Author Topic: Wood pizza oven design philosophy  (Read 37521 times)

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Online Pete-zza

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2005, 11:07:04 AM »
Marco,

Thank you for clarifying several points regarding Neapolitan pizzas.

On the matter of olive oils, I once spoke with a fellow behind the counter at DiPaolo's, one of the better Italian food stores in Little Italy, NYC, about olive oils from the Campania region of Italy around Naples. My thought was to buy some to use on my Neapolitan style pizzas, in the name of authenticity. I was told that the store had no olive oil from that region and the reason was that Campania olive oil was not of especially high quality. I was further told that the olive oil from Campania is sold to the bulk olive oil trade and very little was available at the retail level. Was the information I was given correct?

Peter


Offline Settebello

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2005, 12:18:07 PM »
Ok Settebello


Many use Sunflower oil, it is true, but this is not the tradition. The fact is the long time ago', when the pizza was exclusive to Naples, the only two fats available in the city were Rendered pork fat and Olive oil from the Sorrento peninsula. The olive oil from the Sorrento peninsula is very mild, and now too expensive, so most pizzeria have turned to sunflower oil both for a mild taste and especially for cost. "Da Michele, which produces the best dough in Naples by any standard, top it with Soya seed oil.... But as I said is because of the mild taste.


This is why Enzo told me he uses regular Olive Oil and not Extra Virgin.  He said that with EVO you must be very careful, if you put to much it will overwhelm the pizza.  If this is true why do all the documents call for EVO?  Here in America EVO is such an in thing that I think you have to use it.

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #27 on: April 29, 2005, 06:03:43 PM »
Marco,

Thank you for clarifying several points regarding Neapolitan pizzas.

On the matter of olive oils, I once spoke with a fellow behind the counter at DiPaolo's, one of the better Italian food stores in Little Italy, NYC, about olive oils from the Campania region of Italy around Naples. My thought was to buy some to use on my Neapolitan style pizzas, in the name of authenticity. I was told that the store had no olive oil from that region and the reason was that Campania olive oil was not of especially high quality. I was further told that the olive oil from Campania is sold to the bulk olive oil trade and very little was available at the retail level. Was the information I was given correct?

Peter

There are two DOP area in Campania where a peppery/fruity and mild oil is produced, namely the Cilento and Sorrento area. In the rest of Campania, not too much oil is produced and mostly stays in the family (it is not sold). My family own olive tree's land and we producve our own Oil.

The information you were given was therefore incorrect. Harrods (the most famous uk department store) sell an EVO from sorrento for 15 a 250ml bottle. The best from Tuscany is sold at 8 a 250ml bottle...

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #28 on: April 29, 2005, 06:06:49 PM »
This is why Enzo told me he uses regular Olive Oil and not Extra Virgin. He said that with EVO you must be very careful, if you put to much it will overwhelm the pizza. If this is true why do all the documents call for EVO? Here in America EVO is such an in thing that I think you have to use it.

There is not a pizzeria in Naples that have the money to put a good quality EVO oil on their pizza. I do and reccomand the use of a good fruity and mild EVO.

But again, the topping are not my concern at this stage. The crust is the one that stay on the stomach or become cardboard when cold if not done properly...

Offline Settebello

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2005, 12:38:19 AM »
Marco,
Do you have a good brand name of EVO you would recommend?

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #30 on: April 30, 2005, 02:26:56 PM »
I have started a new post in Chit chat. Those are gourmet EVO, thus carry a premium price.

On the commercial quality, I identify the "De Santis" brand from Apulia to be top quality. They sell 2 EVO's, just make sure to buy the "100% Italian Product"one . Others are made with imported olives.

Offline ebpizza

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2005, 04:35:55 PM »

Offline jcash

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #32 on: May 11, 2008, 02:48:23 AM »
Hi all,

I have had a good read thru this thread and have to admit I am more confused now then before starting to read. From what I can tell it really comes down to choice of which oven is better igloo vs vaulted and both will serve the same function just in different ways. A question that has come to mind for me is with the barrel type oven all orientations I have seen of this oven is with the narrow ends being the back and front of the oven.

Has anyone actually rotated the oven by 90 degrees and put the entry arch in the middle of the oven? Also the ends do they have to be flat or can the ends be curved to form a capsule rather then a barrel?

