Author Topic: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO  (Read 19552 times)

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Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #40 on: July 03, 2012, 09:46:33 PM »
Thanks I couldn't help but do a little dance on top of it when I finished. Hope the neighbors weren't watching.

Regarding the foundation, Fair point, It did occur to me too. I wouldn't pass on a foundation for a critical structure. I agree there is a risk of settling. No mortar to crack though, only the enclosure would suffer. I have thought it odd when I see advertisements for metal stands for turnkey ovens that there aren't warnings or specs for the patio or foundation. The oven is not very heavy, probably 1500lbs at most including the platform. That's only 170 lbs per 8 by 8 paver which are sitting on top of a small amount of gravel and landscaping cloth above the compacted sandy soil.  However in the unlikely event that it does settle I will either jack it up and add gravel or take it apart and start again. I think I will be fine though.

Not wanting to put in a permanent foundation was one of the main reasons I went this route. Between septic tanks and rain water runoff paths I haven't found a good spot for one. Otherwise I would have probably gone the traditional route with slab, block, and cast oven.
Michael


Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #41 on: July 10, 2012, 12:22:10 PM »
Added some cross bracing and supports for the wood storage area over the weekend. I poured the insulating slab today. I had to go with vermiculite as my supplier was out of perlite and I didn't want to wait another week. From what I could find on the forum it doesn't seem to matter much. Hope I don't regret it. I went with a slightly thicker slab than last time. I will place the old slab on the roof of the new oven.  Did a mix of 6:1. It was convenient to measure out the proportions using 5 gallon and 2.5 gallon pails. I premixed all the dry components ahead of time and put in garbage pails so I could mix them and pour it quickly. Mixed them in a 6 cu ft wheelbarrow. It took four batches. I used 55 gallons of vermiculite and 9 gallons of portland cement for the 4ft X 4ft by 5.75 inch slab. Framed in the slab with 2X6's that I will reuse for the wood storage area beneath the platform.

For anyone who is keeping track of the cost the vermiculite was $27 per bag and I used almost 3 bags and one bag of portland cement $15, will use the rest when insulating the top of the oven. Beyond the health implications I wonder how the cost for R value compares with the fiberboard. I think my total insulation costs are going to reach about $150-$200 for the total project

Any thoughts on how long I should let it dry before assembling the oven?
Michael

Online moose13

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #42 on: July 11, 2012, 10:17:57 PM »
Sweet, curious to watch this build.

Offline Jackitup

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #43 on: July 12, 2012, 03:09:21 AM »
looking good so far. Can't wait to see the pies
Jon
Save A Cow, Eat A Vegan....Totally Organic And Hormone Free!!

Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #44 on: July 14, 2012, 02:29:12 PM »
Watching concrete dry sure is painfully slow but I didn't want to ruin it at this point. Has been 4.5 days of drying and I had to start playing with it. Feels pretty dry and solid. Spread out a layer of sand by nailing 1/8 inch scrap wood to concrete form and dragging a straight edge across it. Laid out brick floor and called it a day, didn't want to push my luck. Seems to fit pretty flat and tight. I can see why people use large cast floor tiles. Will give it a few more days before I put up the rest of the structure.
Michael


Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #46 on: July 17, 2012, 02:12:39 PM »
It has been a week and I couldn't wait any longer to get started. I know there is still moisture in the slab but it has been baking in the sun, 98F today, for a while now and since there are plenty of joints in the floor it can escape there as I fire it.

I tried to get a 4.5 by 8.5 chimney from my local brick guy but struck out. I did end up exchanging my 5 inch interior diameter 9 inch long chimney for a 4 inch diameter 12 inch long one. I was able to cut some cross members out of angle iron and fit it into the ceiling at the front end opposite the fire side. I got some fireclay and mixed it 1:1 with sand. The gaps around the chimney and the gaps at the end of each row of ceiling brick, created by the thickness of the angle iron, where patched with it. Curious if that will stay in place.

To form the ceiling I laid rows of the brick and then laid another layer of half thickness brick to cover all the seams. I hope this will keep any debris from the perlcrete from falling through and add to the mass of the ceiling. Total ceiling thickness is 3.75 inches. Another approach that occurred to me would be to get some copper flashing on the thicker side and use that instead of the second layer of brick. I believe copper is good up to 2000F but is rather expensive and hard to find on the thicker side and without adhesive backing.

The door is 7 inches by 17 inches.

Used all my old insulating pads with fencing to insulate all the sides.

Burned some newspaper and cardboard to observe the draft, seems pretty good. Will have to wait for a real fire to see for sure.

