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Ash dump slot ? - 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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Ash dump slot ?

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  • Ash dump slot ?

    I am getting ready to start building my oven....

    I want to put an ash dump slot in the back of my oven chamber. The plans I am using have a slot in the hearth in front of the oven....seems like you are dragging a lot of dirty ashes across your cooking surface.

    Is there any reason to avoid putting a ash dump slot in the back of the oven chamber?

    Would you lose a lot of heat out this slot eventhough it is in the floor?

  • #2
    Re: Ash dump slot ?

    YES! (there are good reasons for not having an ash slot at all)

    NO! (The heat will go out the front of your oven and you will screw up the air flow in the oven).

    Ash is part of WFO pizza. Can't be avoided. You should buy a brass brush to clean the hearth for cooking. Once you clean it off you have no reason to be "dragging dirty ashes across your cooking surface" unless the hearth temp gets too low and dragging coals acreoss the hearth (and spreading ash) is how you get the temperature back up.

    Forget the ash slot.


    • #3
      Re: Ash dump slot ?

      I didn't put an ash dump because it added a lot of complexity to the project. I thought that that was going to be a big mistake. In reality, ash is very easy to manage. First, there ends up being very little ash to deal w/after a complete burn. I use a stainless steel peel to move the ash. Three shovel fulls from the peel and all the ash is usually gone.

      If you are concerned that the ash will dirty the hearth that you are planning on cooking on, I would not worry. Right before cooking pizza, you will push the coals to one side of the oven. The coals sweep to one side without leaving ash streaks on the hearth. The only time that I will get ash streaks is if I did not let the wood completely burn to coals before moving the coals to one side.

      In my opinion, one of the best decisions that I made was not to add an ash dump.


      • #4
        Re: Ash dump slot ?

        Yes, the consensus is that ash dumps aren't worth the trouble. There's one exception to this: an indoor oven used for baking bread, where shoveling live fire out of the oven might be a fire hazard. Otherwise, don't bother.

        And no, the ash dump never goes in back, for the same reason the flue never goes in the back. It will let in combustion air, and disrupt the circular air flow.

        And those plans you are using? Check out FB's free pompeii plans before you commit to a barrel oven.
        My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


        • #5
          Re: Ash dump slot ?

          I agree with everyone else, no ash dump needed for a pizza oven. Those ash dump slots are so small that it doesn't make any sense to put them in. If you are using the oven for bread baking you are going to have to remove all the ash/coals in the oven, and that small slot will not be as fast as using a big Pizza peal.

          Mike D


          • #6
            Re: Ash dump slot ?

            I guess it is a landslide....the ash dump slot is gone! Thanks for the insight everyone!


            • #7
              Re: Ash dump slot ?

              And... as dmun implies...IF you have an ash dump it isn't in the oven - it is in front where you can seal the oven without having a HOLE in the oven to lose heat.

              As I was originally building my oven primarily for bread (or so I thought) I seriously considered an ash slot. The more I talked to people the more the mess, the corrosiveness, and the general pain of having an ash slot became apparent. Yes there are people who love them...and there are people who would never do one again.

              After building an oven without a slot I would never consider adding one unless I was a commercial baker with an indoor oven.

              Removing a live fire is awkward but so is having the coals in your storage space below the oven and quality/construction of the pan needs to be heavy duty - including the tracks that allow you to pull it forward and dump it. If not kept clean (it can easily collect water in an outdoor oven and make a caustic slurry.

              I would strongly urge you to begin with a "Why do I need a slot?" attitude and look for strong reasons you need one. The very fact that you are considering putting the slot in the rear is clear evidence you haven't researched the topic.

              And...I will reiterate...ash is a part of WFO cookery. It is unavoidable. Yes you can get hearth reasonably clean - and you should. But if you are totally ash averse you will either not use the oven or you will change your mind.