#11  
Old 01-28-2007, 06:38 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Miami, FL (USA)
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Default Re: Feeling brave... a true Neopolitan Pizza Oven

Yep.. will do on the milestone pics... thought about that... links do die and it sucks 3 years later when you come along and you come up with a dead link..

Gonna go post a forno bravo link right now...

Last edited by johnrbek; 01-28-2007 at 06:45 AM.
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  #12  
Old 02-04-2007, 02:28 AM
Peasant
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: california
Posts: 32
Default Re: Feeling brave... a true Neopolitan Pizza Oven

very interesting discussion -

when it comes to "true" pizza napoletana (be it ovens, preparation, ingredients, etc.) it seems that, in the final analysis, "true" exists only in the eye of the beholder.

for example, drizzling italian evo on the pizza prior to placing it in the oven, or using evo in general, is said to be traditional when it comes to neapolitan pizzas. yet da michele's, arguably the best and most traditional pizza napoletana in naples, doesn't use olive oil at all - they use soya bean oil. nor do they use buffalo mozzarella. is it possible to produce a "true" margherita without evo and buffalo mozzarella? apparently so unless one doubts the authenticity of da michele's pies.

and what about una pizzeria napoletana in new york, arguably the best authentic neapolitan pizza in the states? looking at available internet photos of their oven, it doesn't appear to be a low-domed "true/authentic" neapolitan oven (nor does the one used at da michele's for that matter) - of course i'm not certain that this is the case but there are a few photos out there in which the flames seem to be more consistent with a higher dome. should it in fact be the case, i.e., both places using higher-domed ovens similar to those offered by forno bravo, would it make their pizzas any less authentic?
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  #13  
Old 02-05-2007, 10:04 PM
Laborer
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Miami, FL (USA)
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Default Re: Feeling brave... a true Neopolitan Pizza Oven

aeneas,

With respect...

There's no debate that there is a Neapolitan style pizza oven, just as there is a very well defined Neapolitan style pizza. This has been documented both here on Forno Bravo, on pizzamaking.com, as well as other places such as VPN Americas (LLC) - The Verace Pizza Napoletana Association in the Americas. Do a little poking around on these sites or shoot me an email if you'd like to discuss details....

The purpose of my post is not to debate this restaurants oven or that restaurants recipe. Rather, my purpose is to document my journey building a Neapolitan style oven, to solicit advice from knowledgable builders here, and to shed some light on some of the design aspects, construction methods, and perhaps pitfalls of this type of oven that to date are somewhat of a closely held secret.

I'd like to keep the dialogue going, but I'd rather we stay on topic. If you'd like to debate these points or take it in another direction, I'd be happy to, but I'd prefer to do it under another thread or via email if that's okay...

Good Karma! Thanks!!

JB
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  #14  
Old 04-17-2007, 04:28 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Miami, FL (USA)
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Default Low Dome Neapolitan Oven Update..

Well, it's been a couple months and I've finally finished the core of the dome. I will begin building the oven landing, flue, and chimney next.

Below are a few pics I threw together for those interested.

Happy to answer any questions.

Low Dome Neapolitan Oven Update - Dome Construction. Photo Gallery by John Bek at pbase.com
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2007, 07:13 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 257
Default Re: Feeling brave... a true Neopolitan Pizza Oven

John,

Superb effort! It really does look splendid. All the cuts have clearly resulted in minimal mortar joints, which should auger well for a solid, stable structure.

I have a few questions though (apologies if I've missed the answers in previous posts, which I've been following with great interest).

You've used 3" thick firebrick for the dome, but how thick is the insulating buttress and from what is it made? Are the soldier course and floor also 3"?

You've mentioned elsewhere that the soldier course of the dome surrounds the floor, and both are laid on a 2" thickness of "insblok 19". What is the buttress sitting on?

How far does the aluminium foil (first photo) extend and what is its purpose?

Are those white lines polystyrene foam 'vanes'? You've mentioned that you used "150-200lbs of sand to 1 good shovel full of portland" for the sand mold - was water added (how much?) and was it difficult to knock out afterwards? I'm trying to visualise getting rid of a solid mass of concrete!

Can't wait to see the finished oven.

Cheers, Paul.
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  #16  
Old 04-17-2007, 07:45 PM
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Default Re: Feeling brave... a true Neopolitan Pizza Oven

Hendo,

Brick depth on the dome and soldiers = approx 3", the hearth bricks are 2 1/8", which resulted from bricks that were locally available.

