#101  
Old 11-18-2007, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

Sarah,
Thanks for the reassurance. I started to worry that the place where I bought my firebrick sold me high duty vs. low.
I did my final curing fire yesterday. My cladding cracked like an eggshell as well, and also have cracks around the angle iron oven opening. I kind of expected this due to the differences in expansion of the three materials involved.
I had noted some steam from a couple of the cladding cracks a couple of days ago, then it disappeared. I cannot see any sign of cracking on the inside of the oven, but on my 600 degree fire, I closed off the opening with bricks, trying to retain the heat inside. It turned the fire into a very smokey (sp?) affair, and then suddenly reality set in. I had smoke, very small whisps eminating from a small area in one of the cladding cracks at the back upper third of the dome.
I didn't even sweat it. I kind of expected it, and I'm sure not going to try to repair it. It must be a really small defect to only emit a teeny bit of smoke.

Sounds like you might make it through your curing without suffering a similar experience. I hope that is the case. I look forward to hearing how it goes.
G.
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  #102  
Old 11-18-2007, 09:11 PM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

Lots of wood - big flames - a widening crack - a partially white dome - finally, a hot floor ... and then came pizza! SOOOO COOOOL!!!

My pizza-making skills definitely need work but it tasted fantastic, even the burnt bit. We used olive oil, San Marzanos, a mozzarella-provolone mix and fresh basil - absolutely delicious!

A 180-turn half way through would have been a good idea as it cooked way quicker on one side. By pizzas number two and three, the floor had already cooled too much (even for the first it likely wasn't as hot as it should have been, ideally) but they were still good. I'll keep more of a fire going next time during cooking as this one was just coals by the time we got going.

There is still moisture - steam started to rise from the dome. Cracks developed in several place, mostly very thin and running horizontally, but some quite long. The one that showed up yesterday grew wider and started to leak smoke (but it seems to be the only one to do this) so there's some patchwork to do, but I'm thinking that unless there's a really good reason not to wait, I'll fix it in the spring ... or can you patch cracks while the oven is warm and allow the mortar to dry faster?

Anyway, the photos are of Pizza #1 - how 'bout that circle of coals in the first pic?

It cooked fast, fast, fast
In a burnin' ring of fire ...

- a funny triangle shape; two and three were better formed though still not exactly round. And I discovered why I should have a wet mop handy - they were a bit ash-enhanced in spots (though not too bad really) - I'll have to find one with a wooden handle - all the ones I've seen so far have been plastic!
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Sarah's Progress Photos-34_pizza-1-1.jpg   Sarah's Progress Photos-34_pizza-1-2.jpg   Sarah's Progress Photos-34_pizza-1-3.jpg  
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  #103  
Old 11-18-2007, 09:43 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

Hey Sarah, most of us need work on our pizza skills including me. Still your worst pizza crust will probably be better that anything you buy at a store or get delivered imo. Don't worry too much about the shapes of pizza's and bread. I find that I have to fight myself to not try and shape my pizza and bread so that it will conform with the rest of the world. We shouldn't look at your pizza as being "a funny triangle shape" it should just be "The pizza that I made that tasted great" !

I give you high marks for the burning ring of fire ( the pic not the singing ). I think that as oven owners we all have to have that ring of fire picture in the photo album for ourselves and to send to others to brag about what we have and they don't!!

I would try and fix the cracks now so you can sleep easy this winter. I wouldn't patch the oven when its hot but with the cooler air you should be able to have a a fire that would just warm the bricks so that you could mortar them and allow it to cure overnight.

Cheers, John
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  #104  
Old 11-19-2007, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

WOW!! Congratulations! It looks absolutely delicious! I'm really pleased for you! And all before the winter set in, too...

I agree with Versachi, who cares about the shape? It's the taste that matters. Maybe the hallmark of a truly hommede pizza is the fact that it isn't perfectly round.

The cracks sound dealable with, and the dome will continue to heat up better and better till the moisture has left it.

So when's the next pizza planned?
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  #105  
Old 11-19-2007, 05:49 AM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

Hi Sarah,
Like most of us, I think you'll find as we use our ovens more and more, we'll just keep getting better at every aspect of oven management and food prep,etc.. It's just too much fun to experiment with it! By the way, your first pizza looked 'kinda' like ours as far as doneness and I'll bet it tasted just as good! Aren't they awesome? Do you think you could post some pictures of the dome cracking that you mentioned? I would like to compare it with my dome cracks to see if we are talking about the same type and sizes etc.. I don't think it's something we should worry about but it seems I'm the only one who posted photos of dome cracks (unless I just can't locate any other pics in the galleries) and I'd like to compare them just to see what to these domes do after expansion.
Thanks Much,
Rick
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  #106  
Old 11-19-2007, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

Great pizza Sarah! I've tried tossing the dough but it always ends up in disaster. Practice, practice.
George
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  #107  
Old 11-19-2007, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by gjbingham View Post
Great pizza Sarah! I've tried tossing the dough but it always ends up in disaster. Practice, practice.
George

George,

I went so far as to purchase the instructional video from the US Pizza team website on how to toss dough. Its a little rubbery piece that resembles a 14" dough disk. its actually quite fun and addictive. I sling it around the office at work. People think im an idiot though
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  #108  
Old 11-19-2007, 10:04 AM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

Just remember these pizza's we make are "Artisan" and are meant to be most shapes but perfectly round. Kemo, has the disk improved your dough stretching?
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  #109  
Old 11-19-2007, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

Quote:
Originally Posted by dalucca2003 View Post
Just remember these pizza's we make are "Artisan" and are meant to be most shapes but perfectly round. Kemo, has the disk improved your dough stretching?

oddly enough...it has. I can sling it up in the air alot better now. I dont know if it makes the pizza taste any better, but it sure does add some fun to the process
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  #110  
Old 11-19-2007, 03:37 PM
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Default Re: Sarah's Progress Photos

It's one of the great things about this forum, that whenever you reach a new oven milestone there are others here who can appreciate it , so thanks everyone! Non-oven-owners often don't have a clue of what it took to get there.

I will post some pics of my oven cracks but it could take a day or two - it is miserably cold outside right now, and dark too, and I think it's meant to rain tomorrow. (By February, I'll think of a day like today as great weather and be out there cooking!! ) My husband thinks we should coat the entire dome in castable refractory - any comments?

As for the pizza shape, I don't really care, but I would love to be able to fling the dough in the air and catch it again with some degree of flair - whether it'll happen is another matter. My biggest problem at the moment keeping holes from happening in the middle part before the rest of the dough is stretched. I know it'll get better though.

I'm looking forward to trying out some more unconventional pizzas too - I used to have a recipe for a pizza with blue cheese and pears on a rye crust (how much of the audience did I lose there?) that I always wanted to try ... if I can find it again. Then there's the Middle Eastern one with lamb. How about figs (when I can get them here) and goat cheese? Wow, I'm getting hungry! Time to go eat ... and maybe time to switch to a food thread ...

Last thing - while the oven has now had seven fires and yesterday's was a big one, I don't think the oven is fully cured yet. I'm taking a break from fires tonight though .

Sarah
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