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  • soggy pizza oven

    I live in Pennsylvania and having had a very wet spring and summer last year, by September I was having trouble getting my oven to retain heat. It was suggested to me to do a 12 hour burn to dry the interior out and then regrout the floor of the oven. I just did the burn and noticed that shortly after actively burning wood in the oven the temp drops to the 500's. Does anyone have any experience with a 5 year old oven needing maintenance and does everyone's oven temp drop 200 degrees so quickly ? Maybe that is normal. I know 700 or so is the best for baking pizza. I just struggle to keep the temperature high enough.

  • #2
    Re: soggy pizza oven

    More info is needed.
    Is there sufficient insulation around the oven, did it ever retain the heat?
    Last edited by brickie in oz; 03-23-2012, 06:17 PM.
    The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

    My Build.

    Books.

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    • #3
      Re: soggy pizza oven

      Thanks for responding. That is a good question. I was able to get my temps up to the 700's sometimes but I always felt it wasn't as hot as it could or should be. I had someone install it for me as part of a whole outdoor kitchen so I can't tell you exactly what they did. They were supposed to do manufacturer's specs but who knows. I did have someone come and they told me that structurally it looks sound- no cracks or leaks or anything.

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      • #4
        Re: soggy pizza oven

        Originally posted by eileen View Post
        They were supposed to do manufacturer's specs but who knows.
        It could still be lacking in insulation, there have been numerous people asking the same questions after having an oven installed to so called specs.

        A lot of manufacturers still havent got a clue about insulation and how it should be done.

        Just as an example, we had a pizza party last night and the oven held around the 550c mark for most of the night after a 5 hour burn, the oven cools off as the night went on as we did more pizzas, around 20 pizzas were cooked.
        This morning its still sitting at 300c.

        This is the sort of performance you should be getting if there is sufficient insulation.
        The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

        My Build.

        Books.

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        • #5
          Re: soggy pizza oven

          I will try to get a sense of it, but shouldn't your oven be at least at 700 after heating for so long? I always understood that to be the optimal temp for baking pizza. I started mine at 7:30 am yesterday morning and kept it going until 7 pm last night in an attempt to dry out the inside. It was very hot all day long and 2 hours after I put in the last log it was still over 500. I never checked it today since my focus was drying out and not cooking in it. I am going to try to do a regular pizza night this week coming up and see where I stand. Thanks for your help.

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          • #6
            Re: soggy pizza oven

            Originally posted by eileen View Post
            but shouldn't your oven be at least at 700 after heating for so long?
            We use centigrade here in Oz not Fahrenheit.

            550c is 1022F, so its was warm enough.
            The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

            My Build.

            Books.

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            • #7
              Re: soggy pizza oven

              Well, that certainly makes more sense now. Thanks for all your help.

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              • #8
                Re: soggy pizza oven

                Originally posted by eileen View Post
                I live in Pennsylvania and having had a very wet spring and summer last year, by September I was having trouble getting my oven to retain heat. It was suggested to me to do a 12 hour burn to dry the interior out and then regrout the floor of the oven. I just did the burn and noticed that shortly after actively burning wood in the oven the temp drops to the 500's. Does anyone have any experience with a 5 year old oven needing maintenance and does everyone's oven temp drop 200 degrees so quickly ? Maybe that is normal. I know 700 or so is the best for baking pizza. I just struggle to keep the temperature high enough.
                Three things:

                1) We are shooting in the dark here because we don't know anything about the design and construction of your oven. A picture might help a little.
                2) My oven cools about 5 or 6 degrees per hour after the first hour and maybe 50 (guessing here) degrees in the first hour if I put the insulated oven door over the entrance -these numbers depend on how much heat the bricks have stored during the fire (meaning, how big the fire was and how long it burned).
                3) If your oven has excess moisture, some knowledgeable old timers here recommend firing the oven multiple times to remove moisture, they say cooling periods between firings allow the moisture to migrate out of the structure better. It is possible that you have moisture that limits the performance of your oven....It is also possible that the design and construction of your oven is the culprit.

                Regardless, if you can get the oven to pizza temperature (usually indicated by a clear dome) you can cook pizza

                HTH
                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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                • #9
                  Re: soggy pizza oven

                  I have a Forno Bravo Casa 90 oven. If it was done the way we specified, it has 4" of loose insulation, followed by 1" of reinforced mortar, followed by 1" of insulfrax then the oven. Underneath it is supposed to have an insulation layer and then concrete. I just have no idea if it really has all that. It is totally built in to a stucco/concrete outdoor kitchen. I have done 1 12 hour burn to dry it out. I was planning on trying it out in a day or 2 to see if it holds the temp. Otherwise i will continue to dry it out. Does anyone ever have to re-morter any seams in the floor ? Are there seams in the floor ? I can't really tell. When I did the 12 hour burn, it turned white and then eventually went back to it's normal color during the burn. My infared thermometer did say it was beyond the temp it could calculate. But I certainly didn't have a totally white interior. It was actually so hot it was hard to stand in front to get a good look. Thanks for the feedback.

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                  • #10
                    Re: soggy pizza oven

                    Your description above suggests it is hot enough to do pizza easily. Are you saying that the oven floor temperature cools to 500 F within an hour or two after firing it? How big was your fire and how long did it burn? Do you have an oven door?

                    When I fire my oven, the oven dome is black during the beginning stages of the fire. When the dome surface gets hot enough (730-750F in my oven) the black soot burns off and the dome stays clear until it cools enough for the smoke to leave black soot next time I start the oven. How high will your infra red thermometer read?

                    Is that similar to your experience? We know your oven is designed well, and we'll never know about the installation until you disassemble it and see (something I'm not advocating here).

                    The cracks in your floor will fill with ash, no need to mortar them, ever. Let us know how the oven performs after your next firing.

                    Try a good sized fire for 90-120 minutes and see how things go.

                    Good Luck
                    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.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: soggy pizza oven

                      When I fire the oven, I usually do so for at least 90 minutes and usually 120. I feel like as soon as i move the fire off to the side it begins to lose heat. But the last time I tried it was the time I had alot of trouble because it was so wet inside. So I am going to do it again this week and see what happens. As soon as I do that i will post again. And I will keep good track of how the temp goes as time goes by- even after I stop adding new wood. It should retain enough heat to bake bread at least for a few hours I think ? And I never put the oven door on when doing pizza. Only when baking bread. Thanks again for your advice.

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                      • #12
                        Re: soggy pizza oven

                        Sounds to me like your oven is still wet. Give it another few fires and I' m sure it will improve. We've had tons of tropical rain and my oven was damp and mouldy on the inside. Did a roast last night that came out beautifully, but I ended up firing the oven all afternoon and the temp dropped off really quickly. It will need a few more fires. Damp wood doesn't help either.
                        Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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