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  #131  
Old 02-24-2013, 10:29 AM
WJW WJW is offline
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

Wonderful thread Annie.

It's neat to watch a person go from having no real concept on how a modern wood fired oven can/should work....and then slowly pick up knowledge to the point that they know more than the guy behind the counter at the home improvement store. I was the same when I started my oven and now feel like a know a thing or two. (Just enough to get me in trouble.)

I love your stand. Looks rustic, but it will function as an efficient modern stand with that insulation layer. You will love what you can do with the retained heat properties of your oven assuming you insulate the top and sides.

One challenge you will need to face is your climate. Wet insulation is like no insulation. Worse actually. I'd pay close attention to the advice of folks who have built in the PacNW. Think about "over-building" on measures intened to keep your insulation dry. Frequent use of your oven is a very good thing in this regard as well.

On that same vein...what are your plans for staying out of the weather when cooking. Doesn't have to be fancy...but worth considering in my opinion. If you're not a builder....even sinking three logs....one on either side of the oven, and one toward the rear...so that you could stretch a triangular tarp, sail cloth, whatever....the two poles near the entrance could be somewaht higher so that the rain would run toward the rear and not pool in your sail cloth. It won't be completely waterproof (obviously) but it would keep the vast majority of rain from actually falling on the roof of your oven....which would help keep your insulation dry...and it would make using the oven in a rainfall much more pleasant.

I bet your beach is loaded with ten foot long tree trunks. Find three that are six inches in diameter and relatively straight. Get a friend to help you drag them and stand them. It would certainly be rustic and would be as easy as digging three holes and anchoring each pole with a bag of quick-crete. You could go really authentic and research the appropriate totems for a wood burning oven.

Just a thought.

I'll continue to watch with great interest.

Last edited by WJW; 02-24-2013 at 05:14 PM.
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  #132  
Old 02-24-2013, 11:31 AM
Apprentice
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 154
Default My amazing modular floor

Yes indeedy I'm sifting the clay so I can get a good texture for my mortar!

If the oven works it will definitely merit a shelter... me... I have foul weather gear and I am not afraid of a bit of weather!

OK... here is the layout for my oven floor.

Yes, there are two types of brick... No, it is not the usual basket weave.

It is the best I could come up with using the bricks I have... but I do like the idea that the floor core (made of a 2 split layer) can be topped up easily with another layer of splits if I need more thermal mass to balance the oven and the beefiest bricks will be footing the dome. Also there will be an add on of a slate slab for a landing stage ( why is it called a landing stage... must my bread have wings? ).

Best of all... no cuts... yippee! ... OK maybe one... but I can live with that.
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  #133  
Old 02-24-2013, 05:07 PM
Gulf's Avatar
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

Annie M.
I think that you are right by building the oven first. But, WJW is right about "any kind" of covering for your oven. You might be protected from the elements, but when the 40 minutes is up for your sour dough, and there is a good rain over head, you will need some type of protection (at least for the bread) !

Just Sayin .
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  #134  
Old 02-25-2013, 01:15 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

You are right... my little oven should have a home... although no way I can make a palace like you made for the Queen!

Oven floor was placed yesterday... tomorrow the soldiers... I am thinking the first row should be full bricks on end as the oven is small and that would create more usable space near the edges... the hearth is only 28 inches... when the ovens are used for breads is the perimeter area utilized or avoided?
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  #135  
Old 02-25-2013, 01:43 PM
WJW WJW is offline
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

I'm not sure what you mean about the brick lay out, but to answer your question about perimeter....

...when I bake I can load up to sixteen 1.5 pound loaves at a time in my oven. When I do that I have loaves within about three inches of the side walls and rear. Any closer and they will start to get overdone at the points closest to the walls. Here is a bake of 1.5 to 2 pound loaves of sourdough. There are fifteen in there in the top pic. That's pretty close to a full load I think. My oven hearth is 36 inches wide by forty inches deep.





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  #136  
Old 02-25-2013, 02:04 PM
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

Hi WJW,

How long does it take to load 16 loaves and does the deep loaves bake faster that the others or does it equal out in the end? Do you slash all loaves in advance? I'm getting to the point that I will need to do full loads soon and am a little worried.
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  #137  
Old 02-25-2013, 02:31 PM
WJW WJW is offline
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

I have four loading peels and load two loaves with each peel. So I have eight loaves up and ready to roll. I slash all eight just before they go in. I have the other eight loaves sitting right there still in the banetons (baskets).

Then I load the first eight. Probably ten seconds per peel, so call it forty seconds total. Certainly less than a minute. As I'm loading, the peels go right back where they were.

Once the first eight are loaded, I flip the banetons on to the waiting peels and then quickly slash each loaf. Figure ten seconds per loaf to slash. So slashing the second eight loaves takes about a minute and a half. Then another minute to load. So the whole process is probably something just under four minutes. I do my first load at 565 degrees F. So the oven is pretty hot. On the the first batch of sixteen, that four minutes does make a difference. My loaves typically take between 28 and 32 minutes to bake on the first batch. The clock starts when the last loaf goes in. The ones done first are invariablly in the back. It's not a big difference, but but there is enough of a difference that I will typically let the last two or three loaves sit for another three minutes or so before pulling.


I'm moving pretty quick, but it's doable. It would be much easier if I had enough peels so that I could slash all sixteen at once. Before my next big bake I am going to make four more loading peels. Then I'll have eight and will be able to load all sixteen in under 90 seconds.

