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What Thermocouple Sensor? - 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:
- 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.
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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.

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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What Thermocouple Sensor?

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  • What Thermocouple Sensor?

    Hi, does anyone have any recommendations about buying Thermocouple Sensors for a wood fire bread oven?

    Are they all more or less the same?

    What are the best value ones available on ebay.co.uk at the moment?

    Also, does anyone know of any online tutorials about how to install thermocouple sensors? Is it easy to drill a hole in refractory bricks for example?

    Thanks for reading this

    Leao
    www.leon.cat

  • #2
    Re: What Thermocouple Sensor?

    There is absolutely no need for thermocouples if you are only baking pizza. Interesting to have perhaps but essentially useless. They have some value when you are first learning your oven for baking bread, but if you aspire to make great bread you should plan to make BIG batches of bread - like at least 12-15 pounds for a 36 inch oven. If you aren't going to make batches that big, or do multiple batches, you can easily get by without them.

    Buy an IR thermometer that goes to at least 900F. It is far more useful IMO.
    Jay

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    • #3
      Re: What Thermocouple Sensor?

      There's a lot on this topic.
      As Jay points out, there's a lot more about installing thermocouples than there is about using them. In a commerical bakery operation, it gives you a good reading of heat saturation, but there are a lot more variables than just that. Otherwise, you get a better sense of what your oven is doing by watching it.
      My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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      • #4
        Re: What Thermocouple Sensor?

        Hi dmun!

        The problem I see with thermocouples in a commercial oven lies in the fact that the oven stays hot. And by running your oven daily, you WILL know its characteristics. So you will know that a 70 minutes of fire in the summer, 90 in the winter, each day will recharge your oven for three loads of bread. And you will know the baking times for each batch. There are advantages of thermocouples IF you have enough and they are in the right places so you know WHEN the refractory is fully loaded but experience is about as useful IMO.

        The main situation where I see thermocouples being useful would be where someone has limited wood and wants to only load he oven as much as is absolutely necessary one day and do three loads of bread the next - thus having an indicator of how loaded the refractory is would be really useful. But...partially loading the refractory is really problematic for if the heat has not penetrated the refractory the cooler outer area will quickly suck the heat from the oven and the oven will cool way too fast - and give a troublesome bake to time, even if the temp was right when you started. IMO you pretty much have to charge the oven fully no matter what you do.

        I installed thermocouples but I never use them.
        Jay

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