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Optimal dome thickness? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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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Optimal dome thickness?

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  • Optimal dome thickness?

    The thicker your walls are, the more you approach heat storage designs right? ...or the he more it becomes a bread/roasting oven?

    So....How thin can a dome be for a pizza oven? I'm talking fire bricks. What's too thin for a pizza dome?

    Also James, I'm curious how small an oven you've found out there. I found a 90 cm one. What's too small?

    Thinking about pizza....
    sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!

  • #2
    Re: Optimal dome thickness?

    I just finished my dome, haven't fired it yet. It is made of firebricks cut into thirds, for a wall thickness of three inches. I did not parge the dome with mortar.

    Hopefully it will cook well. I'll let you know!
    I'm building a Pompeii Oven in Austin, Texas. See my progress at:
    Il Forno Fumoso


    • #3
      Re: Optimal dome thickness?

      Like chris, I've built, but not yet fired. Mine is bricks laid sideways, for two and a quarter inches. I based my thickness on the thickness of the FB prefab ovens which are two inches thick.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


      • #4
        Re: Optimal dome thickness?

        This all sounds right. The residential precast ovens range between 2" - 2 1/2" and the commercial ones are between 3"-4", depending on how large they are. The Artigiano is a little over 3". Some precast oven owners coat their oven with 1/2" - 1" extra refractory mortar to build up their mass for heating holding during bread baking and roasting.

        My experience is that the basic precast ovens do a very good job of holding heat without the extra mass, and I've spoken with owners who find that if they fire their oven longer, their heat retention keeps going up -- which tells me that they were not completely filling up the mass with heat in their earlier tests. They still had "head room" to build up heat in the precast oven, so they were not using all of the available mass of the oven.

        I think the basic theory is that you should completely fill up your available oven mass with heat, and then use high efficiency insulation to stop it. If you haven't completely filled it up, your stored heat will migrate into the outer mass -- away from the inside of the over where you need it for cooking.

        Jim, did you see my fancy How Heat Works graphic? Check it out:


        Pizza Ovens
        Outdoor Fireplaces


        • #5
          Re: Optimal dome thickness?


          I think your "fancy" graphic was posted before I joined FB. It's very helpful indeed and reinforces what I've learned about heat migration through trial and error. Well, done, it's a keeper.

          "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827


          • #6
            Re: Optimal dome thickness?

            That's from someone with an oven that has 12" thick walls. Nice.
            Pizza Ovens
            Outdoor Fireplaces