After I test it out and tweak it, I will cover it all in perlcrete and try to smooth out the appearance of the out shell.
Michael

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #47 on: July 17, 2012, 02:20:35 PM »
Why not get some sort of metal HVAC pipe for the chimney? If you could get a couple feet, I think it might really help draw with that small diameter.

CL
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.

Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #48 on: July 17, 2012, 02:30:45 PM »
I might try that if this doesn't create enough draw. Or I can grab another foot length of this pipe for $10 and just add them together with clay or mortar. With no other surrounding structures to affect the plume and good insulation on the oven, I am not sure a longer chimney will get me much more draw. The draw is a function of the buoyancy of gases created by the temperature difference between the chimney exit gas temp and the temp of the surrounding air. Additional draw can be created with air flow past the top of the chimney creating low pressure. Without another structure interfering with the flow of air over the chimney or something causing negative pressure at the oven door I don't think a longer chimney gets you anything. I could be wrong though, I don't have a lot of experience with chimneys.
Michael

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #49 on: July 17, 2012, 02:53:59 PM »
Chimney height can make a pretty big difference.

At 70F outside and 900F inside, with a 4" diameter chimney, going from 1' to 3' would almost double your ideal flow rate.

Here is a calculator someone at FB put together:
http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/attachments/28/13735d1250904623-chimney-flow-rate-calculator-chimney-flow-rate-calculator-082109.zip

I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.


Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #50 on: July 17, 2012, 02:56:58 PM »
Thanks Craig, I'll take a look at it. I really don't have much experience with them. From the example you cite it might be well worth another $10.
Michael

Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #51 on: July 17, 2012, 03:13:40 PM »
Cool spreadsheet! It appears I stand corrected. Thanks Craig, I think I will get another length of chimney when I get a chance.
Michael

Offline scott123

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #52 on: July 17, 2012, 04:58:50 PM »
Can you get a 3' clay chimney liner?  Since you're working with a small diameter, every little bit of thermal mass helps.  If you do go the metal route, I hope you find a way of insulating it.

As you probably expect, I'm not in love with the chimney diameter (or the opening), but, I understand you've got to work with the materials you have access to.

How does the door to ceiling height ratio compare from the old oven to this one?

Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #53 on: July 17, 2012, 07:32:24 PM »
Scott, i knew you would be disappointed. I actually walked around the brickyard in the heat, half delirious thinking if I don't find this flue liner I'm going to hear about it. I thought about the metal route and wondered if it would be necessary to insulate it. Probably going to stick with clay. I don't know if I can get a 3' liner, I am going to look for one though. I suppose I am not near the limit, but there must be an upper limit on chimney size and height at which you are decreasing the efficiency of your oven. For now it is easy to replace the chimney so I will do some test runs and keep looking.

The ratio of door height to ceiling height is the same in the old and new oven and is a coincidence. It just worked out that way. By traditional standards it is way to high, 78%. However, I made it as low as I could and still feel comfortable that I could see and reach into the oven. I could probably lower it if I find that I want to. Are there many pizza ovens with doors lower than 7 inches? I like the look and feel of the offset door. I did a dry run of trying to simulate launching a pie with a 16 inch peel and it seemed to work ok. It is almost a straight shot to what I think will be the sweet spot, far away enough from the coals but not up against the wall.

Just got a cord and a half of seasoned oak delivered today. If it wasn't so hot I'd be doing a trial burn now.
Michael

Offline scott123

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #54 on: July 20, 2012, 08:19:55 PM »
Michael, I'll live  ;D

You really don't have that far to go. One might argue that your last incarnation of this oven was enough for Neapolitan pizza.  I'm just trying to get you that little bit more. The addition of a chimney, even it's it's not an ideal chimney, should help combustion.

Btw, this is a little late, and I think I might have steered you wrong by suggesting the chimney be placed at the ceiling height, but Shuboyje (Jeff) recently posted a very useful diagram relating to chimney/door positioning:

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19857.msg195826.html#msg195826

Based on this, I think that maybe your stepped ceiling concept might have been preferable. Sorry.

Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #55 on: July 21, 2012, 04:47:03 PM »
It's not too late until I encase the whole thing in insulating cement. Not going to do that until I am satisfied that it is as good as it can get.

It would be really easy to try out the stepped roof. If I can find a day without thundershowers I will cook a few pies with this configuration and see how things work out first.

