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What is the smallest design that will work? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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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What is the smallest design that will work?

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  • What is the smallest design that will work?

    Hi there

    I'm just starting to plan to build a pizza/bread oven and wondered if anyone has any plans or information about the smallest design, and what the drawbacks/limitations would be.

    I have limited space in my back garden, but really fancy the idea of building one.

    Many thanks for any advice at this stage of my planning.


  • #2
    Re: What is the smallest design that will work?

    Welcome Martin.

    I seem to remember the Forno Bravo oven plans talking about a 36" diameter oven. I would imagine you could build one even smaller if you need to.

    Obviously, small ovens have less room inside. The fire takes up about 1/4 of the floor space in my oven. Their openings must be proportionally smaller too. Larger foods, like a turkey, might not fit in the door.

    The smaller the oven, the less time and fuel it takes to heat it up.

    I hate to see you go to all the trouble of building a brick oven only to be unhappy with it's size. Mine is 41" in diameter. I suppose I could make do with a 36" model, but I am glad I don't have to. I am pretty sure I wouldn't want it to be much smaller than 36".

    Hope this helps.



    • #3
      Re: What is the smallest design that will work?

      The Primavera's only 24" and James seems to be doing quite a bit of cooking in it... although I would imagine building one that size would be rather fiddly. The walls would probably be too thick in relation to its size, too.

      So I think Dusty is right, 36" is the way to go, and you'll still be doing some serious cooking (and building) with that size.

      What size and shape is your garden anyway? Because you can also build an oven into a bank or a wall or into a corner...
      "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)



      • #4
        Re: What is the smallest design that will work?

        My oven is only 540mm (21") and is actually biger than my first oven, which was only 490 mm. With careful management and removal of coals I can cook just about anything. Did a turkey on Christmas Day in my small oven last year-no worries. For pizza it's one at a time, but I think that's how most of us do it anyhow. It's the preparation of the base and the toppings that slow you up. There are just so many advantages with a smaller oven. Less fuel, less materials in construction, lighter weight, faster construction, takes up less space and best of all, you use it that much more often because it's less hassle firing it up.
        Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


        • #5
          Re: What is the smallest design that will work?

          Excellent... Thanks for your replies.

          Do you know of any plans i.e dimensions etc that would help me, or maybe pictures of the smaller ovens so that I can start planning & preparing.

          This is really exciting!



          • #6
            Re: What is the smallest design that will work?

            Try building your hemisphere over a mound of sand, making sure that the height of your oven mouth is about 63% of the height of the internal dome roof. You don't need nearly as much materials for a small oven so your labour is reduced and there's not much loss if things don't work out. Don't go smaller than a 5" diam flue.
            Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.