Author Topic: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs  (Read 26182 times)

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Offline breadstoneovens

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #20 on: July 07, 2012, 02:30:57 PM »
Thanks David. Have these ovens been sucessfully used on a mobile trailer(think I saw somebody in Canada)? If so , what size would you recommend to comfortably do 2 or 3 , aprox. three minute pies at a time. Any gas assisted models? Thanks!

Bob
Hi Bob,

Yes, this oven has been successfully put on a trailer. More often in Europe where portable pizza trailer and truck are everywhere.
The best size to make 3 pizza a time is the 950 or the 1030. The 1030 was specially designed to be mounted on a trailer as it lighter and has a metal brace to bolt it onto the trailer and maintain it into place.
I will contact you directly for more details.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.


Offline RobynB

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #21 on: July 07, 2012, 03:53:13 PM »
There is a dealer in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Ovens, that was selling trailer-mounted ovens and I know he deals in FGMs too.  His name is Seb.  I spoke with him when researching FGMs before we bought ours. 

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2012, 05:00:30 PM »
Thank you Robyn,
Boy, people sure do come up with some really neat trailering ideas....going to be hard to make a decision.  :-\

I followed along on your install, Robyn, and that was fun....I know you are enjoying your oven. Please let me know if it ever cracks in half on ya!  >:D   Ha!..jus kidd'in girl.... :)

Bob
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Offline scott123

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #23 on: July 08, 2012, 04:07:46 AM »
Italdream, it looks like my excitement over the FGMs low dome got the best of me, and I've been completely overlooking a major FGM fault.

I don't know how I missed this, but the door is too big.  It looks like FGM uses the same size door on all their models, so, on the 950 (Robyn's), the door size isn't glaringly noticeable, but, as you start looking at some of their smaller ovens, the door size is ridiculous.

Now, this may not be the end of the world and may not prevent me from eventually endorsing this oven, but, for now, especially with your desire for something simple, I'm not recommending it to you.

The only way I can endorse this oven is if

1. FGM offers a door insert that shrinks the size considerably
2. The person purchasing the oven is willing to build an insert themselves.

Because FGM uses the same size door and throat on all their models, I'm not sure an insert will even be the answer for the smaller units. I'm going to have to think about it.  Jeff (Shuboyje), from the specs on the Neapolitan inspired oven that he built, seems to feel that a tight throat is important, but I'm not 100% certain how much it brings to the table.  It's kind of like the looped back chimney that traces back on top of the dome in Neapolitan ovens- if one of the pre-cast folks could incorporate that as well, I'd be ecstatic, but I don't think it precludes an oven's ability to do top quality Neapolitan pies.

In a perfect world, the FGM would have the 9" ceiling, the looped back chimney, a small throat and a small door. But, alas, this is not a perfect world :)  Out of all these features, though, I think the dome height is the most important and the door a close second.  The chimney is probably a bit of a pipe dream.  And the throat, it may not be that critical, but I still have to think about it- especially in relation to the smaller FGM kit.

Antoine, are you reading this?  :)  Could you pass along these concerns to the powers that be?  An oven with a 9.5" dome really shouldn't have an 8.5"  door. Perhaps for bread, but not for pizza.  How about taking a page out of the Stefano Ferrara playbook and fabricating some kind of insert for the door?
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 04:09:57 AM by scott123 »

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #24 on: July 08, 2012, 06:57:23 AM »
Hi Scott, thank you. This is very instructive.

Turning to the original question about "Other Lower Budget WFOs", if you were me what oven (brand, model etc.) would you get with a $3,500 or less investment, to do Neapolitan pies? I think that with this budget, I will have to make concessions one way or the other. Still not sure what to do.

I know that one or two features are more important than others, just unclear which oven on the market is the best compromise. For example the Forno Bravo Casa2G90 has good size for me (36") and decent price but dome is higher and door larger. As you said, FGM ovens also have large doors, although they seem much better products than some of the others, and in fact, they look more expensive, especially after the installation cost is again factored in, unless I go with the smaller 800C (31"1/2). Alternatively, I could decide for some pre-assembled option like the Forno Classico Piccolo ($2,900), Forno Bravo Primavera 70 ($2,550), Andiamo70 ($2,950.00) or the Roundboy ($2,245.00 - looks like a dog house), but all these ovens seem to fall short at Neapolitan-style features, each one in its own different way. Again, not looking for perfection, just for the best compromise.