Also the issue with thermal mass that is argued by James from forno bravo meaning a longer heating time. If this is an issue then cant the bricks be split down the middle to reduce the thickness of the shell? this would reduce thermal mass and reduce heating times.

I know the purpose of the barrel style is to have a greater thermal mass for longer burning times allowing for bread baking.

Any ideas/comments.

Also there are models in the Forno range that are more egg shaped (I think they are the casa range from memory) then igloo shaped and these look very similar to the barrel oven   if you ask me.

Guess that is more than one thoght that came to mind  :D
jcash
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 08:21:46 AM by jcash »

Offline dmun

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #33 on: May 12, 2008, 06:51:07 PM »
From what I can tell it really comes down to choice of which oven is better igloo vs vaulted and both will serve the same function just in different ways. A question that has come to mind for me is with the barrel type oven all orientations I have seen of this oven is with the narrow ends being the back and front of the oven. Has anyone actually rotated the oven by 90 degrees and put the entry arch in the middle of the oven? Also the ends do they have to be flat or can the ends be curved to form a capsule rather then a barrel?

There's a little matter of engineering here. The barrel vault oven is like a 19th century iron train shed. The long expanse is vaulted by a semi-circular structure which is supported by massive footings on either side. the ends are either non-existent or purely decorative. If you poke a big hole in the side of the barrel,  you no longer have these supports. In addition, most barrel vault ovens have supplemental concrete on the outside of the vault not just for additional thermal mass, but because it's just not as strong a structure and the concrete reinforces it. The spherical dome has radial supports going down in most every direction, and the top mass is more fully supported on more sides. There's also the little matter of construction. The only particularly hard thing about building a round dome is the intersection of the dome and the vent/entry. One of the few advantages of the barrel vault is that  you don't have do this, just poke a hole in the end wall. Also, the corners of a rectangular ovens are impossible to sweep out, leaving drifts of ash to blow around in stray breezes and onto your pizza toppings. Your plan would increase the number of unused, unsweepable corners by two.

Quote
Also the issue with thermal mass that is argued by James from forno bravo meaning a longer heating time. If this is an issue then cant the bricks be split down the middle to reduce the thickness of the shell? this would reduce thermal mass and reduce heating times.


Most barrel vault ovens that I've seen have the vault bricks laid with the eight inch side facing inward. So you do have the same amount of brick on this as the round oven, before they start laying on the concrete. Also, on the ones I've seen, they never alternate the bricks as they go up, leaving long running seams the span of the arch. I've never figured that one out.


Offline jcash

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2008, 08:40:16 AM »
The only particularly hard thing about building a round dome is the intersection of the dome and the vent/entry. One of the few advantages of the barrel vault is that  you don't have do this, just poke a hole in the end wall. Also, the corners of a rectangular ovens are impossible to sweep out, leaving drifts of ash to blow around in stray breezes and onto your pizza toppings. Your plan would increase the number of unused, unsweepable corners by two.

From what i have readon this post the igloo oven has a short life span,I dont really want to build an oven that I am going to have to rebuild again especially if I have to cut the bricks and then have to buy new bricks to build a barrel vault oven later.

Also from what I have seen due to the lower thermal mass of the igloo style oven wouldnt it imply the oven would not just have a faster heating time but would also have a faster cooling time? If I am to build a igloo style oven I wouldbe looking at something with a greater thermal mass.  I have read some posts on the forno bravo site and see alot of people who have built an igloo style oven seem to complain about how quickly the oven loses heat. So I am guessing to increase the thermal mass on these oven would require me to pour concrete over the dome and then insulate!!!!!!!! 

I will be cooking pizza's but that is not my primary purpose for building the oven, I do alot of entertaining and cook a variety of stuff from musaka, tandoori chicken, roasts fish etc etc. I would be looking at a oven that can hold heat for awhile not something that is going to run out of steam so to speak.


Offline widespreadpizza

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2008, 08:57:56 AM »
jcash,  I biult a hybrid, igloo/ relatively low dome oven.  I used pretty low tech insulating materials,  meaning vermiculite top and bottom.  My oven takes about 2-2.5 hours to reach apx 900 degrees.  After a nice night of making pizza,  using my door, the oven here is what I can count on for retained heat cooking.  Night after pizza fire apx 500 degrees,  next night425ish,  next night 350ish.  The oven will be above room temp for six or seven days.  This is plenty of retained heat cooking for me,  and if you want to add and live flame to any of your cooking sessions you can stretch it out even longer.  Also ,  I couldn't imagine having to build this oven again anytime soon,  they might have a relatively short lifespan in a commercial evviornment,  but I am not so sure about that either.  Anyhow,  unless you are cooking dozens of loaves of bread,  stick with an igloo.  Thats my advice-marc

Offline dmun

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2008, 03:03:25 PM »
From what i have readon this post the igloo oven has a short life span,I dont really want to build an oven that I am going to have to rebuild again especially if I have to cut the bricks and then have to buy new bricks to build a barrel vault oven later.


