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  #71  
Old 07-08-2010, 10:25 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

You are without question still wet. It takes big fires, driving heat deep into the refractory to truly dry out an oven. As you concluded, the fire was way too small. You need to build a big enough fire to clear the entire dome and hold it that way for a couple of hours to have any chance of really drying out the oven.

It is easy to cheat on pizza and bake good pies before the hearth is properly loaded but it needs to be at least above 650 and more like 700 to 750 by most thermometers before you can balance the bottom to the top.

Try the technique I describe for testing the hearth. If it is too hot (which it should be when you first clear the hearth) wait a couple of minutes. If it is too cold, rake coals back over the hearth to recharge it. But... note, using coals to recharge is an indication the hearth is not hot enough (actually not heat loaded enough). You can put enough heat into it that way to do a couple of pies but it will keep cooling off and need recharging. The real answer is to build a bigger fire next time and load more heat into the hearth before beginning baking!

Good Luck!
Jay
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  #72  
Old 07-08-2010, 10:27 AM
Serf
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 15
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

Thanks very much for this excellent advice. I guess I just didnt appreciate how big the fire needs to be.
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  #73  
Old 07-08-2010, 10:56 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

One last thought Ron!

You MAY not be ready for a really big prolonged fire. As you have probably noted, too big a fire too early can lead to cracking. So...I would suggest first step is to build a big enough fire to clear the dome totally (which you should be ready for) and stop, simply close a door if you have one or let the fire die down and go out. Then go for a longer burn - say a half hour or so (which would be a good pizza point for most ovens so do pizza). You can continue that way but if you want to really dry out the oven, do a "bread" firing and keep the fire going for two hours or so after it clears. That is more than you need for bread but it will push the heat deep into the refractory and give you a drier oven. (Then the trick is keeping it dry!)

Hang in there!
Jay
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  #74  
Old 07-08-2010, 10:58 AM
Serf
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 15
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

ok, I will do one last big fire tonight that completely clears the dome and then I will shut it down. Pizza will wait until the weekend. This will make 8 curing fires, including the one last night where I thought I made a sufficient pizza fire, but did not. That fire did burn for several hours though.
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  #75  
Old 07-09-2010, 01:40 AM
Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 118
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

For efficient drying you should not close the door and should always keep a small fire going. Most of the water will leave the refractory with the flue gases and up the chimney.

karl
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  #76  
Old 07-09-2010, 05:59 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

I have no problem with having a smaller fire for days if one has the time and ability. It will work but the fire does need to be big enough to push heat into the outer refractory and cladding to be of benefit.

The purpose of closing the door is to reduce heat loss from convection and radiation so that more of the heat in the refractory around the oven cavity will be pushed deeper into the refractory and drive out more water.

As the water vapor in the refractory is heated it tends to migrate to the cooler parts of the oven and to condense - which is in part why the exterior of the dome gets hot when you have a wet oven.

You don't particularly want to close the door after small fires but once you are building big fires with the temp on the hearth and dome in excess of 800 degrees for extended periods, closing the door can in my experience push the heat deeper into the refractory and cladding and aid in drying the outer refractory and cladding. Unfortunately drying out my oven is an experience I have far too often - I will be roofing my oven this fall to create a drier environment.

Jay
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  #77  
Old 07-09-2010, 06:05 AM
Serf
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 15
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

My oven, an Artigiano, is enclosed in a masonry structure with a roof. Does this make any difference in how I should be curing it?
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  #78  
Old 07-09-2010, 09:02 PM
GianniFocaccia's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Disneyland, CA
Posts: 1,491
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

Wow, what a great-looking oven!
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  #79  
Old 07-11-2010, 08:21 AM
Apprentice
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Norway
Posts: 118
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

Curing and drying are two different operations. Drying should be done with the door open and a smaller fire going for as long as it takes. Curing is for the hardening of the refractory cement and need a high temperature (as specified by the type of cement used) for specified periods. Ideally it would be at an as high temperature as possible.

regards from Karl.
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  #80  
Old 07-12-2010, 02:25 PM
Serf
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Cincinnati
Posts: 15
Default Re: Common Mistakes, Pizza Disasters

Well it was simply due to my fire not being big enough the first time to heat the hearth adequately. This time I started an inferno, and it worked like a charm. Dome was cleared so clean it looked brand new.





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