I mean, all this is confusing.

Clearly, I could just put the whole think on hold, waiting for a higher budget, but I am just so dying to get one  ;)
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 07:11:26 AM by italdream »

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2012, 07:53:59 AM »
I don't understand your confusion.  You've been coached until you know the correct parameters for a NP WFO oven.  Now find those parameters in a ready-built oven within your budget.  If you can't find anything in that price range, then you have two choices:  increase your budget or build your own.   Don't expect anyone to do your shopping or decision-making for you.

I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2012, 08:19:36 AM »
Pizzaneer, thank you for your reply. I certainly don't expect you to do my shopping or decision-making. I just wanted to make sure that I got all the proper options, none missing, re: ovens in my budget. Also, regrouping the various possibilities in my previous post would (hopefully) serve as well other people in my same budget category.

Separately, your first reply on this topic comes out along the lines of "do not waste my time". To be honest, If I am wasting your time, you are just as much wasting mine. Thank you again to all the other people who kindly helped me (and the discussion) thus far.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 09:19:59 AM by italdream »

Offline scott123

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2012, 09:23:35 AM »
Italdream, I recently acquired a few reservations about the FGM, but, imo, they pale in comparison to my reservations regarding the Piccolo, Primavera and the Andiamo.  Out of the three, I think the Andiamo has a slight edge, but they all have huge ceilings, huge doors and cramped dimensions.  At least with the FGM, even the smallest kit, you're not getting the huge ceiling, and if you go with the 800, it won't be that cramped either.

One important thing to keep in mind- there's not a member on this forum who went with a smaller oven who was later content with their decision.

If you absolutely have to pull the trigger on an oven now, I'd go with the 800C, otherwise, I'd wait until you can spend a little more.

One other thing to keep in mind is that brick ovens tend to be a little more durable than refractory.  I don't personally know anyone with a refractory oven that's failed, but, in theory, brick is a bit more durable. The brick version of the 800 tacks on another 500 bucks- that's a tough call. $2.5K for the refractory version seems pretty reasonable.

Before you do anything, I'd touch base with Robyn and see how much she paid for installation.  It was an indoor install, which I'm sure drove the price up a bit, but it might be helpful to get an idea.

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2012, 09:35:53 AM »
Hey Scott, you are the man! Thank you for that. I kind of was reaching the same conclusion. FGMs just look better products (at least to me, and based on my limited understanding). It seems that for basic neapolitan, it may be now for a 800C or wait (arghh... waiting) for a 950 (BTW the bricked version looks fantastic). at least I won't be falling for the ALFA thingy any time soon.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2012, 01:36:26 PM »
Scott,

Nice call on adding an insert...wonder how long it would/will take now for FGM to be adding this new accessory to their catalog. Any thoughts on that Scott...would it be easier for them to just incorporate that design into a whole new build or is that crazy mans talk? Also,if a guy wanted to add this insert you talked about am I correct in assuming that one would want to fashion it in a way that when it's butted up to the oven just inside the U piece you would want to bypass/minimize some of that vent channel...will this give you more heat? And, depending on the depth of the insert you can get the more advantageous throat you mentioned? Sorta two birds with one insert.. ;)  Speaking of benefits...why the deeper throat anyway? (keep it clean now Scott! :-D)

Thanks,
Bob

edit: ok, I jus now found out what the throat is, makes sense now. :-[


Bob
« Last Edit: July 09, 2012, 09:32:44 AM by Chicago Bob »
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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2012, 01:57:56 PM »
For example the Forno Bravo Casa2G90 has good size for me (36") and decent price but dome is higher and door larger.



