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jjerrier 03-25-2006 02:48 PM

Swabbing the Deck
Hey there...after getting the oven fired and nice and hot, moving the coals to the side, I will use a wet rag to swab the cooking deck. Does anyone else do this? Is it necessary? I think it obviously drops the temp quite a bit...

Let me know what you think...I'm firing now!

james 03-25-2006 11:19 PM

Hey Jay,

I don't know if this is in time. Don't do it. :eek:

Just use your copper brush. It does a nice job of getting hearth clean and it doesn't cool the oven floor down. For anyone who doesn't have one, you can get a brush at the FB Store. Don't use a steel grill brush, it will scratch and wear your floor out, and won't do a good job of cleaning.


jjerrier 03-26-2006 07:33 AM

I didn't swab the deck and it worked out much better! I used my laser temp from FB and confirmed that the temp was MUCH higher.

christo 03-26-2006 05:14 PM

While the swabbing makes sense to clean the ash off the floor, I'm afraid the power of the steam that results could damage the floor of your oven. At 700 degrees, the explosive force of steam could blow apart the surface of the bricks.

I do not have experience with Pizza Ovens but have experiece with Gas fired boilers used to create steam for kitchens, dry cleaners, etc. When water gets close to the refractory - mild chipping to explosive fractures can occur.

Please be careful - I you must swab - please consider wear eye protection.

jjerrier 03-26-2006 05:24 PM

Boy I didn't even think about explosions! Pizzas turned out great last I'm kicking my swabbing habit.

noosab 10-27-2006 05:46 PM

Another Swabbing the Deck Qustion
Hi All,

I've read all about how using a steel or stainless steel bruxh will eat away at the bricks but will fine wire brass brush be satisfactory or is there a problelm with brass too?


dmun 10-27-2006 06:55 PM

Brass is way softer than even the softest common brick, let alone hard refractory. Try to scratch a brick with a piece of brass: you'll just get yellow lines.

vincent 10-28-2006 05:17 AM

Although i understand all the negatives of swabbing the deck per say..i have seen it a kid one of my chores was to ride my bike to the east side of town (that would be the east side of the railroad yards) and do chores for my Grandmother. Take care of the yard...clean the rabbit shed..ect. She had an outdoor brick oven. She'd fire the oven..bring it to temp rake out the coals and then mop it out with a damp string mop before baking her bread. I'm not suggesting this but just thought i'd mention it.

dmun 10-28-2006 05:29 AM

wet oven
Just out of curiosity, what's the difference between swabbing the oven floor with a wet mop, and spraying water in the hot oven? It would seem to raise the same issue. I recall one poster saying that spraying his oven before baking was causing loose mortar problems.

Not that I'm discouraging steam baking, I'm just curious

james 10-28-2006 07:47 AM

There are lots of fun themes going on here -- pizza, bread, steam, brass, ash, et. al.

If you are cooking pizza, where you want high heat and don't want to take any heat out your cooking floor, don't swab. A good brass brush from Forno Bravo (hint) gets the deck clean and ready for pizza.

If you are baking bread, you want to let the hearth temperature fall before you start to bake, so swabbing is OK/good. Also, I think of pizza a slightly more rustic product than bread, and if you want your break perfectly clean on the bottom, swabbing also helps there. (I will defer to Jim for more details there). When I swab, I use a damp paper towel attached the my Forno Bravo brush (hint), and then just toss it. You can see that it does get up some ash beyond what the brush does.

On steam, you have the idea that you want the oven cooler than you do for pizza at play. I also think the idea is that the oven walls or floor never get wet -- but rather that the spray explodes into steam as it nears the walls. I will again defer to our resident bread expert (Jim) for more on that.

Good topic.

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