Old 07-11-2009, 03:59 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: San Rafael, CA
Posts: 15
Default Oven Curing

So, I just finished building my pompeii two weeks ago. I was lucky enough to figure out (too late) that Forno Bravo was actually just an hour from me. Anyway, we built a Pompeii oven following the specs, but we insulated the dome before curing it (I went back over the manual, but I can't find where it told me to cure it before putting insulation and stucco on).

Now, my issue... I've been trying to cure the oven but didn't have an infrared thermometer until today. The dome has been built for two weeks. It was completed around June 26th. First fire went in July 3rd ( paper only). I followed it up with a bigger fire the next day. I can't say that the temperature, in either case got up to more than 150 degrees.

My question is where do we measure the temp at? Dome height, walls or cooking surface?

Then, a few nights back I built a fire that probably went up to 400 or so, but I let it stay at that temp for a while.

Today I started again, (fully cool oven) and with the help of my new IR thermometer measured a heat of about 360 in the dome, but 250 on walls (less than 200 on surface).

The oven is now cooling. Not sure where to go from here. Do I push the next fire to 500? Where am I measuring the temp? When in the burn process?

I'm now wary of cracks, but I don't think I have seen any.

My oven is 42" diameter made of firebrick, so the curing fire specs that are in the manual seem not to be strong enough to get to the temperatures asked for...

Thanks for any help!
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Old 07-12-2009, 04:12 PM
Neil2's Avatar
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver Island
Posts: 1,374
Default Re: Oven Curing

Typically measure it on the center of the cooking floor or on the floor just in front of the fire. (Inside of dome will be hotter).

Be patient. It may take a series of 10 or more fires before you see the oven start performing. And don't worry about cracks - with the thermal expansion / contraction almost all masonry ovens develop cracks. As long as the bricks don't start fallling onto your pizza then you are OK
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Old 07-12-2009, 06:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: San Rafael, CA
Posts: 15
Default Re: Oven Curing

Funny, today, while trying to get the oven up to 700 (in the dome area) a piece of refractory mortar popped off. I'm not too concerned about it, because it wasn't part of the original build, but rather a patch area that I put in to make the oven look smoother. It reminded me of a time in Italy when my buddy found a piece of mortar in his pizza....

So, the temperature is measured in the center of the oven. Is the fire built in the center and then pushed back? At least that's what I have been doing to this point. I really haven't been able to get the oven much hotter than 700. Do I need to build a huge fire to start?

Again, all help is appreciated.
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