Log holder and fire quality
I used my nifty little log holder this weekend, and it was great. What I found was that using the same wood have had all spring, that I got a bigger flame in the dome. The extra air around the wood really made a difference.
What I didn't expect, and was happy to see, what that the hotter burning fire also drove more heat across the oven cooking floor. My indoor oven did a better job of keeping the floor hot, and I was able to cook 6 straight pizzas with less floor temperature drop-off.
Can you post a picture of it in action or the logs stacked on it?? I saw the pic on the store site, but can't visualize how it actually works.
I have a big problem with heat drop off on the floor
I'd like to have a log holder, too, but for now, I just used two left-over firebricks on edge to set my small starter fire wood on; I stuff newspaper between the bricks and set it all alight with a propane torch. I, too, had a heat drop-off on the floor, but recently I added additional insulation below the vermic layer. The results were impressive and immediate. When I have time, I'll post pics. This is NOT and expensive operation.
This may be a bit off topic but this discussion and the following quote from Firing Your Oven reminded me of a post I've been meaning to make.
Check out the cooking pages on Forno Bravo.com. There are some good ideas there for different cooking techniques.
For pizza, you definitely have the fire burning inside the oven. You want the flame lapping most of the way across the dome, and bouncing heat down on the cooking surface. That same logic holds true for a lot of high-heat dishes, including appetizers, fish and other things that really like the high heat. You can also start some dishes (recipes where you brown, or saute) in a hot oven with a flame going, where you later cover the dish and let it cook as the oven cools. You can even cook roast potatoes really fast with a hot, fire in the oven. Pre-heat a stainless steel pan, the add oil and bring it up to heat, then add you diced potatoes to the hot pan and put it in the hot oven. You can get them brown and tender, without burning, in short order. Literally mintues.
The fire is necessary and does use up some cooking floor space (this isn't true for bread and baking where you have removed the fire). A 35" oven is considered a 3 small/2 midsize pizza at a time oven -- including the fire.
For pizza, you keep adding wood, one stick at a time, to keep the fire going the entire time you are cooking pizza. The fire also drives heat across the oven floor -- as shown by my "log holder experiment."
2 questions for the group. First one is regarding the log holder. I have to ask this. It makes sense to me that the flame bounding off the ceiling of the dome will reflect heat to the floor. The quaestion I have is do you really think the log holder plays that big a part in heating the floor or do you think its purely the heat BTUs thown off by your fire reflecting off the dome. I have only fired my oven 2 times and I know I am a bit anxious to start using the oven but I still have questions on the best way to get the floor to 1 heat up to temp and 2 to remain hot. I just got a laser thermal temp guage I really want to monitor the floor heat vs. dome heat.
The second has to do with what was said in this forum by adding insolation to the hearth floor afteer the fact. How did he do that.
I don't think you will get a good view into your oven's performance until the 10-15th firing. Once you have fully cured the oven, you will get to know it, and how it performs. When the oven is really cooking, you can start to experiment with how the dome and hearth heat work. It isn't difficult, and you will get a feel for it.
First, bring the oven up to heat on a schedule. Typically, seven days, with a series of small and growing fires will cure your oven, and you will see it get better, and drier every day. Don't forget that you are driving moisture (slowly) out of the brick, concrete and mortar with each firing. If the moisture turns to steam, you can get cracks. By the middle of the process, you can roast a chicken, and by the end, the oven is ready for high heat pizza. After the 7th-or-so fire, the oven will continue to heat up better, and you can really get going. You will still get better performance for a number of firings past that, then your oven will settle into a pattern that you will know and enjoy.
Hope this helps.
I do have pics of the added insulation technique and materials I used, but I've been super busy and haven't had time to post them with JE's help. I will, I will. These are garden variety, cheap materials. I'll write a description, too. However, you DO NOT want to do this until your oven has been in use for a month or two; that is, until you're absolutely certain everything is dry and cured.
The result is impressive and immediate.
Give me a few days on this one. I'm working toward an official opening party for my bread biz on the 27th, and can't decide whether painting the facade, installing the toilet, planting the herbs or drinking beer is the correct priority.
Beer comes first.
BEER will give you the necessary energy to install the toilet, plus give you the "wherewithall" to make use of it.
TOILET so you have a seat to read the manual.
HERBS, next because it is spring and you need all of the growing season.
Finally, the FACADE because beauty is only paint deep.
Re: Log holder and fire quality
I tried my new log holder tonight and I'm a convert. The air flow was much improved instead of just plopping a log on top of the pushed over coals.
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