#1  
Old 06-12-2011, 06:31 AM
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Thumbs up First Pizza & Cracks!

First Pizza!

First Pizza & Cracks!-oven-007.jpg

A mason helped me with the heavy lifting during this build. He laid 70% of the blocks and bricks and mixed all the cement in his mixer. Wanted him to be in on the first cooking escapade. His parents were visiting from Mexico, so they were all over to paddle and float on the river yesterday.

First Pizza & Cracks!-oven-033.jpg

I built a smallish fire and let it heat over two hours time. The dome began to clear a small circle at the top around 750 F and finished clearing about 850-900 F. The peak oven temp was 950 F -with peak floor temp about 875 F.

Was good to see the bricks in the dome again, except for those cracks I realize now that those cracks don't affect the cooking and it seems the oven won't fall down First pizza was less than two minutes (floor temp was over 800 F).
First Pizza & Cracks!-oven-008.jpg
I was most worried about the operation of the oven today and bought some of the pizza dough and used a pizza pan to cook the pizza with because I had given the mop away and couldn't wet mop the floor :humble:

My good wife of 44 years had an observation about the doneness of her crust (I was sure to make the first pizza out of the oven her pizza). She noted that the bottom of the crust was not done as much as the top of the pizza, I explained that cooking next time without a pizza pan would do the trick.

All-in-all, it was a successful day. Will insulate the oven soon and begin the facade. Also, during the oven construction, the four inches of (supposed) rigid insulation has settled one eighth inch under the dome, leaving the floor bricks in the center of the oven a bit uneven. I will have to work on that soon to have unobstructed peel right of way.

A lot to learn about this oven and how to make things flow next time (s).

P.S. For you dough gurus out there, there was some sugar in the dough I got from a pizza parlor, that made the crust pretty brown, my dough (Tscarborogh's beer recipe) was more a crispy, golden brown.
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Last edited by Lburou; 06-12-2011 at 07:01 AM.
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2011, 09:27 AM
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Default Re: First Pizza & Cracks!

Hey Lee!

Thanks for the report and congrats! Must have felt good to finally knock the first pie out. With 44 years behind you both, you owed your honey the first one even if it was in a pan. For my wife, I'd have had to use a wash cloth on a stick. Good luck with the insulation.

John
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2011, 09:38 AM
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Default Re: First Pizza & Cracks!

Hi Lee!

Glad to hear you finally have your oven on line. Congrats!

The dough in your pie pic looks good. The color suggests the proofing was about right. Looks like your hearth was a bit hot for your dome (the bottom/edge looks dark relative to the caramalization of the toppings) (a bigger flame will solve that).

Mopping pizza ovens is not IMO a proper practice. It cools your hearth excessively and you will not gracefully recharge it unless you put coals on it...and then if you mop it it will be too cool again.... Mopping is a means for humidifying a bread oven and to some extent adjusting the hearth/oven temp. And mopping is done only with a damp rag/mop. You don't want it dripping water. Just damp enough to collect the soot. For pizza use a brass brush.

Good to have you finished!
Jay
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: First Pizza & Cracks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GianniFocaccia View Post
Hey Lee!

Thanks for the report and congrats! Must have felt good to finally knock the first pie out. With 44 years behind you both, you owed your honey the first one even if it was in a pan. For my wife, I'd have had to use a wash cloth on a stick. Good luck with the insulation.

John
I was actually surprised how clean the FB wire brush got the floor.
I would have gone ahead to cook on the bricks except the bricks were not even. My insulation is so soft I can use a rubber hammer to level the floor. Its just that the dome keeps settling into the insulation The settling is bound to stop sometime!

And Yes John, it was good to get those first few pizzas out and on to the feeding table!

Now, the next phase of my education begins: Pizza dough and bread making.
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Old 06-12-2011, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: First Pizza & Cracks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by texassourdough View Post
Hi Lee!

Glad to hear you finally have your oven on line. Congrats!

The dough in your pie pic looks good. The color suggests the proofing was about right. Looks like your hearth was a bit hot for your dome (the bottom/edge looks dark relative to the caramalization of the toppings) (a bigger flame will solve that).

Mopping pizza ovens is not IMO a proper practice. It cools your hearth excessively and you will not gracefully recharge it unless you put coals on it...and then if you mop it it will be too cool again.... Mopping is a means for humidifying a bread oven and to some extent adjusting the hearth/oven temp. And mopping is done only with a damp rag/mop. You don't want it dripping water. Just damp enough to collect the soot. For pizza use a brass brush.

Good to have you finished!
Jay
Thanks for the infomation Jay, I always try to understand what you write, but it is sometimes over my head and out of my depth. I'm working on it

Is my assumption correct then, that the pizza pan slowed cooking of the bottom of the pizza? Maybe someone should start a thread showing the 'perfect looking pizza'.

I have so much to learn.
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Last edited by Lburou; 06-12-2011 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 06-12-2011, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: First Pizza & Cracks!

Yes, Lee!

You are correct. Anything you put under the pie will "slow" or "even" (depending on what it is) the cooking of the bottom of the pizza. A pan probably reduces the effective hearth temp by 25 to 50 degrees. Even parchment has a significant impact. (Try baking two loaves of bread in your indoor oven on a hot stone - one on parchment, one bare. The bare loaf will have a darker bottom crust.)

As you comment in the previous email, the wire brush does a good job!

Bake on!
Jay
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:11 PM
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Default Re: First Pizza & Cracks!

Good to see the oven working.....yahhhh......

I usually put the pizzas in on the trays and take them off when firm enough to brown the bases.

That tampitco (sp) brush I bought a while ago sweeps the floor really clean too btw.
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Old 06-12-2011, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: First Pizza & Cracks!

Congratulations Lee. Now you can concentrate on the cooking. On floor cleaning I prefer coals to burn away anything left on the floor and the blow pipe technique to clear it of ash. You'll have fun experimenting with all these ideas and establish your own style and regime.
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Old 06-13-2011, 03:53 PM
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Question Now that the celebration is over, some serious CRACK questions

I'm happy with the performance of my oven. When I was a pilot, it was important to do a post flight inspection of the aircraft. Well, I have kept that habit in many aspects of my life and it spilled over into operation of this pleasuredome and found some (to me) serious evidence of smoke on the outside of the dome. :gulp:

I put a 5/8 to 3/4 inch layer of castable refractory material over my dome. It has cracks in it. I would not even mention it except there is black soot on the margins of some of the crack after the first time taking it to pizza temperatures. These are the pictures:
First Pizza & Cracks!-oven-003.jpg, First Pizza & Cracks!-oven-004.jpg, First Pizza & Cracks!-oven-005.jpg

Should I attempt to patch this air leak, or just put the ceramic insulation and vermiculite right over it?

The plan is to build a cover over the oven, with the enclosure meeting the ceiling created by the cover. This cover will communicate with the roof of my house.

Option one: I'm contemplating insulation as above, with a cap of vermicrete to contain any escaping gases.

Option two: chip the castable layer along the crack away and repair the mortar joints underneath, then insulate.

What do you think?

Thanks in advance
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Last edited by Lburou; 06-13-2011 at 04:02 PM.
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  #10  
Old 06-13-2011, 06:13 PM
Il Pizzaiolo
 
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Default Re: First Pizza & Cracks!

It won't hurt to try to patch it but it won't make much difference. Many/most? ovens develop cracks through the interior dome to the insulation. Not desirable but... Based on photos some of the cracks are pretty large but the ovens still work okay. Not as big a deal for pizza IMO as bread but...not really a big deal either way.

Hang in there!
Jay
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