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Wood 05-28-2008 02:05 PM

just a few basic questions...
 
At the end of April our hearth was poured (3" concrete + 4" of the vermiculite/concrete mixture), this ended up sitting for 2+ weeks due to construction delays. The floor was set, dome placed, 2 rolls of blanket overlayed, then 4" of vermiculite/concrete added over. Several days later the stucco was applied. From the date of the stucco the oven sat idle for ~10 days. Then the fun began, I started with a small fire day one (paper + kindling), day two paper + more kindling, day three paper plus even more kindling. At this time the interior of the dome was still covered with soot. On day four started the fire with kindling, added a piece of almond wood, then another 30 minutes later. On day five two pieces of wood and I finally saw white at the top of the dome! Day six I cranked it up and added three pieces of wood anad got flame coming out the front and up the flume for a few minutes, the interiopr of the dome went almost entirely white. Note: after each day I let the oven cool but the morning after day 6 is was at 300 degrees F. Day 7 I noticed two hair line cracks in the exterior of the stucco :-<
Now the questions...
Two days later went to cook for the first time (fire in center then moved to the side using almond wood) and the oven took 2 hours+ to get what I thought was hot enough...floor registered from 700 to 500 depending how far I got away from the fire, is this normal? or should I have been patentient and let it get hotter?
Dough was hand made and surely stuck to the peel almost every time...I think to many toppings were added plus not enough flour on the peel, any and all suggestions are welcome...
PS: my son graduates from high scool in two weeks and we have 50+ coming for pizza and wine...here's where I really need help

dmun 05-28-2008 03:06 PM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
By all means, let the dome get completely white. I don't use a laser thermometer but 500 to 700 seems really low to me. Don't be afraid to build a big fire and let moderate a while before shoving it over to the side, to soak your bricks with heat, especially if you are planning on multiple pizzas. I try to err on the side of the too-hot oven, and watch the pizza like a hawk, rather than one that's too cool and you have to sit and wait.

For the pizza peel: some rice flour from the health food isle will make your pizza slide like it's on ball bearings. I keep it in a commercial salt shaker. Other people use seminolina, I've even heard of salt. Avoid corn meal at WFO temps.

james 05-28-2008 04:05 PM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
I agree with David. Definitely get the whole dome white -- that's when you know you are ready to cook, and if you stop firing before that, your oven might run out of gas, just when you want to hit the accelerator.

Some ovens need a larger number of fires to really dry out to where they jump forward to become ready to cook.

On the sticky peel, my vote is more flour. There is a nice level where the pizzas don't stick to the peel, but you don't have a lot of excess flour under the pizza, which tends to burn. Try to find that nice level where they don't stick.

You can do it.
James

asudavew 05-28-2008 04:11 PM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dmun (Post 33521)

For the pizza peel: some rice flour from the health food isle will make your pizza slide like it's on ball bearings. I keep it in a commercial salt shaker. Other people use seminolina, I've even heard of salt. Avoid corn meal at WFO temps.

I use corn meal... and it does burn!

Does the rice flour burn ?

asudavew 05-28-2008 04:13 PM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
I put cornmeal on my peel, but I will probably switch to rice flour.
But... I put cornmeal on... then the stretched dough.

and then I shake it back and forth

then the sauce.. and shake

then the cheese... and shake

then the .. toppings and shake

and then I haul butt to my WFO ... shaking the whole time

then i place the peel where i want the pizza to sit
and pull it fast enough for the pizza to slide in place

Wood 05-28-2008 06:29 PM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
thanks all...will try the rice flour this weekend...
has anyone else used almond wood? I was told the commercial pizza folks prefer it over oak for pizza...

dmun 05-28-2008 07:01 PM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
Quote:

Does the rice flour burn ?
Not so much. Corn is full of sugar: corn is what's sweetening that cola in your hand. Rice has a lower sugar content, so it's less likely to burn.

asudavew 05-28-2008 07:21 PM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by dmun (Post 33544)
Not so much. Corn is full of sugar: corn is what's sweetening that cola in your hand. Rice has a lower sugar content, so it's less likely to burn.

thank you sir

makes more sense now!

gjbingham 05-28-2008 08:10 PM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
Almond should burn super super hot. You probably have some curing left to do. I'd keep heating the thing up every day. Start slow but take all the way till the dome burns clean. I think you'll find the time to clear the dome will decrease over the next week. Then you'll have a cured oven.

Make pizza every time, or bread, or something. No sense wasting the wood.

SpringJim 05-29-2008 03:52 AM

Re: just a few basic questions...
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Wood (Post 33539)
thanks all...will try the rice flour this weekend...
has anyone else used almond wood? I was told the commercial pizza folks prefer it over oak for pizza...

I use almond...and any other wood I can get my hands on:eek:

Almond is fine, a lot like oak, very dense...good hot fires.


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