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Help for a Newbie - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Help for a Newbie

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  • Help for a Newbie

    Hi,
    Greetings! We just finished a Pompeii oven in Wisconsin. It's been in the 30's at night and 40/50's in the day. The oven has rested about 2 weeks, and we went through the curing fire schedule over the past week. Our fire today was about 1 1/2-2 hours and we were just about 700 degrees, but were having trouble holding that temp without adding a lot more wood. We didn't ever seem the black to white changes on the dome top. How was our fire too small? Should it be roaring? After looking at some of the photos, our dome is pretty high (but built to the plan) The pizza was good tasting... after I botched the peel and most of the pizza was upside down! Still great, and not too worried. Just need some tips from the pros. Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Help for a Newbie

    Our fire today was about 1 1/2-2 hours
    Even though you have completed the curing schedule, doesnt mean you have allllll the moisture out,, give it another week or two with regular pizza fires and you will see the difference,, also make sure you are using good seasoned wood... wet wood will take a lot longer to heat an oven than seasoned hardwood...

    Oh, and that thing you did to the pizza we call that the "accidental calzone" when it sticks to the peel and rolls over..... all part of the learning process..

    Cheers
    Mark

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Help for a Newbie

      Describe your insulation. It's really hard to give advice without understanding the insulation.

      Joe
      Joe

      Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America

      My thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/j...oven-8181.html

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Help for a Newbie

        Should it be roaring?
        Yes, - almost. Truth is, you can always go from black to white regardless of how well your oven is insulated. It is just a matter of the skin temperature on the inner surface. Just throw in enough wood for a big fire. The trouble with too low insulation is that you are not able to hold the temperature when your fire cease.

        karl

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        • #5
          Re: Help for a Newbie

          Thanks so much for all of your advice. Things are going much better. Had a great fire with smaller, drier pieces of wood. In just under 2 hours, the black to white ash was complete. The oven was still at about 125 today with the door open all night and the outside temp dipping into the 30's. The insulation is the ceramic blanket over the fire brick/mortar and about 17 bags of vermiculite, with a cinder block wall, and poured cement roof. The mason who built it for us made sure it was well insulated. The floor is fire brick over the insulated cement.

          We loved the "accidental calzone" comment! Our pizzas were also much better (or we were better!). Thanks again!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Help for a Newbie

            Great news. Too often contractors leave out the insulation. Yours sounds like they new what they were doing. Although I haven't had enough fires to experience it yet, other members of the forum have noticed increased efficiency after a dozen or so fires. We apparently still need to drive some of the moisture out of the oven. I haven't had an accidental calzone yet, but my early pizzas ended up with most of the toppings on one side. And I've had some very out of round pizzas that stuck to the peel as I tried to slide the pizza into the oven. I'm getting better at that, too.

            Joe
            Joe

            Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America

            My thread: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/j...oven-8181.html

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Help for a Newbie

              Yep, you have to get rid of all the moisture. More firings will fix that.

              It sounds like your oven is very well insulated.

              Enjoy!
              My thread:
              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/d...ress-2476.html
              My costs:
              http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...Xr0fvgxuh4s7Hw
              My pics:
              http://picasaweb.google.com/dawatsonator

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Help for a Newbie

                And don't be afraid to really get a good fire roaring...if I don't see flame flying up the chimney...I throw in another log or two!
                Check out my oven progress here: http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/phot...dex.php?u=4147

                See ALL of my pictures here:
                http://picasaweb.google.com/Brevenc/...OutdoorKitchen

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Help for a Newbie

                  Originally posted by jmhepworth View Post
                  I haven't had an accidental calzone yet, but my early pizzas ended up with most of the toppings on one side. And I've had some very out of round pizzas that stuck to the peel as I tried to slide the pizza into the oven. I'm getting better at that, too.

                  Joe
                  Ok, I feel better! I'm still trying to get this pizza from peel to oven thing down.
                  We've done pizza 3 times in our newly built oven and they taste great, when I can get them out of the oven, but they are usually bunched up from my inability to slide off my peel in the first place.
                  We watched James video again and will try pizza again tomorrow night. Hoping to at least improve a little each time we try.

                  Tom
                  Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Help for a Newbie

                    Originally posted by trockyh View Post
                    Ok, I feel better! I'm still trying to get this pizza from peel to oven thing down.
                    We've done pizza 3 times in our newly built oven and they taste great, when I can get them out of the oven, but they are usually bunched up from my inability to slide off my peel in the first place.
                    We watched James video again and will try pizza again tomorrow night. Hoping to at least improve a little each time we try.

                    Tom
                    WOW, someone in the same state as me with a WFO!! Cool beans!!

                    Now if you were closer to Minocqua, I would offer to come over and help you with the pizza handling end, if I could learn more about your WFO and get to play with it a little. I am working on a restaurant situation up here with a WFO handling a good part of our menu.

                    When I am baking pizza in a commercial gas oven, I dust the peel with coarse yellow cornmeal, but that may burn and cause a nasty taste in a WFO, So I would use a coarse semolina flour Since "Bobs red-mill products" are available in most any grocery store these days, see of your local store has any.
                    Just make sure you brush out any left over meal or semolina asap, and you could let the crust firm on the bottom and move the pie off the semolina right away too during one of it's turns to even out the cooking.

                    I have also heard of people using coarse salt as a peel lubricant, but I think it would stick to the dough and make it too salty.

                    Before getting into the oven, Give the peel a little wiggle to make sure nothing is stuck, slide the pie partially off the peel onto the deck, then get the rest off the peel by using little jerks, once you get that figured out, you will evolve into being able to do it in one swift fluent movement and still have a round pie. But for now, football shaped pies still taste good.

                    Did my explanation help at all??

                    Now, if you want to talk wood species and moisture contents, give me a call anytime and have pen & paper ready. we burn about 4-5 full cords of wood each summer for cooking only in our catering business.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Help for a Newbie

                      Thanks gotrocks, but I'm in northern California.
                      We did pizza for lunch Sunday and I did use semolina on the peel. I'm feeling much better about the whole pizza cooking thing now.
                      Now I need to learn heat management in my oven. The dome was up to 1000F and the floor between 650 and 700F. The pies turned out good except the center was not quite done and all that was on it was tomato sauce, mozt and basil. But they tasted darn good and I'm excited to have another go at it, but rain all week and the oven isn't water proof yet.

                      Tom
                      Member WFOAMBA Wood Fired Oven Amatueur Masons Builders America

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Help for a Newbie

                        I apologize, I should have looked at the author of that post better, I confused you with Sholder who lives in WI.

                        As for your pie having an underdone middle, did you scoot it over any to get it on some hotter parts of the floor after it's initial placement? Or maybe the deck could have used a little more burn time to get hotter?
                        How long were you feeding it fuel before you cooked in it, Maybe another 15-20 minutes would have had that deck hotter, spreading coals on the deck before cooking may also help, or maybe a reduction in hydration for your dough formula?

                        Was the bottom cooked fine, but the top lacking, or was it the other way around? A lift towards the dome for the final few seconds would fix the toppings being under done.

                        I am just thinking out loud, but just maybe I hit on something that will help you?.

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