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ddvanrooy 10-24-2013 11:38 PM

Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
Hello everyone ! I found this site while looking for info on breadmaking, and now I am in process of building my own brick oven , starting this week. I have no experience with building such a thing, and cook for pleasure only.

I want to put some ideas to the forum for comment:
1. I am thinking to install some temperature sensors inside the oven. I'd like to have some comments of people who has done this, as to the actual location they used and how well it works
2. Has anyone ever installed a light inside one of these ovens ?
3. I read somewhere that bread is improved by adding steam to increase humidity. Hence I think of fitting a small waterline for a small sprinkler. Any comments from members with experience in steam ovens, and that sort of thing are welcome.

Of course any other information will be appreciated

Cape Town

hodgey1 10-25-2013 04:42 PM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
Welcom DD

1: The temp sensors are a preference thing, I have three. One in the middle of the floor, dome and one in back wall. I have found since installing them that I use the IR thermometer more often particularly when cooking pizza mostly because I can shoot multiple areas.
2: I can't imagine that there is a Light that would hold up to the intense heat and I'm sure if there was it would be hard to keep lense clear. But, not positive.
3: Steam would be an awesome addition for when baking, I will be interest to see what people have done and hope to learn from your question being posted.

ddvanrooy 10-25-2013 11:39 PM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
Hi Chris,
do you think the handheld thermometer is more useful then ? what sort of performance did you get from the build-in sensors ? did they vary a lot between them ? and how did you actually mount them ? I read some people put them inside the bricks, approx 1 inch below the surface.
As far as steam goes, I read that some people use a frying pan with water for steam , or ice cubes, but for me it sounds very little actually. Although I use the same idea in my Weber for roasting and it work well.

hodgey1 10-26-2013 05:17 AM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
I installed the thermocouple as you described one inch from the surface of the brick. In my limited use of them, Ive found that cooking pizzas the IR gun is giving you a true surface temp where you are cooking and the thermocouples are giving you more of an idea of saturation temp of the brick and oven. Im guessing that for baking the thermocoiple maybe a better judge of temp.

UtahBeehiver 10-26-2013 07:22 AM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa

I installed TCs in my oven embedded in the brick wall of the dome to measure saturation of the brick for baking purposes. I have not done much baking and mostly pizzas where like hodgey use a IR gun. I am not sure I would put them in if I were to do another build. Look up Faith in Virginia's thread, she has one of the premier bakers on the forum and has been experimenting with steam injection during her bread baking, she uses a pressure cooker as the steam generator.

ddvanrooy 10-27-2013 08:46 AM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
As far as a build in steam generator goes: I saw pics of someone on a farm who snaked copper tubing around the dome of his oven and use it as a water heater. So I figured, by making the pipe smaller, the water will boil quickly and form steam. The water can be taken from a nearby line, and with a valve added the flow can be controlled easily. By flattening the outlet side, the stream would become a spray, and any water which isnt steam yet should vaporise quick enough. I figure this way it may be possible to get as much steam inside the oven as you want

hodgey1 10-27-2013 12:15 PM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
I would agree with Utah and if I built again I'd maybe skip the thermocouples. The IR is the real tool of the pizza maker as the surface temp of the floor is key to properly cooked pizza and with a live fire rolling over the dome we all know thats hot. For baking, knowing that your bricks are saturated I'm sure is valuable. I really haven't had time yet to explore baking in my WFO yet so maybe I should withhold my opinion on the thermocouples.

Can't wait to keep hearing more about steam. Very interseting knowing the benefits of that in baking.

boerwarrior 10-28-2013 06:53 AM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
Welcome DD!

I live in Northern California but I grew up in Cape Town. I still own a house in Scarborough. Which suburb so you live in?

I agree with the thermocouple comments. I bought several thermocouples with the intention of placing them strategically - but I found that the IR thermometer is all I need.

ddvanrooy 10-28-2013 08:31 AM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
Hey Boerwarrior
I know Scarborough. We are just around the corner from there in Fish Hoek

jeeppiper 10-28-2013 12:22 PM

Re: Building brick oven in Cape Town South Africa
DD: My feeling is to keep you oven as simple as possible. Embedded thermocouples, a integral sprinkler head/plumbing, oven light, etc. all become possible weak spots and areas that might require future maintenance. If you put them in, make sure you have provisions to access them in the future if you ever have to replace them. I have managed well with an IR thermometer, a flashlight, and a hose....

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