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Old 02-13-2008, 08:58 AM
jet jet is offline
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Default Considering build of Pompeii oven

Hello all,

I have spent many hours reading through this forum, mostly in the Pompeii Oven Construction section. I have intently followed the threads of many oven builders in order to learn about the different styles, building techniques, and problems encountered. I have been thoroughly impressed with the effort put into each oven and the level of support and encouragement provided from others within this forum.

The more I read, the more I feel motivated to build an oven myself! If I do decide to do so, I would wait until the spring and the warmer weather. This would work out well as it would give me plenty of time to learn more and plan.

I am hung up on where I would locate an oven in my yard and exactly what I would build. Would I build just an oven, or an oven with side extensions to provide "counter" space? In order to determine what to build and where to locate it, I need to envision the preparation and cooking process. I figure the oven won't be right next to the house and I'm concerned about having to go back and forth from the house to the oven too often.

Here are some of the issues I have been thinking about:

Storage of pizza peels and other oven tools
Where are these stored when the oven is not in use? Where are they located while using the oven? Should there be some type of storage area at the oven? What is used to remove the coals and ashes and where is it stored?

Staging area for pizzas prior to placing in oven
Should there be an extension to the left of the oven for placing pizzas ready to go into the oven?

Area for putting pizzas immediately after removal from oven
Should there be an extension to the right of the oven for placing pizzas that have been cooked?

Lighting
Should I have any lighting at the oven?

What things have you done, or wish you had done, to simplify the logistics of preparing and cooking pizzas?

Thanks for your help.

JET
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  #2  
Old 02-13-2008, 09:53 AM
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

Jet,

These are questions we've all pondered at one time or another. For layout, suggest you go to the Photo Gallery and look at Finished Ovens. You will need counters to the left and right of the oven; storage underneath would be very handy. They are very convenient for both prep work and placing finished pizzas. Smooth stone is the usual choice for counter tops. In good weather, you could actually prep outside. This is a good thing, because speed on and off the peel is a factor. Design in a place to lean or hang up you oven tools. Oven lighting has been discussed at some depth here. Mine has a seven foot long portico in front of the oven mouth with pot lights in the ceiling.

You'll need a brass or copper brush for sweeping the hearth, plus a round and rectangular peel, plus a coal shovel, plus a rake. The Forno Bravo store sells these as five piece sets. Have a look at the FB infrared thermometer as well, very handy. For hot coals, find a galvanized tub with handles. Got mine at the local farm co-op; the kind of thing for watering stock.

Keep the questions coming. You'll get the best answers we can supply.

Jim
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:57 AM
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

In the northeast, the season for outside entertaining is short. Using the oven other times of the year is a trial. My oven is quite a walk away from the kitchen, and it means a lot of running back and forth. This is sort of a pain. Try to keep the oven as close to the house as is practical, even if it means building a taller chimney.

I keep fire handling tools (brush, rake, shovel) outside, and food handling tools (placing and turning peels) inside. The outside tools just stand upright in a length of clay flue tile.

An outside workspace is useful in the summer, not so much in the winter. I'm thinking of getting a stainless steel commercial worktable instead of building elaborate "wings". Just cooked pizzas go onto the indoor/outdoor dining table. They don't hang around long, anyway. High heat pizza is best when it's just cool enough to stick in your mouth. This isn't a dish you're going to want to re-heat for breakfast.

When you're making pizza, if you don't have enough flame to see at night, you won't have enough top heat to cook pizza. Retained heat cooking is another story. The inside of the oven is as dark as the inside of a cow at night.

Welcome, and good luck with your planning.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

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Originally Posted by dmun View Post
...Retained heat cooking is another story. The inside of the oven is as dark as the inside of a cow at night.
Very colorful, and very true. If you don't have a porch light to shine into your oven, you might end up with a miner's cap to check on your roast or your bread. :-)

James
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:44 AM
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

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f you don't have a porch light to shine into your oven, you might end up with a miner's cap to check on your roast or your bread. :-)

James
I do that all the time...........



LED's strapped to the head.

Works great!!
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

My build is going to be within 9 ft of my kitchen. This means I have to have a much taller chimney. The fire code states that it must be at least 2 ft taller than the roof of any structure within 10 ft. If I had the room I would move my build 2 ft further away and save myself some effort and materials.
So I would recomend building as close to the kitchen door as possible, but stay 10 ft out to simplify your build.

I don't know why everyone thinks outdoor cooking is a fair weather activity ? I was out barbequing in the 40 degree (f) freezing rain the other night. Of course, the fires to tend to be larger during the winter just to keep the cook from freezing

Bruce

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Old 02-13-2008, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

You too, huh Brokencookie? I BBQ in the rain/snow all the time. Love that carmelized meat!

Dave, that's just how I picture you. Headlamp on and stooped over in your underwear, like an amateur gynocologist. Actually, that's a great idea. I'm working without lights, at least for the time being.

Jet, as others have pointed out, almost everything you can possibly read says to place your outdoor kitchen as close as possible to the indoor kitchen. Saves on running time. The other side of the coin, and one that can be debated endlessly, with enough land/space, putting it away from the house provides a nice retreat where you and your family and friends can enjoy the outdoor experience and remove yourself from the unending gravitational pull of the house.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:10 PM
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

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Dave, that's just how I picture you. Headlamp on and stooped over in your underwear, like an amateur gynocologist. Actually, that's a great idea. I'm working without lights, at least for the time being.
My wife likes it@@@@@!!!



Go to bed George
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:32 AM
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

You guys just crack me up!

Talk about prescription-free pick-me-ups... "Feeling down? Need a good laugh? Then go visit the FB Forum!"

The difficult bit is explaining to the kids what made me laugh so much...
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Old 02-14-2008, 05:29 AM
jet jet is offline
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Default Re: Considering build of Pompeii oven

Thanks for the input and the laughs!

I would like to have some counter space available, but I don't want to make the project overly complicated. I'm thinking either small wings or making space available to the sides of the oven vent.

We have a patio outside the back door and I'm leaning toward having the oven off of the patio. It would be to the side a little, so that it doesn't block the view of the yard. I think the existing lights on the house are sufficient. I did see someone's oven in the forum (can't remember who) who had a light inside the decorative oven vent arch that was pretty cool!

I still haven't figured out whether I'll do a dome shape or frame and roof. Do you think one is better than the other for use in the New England climate?

It's good to hear that people to use their oven in the cold weather. I just snowblowed the patio yesterday to keep it clear for grilling (pizzas of course)!

Jet
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