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For Pizza; How large of a flame? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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For Pizza; How large of a flame?

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  • For Pizza; How large of a flame?

    Hey all,

    Question about using a WFO to make pizza. Assuming the fire is started, pushed to one side of the oven (not the back,) and you have some ash and a fire, generally speaking what size log or how much of a flame should be present? I was told flames should lick across the top of the dome, but how much I am unsure.

    Should the fire roar across the dome, or gently flow across the top, and if so, how far across the dome? up the side an to the middle of the dome? up the side and somewhat before the middle?

    I can start the fire, but I want to better manage it for an even bake at very high temperatures (ex, 900F on the floor.)

    I'm finding it somewhat difficult to maintain a high temperature in the oven while simultaneously managing the fire where it gives me an even bake.

    Any tips, suggestions, or insights welcome, in addition to any outside resources or reading material of any type. Just looking to learn.

  • #2
    Re: For Pizza; How large of a flame?

    I tend to slowly build a good hot fire. When the soot burns off of the brick inside the dome, I know I am there. I let the fire burn down a bit and then scrape the bed of coals off to the side. Sweep the floor, let it cool for about 10-15 minutes and put the first pizza in. The floor is red hot when you scrape the coals to the side, you can't see that in the daylight but if you do not let it cool a bit, your first pizza will burn. The first few pizzas cook quite fast and then the oven is starting to loose a little heat. I toss in a couple of pieces of wood at a time and let them burn down, you don't need a large fire to maintain the heat. Smaller pieces about 2" in diameter are fine, larger pieces will not burn as readily without a large bank of coals. Small fires will maintain the heat.
    With a really hot oven, I've cooked pizzas in about 45 seconds, and burnt them in 30.

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    • #3
      Re: For Pizza; How large of a flame?

      I generally have just coals only, the oven having been saturated with heat for many hours prior.
      The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

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      • #4
        Re: For Pizza; How large of a flame?

        I find that once the oven has burnt clean entirely it still requires about another 20 mins of flame filling the entire oven. This ensures that the heat has penetrated well into the walls. For maintaining a fire on the side a flame that licks up the side to the apex of the dome keeps enough heat in my oven to cook 2 min pizzas pretty much all night. This flame is essential if you want to brown the cheese slightly on top. All ovens are a bit different and we all develop our own style, but this is my regime. The fire on the side also provides an oven light. I pre heat sticks up to about an inch thick in the entry and they pretty much burst into flame as soon as they hit the coals.
        Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

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        • #5
          Re: For Pizza; How large of a flame?

          If you are looking to cook one minute Neapolitan pizzas at 900f you are going to want the flame going all the way across the dome for an even bake.

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          • #6
            Re: For Pizza; How large of a flame?

            Originally posted by david s View Post
            I find that once the oven has burnt clean entirely it still requires about another 20 mins of flame filling the entire oven. This ensures that the heat has penetrated well into the walls. For maintaining a fire on the side a flame that licks up the side to the apex of the dome keeps enough heat in my oven to cook 2 min pizzas pretty much all night. This flame is essential if you want to brown the cheese slightly on top. All ovens are a bit different and we all develop our own style, but this is my regime. The fire on the side also provides an oven light. I pre heat sticks up to about an inch thick in the entry and they pretty much burst into flame as soon as they hit the coals.
            Like the preheat stick idea for keeping the flame going.
            Russell

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            • #7
              Re: For Pizza; How large of a flame?

              I found the chapter on oven management in The Art of Wood-Fired Cooking to be very helpful in terms of managing heat and oven state. I posted a link to a google reader version in this thread

              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f17/...tml#post148358

              My experience, and the guidance of the book - is that you need to have the flames licking across the top of the oven to maintain a hot enough oven. If you let it get down to coals, you can still cook pizza but it will be much slower.

              I don't know about the need to preheat wood. I find that they go off spontaneously when thrown into a 900 degree oven!
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