Author Topic: Wood Burning pizza oven  (Read 89419 times)

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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Wood Burning pizza oven
« on: March 27, 2005, 07:57:02 PM »
42" (105cm)is the smallest I would suggest to build.

Just make sure of the shape you need to achieve.

The dome of the pizza oven, should not be a spherical one, but actually a "flattened" sphere. The centre should be almost flat, like a normal ceiling (see Fig.1 in drawing below) with max height equal the diameter divided 3.4. To achieve this, the first row of bricks needs to be standing:

The 22cm brick's side staying standing, the 6 cm side facing the inside of the oven and the 11 cm side making the thickens of the dome (see Fig.2 in drawing below, as they would appear looking inside the oven). However, as the first row of standing brick is laid after the oven floor is in place, the net height of the first brick is only 18-19 cm (I'll attach some pictures later)

Some of the instruction on the Pompeii oven of Forno Bravo, are a good guide. The shape is not.

The vent needs to be positioned in on the front of the Oven opening.

The opening itself needs to be an half sphere with the base of 44 cm and the height of 22.

The vent pipe then needs to run from the front, back to the centre of the dome, following the shape of the dome, and only at the centre, it can then go vertical and be finished off as normal (It should NOT be straight vertical on the front of the opening). This will allow better heat circulation (as the dome will heat the vent pipe) and help to consume less wood.


Sorry about the quality of the drawing, but I have just done it straight on paper free handed.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2005, 02:58:32 PM by pizzanapoletana »


Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2005, 09:58:03 AM »
There was a show on TV last night about people who built outdoor kitchens..and most all of them had some type of wood fired oven. They were quite large and really a fixture in their backyard. I could tell by the end of the show that most if not all were in Southern Calif. with a couple in Tx. I would love to have one except that the weather here would keep me from using it a lot (winter months and the time it takes to preheat with wood)... I can only dream about it and just try and use my grill like pft does for outdoor pizza grilling..

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2005, 11:58:24 AM »
an example

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2005, 06:54:53 AM »
pizzanapoletana,
I am entering into informal discussions to have an outdoor oven built by a master mason who specializes in building and repairing coal and wood burning ovens. He is not a master pizza maker though. So I wonder if you could elaborate on whether or not I could focus on building a duel fuel oven or not. Coal & wood to be specific. Are there design differences I should be aware of? My hope is to have an oven built specifically for the baking of pizza. Nothing else. I am not willing to compromise the design in any way.

I grew up with coal fired ovens so that is my reference point. Frankly, the taste coal imparts on pizza is intoxicating. That is not to say that a wood burning oven is not as good if not better. But the fact is, I have never eaten at an establishment which properly cooked pizzas in the type of wood burning oven you have discussed in the past. So I am open to the concept of a wood burning oven but I do not want to build a wood burning oven and sacrifice the ability to burn coal.

There is prescident for my request. When I was in Ft Lauderdale, FL a few weeks back I ate at Anthony's Coal-Fired Pizza. Michalangelo the pizzaiolo, and owner, told me his two ovens are really wood burning ovens by design. How could pizza know whether it is sitting next to a lump of coal or a stack of seasoned wood?

Is it really that simple? Could one simply load the oven with coal or wood and strike a match? In this case, I would like to have my pizza and be able to eat it too. Hope is never a good strategy but my hope is that you will respond by saying that a properly designed oven can burn both fuels efficiently with minor variations.

Here's to hope...
« Last Edit: April 08, 2005, 07:07:25 AM by pftaylor »
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Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2005, 07:03:34 AM »
pft does that mean you are selling your TEC grill???? I wonder what shipping would be to PA...
I agree with you though the coal ovens are the best... hotter fire etc... just harder to start. Can't wait to see the pics of your oven!....Where do you get coal in FL??

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2005, 07:09:52 AM »
MTPIZZA,
I would hold on to the TEC because of the speed of cooking. It really makes cooking meats a dream. I understand from Michalangelo of Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza that coal is routinely shipped from Pennsylvania to Florida and is readily available.
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Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2005, 08:03:06 AM »
let Il Pizzaiolo support my point of view on the coal burning oven.

