I'm in the process of building my pompei oven and a question I have is concerning the fire bricks that will actually form the cooking surface of the oven. The normal 38% alumina firebrick is great for the high temps but by rubbing the surface of the brick one can easily see that it's subject to erosion over time because it's not a high polished finish. That being said, if a metal pizza paddle is to be rubbing against these bricks, I can only imagine that the erosion will be even more so over time.
I realize we're not talking about big amounts of erosion, but only because the bricks contain 38% alumina, I'm concerned about these metalic dust flakes working their way into the pizza dough and then the children eating it.
Once the cooking floor has been laid down, can this layer of bricks be polished before building the rest of the oven and if so how? I'm assuming that because high polish stone is smoother, less friction will take place between the pizza paddle and the stone and so less alumina flakes will be produced. Alternatively, is there such a thing as food grade fire bricks that can be used for the actual cooking floor and then use the regular fire bricks for the remaining walls and dome of the oven?
Any insight would be greatly appreaciated.
Re: Fire bricks
Alumina isn't metallic aluminum; it's aluminum oxide, which is inert. If you have an aluminum peel or pans, they can shed particles (which oxidize almost instantly) as they slide across the brick floor.
If you sort your bricks, you can usually find some that are higher-fired (glossy, smoother finish) because of their position in the kiln. In practice, you're usually gliding your tools over the floor, not scraping them, so I don't think it will be a problem for you.
If you're still concerned, consider using medium or high-duty bricks for your floor, or look for another source of low-duty brick. There's a wide variation in quality among the different manufacturers.
Re: Fire bricks
Hi Nick, some folks have used soap stone as their floor with good results. Good luck
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