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The scary fire issue - 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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The scary fire issue

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  • The scary fire issue

    I think I've discovered the answer! I'm sure this is probably obvious to most people on this forum, but, there are scary fires and then there are SCARY FIRES.

    I had been having problems getting my oven to carbon burning temps i.e. the walls turning white. I have since purchased proper seasoned (about a year) red gum, burned it and Presto... white walls within an hour.

    There seemed to be quite a difference in the intensity of the heat/fire as it required much less wood to get to temp.

    Does this sound right? This would be useful info for newbies like me.

  • #2
    Re: The scary fire issue

    Hi Enzo!

    Crappy wood can certainly slow the heating and make a lot of crap in the process.

    I am in the Texas Hill Country where we have a "trash tree" that is a juniper that is absolutely free and burns like crazy - even when green! (A month or two of aging makes it incindiary!) When one tries to cook over it in a bbq it gives a tarry, resinous taste but in the oven it is a delight. Burns like hell and clears in aout 45 minutes. AND, at the high oven temps it is ODORLESS. And.. FREE! I love it! While it is fine for pizza i usually switch to hardwood just so it burns longer.

    It is my understanding that in the Middle East juniper is a preferred bread oven fuel for it heats fast. Do you have anything like that down under?

    Bake On!
    jay

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    • #3
      Re: The scary fire issue

      G'day Jay,
      I'm fairly new to the game, so I haven't sussed out too many wood type options yet. Sure seems as though there's an awful lot to learn about WFO's. I have only ever burned red gum, both for my open fire and WFO, I look forward to the on-coming disasters and triumphs.

      I know experimentation is the key, so as we say down here, "let's suck it and see"

      Cheers!

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      • #4
        Re: The scary fire issue

        I only use Whitegum (Wandoo) and Mallee roots. I pay $15 per small bag so it it is very expensive, but well worth the spend as the wood lights with 2 small firelighters and burns like crazy. I have been getting temps around 480 C with this setup and produces a good pizza fire.

        I did experiment with the cheaper Jarrah but results were poor so now only use the Whitegum/Mallee combo. Not sure if those trees are available down your way though but I would guess so!

        Rossco
        / Rossco

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        • #5
          Re: The scary fire issue

          Yep! Mallee is great wood, just very expensive down in Melbourne. I've heard it burns HOT and for a long time.

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          • #6
            Re: The scary fire issue

            The best wood is free wood. I try to reserve a few heavy, split, dry pieces after about 45 mins then finish with some thinner bits so they're all burnt up when I'm ready to remove some coals and cook.
            Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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            • #7
              Re: The scary fire issue

              "The best wood is free wood. "

              These ovens are not fussy. I've used many different woods and they all will do the job. The only essential criteria is that the wood is well seasoned.

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              • #8
                Re: The scary fire issue

                A quick sample pic of the woods that I use:

                White Gum (Wandoo) left
                Mallee root right

                Rossco
                / Rossco

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                • #9
                  Re: The scary fire issue

                  Is that actually the root of a tree ?

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                  • #10
                    Re: The scary fire issue

                    Originally posted by rhollman View Post
                    Is that actually the root of a tree ?
                    Yes indeed ... allowed to dry and split (using a hydraulic splitter as they are VERY tough). Another excellent option is "vine stumps" - they burn forever too and at a high temperature. Unfortunately these are hard to find.

                    Rossco
                    / Rossco

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