#101  
Old 08-07-2010, 07:41 PM
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Default Re: Countryboy build in SC, US

Too tired to post pics right now, but I promise they'll go up sometime tomorrow.

Great evening with a lot learned. Predictably the first pizza went to the fire gods... LOL! After that we got better at the whole process. All total I think we cooked 17 pies, not counting the burnt offering.

Now we need to learn what a circle is, because every pizza we made this evening was some odd attempt. The only truly recognizable shape was the heart one of the guests made.

I raked all the hot coals out a little while ago. Oven is cooling now and I'll be putting in eight loaves of bread in an hour or so... Then a roast for overnight slow cook.

Getting bold on the first weekend!! But, hey! Why waste the heat? It's only flour and water... well, except for the huge hunk of steer that will slow cook!
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  #102  
Old 08-08-2010, 03:42 PM
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Pics and thoughts on the first pizza gathering and oven use...

TS took the pressure off and that made a huge difference in the whole process... Especially after the first pie wound up in the coals at the back of the oven!!

Overall, we had a great time.

Pics show the prep area in the kitchen, the first pizza IN the oven, first pizza OUT of the oven, then my ugly mug taking the first bite... (Normally a 'ladies first' guy, but after all that hard work building the oven, the first slice was MINE!!!! ) It was worth every struggle and brick laid. Tasted GREAT.

My boys, especially my eldest, enjoyed the process of making the pizzas... We all just need practice with handling the dough. Not many pizzas came out super thin or round... But you can't complain with a 90 second cook time. we easily had that... at about the 45-50 second mark we'd turn the pie. Wait a couple seconds and then it was time to take it out. VERY fast in the oven.

I did have to rake coals onto the hearth to reheat the hearth to crisp the bottom a little better, but over all I could not be happier with the cook time or evenness.

Pics follow in this and the next post.
Attached Thumbnails
Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0526sm.jpg   Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0525sm.jpg   Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0527sm.jpg   Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0529sm.jpg   Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0530sm.jpg  

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  #103  
Old 08-08-2010, 03:56 PM
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Another pizza pic as well as some dessert pizza. The dessert pizza had apples, butter, honey, cinnamon and a little sugar. It was delicious.

Not sure what it is about the fireplace, but my brothers stood in it while eating... Must run in the family as you will recall two of my sons sat in it to eat the other night.... Weird!

A good pic of the bank of coals... Gonna have to learn how much wood to use to get what temps I want, etc...

Pulled almost all the coals out and let the oven rest for an hour and a half. The boys roasted marshmallows on coat hangers over the pile of coals. I asked to have a hanger with a marshmallow and held it inside the oven... Yielded a perfectly toasted marshmallow in about 60 seconds.

After the oven rested I put eight loaves of bread in. The pic makes them look prettier than they were... Had a nice smokey flavor, but I think the oven was still too hot for the bread as the surface was slightly overdone and I suspect it stifled oven spring resulting in dense loaves...

24 hours later and the oven is still very hot. It does need a little more insulation and I need a better inner door, but those will come in the near future. The other MAJOR item I need is a quality IR thermometer.

Trying to guess the temps is NOT the way to go... I put a roast in LATE last night and this morning at 6 a.m. I went out to fetch it out of the oven... Only got charcoal. Temps were WAY too high for "slow" cooking and I managed to turn a very nice piece of meat into charcoal... Oh well... There is/will be a learning curve!

Thanks again to all you guys out there that have led the way and posted lessons and pics. They helped me immensely to get to this point!
Attached Thumbnails
Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0532sm.jpg   Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0533sm.jpg   Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0534sm.jpg   Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0535sm.jpg   Countryboy build in SC, US-dscf0536sm.jpg  

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  #104  
Old 08-08-2010, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Countryboy build in SC, US

CB, you look pretty excited about that pizza! Congratulations!
BTW, it really doesn't take long to get used to working with the dough and making round pizzas.
Cheers,
Mick
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  #105  
Old 08-08-2010, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: Countryboy build in SC, US

My pizzas often resemble Continents of Africa and Australia...
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  #106  
Old 08-08-2010, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Countryboy build in SC, US

Is that Australia including or excluding Tasmania?
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  #107  
Old 08-08-2010, 08:43 PM
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Default Re: Countryboy build in SC, US

LOL!

My biggest problem with the first pie was not that it was shaped like Australia but that Alice Springs was missing!

In stretching/shaping the dough, my son didn't bother to tell me that he had torn a hole in the middle of it and there began my problems... Cornmeal may slide off the peel, but exposed tomato sauce acts as a decided brake. I mistakenly double clutched and then... well, you know the rest of the story!

Operating the peel has to be a strong decisive move whether going into or out of the oven... Hesitation or indecision is seriously penalized.
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  #108  
Old 08-08-2010, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: Countryboy build in SC, US

Any sauce gets on the peel and you need to immediately clean it, dry it, and flour it! I've had similar things happen when sauce got on the peel - the olives fly to the back of the oven while the pizza piles up...
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  #109  
Old 08-10-2010, 04:21 PM
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Default Re: Countryboy build in SC, US

what size were the fire brick that you found for that low of a price and where if you dont mind.
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  #110  
Old 08-10-2010, 07:40 PM
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Worked hard today trying to shorten the honey-do list... really did not have the motivation to attack the fireplace. I did add another bag and a half of vermiculite to the inside of the enclosure, but it looks like I need another two or three... Cavernous!!

I did cook a bit...

I had some peach halves drying, so I pulled them and set them aside to finish after this cycle cools a bit...

Fired up the oven around 2 PM and pulled the coals and fire as soon as the average temp was in the 700s. At 6 p.m. the average temp was right at 500 so I put two loaves of bread and four chicken halves in the oven and closed it up for a half hour...

Once they came out I threw together a blueberry cobbler and slid it in...

Then, I toasted some tomatoes with fresh mozzarella, olive oil, salt, pepper and basil under the broiler in the indoor oven. They would be great in the WFO on a tray if the temp was right, but best to do right before serving and the temps in the WFO were too low.

Ate dinner and pulled the cobbler out... Mmmmm!

Recently, put the peaches back in.

I did buy an IR thermometer at the auto parts store this morning... (Actually, it was on sale and I bought it yesterday at the shop, but it didn't come in until this morning.) It cost a little more than some of the ebay models, but I have a local shop I can hold accountable if it gives me trouble, and I don't have to wait for shipping. A side note, the first one they showed me had a max temp of 750. I had them search their catalog and this one reads to 1000.

Best part of dinner, beside half of it being from the WFO? We raised and butchered the chickens and grew the tomatoes and basil. The blueberries came from my brother's homestead... Doesn't get much better than that!!

Pics follow in this and next post... (Gotta figure out how to cover the bases with five instead of six pics!!)
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