Considering installing Casa or Premio
I came across the fornobravo website in search for plans and
resources to build or buy an oven. I have been baking pizzas from
scratch for over 15 years and like most of you have realized that I
can't perfect my crust without a good hot oven. Right now I use a
electric oven and have a Hearthkit in it. It works out fairly good
for one pizza but the stone looses too much heat after baking the
I am seriously considering building the Casa or Primo oven. The
Pompeii oven looks nice but I like the idea of building the stand in
a day and firing it up in a week. I live fairly close to Healdsburg
so hopefully I could stop by and take a look. The project looks a
little challanging but not too difficult. I am the type of person
who alway needs a project. Last year it was a 6Kw PV solar system.
go for it ken,*you'll never regret it.
based on my experience, if you are working *evenings and weekends, then using the prefab will save at least*6 to 8*weeks off of the construction process. also, with the pompeii, it is difficult to exactly end up with the desired height of the dome (my oven probably ended up more as a Tuscan than a Neopolitan because i overshot the height). that obviously isn't a problem with the pre-fab. given, the difference in cost between the firebrick and the pre-fab, i'm sure i was building my oven for about minimum wage. (ahhh, but the pleasure of breathing brick dust).
that said, you are about a 90 minute drive from my pompeii and you are welcome to**"come on down" and take a look at my base, landing*and dome treatment.*
my oven pictures are at <http://www.cpsusa.com/ebay/pompeiioven.htm>www.cpsusa.com/ebay/pompeiioven.htm
Of course you know what I think. :-) For me there are aren't 'many
things that compare with cooking in a live brick oven. You can make a
nice pizza on a stone or on the Hearthkit, but it just isn't same as
the real thing. My guess is that there are some fishermen out there
who feel the same way about fly fishing.
The project is very do'able. If you can wait until August I will be
back, and could help in person.
LOL! That defeats the "I want it now" part.
The best pizza comes off a stone that's 650+F (700F is good -- 1
minute pies). Ya gotta have a brick oven for that. Custom-built or
pre-fab doesn't make any difference in the end (vis a vis the pizza),
just what works for you. Some of us craft more than bread so build was
the choice. Also, the finish work on a prefab should keep you busy
enough to call it "mine". That's the good thing about these - you can
cook in them as soon as the dome is solid, prefab or custom.
Patiences is a virtue -- that I don't have.
I have seen many photos of people (myself included) cooking in the
oven at the same time you are doing the finish work.
With only one exception all the local ones are unfinished (and the one
is 6 yrs old). Mine's the next closest and I'm just waiting for the
weather to turn nice so I can do the stucco coat. Then I'll be
officially finished until I decide to do something else ;-)
The W factor is the most important thing to know about to achieve
the proper fermentation time. The higher it is usually, the more
fermentation time you have, but if it's too high, then you're
approaching "bread-type" of flour and it's a bit heavier on the
Most North American flour manufacturers don't publish the W factor;
it's a European thing, but if you asked them, they could provide it.
Here, they use the falling number- which is somehow similar in
characteristics, but not exactly the same.
Anyways- in my experience, here are some guidelines- under W260, 4-6
hours of fermentation, W260-320: 6-8 hours, Over W320: 8-16 hours.
If you start with a low W for e.g. 210 for a basic 00, you could add
a bit of harder/Manitoba type flour to increase its W. The lower W's
is usually easier to knead, they say in Italy it's for "weak hands",
the higher the W, the more stiff the dough becomes when you knead
it, but with 00, it's never as stiff as an American bread flour.
I purchased a pre fab oven in Italy last year.
I decided to build a steel frame cover it in Hardy Backer, insulate with kiln style material and cover it in natural stone and porcelain tile and keep the whole thing light enough to roll on heavy duty casters. It's all done now, I have photos posted up the point of the roof tiles ready to be installed http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/piomik...9vkwCBbBI.DCgi
Copy this address and take a look let me know what you think. I'll post the final pictures in the next day or so.
I am installing a Casa 110 right now that I bought from Fornobravo - I have finally built the base, poured the hearth last friday - trying to source some refractory mortar right now - then I will be able to put the oven together. It is a great project.
Stanley K. 'Pizza Stan"
Last edited by Pizza Stan; 03-31-2005 at 06:43 PM. Reason: add picture
My wife and I have a place up in Geyserville (a couple miles north of Healdsburg) and we are currently building a Casa 90 kit from Forno Bravo. We considered building our own brick oven from scratch after reading the excellent book "The Bread Builders" and then decided to go the kit route -- time and materials were way too overwhelming for us! We looked at several other kits on the market and then found Forno Bravo in our own backyard. Price and ease of construction were the keys. We are just about to pour the hearth slab and then move on to the oven stage. So far it has been a great experience although handling tons of block and mixing and pouring concrete is a little more challenging than I thought. If you need any sources for materials in the area, drop a line. We'd be happy to share them with you.
John & Leslie
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