Steve,"EV" jus put one of these in an old converted Airstream trailer. Really neat an I think that oven is capable,check it out....http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19725.msg193381.html#msg193381
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #31 on: July 08, 2012, 02:13:12 PM »
The retro looking WFO RV is classic.

Steve,"EV" jus put one of these in an old converted Airstream trailer. Really neat an I think that oven is capable,check it out....http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19725.msg193381.html#msg193381

Offline RobynB

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #32 on: July 08, 2012, 05:44:28 PM »
If you look at FGM's website under oven accessories:  http://www.fourgrandmere.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21_24&osCsid=tcv94h690n7at9uka5706nk4n1 (there are two pages) you can see that FGM already offers some door options.  It seems like it wouldn't be much work for them to re-engineer a door with the specs you want, or at least close.  Scott, have you looked at that section? 

I, personally, wouldn't want a smaller opening.  With the 950, as Scott said, it's less of an issue, and I'm very comfortable with what I have, wouldn't want it any smaller.  By contrast, I've cooked in a Cirigliano Forni oven with a bigger opening, and it definitely feels like it uses more wood and puts out a lot more heat into the room.  But again, these are bigger ovens so not relevant to this discussion.

Bob, thanks for the nice comment!

Offline shuboyje

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #33 on: July 08, 2012, 10:37:44 PM »
The doors FGM sells are all outer doors.  The size of the inner door is of larger concern because of it's function as a damper for the ovens combustion.  A door height of 63% of the dome height is considered "ideal" for a masonry black oven.  I will be the first person to question that number.  For instance the door shape should change that number drastically, yet it is never considered.  That said, an 8.5" door on a 9.5" oven is 90%.  The raised option FGM offer further increases this number to 92%.

Another french option, Le Panyol, sold in the US by Maine Wood Heat is similar to FGM in the facts that it's ovens have a low dome and all use the same size door.  In the case of Le Panyol most of their residential ovens seem to have a near perfect IMHO 12 1/4" dome height with a door height of 8 5/8".  That works out to 70%, much closer to the "ideal".  Down side is these ovens are extremely expensive.  Over $4000 for the core kit alone for a 40" oven.  By the time you insulate and enclose it you could buy a Neapolitan oven.

After dome height door size is the next most important "number" in pizza oven design.  From a thermal efficiency standpoint the door is a pizza ovens biggest achilles heel.  It's a gapping un-insulated hole that let's heat poor out of the oven.  The smallest door possible that allows what you want to cook in and the combustion gases to come and go freely is the best one.   
-Jeff

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #34 on: July 09, 2012, 12:00:56 AM »
Hey Jeff,

You built a beautiful oven and your "so it begins' thread is great in so many ways. Thank you for that.
Would you mind explaining why you prefer a 12 1/4 in. dome height(or 12 3/4 as in yours) rather than the 20% lower variety....thanks!

Bob
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Offline breadstoneovens

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #35 on: July 09, 2012, 09:13:10 AM »
Antoine, are you reading this?  :)  Could you pass along these concerns to the powers that be?  An oven with a 9.5" dome really shouldn't have an 8.5"  door. Perhaps for bread, but not for pizza.  How about taking a page out of the Stefano Ferrara playbook and fabricating some kind of insert for the door?

Yes, I am reading this and will try to reply to everyone at once and will try to not come across too defensive.
I have to say that I have had requests for a taller door ( which generated the raised option ) or wider door ( special order ) but never for a smaller door. You need to keep in mind that you need to be able to put wood and pizza ( or other food ) through the door, so smaller may make it more challenging. Also if you are tall and want to be able to look at you pizza without breaking your back, lower door means more bending to see inside, even if your oven it set high-up on a stand. Anyhow, I will speak with FGM about your request and see what we can come up with.

For the throat, there are 3 sizes; 6", 7" and 8". I use 6" for small ovens and 8" for bigger ovens. 7" is not used much as it is more expensive to find the right chimney pipe that size. Too small of chimney pipe with make your oven smoke, but bigger only helps better venting.

The special shape of the dome helps with greater retention of the heat, but of course most of it goes through the door and the exhaust.

The oven and their doors are made for indoor and outdoor installation.