A coal oven is made by a square room with poor air circulation, without a living flame and it cooks in 3-5 minutes (that what I have measured in NYC at Lombardi's, Grimaldi's, Totonno's etc.

A wood burning oven, properly built, cooks a pizza at an average of 30-60 seconds, 90 tops.
It cooks in three ways and there is no comparison against the NY coal one. The wood one is simply the best.
I would be prepared to put at stake my name on it. What a wood burning oven does to a pizza, the coal one simply cannot. Obviously, the coal one is clearly better then gas or electric and that is where its status comes from.

Build a proper oven, however is quite difficult. In Naples there are only three families that can really do the proper job.

Il Pizzaiolo can expand this in more details, but I firmly believe that if the first Neapolitans emigrating to the States, knew how to build a wood burning oven, would never have used the coal one.
What is more, I also believe that those guys were not really pizza maker, but rather bakers that adapted their dough to make pizza.

Finally, I think is quite toxic to use bituminous coal rather then simple hard wood.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2005, 08:05:26 AM by pizzanapoletana »

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2005, 08:32:54 AM »
pizzanapoletana,
Again you have opened my eyes to what is truly possible and right in the world of pizza. Thank you for sharing. The spector of dangerous toxicity levels of coal is enough to change my mind.

How then might you suggest I utilize this mason who specializes in wood & coal ovens to build a "perfect" wood burning pizza oven capable of fully baking a pizza in 90 seconds or less?
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline ilpizzaiolo

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2005, 12:16:25 PM »
I certainly would agree with pizza napoletana. A domed Neapolitan oven is the best, and it is logical if you keep in mind what you are baking, then look at the size and shape of the two types of oven. The wood oven is smaller, round, with a domed ceiling. The wood oven burns more efficient and hotter. The larger coal oven is square or rectangle, with a flat ceiling  and is better suited to baking bread, and large batches of it. The coal oven, while capable of achieving high temperatures, is harder to control. typically, the oven is either too hot during slow periods, or too cold during busy periods.... it very difficult to get a 10x10 square mass of brick using coal to maintain a constant temperature. But this lower baking temperature is actually what is causing people like ed levine and millions of others to say coal ovens are better, it is because they like crispy (bordering on dry) pizza. With the lower oven temp, between 750 and 850, the pizzas take between 3-5 mintues, giving the pizza time to dry up, or become crispy.. like biscotti. The difference is that a wood oven can be regulated to get the same result as a coal oven if that is ones preference, or you have  the option to go up to 950-1200 degrees and bake true neapolitan pizza in 30-60 seconds.. The coal oven also burns anthracite which is cleaner than bituminous, but when I questioned evelyne slomon 10 years ago on which type of oven to get, she said get wood if you want to live past 50.... There probably are some health concerns related to prolonged exposure to coal ovens. The other thing about the myth of these coal ovens is that the owners of these establishments do everything they can to encourage this type of misinformation that has spread over the years... At a tour of john's pizza in the village sponsored by PMQ,  the owner stated that the only way to make pizza of that quality/type is with a coal oven and you can't get one becuase no new ones are allowed to be built, you have to find an existing one... how convenient for john! But that is a lie to.. there is company called triple v construction who has been building them for years.  The owner of Lombardi's makes similar statements. The truth about these people is that they have a recipe, and a tradition, but they don't know any more about pizza than anyone on this forum. In fact they know less in my opinion because they have closed their minds and have very little understanding of what they are doing. Even ed levine is guilty of this, he knows what he likes, and that is the end of it... he is unwilling to listen to anything else. at the Lombardi's PMQ tour, ed levine was agreeing with john brescio of lombardi's and encouraging that coal oven crap! When corrected by our very own 'pizzanapoletana', ed levine would not listen to a word being said, he would only repete what he believed to be true. unfortunately he is dead wrong... one thing that adds fuel to the fire is that most pizzerias or restaurants that have woodburing ovens in them are basically baking bad pizza and the oven is more of a marketing scheme. They basicallly bake at too low of temperature so that there is no advantage of using a brick oven, and use cheap ingredients... Most pizzerias/restaurants that bake in a brick oven, try to make fancy pizza using regular pizza ingredients in a woodburning oven at regular oven temperatures, yielding a pizza not as good as regular pizza. That is where the coal oven joints succeed.. they are in new york, have access to good ingredients, and have some clue of what they are doing.... With so many average or below average wood fired oven establishments in america, it is easy to understand why a handful of above average coal ovens would be recognized as the best. As my friend john volpi would say, "they are selling water in the desert."

