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Thermocouples or not???? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



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Thermocouples or not????

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  • Thermocouples or not????

    I know this has been asked and debated in the past. Sometimes I think it's good to revisit these topics. After people have used their oven over time, thoughts may change.

    I'm about to pour my hearth (finally). Debating whether to plan for thermocouples or not. I'd like to here from those that use an oven (residential, not commercial).

    I'm a nerd of sorts, and love data. However, there is something very minimalistic about cooking next to a pile of burning wood. If I put in a thermocouple, I could see using it initially, but over time, stop.

    Of those that have it, do you still think it's worth the expense? For those that don't, do you regret not installing them?
    Mike - Saginaw, MI

    Picasa Web Album
    My oven build thread

  • #2
    Re: Thermocouples or not????


    I don't think you need them if you're only doing pizza. Once you go "white" it's time to throw the pizza's in.

    Not sure you "need" them for baking or other types of cooking either as long as you have an infarred or someway to measure temp. I'm thinking once I get more experience I'll be able to rely on the 1,2,3... Mississippi.

    I didn't put them in my oven and I don't regret it.

    That said, if you really want them go for it.

    Keeps us posted.


    • #3
      Re: Thermocouples or not????

      I built copper tubes into both my hearth and dome for the insertion of thermocouples. I have a twin digital temperature readout coupled to a 10 thermocouple swith and do not use it at all. A waste of effort, time and expense for the home oven user. Great for collecting information if you like recording and drawing graphs of temp rises and falls but of little other use. I use the laset thermometer more but as the badger said, once your oven is white, then start your pizzas. Yes it is handy to know the remperatures but hell, don't ewe cook by sight and smell anyway. You should be there to turn your goods and remove them once done, irrespective of any thermocouples or known temperatures of the oven.
      Now if you are a serious bread or pastry baker, then they are very worthwhile as they will give you a very accurate heat soak indication, how many bakes you are likely to get and how long to bake for.
      Hendo has built in accommodation for numerous thermocouples but we are not including them at this stage in his oven completion.

      Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

      The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know

      Neill’s Pompeiii #1
      Neill’s kitchen underway


      • #4
        Re: Thermocouples or not????


        I'm also a geek; computers and gadgets all over the house. I considered the thermocouples but decided against them. In the end, I decided that ovens have been used for centuries without them, so I saved the money.

        I did purchase Forno Bravo's Infrared/laser thermometer. This little gadget is all you need. It even has a probe for checking roasts and fowl. It makes retained heat cooking a breeze. I've used it to make some temperature cooling graphs for my oven so now I need it even less

        No thermocouples - No regrets!
        Ken H. - Kentucky
        42" Pompeii

        Pompeii Oven Construction Video Updated!

        Oven Thread ... Enclosure Thread
        Cost Spreadsheet ... Picasa Web Album


        • #5
          Re: Thermocouples or not????

          I agree. I have a thermocouple, but I don't look at it that much. You get to know your oven. A high tech instrument is somehow out of place and character to what we're about. If your food is burning pull it out and leave the door off for a bit. If it's cooking too slowly, leave it in for longer,until it looks and smells good. We do use one of those thermometers with a probe that you stick into roast meats. It is good.
          Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


          • #6
            Re: Thermocouples or not????

            Thats a question for you to answer. Do you want your cooking experience to be on the more primitive side, or do you relax by taking data and recording trends etc. Fortunately this hobby has room for both types of people. My husband and I have enjoyed getting to know how our oven likes to cook. My husband is an observer of people, so he does most of the "observing" of how the oven behaves. I do the cooking. I can't wait for it to cool off a bit here in the South so we can start cooking again. Good luck


            • #7
              Re: Thermocouples or not????

              Well, we're freezing our titties off down here in Oz. Just cooked some very nice vegetable pasties using puff pastry sheets (aint technology grand ?) Superb with a garden salad of parsley, rocket, feta, olives and oven dried romas, washed down with a quality Aussie Riesling.
              Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.


              • #8
                Re: Thermocouples or not????

                David, Sorry to hear of your frosty bits.

                For Pizza, I don't even use the infra red thermometer anymore, but for baking the next morning I use it and think that's where thermocouples could come in really handy as well.

                My oven progress -


                • #9
                  Re: Thermocouples or not????

                  Good advice from all. I appreciate the responses. Sure, most of the cooking will be for pizza, but I will also use it for bread, roasts, etc.

                  For retained heat cooking, what is the advantage of using a thermocouple over using an IR thermometer. If you heat your oven, put a door in, and cook the next morning, wouldn't the heat be distributed throughout the bricks? ie - surface temperature the same as internal brick temps.
                  Mike - Saginaw, MI

                  Picasa Web Album
                  My oven build thread