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enzo 12-22-2009 03:07 PM

The scary fire issue
I think I've discovered the answer! I'm sure this is probably obvious to most people on this forum, but, there are scary fires and then there are SCARY FIRES.

I had been having problems getting my oven to carbon burning temps i.e. the walls turning white. I have since purchased proper seasoned (about a year) red gum, burned it and Presto... white walls within an hour.

There seemed to be quite a difference in the intensity of the heat/fire as it required much less wood to get to temp.

Does this sound right? This would be useful info for newbies like me.

texassourdough 12-22-2009 05:26 PM

Re: The scary fire issue
Hi Enzo!

Crappy wood can certainly slow the heating and make a lot of crap in the process.

I am in the Texas Hill Country where we have a "trash tree" that is a juniper that is absolutely free and burns like crazy - even when green! (A month or two of aging makes it incindiary!) When one tries to cook over it in a bbq it gives a tarry, resinous taste but in the oven it is a delight. Burns like hell and clears in aout 45 minutes. AND, at the high oven temps it is ODORLESS. And.. FREE! I love it! While it is fine for pizza i usually switch to hardwood just so it burns longer.

It is my understanding that in the Middle East juniper is a preferred bread oven fuel for it heats fast. Do you have anything like that down under?

Bake On!

enzo 12-22-2009 05:48 PM

Re: The scary fire issue
G'day Jay,
I'm fairly new to the game, so I haven't sussed out too many wood type options yet. Sure seems as though there's an awful lot to learn about WFO's. I have only ever burned red gum, both for my open fire and WFO, I look forward to the on-coming disasters and triumphs.

I know experimentation is the key, so as we say down here, "let's suck it and see"


heliman 12-22-2009 07:17 PM

Re: The scary fire issue
I only use Whitegum (Wandoo) and Mallee roots. I pay $15 per small bag so it it is very expensive, but well worth the spend as the wood lights with 2 small firelighters and burns like crazy. I have been getting temps around 480 C with this setup and produces a good pizza fire.

I did experiment with the cheaper Jarrah but results were poor so now only use the Whitegum/Mallee combo. Not sure if those trees are available down your way though but I would guess so!


enzo 12-22-2009 07:34 PM

Re: The scary fire issue
Yep! Mallee is great wood, just very expensive down in Melbourne. I've heard it burns HOT and for a long time.

david s 12-22-2009 08:02 PM

Re: The scary fire issue
The best wood is free wood. I try to reserve a few heavy, split, dry pieces after about 45 mins then finish with some thinner bits so they're all burnt up when I'm ready to remove some coals and cook.

Neil2 12-24-2009 11:19 AM

Re: The scary fire issue
"The best wood is free wood. "

These ovens are not fussy. I've used many different woods and they all will do the job. The only essential criteria is that the wood is well seasoned.

heliman 12-25-2009 04:29 PM

Re: The scary fire issue
1 Attachment(s)
A quick sample pic of the woods that I use:

White Gum (Wandoo) left
Mallee root right


rhollman 01-08-2010 08:53 AM

Re: The scary fire issue
Is that actually the root of a tree ?

heliman 01-12-2010 01:33 PM

Re: The scary fire issue

Originally Posted by rhollman (Post 76504)
Is that actually the root of a tree ?

Yes indeed ... allowed to dry and split (using a hydraulic splitter as they are VERY tough). Another excellent option is "vine stumps" - they burn forever too and at a high temperature. Unfortunately these are hard to find.


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