a few basic questions...

              Does the rice flour burn ?
              Not so much. Corn is full of sugar: corn is what's sweetening that cola in your hand. Rice has a lower sugar content, so it's less likely to burn.
              My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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              • #8
                Re: just a few basic questions...

                Originally posted by dmun View Post
                Not so much. Corn is full of sugar: corn is what's sweetening that cola in your hand. Rice has a lower sugar content, so it's less likely to burn.
                thank you sir

                makes more sense now!
                My thread:
                http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
                My costs:
                http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
                My pics:
                http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: just a few basic questions...

                  Almond should burn super super hot. You probably have some curing left to do. I'd keep heating the thing up every day. Start slow but take all the way till the dome burns clean. I think you'll find the time to clear the dome will decrease over the next week. Then you'll have a cured oven.

                  Make pizza every time, or bread, or something. No sense wasting the wood.
                  GJBingham
                  -----------------------------------
                  Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                  -

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                  • #10
                    Re: just a few basic questions...

                    Originally posted by Wood View Post
                    thanks all...will try the rice flour this weekend...
                    has anyone else used almond wood? I was told the commercial pizza folks prefer it over oak for pizza...
                    I use almond...and any other wood I can get my hands on

                    Almond is fine, a lot like oak, very dense...good hot fires.
                    Sharing life's positives and loving the slow food lane

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                    • #11
                      Re: just a few basic questions...

                      cooked on Saturday night and the oven took about 2 hours to go completely white, did help getting it up to full temp. Cooked again sunday and only took 1 1/2 hours to heat. Did notice that after about 2 hours of cooking the floor temp dropped to 600 F, pushed some coals over for 10 minutes and it came right back up to 700 F. Would this be normal?
                      Also in a pinch used the dough from trader Joe's, not bad but the dough made with Caputto is much better...had less of a problem with sticking to the peel but I still have some learning to do on this...considering a wood peel to place in the oven???

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                      • #12
                        Re: just a few basic questions...

                        I use a wood peel to place pizzas. The sides get a little dented up from collisions with the edge of the opening, but it works fine.

                        Rather than move your fire around to keep your floor hot, try keeping some small wood burning brightly on the top of your coals when your cooking: this will keep your heat up more predictably. It seems counterintuitive, but most of the heat in the oven comes from the top.
                        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: just a few basic questions...

                          Originally posted by dmun View Post
                          Rather than move your fire around to keep your floor hot, try keeping some small wood burning brightly on the top of your coals when your cooking: this will keep your heat up more predictably. It seems counterintuitive, but most of the heat in the oven comes from the top.
                          Agreed -- the heat from the flame definitely bounces off the dome and helps keep your cooking floor hot.
                          James
                          Pizza Ovens
                          Outdoor Fireplaces

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: just a few basic questions...

                            kept placing a log on the coals every 20 minutes or so but the floor temp just gradualy drops...also found with a fire burning the cheese on tops melts nicely...

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                            • #15
                              Re: just a few basic questions...

                              Hey Wood,

                              If you keep a serious fire going -- the flame lapping past the halfway point (apex) of your dome, the floor should never cool down. You can cook pizza indefinitely, the same way the wood-fired pizzerias work.
                              James
                              Pizza Ovens
                              Outdoor Fireplaces

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