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mrgweeto 08-26-2009 07:16 AM

curing temps
 
Now that I have gotten the oven up to 600degrees and am doing the last one up to 700degrees it dawned on me...........am I checking the correct temperature? You don't check the air in the dome and you can't check the temp at the fire base so I can only assume that the spot that I have been checking is the correct one.......the top of the dome with the IR Thermometer. Is that correct. If not what temps do you check?
G

Ken524 08-26-2009 11:11 AM

Re: curing temps
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mrgweeto (Post 62702)
Now that I have gotten the oven up to 600degrees and am doing the last one up to 700degrees it dawned on me...........am I checking the correct temperature? You don't check the air in the dome and you can't check the temp at the fire base so I can only assume that the spot that I have been checking is the correct one.......the top of the dome with the IR Thermometer. Is that correct. If not what temps do you check?
G

Guy,

Good question... I used a cheapo oven thermometer when I cured mine. Once I got to the high temps like you are (>600F), I ditched the thermometer and guessed based on previous fires - I just made each fire a little bigger for a little longer.

Try not to get to wrapped up in precise temp control (or measurement). As long as you are slowly ramping up your oven in steps, you'll be fine! I think I did about 6 increasing sized fires before I cut it loose.

Even after the "official" curing is done, you'll notice your oven will improve efficiency over then next 5-10 fires as more and more water gets driven out of the insulation.

Any cracks yet??

texassourdough 08-26-2009 11:41 AM

Re: curing temps
 
The key is to make them gradually bigger and longer. Temperature of the oven other than the dome with an IR thermometer or interior temps with thermocouples are pretty meaningless. The goal is simply to drive heat deeper into the oven to drive water out (okay evaporate water out) so the oven will hold heat. It is gradual so you don't crack the refractory. by releasing water too fast. When you hit the 600 range you are getting close. You should start lengthening your burns. You are just about there!
Jay

mrgweeto 08-26-2009 11:53 AM

Re: curing temps
 
The only cracks I have are on the outside of the dome and they most likely are from shrinkage. No smoke or steam came out of them when I hit the 500+mark. Some were probably form natural air drying when we had some real hot weather. I am/have realized that we probably all get so enthralled with this project that we go a little nuts and overthink everything. I agree with you that common sense will take over and everything will work out well. This Sun we are going to make our first pizza and then continue for the rest of the day until we can't eat anymore. I may have to stop by the local pizza restaurant and get a quick lb of dough to try a little bread during curing. After that all dough will be made by us. We had a restaurant in town that was considered by many as one of the best. So much so that my brother and I were considering buying it. We got to know the old timers that ran it and then the next owner and we have all their recipes for dough etc. We are very into cooking and my nephew and
godchild went to the Culinary Institute so we excpect to gain a few pounds until we can regulate the food intake. Thanks for the temp info and I will post somemore pix as we progress. We put the felt on the roof and put a prime coat on the facia tis morning. Plan on taping our seams in the Durock tonight.
Guy

mrgweeto 08-26-2009 01:56 PM

Re: curing temps
 
texassourdough,
That is what we have been doing for the last couple of weeks. I say couple of weeks because while we are working on the enclosure we throw some small hardwood (oak) in there and slowly have increased thre temp and duration till now. Tongiht we are going to get the inside top of the dome up to 700degrees and maintain that for a little longer than the other day at 600degrees.
Thanks for the advice,
G

texassourdough 08-26-2009 02:45 PM

Re: curing temps
 
I think you are at the point where you can be more aggressive. If you are planning for an extended, long burn on Sunday you will be pushing heat deep into the refractory as time progresses. If you are going to shoot for 700 you will be approaching the point where the oven will clear. At that point the oven is fully ready to "cook" though a bit cool for the best pizza. I would suggest taking it to clear and then cutting back the fire a bit (pull some coals and potentially wood) and let it go (at a less vigorous pace for a while or just let it die down. I.e. not striving to hit high temps but simply to maintain a moderately high temp to drive heat into the refractory. You will get a lot of drying from the extended burn and be more ready for a hard, hot burn on Sunday.

Good luck!
Jay

mrgweeto 08-27-2009 07:23 AM

Re: curing temps
 
Jay,
Last night we got the dome top heat up to 700 degrees. We kept the fire up for about 3 hrs by adding just enough wood to maintain a fairly constant temp. We did get it up to a high at one point of 780. This morning the side walls were approx 150 and the top 170 and the floor 180. It seems to be very efficient. I like your advise about extending the burn time which we started to do as noted before. We will do this till Sunday when pizza will be the only thing on the menu.......weather permitting.
Thanks for your advice,
Guy

texassourdough 08-27-2009 03:10 PM

Re: curing temps
 
That is good! You put some heat into it. The fact that it was 170 says there is still a lot of water in the oven. When you get it dry it should be over 350 next morning (whoops you may not be insulated yet????)

Anyway, I think that was great because now you can pour the heat to it and not worry!

Bake On!
Jay

mrgweeto 08-28-2009 06:46 AM

Re: curing temps
 
We are insulated with 6+inches of vermiculite poured oaround and over the dome in our inclosure. Remember we are letting the fire die down and have no door on the oven to retain the heat inside. Last night I got it to 800 and this morning the outside air temp was in the 60's and the floor was 170. The side walls were 150s. the top of the dome was 190ish. There was nothing but fine ash left from the wood. I did see one hair line crack on the wall furthest away from the fire....I think. I rubbed my nail across it to see if there was any depth and by rubbing it looked like it went away so it either got camoflauged by me rubbing it or it was not a crack. Not too worried.
Back to the heat question. When you wrap up your cooking do you let the flames die down with the door on or off? I can see how the heat would be in the 350 range with the door on (closed) but not with it off (open). You do get wind that is flowing in as it would to fuel the fire.
Any thoughts?
Thank you,
Guy

texassourdough 08-28-2009 07:05 AM

Re: curing temps
 
Hi Guy!

Yeah, if no door it will cool off. I always close the door. MANY REASONS! One of which is critters cause I live in the country and I don't want a coon establishing a home in my dome!

I would probably suggest at this stage not letting it burn on out but closing it up if you have a door and forcing as much heat into the oven mass (and out wherever) as possible.

Sounds like your oven is in excellent shape. Cracks are normal. No problem.

I have an alterior motive in closing the door on the leftover fire. It will make really great charcoal which is wonderful for grilling.

Look forward to hearing a report on Sundays big fire!
Jay


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