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2005, 05:57:50 AM »
pizzanapoletana, ilpizzaiolo,
I came away from two trips recently feeling bad about my life-long devotion to coal-fired pizza joints. First, last October I went to Grimaldi's in Brooklyn and had a coal oven pie. Other than having the smokey flavor I love, the pie was bland. The sauce had no flavor and the cheese was tasteless. I will admit the sausage was tremendous. But the pie was heavily charred on one side and almost undercooked on the other. I came away from that experience very disappointed and wondered why anyone could possibly think these guys made some of the best pies in the city. They just serve what I call "tourista" pie - for tourists. Maybe guys from the neighborhood who don't know any better as well. The pie was so bad at Grimaldi's that my entire family preferred the gas oven pie from the Patsy's location at 34th and 3rd. At least they adhered to the original Patsy's formula and seemed to have some level of quality control evident.

Then just a week or two ago, I had the opportunity to visit Jose at the original Patsy's. Again the smokey flavor is wonderful but everything else about the pie was bad. The quality of ingredients was shameful. It was still better than Grimaldi's but that wasn't saying much. In the end, both Grimaldi's and Patsys' rely entirely too much on their oven. A coal fired oven can only cover up so many mistakes before the house of cards collapse. I came away from both trips believing at my core that these places sell bad pizza. It has the potential to be good but the execution was so bad no amount of coal could cover up the lack of caring.

I wish that Anthony at Una Pizza Napoletana would not have been closed. I could have experienced a true wood burning oven pie - the way it was meant to be for the first time in my life. When it comes to wood burning ovens I don't know what I don't know - yet. But I'm learning from the help of experts like yourselves.

I understand now what you are both saying about wood vs. coal. Just the health aspect alone is enough to drive me toward wood. Thank you for giving me the proper perspective so that I may make an informed decision about a backyard oven. I will discuss the design issues required to achieve a true pizza wood burning oven with my mason and see if he still wants the job. If not, I'll move on to a true artisan from Italy.

Life is too short not to experience the best.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2005, 06:04:11 AM by pftaylor »
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www.wood-firedpizza.com


Offline MTPIZZA

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2005, 05:25:48 PM »
There you go pft...sounds to me like great ovens....poor ingrediants..why pizza establishments cheapin their ingrediants and try to live on word of mouth from the years they were cranking out great pies...one has to wonder. Lower the costs by buying cheaper flour, sauce etc... I have tasted too many pies that have also disappointed my tastebuds only to wonder HEY WHERES THE FLAVOR!!!  Tourists flock but pizzaholics shake their heads in dismay and never return.... Or a bright note..perhaps we are ones forging ahead and keeping ingrediants top shelf and now we all notice a difference when a pie is really inferior when they expect you to enjoy their pie cause its the parlor name that has you in their grasp...sigh....

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2005, 09:36:50 PM »
MTPIZZA,
Good points.

Here's my current position on eating pizza out:
1) The commercial pizza in Tampa stinks. I will not buy it. There is one place downtown which supposedly imports their water from NYC. I went by there and noticed gas ovens and pale looking pies. I had one slice, left a 20% tip and quickly left. It was nothing more than a marketing gimmick.

2) There are only a handful of elite destination style pizzeria's in the entire US: Il Pizzaiolo, UPN, DiFara, Bianco, and Al Forno come to mind. I'm not sure why the artisan movement isn't bigger but its not.

