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PollyG 07-03-2011 09:36 AM

Intro from California
I tried to post to this forum yesterday, and can't figure out where my post went. Apologies if this is a duplicate.
I have been wanting to build a wood fired oven for years, and am finally ready to do it. I'm interested in it mainly for bread, but will hopefully use it for most of my cooking. I'm having a hard time settling on an oven, though - is this forum for Forno Bravo oven users only, or would it be appropriate here to ask about the relative benefits of other brands, and/or of Alan Scott designs?
Thank you,

PollyG 07-05-2011 09:18 PM

Re: Intro from California
Okay, I've figured out that there is a bit of a delay between posting and the post getting published.. So I'll combine my initial posting with this other one, and hopefully will be able to figure out how to delete the initial one.

Here is the initial posting:
Hello, I am new to this forum - I'm trying to figure out what oven to build for home use, and the more I look around, the more confused I get. I'm mainly interested in bread baking, and would like an oven that retains enough heat that I can do 2 or more bakes in a row using retained heat.
I started out thinking I'd just follow the instructions in Alan Scott's book, then heard about the FB Pompeii kits, the new Casa100 kits, and the Mugnaini Medio100 kits. I would love to hear what people who do home-scale WFO cooking have, and especially would like feedback from anyone who has built and/or used more than one of these.
What I'm wondering in particular is why the Mugnaini kits are so much more expensive than the FB ones, and if there is anything noticeably different between them in terms of performance for the kind of cooking I want to do.

Since I posted this, I've read that the AS ovens take more wood to heat than the kits do, and that they also are better at retaining heat for multiple bakes. Can anyone tell me how the Pompeii stacks up in this regard? And how the Pompeii compares to the FB Casa and the Mugnaini Medio kits?

If people don't know this information, I'd love to know how you all decided on which oven to build. It seems daunting to me.

brickie in oz 07-05-2011 09:53 PM

Re: Intro from California
Hi Polly.
I built a barrel type oven and it suits me fine, I had a castable oven before this one which wasnt as good thermally.
My latest oven is absolutely brilliant and stays hot for about 1 week with a medium firing (not pizza temps)
It takes about 2 hours to get to cooking temps using good dry Oz Eucalyptus, but just lately rarely cools down.. :cool:

My build is here.

PollyG 07-06-2011 06:54 AM

Re: Intro from California
Dang, that's a beautiful oven, Al!!
Thanks for the input. By "castable" do you mean one of the kit-type ovens that come in sections? Do you think there is something intrinsic about those ovens that makes them hold heat for less time? (and maybe they heat up faster, so they're better for pizza rather than bread?)

Lburou 07-06-2011 06:56 AM

Good morning Polly :)
Regardless of the oven you build, its a good idea to remember a few points learned from those who have gone before us and made all the mistakes ;)

The big idea you want to incorporate into your oven is to control where the heat goes after the fire is out -you did mention bread baking didn't you? A simple idea, yes, but there have been several iterations to get to today's best practices recommended day after day on these forums.

You want to insulate the floor under the oven very well. You want to insulate the rest of the oven well also. That is to say you want to encapsulate the oven completley in insulation, except for the door opening.

People here with barrel ovens report excellent pizza cooking results and good performance after pizza for baking breads and other things too.

I chose the pompeii oven design because the free plans offered here have the bugs worked out of them, AND, this community is suportive and willing to answer even the dumbest questions over and over again. As far as building the oven is concerned, building the dome, after some study and contemplation, is fairly easy. And the oven entry isn't that bad if you plan ahead. Lots of help via words and pictures on this site when you build the pompeii oven.

In my view, this site is politely biased toward the old fashioned dome ovens and against the others, even the good ones. :)

Read the green words below. :)


azpizzanut 07-06-2011 10:05 AM

Re: Intro from California
Hi PollyG,

There is a lot of latitude when building an oven of bricks and mortar. You can choose the size of the finished oven and materials to suit your needs and even modify the insulation and thermal mass requirements. Some choose to add extra thickness to the dome so as to retain heat for a longer period and some choose to add extra insulation, or both.

A bread oven generally requires a lot of thermal mass so it stays hot for several batches of bread. It may take more wood and time to heat though, that's the trade-off we make for bread ovens. An oven used primarily for a few pizzas doesn't need all the thermal mass and long heating time. However, you can cook a few loaves of bread in a pizza oven and lots of pizzas in a bread oven, so there is a generous cross-over in use.

A round oven made of fire brick like the Pompeii design can certainly be made with an eye towards baking bread. A little extra insulation over extra thick cladding on the dome and perhaps extra insulation under the hearth and you will have a great dual purpose oven for everything from pizza to breads and roasts, etc. The only real decisions to make are the interior size and exterior features.

Best of luck,

stoveup 07-06-2011 11:58 AM

Re: Intro from California
Hi Polly, welcome to the forum!

There are several stickies you should read in the Newbies Forum that will help you understand the differences and similarities between pizza WFOs and bread WFOs. Here are some of them: Start reading at post #10

The Pompeii pizza oven is somewhat more difficult to build than a barrel arch oven, but has some advantages that the threads noted above will explain. If you decide to build a Pompeii, be sure to download and study the free plans available on this forum. If you decide to build a barrel arch oven, there is probably no better example than Brickie's oven thread referenced in post #3 above (note that Brickie is a professional mason - his advice is solid and practical, but sometimes you may need an Australian-American dictionary to understand what he writes :D). Regardless of which oven style you choose, this forum is a great home - you will have access to an endless amount of knowledge and friendly help here.

By the way, every new member's first post is reviewed by a moderator before it gets posted to the forum. This is to help us avoid spammers and other jerks that have no business here. My first post disappeared in to the digital ozone, too. I have no idea what happened to it.

Good Luck! Bob

brickie in oz 07-06-2011 01:10 PM

Re: Intro from California

Originally Posted by PollyG (Post 116516)
Thanks for the input. By "castable" do you mean one of the kit-type ovens that come in sections?

By castable I meant a do it your selfer from bags of refractory concrete.

I am currently building a domed oven (pictures will be put on the forum after its finished) and I can say a domed Pompeii oven is way harder to build by a factor of about 5 times over a barrel oven.
The ppl who build the gorgeous domed ovens on this forum must have a lot of patients(sp). :cool:

Les 07-06-2011 02:06 PM

Re: Intro from California

Originally Posted by brickie in oz (Post 116543)
must have a lot of patients(sp). :cool:

There were times when I thought I should have been committed. ;)

azpizzanut 07-06-2011 02:38 PM

Re: Intro from California

After you get started it all seems to get put into perspective. I don't think it is hard to build a Pompeii oven. Now that mine is done I wonder what all the fuss was about. It's round, its made of bricks and mortar and the hardest part was just getting started. The plans are good and I will "commit" to helping you with your questions.

All the best,

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