The photo below is my current set up. This was last week. As you can see from the bricks against the oven door, I already have one bake going and these loaves outside are ready to go. When I pull the first sixteen loaves I will usually let the oven rest for five minutes or so to come back up to temp. (I typically use the same rest period to let me come back DOWN to temp.)

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  #138  
Old 02-25-2013, 03:11 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Pacific Northwest
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

WJW... Absolutely inspiring... your bread is beautiful!!!

What I was wondering about is the first chain of bricks on my little oven... if I used a full brick standing then went with the half bricks for the rest of the dome I would have a hybrid design that I thought might be better for floor space utility.

Your oven is also a beauty...

Cheers Annie... now suffering from oven envy
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  #139  
Old 02-25-2013, 05:47 PM
WJW WJW is offline
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

Thanks for the nice words Annie.

As you can see I have not quite finished my oven. Still need to do some kind of counter top. Either some type of travertine tiles or maybe just a dyed , "pour in place" concrete counter top. The stuff in the pictures are bunch of red brick pavers from our old patio acting as a temporary counter top. I've been cooking so much with it I haven't gotten around to finishing the counter.

I now understand your comments about perimeter. If I had a small pompeii style I would definitely want to stand the first chain of bricks on end. This is referred to as a "soldier" or "sailor" course (depending on whether the bricks have the narrow side facing the oven, or the wide side.)

As far as Karangi dude's thoughts about a barrel vault style, I concur. A bit of a primer here....Most people assume that a barrel vault is the same thing as an Allen Scott style. This is not correct.

And most people will also say (correctly) that an Allen Scott style is not optimized for cooking pizzas. But saying an Allen Scott style is not optimized for cooking pizzas is not the same as saying a barrel vault is not optomized for pizza.

"Barrel Vault" only refers to the shape of the oven. While Allen Scott style ovens are barrel vault shaped, that is not what makes them less than perfect for a pizza oven. Allen Scott ovens are optimized for cooking large amounts of bread. I mean LARGE amounts from a single firing. In order to do that they must have huge amounts of thermal mass (i.e. masonry "cladding" stuck to the outside of the firebricks.). Some Allen Scott ovens will have as much as 12 inches of concrete layered on the firebricks...above and below. Then there will be insulation around all of that masonry.

The advantage to that is that, once all that masonry is good and hot, it STAYS good and hot. For a long time. That style of oven is optimized for cooking bread every day. Either as a "village baker" communal oven type deal, or as a commercial oven. Assuming you are using your oven every day, this design is much more economical from a firewood standpoint. It is already hot every morning when it's time to bring it back up to temp. And you can bake batch after batch, after batch, after batch of bread without having to re-fire. The disadvantage to this oven type is that it takes a long time and a lot of wood to heat all that mass up to usable temps. So for someone who is using their oven once a week, an Allen Scott style is a very bad idea unless they plan on baking in excess of one hundred loaves at a time.

Because many barrel vault ovens are built in the "high-mass" Allen Scott style, some people incorrectly assume that all barrel vaults have tons of mass and take forever to heat up. he oven I built has no cladding and tons of insulation. As such the heating time is the same as any pompeii. As far as the amount of bread I can cook...with no cladding whatsoever I can easily do fifty loaves in a single firing. I cook thirty loaves, in two batches, and close it up, and the next day the oven will be 390 degrees or so.

The other thing I've seen people write is that dome shape of a pompeii somehow reflects radiant energy in a way that eliminates hot spots or colder spots etc. I have found this to be simply false. I have made it a point of comparing hearth temps of two different pompeii style ovens vs my barrel vault style. So far as I can tell, the primary variables affecting hearth temp are insulation, how well heat saturated it is, and (once cooking) how close to the fire you are taking a reading. These variables seem to apply equally to pompeii and barrel vault. There my be some theoretical/laboratory difference in how the dome reflects as compared to the half barrel shape, but I don't think it exists in the real world.

One disadvantage about most barrel vault styles which is real in my opinion, is that in most barrel vaults you have to keep your fire in the back of the oven. With a pompeii, the round shape allows you to keep the fire on the side. That means that when doing pizza it is easy to watch the side of the pizza closes to the fire. This is an adavntage IMO. But it only applies when you are cooking pizza with active flame going in the oven.

In my oven, I took Tscarbourough's (Tom's) advice, and built my barrel vault with an offset door. So the area of the oven to the right of my entry is six inches wider than the area to the left of my entry. This allows me to keep the fire on the right side rather than the back, and therefore allows me to watch the edge of teh pizza closest to the fire.

Personally, I see no downside whatsoever to the barrel vault style. The reason I chose it was because it looked, to my eye, easier to build. It still looks easier to me, but I have never built a pompeii so I honestly can't say.

Bottom line, if your stand is already built and it will fit a barrel vault more effectively, go for it IMO. I would strongly consider doing an offset door however so that you can keep "eyes on" the edge of pizza closest to the fire. This is especially important if doing a smaller oven IMO.

Bill
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  #140  
Old 02-25-2013, 06:12 PM
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Default Re: Rustic Primitive Materials

You are correct that the AS ovens have too much mass for normal residential use, and also correct that a barrel vault does not need to have the excess mass to operate well, and even cook multiple batches of bread. I differ with you on the fire in the back, even with my small barrel (22Wx36D), I keep the fire on the left and can cook 2 16" pizzas at once (although I usually only make one at a time). My door is offset a couple inches to the right, that is the only aberration from a normal barrel vault.
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