Finely, as much as the 63% dome/door ratio is highly regarded in North America, it is seen as irrelevant in Europe and they have been using such oven since before the Roman Empire.

Now everyone has opinions about what is best and at the end each person need to find the right oven for them.

Such comments are very interesting, so please keep providing your feedback so FGM can keep improving.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.

Offline scott123

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2012, 12:31:39 PM »
The doors FGM sells are all outer doors.  The size of the inner door is of larger concern because of it's function as a damper for the ovens combustion.  A door height of 63% of the dome height is considered "ideal" for a masonry black oven.  I will be the first person to question that number.  For instance the door shape should change that number drastically, yet it is never considered.  That said, an 8.5" door on a 9.5" oven is 90%.  The raised option FGM offer further increases this number to 92%.

Another french option, Le Panyol, sold in the US by Maine Wood Heat is similar to FGM in the facts that it's ovens have a low dome and all use the same size door.  In the case of Le Panyol most of their residential ovens seem to have a near perfect IMHO 12 1/4" dome height with a door height of 8 5/8".  That works out to 70%, much closer to the "ideal".  Down side is these ovens are extremely expensive.  Over $4000 for the core kit alone for a 40" oven.  By the time you insulate and enclose it you could buy a Neapolitan oven.

After dome height door size is the next most important "number" in pizza oven design.  From a thermal efficiency standpoint the door is a pizza ovens biggest achilles heel.  It's a gapping un-insulated hole that let's heat poor out of the oven.  The smallest door possible that allows what you want to cook in and the combustion gases to come and go freely is the best one.   

Thanks, Jeff, I was hoping you'd chime in because of your background in these matters.

I'm not sure we're on exactly the same page, but I think it's very similar. When I talk about 'throat' I think it's along the same lines as your 'inner door,'  although my 'throat' encompasses the whole entryway. If, for instance, FGM went with a 63% inner door and 63% outer door, but left the rest of the throat the way it is, that would miss the mark as well, imo. The chimney area should be elevated, but I don't think it should be 90% (or higher) either.  Ideally, the entire entryway would be less than 70%- and a bit deeper.

So, if I'm hearing you correctly, a reduction in the inner door height is more critical to the FGM design than the outer door.  Is that correct?  Would an outer door insert, while not being as combustion friendly as an inner door reduction, at least prevent some heat from 'pouring out of the oven?'  Would an outdoor insert be a bit more feasible, since it would involve modifying the inserts they have now?

I'm picturing a cast iron door with a second door within it- two sets of hinges.  When the larger door is opened, you have the full width (for fire tending and larger pizzas) and the smaller door gives you Neapolitan access. It would be nice if the door could be insulated, but that may not be practical.

Offline scott123

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #37 on: July 10, 2012, 12:56:36 PM »
Yes, I am reading this and will try to reply to everyone at once and will try to not come across too defensive.
I have to say that I have had requests for a taller door ( which generated the raised option ) or wider door ( special order ) but never for a smaller door. You need to keep in mind that you need to be able to put wood and pizza ( or other food ) through the door, so smaller may make it more challenging. Also if you are tall and want to be able to look at you pizza without breaking your back, lower door means more bending to see inside, even if your oven it set high-up on a stand. Anyhow, I will speak with FGM about your request and see what we can come up with.

For the throat, there are 3 sizes; 6", 7" and 8". I use 6" for small ovens and 8" for bigger ovens. 7" is not used much as it is more expensive to find the right chimney pipe that size. Too small of chimney pipe with make your oven smoke, but bigger only helps better venting.

The special shape of the dome helps with greater retention of the heat, but of course most of it goes through the door and the exhaust.

The oven and their doors are made for indoor and outdoor installation.

Finely, as much as the 63% dome/door ratio is highly regarded in North America, it is seen as irrelevant in Europe and they have been using such oven since before the Roman Empire.

Now everyone has opinions about what is best and at the end each person need to find the right oven for them.

Such comments are very interesting, so please keep providing your feedback so FGM can keep improving.

Antoine

Antoine, thank you for your reply.

