Old 05-25-2007, 08:31 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 6
Default First bake today - how do I...?

I'm baking my first bread in my wood oven today! I've made pizza twice with great results.

I haven't gotten an infrared thermometer yet, so I'm wondering if anyone has tips on judging hearth temp.

After I fire the oven, dome goes white, and I rake out coals, how long should I wait for oven to regulate? I know it's total guesswork here, with lots of variables, but any guidance would be appreciated.

If I throw some flour on the hearth, how long should it take before it browns to know that the oven is approximately the right temp.

Thanks to all you wise bakers and pizzaiolos!
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Old 05-28-2007, 05:18 AM
james's Avatar
Brick Oven Merchant
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pebble Beach, CA
Posts: 4,648
Default Re: First bake today - how do I...?

Good question.

As a general rule, you should bring your oven all the way up to pizza cooking heat, and then let it fall to roughly the mid 500ºs -- that way you will be baking in a good zone as the temperature of the oven falls. I think you will probably be better off putting you hand inside the oven to feel the ambiant temperature -- rather than testing the hearth with flour. Using the Mississippi method, your hand should get uncomfortably hot after about 3-4 mississippi's (3-4 seconds).

Here is a link to a temperature guide that shows oven temperature with infrared, the associated number of mississippis, and the types of cooking you want to do. I should help.


Also, you can download the Wood-Fired Bread and Wood-Fired Cooking e-Books. They have more oven temperature detail.

Happy baking.

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Old 06-04-2008, 07:27 PM
Dutchoven's Avatar
Master Builder
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 931
Default Re: First bake today - how do I...?

Just surfing through some old posts and thought this would be appropriate to resurrect. Some folks new to baking in their WFO might benefit. Back in the days before we started using an laser infrared therm we used to judge surface temperature with a pinch of flour on the surface...if it burst into flame instantly TOO HOT...if it took about 5 seconds or so to smoke GETTING CLOSE and if it was 10 to 15 seconds it was JUST ABOUT RIGHT and time to steam the oven before loading. We also used the Mississippi method to judge the ambient temp...
"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity. " Charles Mingus
"Build at least two brick ovens...one to make all the mistakes on and the other to be just like you dreamed of!" Dutch
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