Old 05-09-2010, 03:11 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: England
Posts: 15
Question oven size vs heat up time

I am considering building a Pompei oven and I am wondering what people's experience is with the size of the oven vs the time to heat up. My oven will probably be used by at least six large families, so a fair amount of heat soak would be a good thing. I am looking at building the 42" size in the plans, but I am worried that I will want more space, and I would like to go up to 48 or 52 or even 60". Will any increase in size mean much longer firing time before the oven is heated through, or will the effect be minimal? Any input appreciated...
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:06 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: England
Posts: 15
Default Re: oven size vs heat up time

Can any of you experts out there help me out? Simple question really: what is the heat up time for a 42" Pompeii oven after it is fully cured and how much will it increase if I build a 48" or a 60" oven?
Please help me out...
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:30 AM
DrakeRemoray's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Littleton, CO
Posts: 1,211
Default Re: oven size vs heat up time

I think it is hard for any of us to comment on the time for ovens larger than 42 in since that is about the largest anyone here usually builds. I think i could feed 4 families out of my 38 in oven. I have killed myself and trying to use all the heat in my oven. Mine takes about 1 to 1:15 to heat up to pizza temps but probably 2 hours to get a full a heat soak.
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:11 AM
Il Pizzaiolo
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Antonio
Posts: 1,719
Default Re: oven size vs heat up time

Hi Joe!

I think you may be asking a bit of the wrong question. Personally I don't think a bigger oven of similar thickness takes much longer than a smaller oven - what is far more important is your firing pattern. Some build small fires and work up. I build a big fire and burn hard the whole time.

I also think anyone but a professional may find an oven over about 42 inches difficult to use fully. The confusion of making and putting pies in and moving them around and getting them out is bad enough with two pies, much less with three or four that can be done in a 42. The ONLY big advantage I see of a larger oven would be that it would have cooler areas further from the fire where you might be able to better cook other things than pizza while doing pizza - which is not so easy in smaller ovens.

I find the family question a bit confusing.... Do you expect all six to use the oven at the same time? Or sequentially? Or for baking sequentlially? I find, for example that my 39 inch oven needs at least 12 pounds of dough to give great crust when baking bread. A 42 would need more like 16 to 18. That ought to be pretty good for six families without multiple firings. IF you anticipate multiple firings then you will want to add more mass to the oven. I have an extra thick hearth and an extra inch of refractory cement over my dome and I can routinely be at temps adequate for pizza in an hour though an hour 15 to an hour and a half is somewhat better.

I agree with Drake. I think 38 to 42 is about all you want. Maybe with some extra mass. And in England, I would strongly urge you to roof the oven and not have a naked dome in order to better avoid water problems.

Good Luck!
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Old 05-23-2010, 01:50 PM
david s's Avatar
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Townsville, Nth Queensland,Australia
Posts: 4,998
Default Re: oven size vs heat up time

My oven is quite small (21") and I use 1 1/2 hrs for pizza temp. I think it more a case of how thick your walls are. A larger oven will have a larger fire which means more heat. Most people seem to report that an hour and a half is normal.
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Old 06-03-2010, 05:08 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: England
Posts: 15
Default Re: oven size vs heat up time

Thanks for all the help. Yes, the families will probably all use the oven at around the same time, but it looks like the best bet is to go with the 42" oven. I'll keep everyone posted as my build progresses.

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