3) The pies I have been pumping out for the past few weeks are so good, I no longer feel the need to travel to get my pizza fix. I'm happy at home.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline pftaylor

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #12 on: May 09, 2005, 05:39:39 PM »
pizzanapoletana,
Thank you for posting the photographs of a true Naples pizza oven. Your timing couldn't be better as I'm scheduled to meet my oven maker this weekend.

A couple of quick questions:
First, your hand drawn image appears to be mostly the same with the oven in the photograph. However, the first row of red bricks (visiable in the last picture) appear to have a 45 degree edge (on the top side) to them. Can you add a comment as to why? Am I correct in assuming they are stacked on top of the true first row of bricks which stand vertically on the base?

Next, could you briefly explain how the sand dome is made (or where it is bought)?
How does it support the weight of all the bricks and mortar without collapsing?
Once made, it seems the bricks lie directly on the dome and it is a simple matter of laying the bricks carefully and filling the space inbetween bricks with mortar.

Finally, how does one go about removing the sand dome after completion?

Your advice and wisdom are always appreciated.

Ciao
« Last Edit: May 09, 2005, 08:01:41 PM by pftaylor »
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline David

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2005, 10:58:10 PM »
Thanks again for the photos Marco.it's good to find you sharing your knowledge on an English speaking forum!
I have already started building my oven (primarily from advice on the Forno Bravo forum )which so far has gone well and reached the point of making the sand dome form.From the photos it seems that the craftsman has mixed the  full and half size bricks,and also that the dome will be a whole brick thick at the center.Am I seeing things right?
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2005, 07:54:48 AM »
pizzanapoletana,
I appreciate your detailed explanation. I still have questions around the construction of the sand dome. Perhaps it is commonplace in the masonary trade, if so I apoligize, but I still don't understand how to build a wet sand dome capable of supporting the weight of all the bricks and mortar. Everything else you posted seems clear. Can you point me to a resource detailing how to build a sand dome? Or is it something I can buy (much like the tile base)?

You have fueled my creative juices and I'm ready to commit to the patio wood burning oven project. I can't see your plans costing any more than a couple of thousand dollars or so (not counting labor). It seems to be a small price to pay to enjoy the ultimate pizza experience.  Heck, I paid that much for my grill.
Pizza Raquel is Simply Everything You’d Want.
www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2005, 08:09:44 AM »
pft:  Perhaps we're visualizing it differently, but to me it seems easy that a sand "dome" can support the weight of the bricks.  If I understand it correctly, it's just a pile of sand that's been rounded off on the top--think of a mini sand dune.  A solid mound of sand could easily be the form for the ceiling, no?

---Guy
Man does not live by bread alone.  There's also tomato, cheese and pepperoni.

Offline David

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2005, 08:16:50 AM »
It may not be the orthodox method,but I just built a circular wood platform , supported it underneath with bricks and am building my mound on top of that.This way I have less sand to remove and it seems to be stable.The circular platform is split in the middle so that I ca remove it through my oven doorway after everything is set and dried.
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Offline pftaylor

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2005, 08:25:26 AM »
PizzaBrewer ,
Thanks for clarifying the sand dome concept for me. Since I'm the product of the Virginia Public School System from time to time I go stupid. This was a classic case. It never dawned on me that the sand dome was not hollow. In reality it is just a solid mound of sand shaped into a dome. Seems simple now.

My wife got a good laugh out of this one.
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www.wood-firedpizza.com

Offline PizzaBrewer

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2005, 01:54:11 PM »
One thing I would wonder about is how do you get every grain of sand out after the oven's built?  I'm imagining sand on the pizza for a LONG time after it's built.

---Guy
Man does not live by bread alone.  There's also tomato, cheese and pepperoni.

Offline David

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Re: Wood Burning pizza oven
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2005, 08:39:37 AM »
I'm interested to see how the vent and chimney are done,do you have any photos of that Marco?Cheers,
                       David
If you're looking for a date... go to the Supermarket.If you're looking for a wife....go to the Farmers market


 

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