There is a round domed oven in the kitchen at Mt. Vernon, VA. made of red brick and old lime mortar, from the mid 18th century. They don't fire it up anymore because of fire safety concerns, but it looks solid to me. And this is a relative newcomer to the round oven group. There are numerous examples from the medieval period and the Roman empire in Europe. I don't think the round oven is inherently unsound.

Quote
Also from what I have seen due to the lower thermal mass of the igloo style oven wouldnt it imply the oven would not just have a faster heating time but would also have a faster cooling time? If I am to build a igloo style oven I wouldbe looking at something with a greater thermal mass.  I have read some posts on the forno bravo site and see alot of people who have built an igloo style oven seem to complain about how quickly the oven loses heat. So I am guessing to increase the thermal mass on these oven would require me to pour concrete over the dome and then insulate!

Yes, you can build a thicker oven, or add thermal mass in concrete to the outside, but most builders haven't found this necessary. The thickness/mass of the oven is unrelated to it's shape.  Most problems arising from heat loss are due to inadequate insulation.

I'm not opposed to high mass barrel dome ovens. I just wouldn't build one for myself unless I was building a commercial bread bakery.


Offline jcash

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2008, 09:10:16 PM »



I'm not opposed to high mass barrel dome ovens. I just wouldn't build one for myself unless I was building a commercial bread bakery.



The barrell seems easier to build but also less practical for the space I am wanting to utilise hence the ? about rotating it 90 degrees and putting the arch in the centre. The igloo seems very difficult to buld once you get up to the higher courses hence my concerns about strength.

The oven you are referring to in Vermont I am sure is a solid oven but I am guessing it is huge made from full size bricks and the top of the dome doesnt have the tiny brick cuts that seem to be required in the smaller neopolitan/tuscan igloo's. I am also guessing it was build by a stone mason and not an amateur wanting something different in their yard. You have to agree talking about ovens from the old days/ancient days if we are referring to the ovens built in pompei is like comparing apples to oranges it is an art that was practised back then and perfected and has died with the advent of the cast iron food fire ovens, then the electric/gas ovens of today.

I am looking at building one oven not many and I am sure most people who take on a WFO in their yards are doing it as a one off project so its not really an art I will get to perfect, unless ofcourse the thing falls down around me or my Pizzas :)


Offline dmun

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2008, 09:21:14 PM »
Good luck with your project. Whichever style you choose,  you can be assured that lots of amateur builders with minimal construction skills have successfully built both styles of oven. The key to success is using LOTS of insulation, both for the top and bottom of the oven. The most common factor in unsuccessful builds, is the false impression that various forms of sand/gravel/crushed glass is a adequate substitute for proper insulation. I don't mean to go on. The reason that I jumped in, in the first place, is my concern that a big opening on the side of a barrel vault oven is structurally unsound. I think if you follow any standard plan, you will get an oven that will cook well.

Offline jimd

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Re: Wood pizza oven design philosophy
« Reply #39 on: May 15, 2008, 09:31:22 AM »
Just a quick comment and word of encouragement. My friend and I just completed a dome-shaped oven in his backyard here in the Washington DC area. Neither of us are the least bit skilled in masonry, or any other craft, for that matter. We had a fabulous time, and you will too. If you go slowly and step by step, you really will do fine. The dome shape was not especially hard to build. I think one key is to make sure you get the dome height to oven opening height correct. The right ratio keeps the fire going with enough air circulation without losing too much heat out the door.

One thing we have learned ---opt for a little bigger rather than smaller. I think the difference in wood consumption is minimal, but the ability to add even one more pizza to the oven will make entertaining that much better.

No doubt, as rank amateurs, we could have built a better functioning oven. BUT, it works well enough to enjoy, which is what we were seeking.

GOOD LUCK---it is a great project and your neighbors will love you (but you must invite them from time to time).

Jim


 

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