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marksnow 01-18-2007 07:36 PM

Barrell vs Dome Design
Hi everyone

Bit of newbie question but are there any huge benefits from building a dome oven vs a barrell oven? I understand the heating will be more even on a dome oven however the barrell oven appears to be much easier to build.

Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.



james 01-19-2007 05:53 AM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design
Hi Mark,

Welcome aboard. There is a good posting on that topic here:

You could say it was the problems I have with my barrel vault oven in California that caused me to develop the Pompeii Oven plans and create the Forno Bravo Forum. You will definitely enjoy the dome oven more.

It will be good to hear input from other builders, but I have heard many folks say they think the dome oven is either the same, or even easier, to build than the barrel vault.

Enjoy your project!

telehort 01-19-2007 09:25 AM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design
I have really been going back and forth with this same question daily as I am preparing to build and oven and each day I decide to go back and forth between barrel and dome. What are some of the honest difficulties that arise during dome construction that one could be aware of. Are there any issues with the mortar shrinking a bit as it dries and the dome collapsing or what other things have you run accross. My preference is dome construction and have gone through the Pompeii plans, but have also been tryign to find a more detailed set of plans to assist.

CanuckJim 01-19-2007 09:31 AM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design
I really don't think a barrel vault is easier to build than a round dome. I've done both, and both have their separate issues. My bread oven is a barrel vault design, but if I wanted to make a dedicated pizza oven, I'd definitely go for a round dome. You can bake bread in a pizza oven, and pizza in a bread oven, but there are some compromises going in either direction. I think you should decide what, primarily, you will be doing in your oven and make your choice from there.


telehort 01-19-2007 10:11 AM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design
thanks Jim. I think pizza and other "entertaining dishes" are what will primairily be the focus of what I cook which is why I am leaning towards the done.

DrakeRemoray 01-19-2007 12:24 PM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design
I had the same debate (discussed here)

I decided on the dome oven and have been very happy with it, including mulitple bakes (discussed here)

Hope that helps!

james 01-21-2007 04:21 AM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design
Here's another of thinking about this.

60 million Italians can't be wrong. I came up with a list of just how central pizza and wood-fired ovens are to Italian culinary heritage and culture, and how many people depend on wood-fired pizza and baking. As there are no barrel vault ovens here (other than a few at commercial bakeries), and all Italian pizza ovens are based on a common design, this at least says that you are in good company if you build the round, dome oven. :)

Here's a short list:

One million+ wood-fired ovens
Mullions of wood-fired pizzas eaten every day
Hundreds of thousands of Italian careers based on wood-fired pizza
Scores of thousands of wood-fired pizzerias
Over 5,000 authorized pizza oven dealers
One thousand five hundred wood-fired pizzerias in Naples alone
Thousands of olive oil producers
Hundreds of pizza oven producers
Hundreds of tomato and mozzarella producers
Scores of pizza peel and oven tool producers
Multiple pizza flour companies
Multiple professional pizza magazines
Multiple pizza trade shows
Multiple pizza oven burner producers
Multiple pizza oven fan producers
Multiple pizza competitions
Multiple professional pizza trade associations
Multiple pizzaiolo training schools
One feature-length movie dedicated to pizza

Can they all be wrong? At least it's an interesting perspective.

jahysea 01-21-2007 05:51 PM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design
Mark, telehort,

I've not built a Barrel dome, but I recently built the Pompeii dome and didn't think the "dome" part caused great difficulty. Particularly with the angle iron approach to covering the door. I would think a Barrel dome wouldn't be less work, and everything I've read talks about the more even heating of a dome style.

I just did a little spreadsheet to roughly track my time and cost... I spent about 20% of my time on the dome and floor, and a third of the total cost.

telehort, you could go see some ovens in our area (Nor Cal) for reference.

Mark you live 7000 miles away, dunno how many ovens you will find in Aus. Having said that I have a friend that built a barrel style oven near Nurioopta in the Barossa. Certainly you won't have a hard time finding bricks in Australia, unlike California it seems like masonry buildings and fireplaces are extremely common. No earthquakes!

marksnow 01-23-2007 05:28 PM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to respond!

I have organised to go to company here in Perth that has demo nights on building their barrell pizza ovens that they sell in kit form, so it will be good to see the building process first hand... I haven't decided whether I will go the dome or barrell oven yet but at least it is a step in the right direction =)

Thanks again!

Hendo 01-25-2007 05:06 AM

Re: Barrell vs Dome Design

Originally Posted by james (Post 7391)
Multiple pizza oven burner producers

Do you have any info on gas burners? I've seen the "gas supplementation" idea at Café Beaujolais (Bread Builders p207), and thought I'd install a 1" natural gas outlet beside the oven opening for just such a portable burner.

But is there a better way to plan for a (perhaps more permanent) gas burner in the oven before I pour the support slab? I'm not looking to cook solely by gas - just in the event I run out of wood, feel lazy, or (like Café Beaujolais) in lieu of re-lighting a wood fire for another bake if the oven has lost too much heat.


Originally Posted by james (Post 7391)
One feature-length movie dedicated to pizza

I know of one dedicated to timpano, but don't know this one - what is its name?

Cheers, Paul.

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