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Jesse Grosjean 08-21-2009 11:38 AM

Primavera Oven compared to Pompeii
I'm intested in the differeces between the small Primavera and the smallest Pompeii.

In particular I'm most interested in heating time. Is the Primavera faster to reach 800? How much faster? Has anyone built a Pompeii with a similar 24" interior to what the Primavera has?

From what I read the Primavera looks like exactly what I want. But I live on the east coast, so the total price is up over $2700. The one thing that I'm wanting to avoid is overbuilding an oven... I just want to make some pizzas, and a batch of bread after, and that's it.

Thanks for any thoughts and recommendations.


shuboyje 08-21-2009 05:18 PM

Re: Primavera Oven compared to Pompeii
Go with as big of an oven as you have room for. I just closed in my dome yesterday on a 30" low dome pompeii oven, and although I am thrilled with it, it, looking at it is is small and it will take some practice to fit a decent sized pizza in there with the fire. This was as big as I could build given my space, and when I built the stand my wife thought it was HUGE, I continually told her it was a VERY small oven. Now that the oven itself is done, she has even commented how small it is.

stidik 08-27-2009 08:37 AM

Re: Primavera Oven compared to Pompeii
I suspect that the Primavera oven heats up faster than a Pompeii oven, since the Primavera oven weighs much less. I just completed a 36" Pompeii, but I have no experience with the Primavera. The bricks and mortar in a 36" Pompeii likely weigh in excess of 1500 lbs. That mass, you need to heat with a very large fire and will usually take 90 minutes to fully heat. Building the pompeii was a very rewarding experience. But if you are looking for an oven which heats up quickly with a minimum of wood, the Primavera might be a better choice.

texassourdough 08-27-2009 03:25 PM

Re: Primavera Oven compared to Pompeii
I think your concern regarding heating time is somewhat wrongly placed. You are essentially ready to do pizzas as soon as the oven clears (which corresponds roughly to the interior surface reaching 750 oF. While you need to get it a bit hotter for ideal pizzas, that's about another 10-15 minutes at most. Total time in most ovens is going to be about 35-45 minutes to clear and another ten to be ready for pizza. Then you pull most of the coals and arrange the fire and let it cool back down to pizza temps. Typically another ten minutes. Hopefully someone with a Primavera will chime in, but I have never heard of any oven clearing in much less than 30 minutes so the difference is probably between 45 min and 55 min or so at a maximum. That said, there are a number of factors involved in all of this so your oven, wood, fire building style, etc. can change the results.

Whether your oven is a Primavera, a Pompeii, or ??? it will essentially continue to heat load as long as you keep the oven hot. A Pompeii with more mass will absorb more heat and have more heat to give back to cooking, but... it's not a big deal for most people.

While a smaller oven MAY clear faster, I have no data to say it is significantly faster. And too small might well be slower. Most of us on the forum probably have 36 to 39 inch ovens and few of us seem to desire anything smaller. It is amazing how much room the fire and coals will take up. I don't usually recommend ovens smaller than 36 inches for pizza unless space demands it.

Good Luck!

stidik 08-27-2009 11:39 PM

Re: Primavera Oven compared to Pompeii
The FB store on this web site states the "Primavera ovens offer very fast heat times (as little as 20 minutes)". I suspect that time is an underestimate. The 90 minutes of heating time which I use to heat my 36" Pompeii, is the time from match to first pizza in the oven. That time may come down some as I gain more experience, but my guess is that 75 to 90 minutes, match to first pizza is about right for a 36" pompeii. Perhaps other people will chime in and let us know what their average match to first pizza time is, and what type and size of oven they own. I think that would be interesting information. My theory is that match to first pizza time, is directly correlated to the mass of the floor and dome.

Frances 08-28-2009 01:00 AM

Re: Primavera Oven compared to Pompeii
Do a search for the ovens built by david s (here's one in the photo gallery: PhotoPlog - Finished Ovens). He specialises in building small ovens and seems very happy with the results... I don't right now know if and where he has any building threads, but it could give you some ideas for an alternative to the Primavera (which from all accounts is a small and efficient oven, which also makes perfectly good pizza)

Don't let yourself be put off by all this "bigger is better" talk - you build/buy the oven that siuts you best. We don't all need 42" domes guys!

Men, tsuh! ;)

texassourdough 08-28-2009 06:13 AM

Re: Primavera Oven compared to Pompeii
Hi Frances!

There is one clear advantage to smaller ovens and that relates to the amount of dough necessary to humidify the oven adequately and make great crust. It's not "bigger is better" but more "smaller gets cramped" at some point.

I know James put a lot of thought into the ovens he sells and Peter Reinhart certainly seems happy with his Primavera...but I really can't imagine doing pizza in a 24 inch ID oven. Hopefully I can cook on one at the Fest in February and have a much more complete experience!

Happy Birthday (again!)

Frances 08-28-2009 07:33 AM

Re: Primavera Oven compared to Pompeii
Hey, thank you Jay! :)

Sure, I wouldn't want my oven to be any smaller either (1m cooking floor) - but then I kind of suspected I'd end up cooking virtually anything I could lay my hands on in it...

All I'm saying is, people do have different oven needs, and I'm perfectly prepared to believe that some of us are genuinely happier with a small oven.

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