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Clearing Dome - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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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:
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Clearing Dome

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  • Clearing Dome

    I have a Casa90 oven that I finished a few weeks back, seems to work well and having a great time. When cooking pizza, I fire the oven for about 90 minutes or so and gets near over 900 degrees for the few times I've actually used the infrared thermometer to check it.

    I've considered it ready to go when the dome clears and pizza cooks in about 2 minutes so think all is well. My question is about the actual clearing of the dome- my oven goes completely white across the top of the dome and up the sides where I have the fire but still black on the other side. I've alternated sides when cooking so far to make sure I don't get build up but was wondering if I should really see the entire dome clear on a regular basis? I suppose I could keep stoking the fire or keep the fire in the center of the dome until actually ready to cook? My feeling is the way I'm doing this is fine but thought I'd ask others if the dome fully turns white each time?

  • #2
    Re: Clearing Dome

    I might be wrong, but I suspect that your oven is still a bit wet. It takes way longer than you would think to dry completely. The whole dome should burn off the black. Just keep using it and you will probably find that persistent black at the bottom of the dome will disappear. I usually fire mine for about another 20 mins after the dome has cleared to allow more heat to soak into the refractory.Always maintain a fire on the side while cooking pizzas, it produces a better product.
    Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


    • #3
      Re: Clearing Dome

      If you are just cooking a few pizzas for yourself and a few guests you are fine, if you decide to throw a big party or you are looking to bake or braze for the next few days then keep up the fire and fully saturate.

      It is possible the oven is still a little damp on that side and it will get better over time.

      I think after 10 or so fires you will get to know your oven better.


      • #4
        Re: Clearing Dome

        I'll throw in my experience here as well

        In my opinion, yes, you should see the dome go completely white every time. I can get the dome of my oven completely white in about 75 minutes which is what I do for a "small firing" like when I only want to cook a few pizzas. (I fire much longer if I am doing a 15-20 pizza party!)

        I agree with the experts that your dome still probably needs some curing - so don't worry about it!


        • #5
          Re: Clearing Dome

          Thanks for the info, will keep going and see if I get the dome to fully clear after a few more fires. As FYI, I do keep a fire burning so it curls over the dome when making pizza, ummmm good!


          • #6
            Re: Clearing Dome

            We made pizza on Saturday night and I let the dome fire a bit longer- almost all of the black soot from all sides of the dome cleared. Temps maxed out my infrared thermometer that goes to 1000 so guess it was pretty hot. Baked bread the next morning and all worked great.

            We had a heavy, steady rain while I was firing the dome on Saturday but didn't seem to impact anything at all.

            Thanks for the previous replies to keep the fire roaring just a bit longer.


            • #7
              Re: Clearing Dome

              I'm having the same issue as well Dave. I just think that it needs more fires in it to completely dry it out. I am able to clear the center, and the side where I have the fire, but then again I am dealing with a huge surface area and prefer starting the fire slowly before really getting it going. I am dealing with a 48" diameter so my oven is eating some wood up!

              As a question for the board, does everyone recommend a fire fence or something that logs can be angled/suspended over the bed of coals? It just seems the logs might get more airflow.

              Also, I have seen a few people in videos toss (sawdust/woodchips) to perk up their fire. Any thoughts on this?


              • #8
                Re: Clearing Dome

                I have the wood ready that I"ll use for some flame when the pizza goes in the entranceway . It's bone dry in the heat and pre warmed so it bursts into flame instantly it touches the coals. Chuck some in put a few more to pre heat . Doesn't get in the way as its only a few thin sticks.
                You can do the same when bringing the oven up to clearing and place a piece or too at a time in the entrance to pre heat. Never burn the whole oven full and let it burn down then give it a big load of wood . I piece or too at a time and maintain a wide brisk fire. Never let the flame get to the point of roaring out the entrance its just waste.
                The lawn should be mowed and all other preps done and your guests will find you calm beer in hand watching the flame.
                Measure twice
                Cut once
                Fit in position with largest hammer

                My Build
                My Door


                • #9
                  Re: Clearing Dome

                  OK, I have a dumb question. What does "clear the dome" really mean? We're having some issues with the top of the pizza overcooking while the bottom is undercooking and I'm wondering if we're doing something wrong with the fire.


                  • #10
                    Re: Clearing Dome

                    There are no dumb questions here!

                    When you start a fire in your oven you get a lot of black soot covering most of the inside walls of the oven. As you heat your oven the black soot starts to 'clear', meaning that the soot burns off and you can see nice the clean yellow firebrick. The clearing starts at the top of the dome (the hottest part) and starts to move down the walls. I can complete clear my dome in a little over an hour.


                    • #11
                      Re: Clearing Dome

                      You need to turn the coals upside down a few minutes before you remove them to get the floor up to full temp. Ash works as an insulation so unless you stir them you do not get the full effect.


                      • #12
                        Re: Clearing Dome

                        So if we start cooking while the smoke is still black, would that contribute to the cheese browning too quickly? We're having a problem with the cheese (top of pizza) burning before the bottom of the crust is fully cooked.

                        The oven is only 2 months old and we've made 5-7 fires (not including the curing fires). Would the newness of the fire contribute to the black smoke (vs white)?

                        FYI -- We're making the fire 1-2 hours before we actually cook.


                        • #13
                          Re: Clearing Dome

                          A couple of questions.

                          Do you know the temp of your floor and dome?
                          1-2 hours of fire depends on the size of the fire, dryness of the wood, type of wood, amount of wood.
                          Is your oven exposed to the elements, ie has the dome been rained on?
                          How long is your pie in the oven?
                          What kind of cheese?
                          What is the ratio of water to flour in your dough.

                          If you do not have an IR thermometer, try to get one. They can be had quite cheap on eBay.