The buttress system is 5" thick. It is poured from a thick mixture of Kast-o-lite 22 (hereafter referred to as > KOL22), a 2200 degree insulating castable refractory. I debated going with a Perlcrete mixture, but since I was already placing a pallet shipped order for castable refractory (for the flue construction) and steel needles, I decided to go with Kast-o-lite on the recommendation of my builder contact. I suspect a Perlcrete or Vermiculite concrete mixed might reinforce in a similar manner, but it would need to have been tested and I wasn't in the mood to mess around with that. Beyond that, the idea is to keep heat in. The insulative value of Kast-o-lite products is way better than Perlcrete..

As I said, the KOL22 is 5" thick. It sits on top of the Insblok 19 (simply because I didn't want to run out by pouring it directly on the concrete slab.. wasn't sure I had enough) and the aluminum foil is only there to minimize the Insblok from sucking up the moisture from the wet Kast-o-lite mix till it cured.

Within the 5" KOL are 14" high pieces of 5/8" rebar that are sitting vertically in holes drilled through the Insblock down 2" into my concrete slab.... The rebar pieces are placed every 10" around the entire perimeter. Then several 4' long 3/8" rebar rods were bent to match the shape of the perimeter and placed and tied to the vertical 5/8" rebar pieces with rebar tie wire. If that weren't enough, I then took some extra 1" x 1/2" galvanized fence wire and wrapped that on the outside of the rebar... This whole reinforcing structure sits about 2" outside the soldiers (in the middle of the KOL22 pour...)... Once the rebar structure was in place, I used the same 1/4" fiberboard I used to support the sand dome (which bends really easily and is pretty strong) to create a form... I used L brackets and tap cons drilled into the concrete slab and the fiberboard to affix it in place along the bottom and a couple cargo straps to keep the form in place up top... I then mixed the KOL22 according to directions and poured.. It's a really thick mix, so read the directions if you go that way...

Yes, I think the vanes are polystyrene.. the are about 1/2" thick and available at Home Depot (our big home improvement store here in the states..).. you can buy 4'x8' sheets for about $8. These vanes were only used to set the arch and help maintain the arch as the sand form was being laid...

I wouldn't say knocking out the sand form was extremely difficult, but it wasn't a piece of cake either... Since the vanes are in there, you really have 4 sand dome quadrants if you will.. They tough thing about knocking it out is taking the bricks it's setting on out.. That sand form is heavy... Once you get most of them out, it just falls to the hearth floor and you can smack it around with some rebar or something and knock it apart in chunks... Others may have a more ideal sand/portland ratio.. I thought my ratio worked well.. It was soft enough to shave the shape as construction took place and hard enough to maintain shape under pressure and the repeated knocks of the end of my trowel against each brick as I placed it.. I suspect if you went too light on the portland, you have a less stable dome that might start to break apart as you bang your bricks in place... the challenge (for me at least was) the working time you have with Heatstop 50 (the refractory mortar).. the more it begins to set as you're working with it, the harder you have to bang your bricks in place for a tight fit and the more that sand dome needs to be able to stand up to it...

Thanks for the complements.. I'm happy to have gotten this far.. and again, I've learned a lot here and appreciate the advice I've received from some of the guys here along the way... My challenge is time.. I'm in software sales and I travel alot, so I don't get to work on the oven as much as I'd like... As I write this post, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Guanajuato, Mexico. Really cool town to visit if you ever get the chance...

JB
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  #17  
Old 04-18-2007, 06:41 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Puyallup, WA
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Default Re: Feeling brave... a true Neopolitan Pizza Oven

JB - truly impressive. I see you acknowledge a professional oven builder for direction in engineering your dome - thank the builder for us for sharing with you these techniques. I don't know that anyone here has done anything similar to this with either the portland/sand mix or the insulating concrete buttress reinforced with plenty of rebar/galvanized fencing. The interior looks terrific as well. Am I seeing it correctly that the heatstop bulged through on some of the joints? Even so, there do not appear to be any sharp angles that will be overexposed to heat, I doubt you'll have any mortar spalling problems. Looking forward to hearing your cooking experiences!
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  #18  
Old 04-22-2007, 06:41 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 257
Default Re: Feeling brave... a true Neopolitan Pizza Oven

John,

Thanks for the info on your build. The smooth exterior of the buttress hides a lot of work (and challenges no doubt!). Did you take any photo’s of this stage of construction? I’d sure like to see them if you did.

Cheers, Paul.
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