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HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working?? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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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:
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HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working??

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  • HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working??

    Hi all, I am new to this forum and have joined to see if any of you lovely people can help me. I have built an igloo style brick oven in my garden and proudly finished it last year.

    However, the only thing i have managed to use it for is to burn our confidential mail and old bank statements. On any occasion that i have attempted to heat it enough to cook food, the food usually comes out colder than when it went in (well, not literally!).

    Anyway, it doesnt work, i assume it is something to do with lack of air intake but really dont know.

    I have included some photos.

    Please help!!! many thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Re: HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working??

    On first glance, it looks as though you have no insulation. Do you have it under the floor?

    If you don't insulate, the heat will leave before you can cook anything...

    Read the pompeii oven plans to get an idea of what you need to insulate with.
    Elizabeth

    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

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    • #3
      Re: HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working??

      Elizabeth I think has hit on part of the problem but I think the issue is more related to the fact that I see nothing to weather proof the WFO. Every time it rains (and I hear it has been known to rain where you live) the oven soaks up water. It needs to be dry to work.

      Hope this helps,
      Wiley

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      • #4
        Re: HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working??

        thanks for the replys....
        the oven isnt insulated at all, but the base is supported by an inch thick piece of (very heavy) steel.
        i could easily coat the outer in a sealant to make the oven waterproof, but not sure how i can insulate the brick construction.
        also, in your opinion(s), does it need some air ingress to feed the fire?
        thanks!

        ps, i have put a number of photos in an album on here somewhere?!?
        pps, YES!! it does rain a lot here (it is as i write this message too, haha)

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        • #5
          Re: HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working??

          PhotoPlog - Error

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          • #6
            Re: HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working??

            I think your problems have both been mentioned - exposure to the elements and a lack of insulation. Seems that you are damned either way. Even if you are in drought conditions, you may never achieve suitable pizza temps without insulation and most certainly won't be doing any retained heat cooking.

            RT

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            • #7
              Re: HELP!! My first attempt... why is it not working??

              The steel base is also a problem for it will sap the heat out of the floor.

              You can, no doubt do a lot of good by building a small house (roof and walls around the oven to keep it dry) and filling the space around with vermiculite. Depending on how thick the top is (probably should be at least 2 inches of refractory cement (4 if you aren't lined with bricks) you may want to add cement to the top.

              I can't see your photos so I don't have anything to help me with details but...you may be able to overcome the hearth problem IF you can remove the floor bricks and put insulating boards between the steel and the hearth floor. If you can't you probably lose too much height by building on top of the current floor - but even another layer of half bricks would help!

              The oven will always be a compromise (if nothing else for the steel) but it can almost certainly be made usable. You should certainly be able to do pizza which relies mostly on readiant heat from the dome - yeah, you might have to rake coals out to reheat the hearth between pizzas but that is easily doable.

              You will also, almost certainly be able to do slow cooking (IF you build up the dome mass and insulate and get it DRY and keep it that way. The hearth heat loss will mean the oven will cool rather rapidly but that only changes how long you can wait to put food in.

              It can be done!
              Jay

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