Thanks for all the ideas and feedback, thats what makes this fun!
Michael

Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #56 on: July 25, 2012, 11:23:38 AM »
I Fired up the new oven for the first time yesterday. Preheated for 3 hours but didn't really get blazing until last hour only because I was doing other things. I probably didn't get it hot enough. Ceiling was too hot to measure. Floor was 800F initially but settled down to the 700's during cooking. Some of that might have been moisture in the vermiculcrete. However I think I just didn't heat up the oven enough. I located the chimney in the back center of the throat/doorway. I extended it to 2 feet. It drafted nicely but spilled some smoke out the door. The location had a lot to do with it but it could certainly have been a bit larger. For the next firing which I won't get to for a couple of weeks, I am going to step down the front third of the oven ceiling to a height of 7.5 inches and locate it at the side opposite the fire in that front third of the ceiling. The door will be lowered to 6.5 inches to try and encourage the smoke to go up the chimney and not spill out the door. I am also going to search for the 4.5 by 8.5 inch chimney that Scott suggested.

The 9 inch ceiling height is a nice height and by no means feels low or confining when you are working with it.

The pictures below are of a 60% hydration Caputo Pizzeria dough. Unfortunately I could only let it ferment overnight and sit on counter 3 hours. I would have liked another day in the fridge.
Michael

Offline scott123

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #57 on: July 26, 2012, 02:22:53 AM »
For the next firing which I won't get to for a couple of weeks, I am going to step down the front third of the oven ceiling to a height of 7.5 inches and locate it at the side opposite the fire in that front third of the ceiling. The door will be lowered to 6.5 inches to try and encourage the smoke to go up the chimney and not spill out the door.

Sounds excellent, Michael. Just to clarify, the chimney will be on the 7.5" step and be located the furthest possible from the fire, correct?  If that's the case, then I'm very curious to see how this works, as I think, for this setup, that could be ideal.

I wouldn't normally say this, but, because you've built what could be the best mortarless pizza oven the internet (and possibly the world) has ever seen, you a have special duty to hone your pizzamaking skills to the highest level.  You've made some phenomenal looking pies in the past, and I think you're pretty much there, but I just want to be absolutely certain everything is in order. Could you describe your doughmaking/fermentation process?

Ratio of ingredients?
This is red or blue 00 caputo, correct? It's got a photo of pizza on the front?
How long are you kneading for?
Are you kneading until smooth?
What size dough balls are you making?
Are you still using sourdough or switching between SD and IDY?

Do you have a cool place to ferment the dough?  Craig is a big advocate of not refrigerating Neapolitan dough, and, while I've seen some good looking refrigerated dough Neapolitan pizzas,  mirroring Craig, for now, wouldn't be a  bad idea- if you can find a cool place or set up a cooler.

Btw, are you still blocking/partially blocking the door during the pre-heat?

Edit: I've also been meaning to ask- on the used angle iron- any signs of warping?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2012, 02:31:32 AM by scott123 »

Offline Michael130207

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #58 on: July 26, 2012, 08:59:05 AM »
Thanks for the kind and encouraging words Scott. I have been changing my mind alot lately about the chimney and continue to look for a source for the 4X8 chimney. But the setup you describe is my current planned modification.

I have definitely been paying less attention than I would like to my dough lately.  I admire Craig's pies greatly and strive towards them as my standard.

My most recent dough for the oven was inspired by John's "Back to Basics" post. I got my Caputo flour from a store that repackages it in clear bags. The girl at the counter told me it was the pizzeria flour from the blue bag but I didn't get the feeling she was too sure. I plan on picking up a 50lb bag from a restraunt supplier when I get a chance. The last dough was a 60% hydration with 0.6% ADY and 2.8% Salt. I dissolve salt in water, add yeast, add half of flour let sit for 20 min. Knead with paddle on KA Mixer for 5 min, gradually add rest of flour and switch to dough hook when to firm to mix with paddle. Rest 20 minutes. Slap and fold for few minutes. Divide and ball 300g. Rest 30 min on counter. Put in fridge over night. Reball in morning. Take out and place on counter 3 hours before use. I plan on trying Craig's method in the near future but I don't like to change the oven and the dough at the same time.

I block the door during firing by placing a two bricks length wise at the entrace with a space in between and then place two bricks on top of the those to block the top of the door. With the chimney, that setup gets the fire roaring as combustion air is sucked in at the bottom of the door.

Surprisingly, even the 1/8th inch iron seems unaffected by either the heat or brick weight. The 1/4 inch just makes me feel good looking at it.
Michael

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: My first sourdough Nearlypolitan in my homemade WFO
« Reply #59 on: July 27, 2012, 08:22:54 PM »
I'm very impressed with the pies you're getting from your homemade WFO. I like the gentle, even charring on the cornice. Very nice.

How did you prepare the cheese on the margherita? What sort of cheese is it?

Craig
I love pigs. They convert vegetables into bacon.


 

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