I think we might be using the term 'throat' differently.  I might be wrong about this, but, for me, 'throat' is synonymous with 'entryway'- any non-dome area.

It's very important to keep in mind that we're pizza makers here, not bread makers and, for many of us, the holy grail is Neapolitan oven thermodynamics in a sub $4K oven.  When you say 'Europe' I'm guessing you really mean France, right?  ;D France may have a long history baking bread in high door ovens, but Naples has a very rich, not quite so long history of using low door ovens for Neapolitan pizza. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but FGM has taken a very big step in giving us Neapolitan thermodynamics in a 9" dome.  This 9" dome a very very very big deal and it's the sole reason why FGM is currently the toast of the forum.

Just because FGM is giving us a 9" dome, though, doesn't mean that we're not yearning for more.  Neapolitan pizza is huge right now, and, from what I can tell, only getting bigger.  The market for home ovens that are optimized for Neapolitan thermodynamics is only going to grow.  It won't be long before someone comes along and not only gives us the dome height we want, but the inner door height as well as the chimney loop.  Intentionally or not, FGM is the first on the scene.  If they can listen to John Q. Neapolitan Pizzamaker and bend a little bit with special inserts, and, ideally, tweaked designs, they could make a load of money from this.

Offline breadstoneovens

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #38 on: July 10, 2012, 03:53:00 PM »
Antoine, thank you for your reply.

I think we might be using the term 'throat' differently.  I might be wrong about this, but, for me, 'throat' is synonymous with 'entryway'- any non-dome area.

It's very important to keep in mind that we're pizza makers here, not bread makers and, for many of us, the holy grail is Neapolitan oven thermodynamics in a sub $4K oven.  When you say 'Europe' I'm guessing you really mean France, right?  ;D France may have a long history baking bread in high door ovens, but Naples has a very rich, not quite so long history of using low door ovens for Neapolitan pizza. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but FGM has taken a very big step in giving us Neapolitan thermodynamics in a 9" dome.  This 9" dome a very very very big deal and it's the sole reason why FGM is currently the toast of the forum.

Just because FGM is giving us a 9" dome, though, doesn't mean that we're not yearning for more.  Neapolitan pizza is huge right now, and, from what I can tell, only getting bigger.  The market for home ovens that are optimized for Neapolitan thermodynamics is only going to grow.  It won't be long before someone comes along and not only gives us the dome height we want, but the inner door height as well as the chimney loop.  Intentionally or not, FGM is the first on the scene.  If they can listen to John Q. Neapolitan Pizzamaker and bend a little bit with special inserts, and, ideally, tweaked designs, they could make a load of money from this.
Sorry, I thought you meant flue connector by "throat", and I get your point for the 63% opening. There is an opportunity on the US market for the WFO to be with a lower opening and I will be addressing that with FGM next week as I will be there.
I'll let you what comes out of it.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.

Offline Tommy T

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #39 on: July 10, 2012, 05:31:54 PM »
I am getting ready to build another oven for myself.  A few things posted in this thread have got me thinking I may want to change my plans.  I built my oven from Pompeii oven plans several years back.  I can get some good Neoish pizzas (60-90sec) out it when its totally cranked up.  But doesn't take long until I'm in the 2-3 min cook time.  Basically, dome is too high (22"), door is too wide (20"x12"), chimney throat too big (10"x7").  When I built my oven I didn't realize how important all of these things played into making great pizza.  Then again I had never had Neapolitan Pizza before either and didn't understand what it took to cook it properly.  I can get real close to where i want my bakes to be but after the fire dies a bit so does the oven.  After the third or forth pizza i feel i need to apologize.

Can a 9" dome height really work?  My idea was more in the 12-14" range.  You guys have been batting around door sizes.  What actual door size do you feel would work with a 9" dome?   

I have also considered a squirrel tail exhaust throat similar to along the lines of what Berry in Cape Town had done.  In doing an exhaust like this what are the advantages?  I could see that the heated gasses going through the exhaust would actually help in  charging the dome.

Any additional thoughts or ideas would be great!
Thanks,Tom


 

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