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Matt916 07-13-2010 12:11 PM

floor temperature and dome temperature question
Last weekend i finished my oven...all but the stucco that i decided to fire it up and cook some pizzas. One was a roast pear and prosuitto with pine nuts, and the others were caramelized onion and bacon with fresh squash from the garden...

Any way, after the fact, i noticed that the highest temp i could get to was about 780 degrees F, according to my infrared thermometer, which was the dome temp. The cooking floor temp topped off at about 675 F.

I have been reading that optimum pizza temperature is about 900 F, and since i didnt get that high, maybe my pizzas wern't as good as they could possible be. BTW, this is only my third time firing my oven since curing it...and insulation shouldn't be an issue, as i have put at leat 5 inches of insulation around the whole thing

My main questions are: is a brick oven supposed to easily reach 900 F after the first couple of firings? and does it matter if the floor and dome temperatures don't match?

i guess i'm just worried that i didn't build my oven right! crazy of me, i know...most likely, there is some technique that i'm missing, but when something isn't working right, there is alway a fear that you have inadvertendly screwed something up. can someone help me out with this? :)

Tscarborough 07-13-2010 12:22 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question
That is well within the range of good temps. My dome gets over 1000, but not for long, and I don't think I have gotten the floor up to 750. I usually cook with the dome at around 750 and the floor at about 650 after the first couple of pizzas.

You are still driving moisture out is the conventional wisdom, and it will heat higher, faster as it cures.

Matt916 07-13-2010 12:51 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question
That actually does make me feel a lot better about my bulid. Thanks! Its ironic that the simplicity of a wood fired oven actually makes the few steps involved with firing it that much more important.

i've also heard of people talking about how the flames in the oven are supposed to be "scary". Id say mine were maybe slightly startling. they certainly weren't bursting out of the oven opening...Is that what i'm shooting for? it's kind of hard to tell how much wood i should use and when i should use it. Is the amount of fire in the oven supposed to be maintained form the initial firing to the time the pizzas are made?

Tscarborough 07-13-2010 12:58 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question
I don't do scary big, here is mine at maximum throttle:

Matt916 07-13-2010 02:02 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question seem to have built your fire in the center of the oven....ive been building mine in the back/off to the side....i'm going to have to try and copy you. It may make for more even heating. i noticed that one side was sifnificantly cooler than the other side and that may explain why. Thanks for the info! i can tell that it is going to take me a while to learn how to best use my oven. And i haven't even built the door yet...slow cooking is going to be another learning process

Tscarborough 07-13-2010 02:40 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question
When it is time to cook pizza, I push it off to the side and feed it 1-2"x12" sticks.

Derkp 07-14-2010 02:02 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question
Have you always cooked your pizzas on tins, plates? If not do you just use a brush to clean the floor? I am part way through the curing process. One drawback is that my swamp cooler sucks the smoke in. Hard to turn in off with 95+ degrees and 10-15 % max humidity. Sometimes I wish for MN humidity, just a little bit.b


texassourdough 07-14-2010 03:35 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question
The hearth (floor as you called it) and the dome will never be the same temperature. The coals insulate the hearth a bit and the flames are hotter than the coals so the dome will (or at least should when the oven is fired) be hotter than the hearth. I can easily get my hearth over 900 degrees at which point my dome will be over a thousand (if I could measure it). At pizza temps you will probably want your dome in the 900 to 950 range and the hearth around 750 and with a decent fire so flames will keep the dome hot. I like a bigger fire than TS. I also prefer my fire to the rear side - about 1/3 of the way around the oven.

When you close the oven and temper it for baking the hearth and dome temperatures will close. My dome seems to typically run about 25 to 50 degrees warmer than my hearth depending on the oven temp.

Hang in there. You will probably see the oven heating/cooking characteristics change for at least five firings.

Good Luck!

Tscarborough 07-14-2010 03:37 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question
If I am only cooking 4 pizzas I don't use the tins, but for production I do use them to make the pies. After the first or second 1/4 turn I take them off the tin.

Matt916 07-15-2010 12:11 PM

Re: floor temperature and dome temperature question
sooo...would you guys say that having a hotter dome temperature is a function of having a bigger fire, or is there something else that factors into getting your oven into the 900 and up range?

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