Author Topic: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs  (Read 35863 times)

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Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #50 on: July 12, 2012, 09:51:00 AM »
Not a problem. But do you mean i should just go ahead and do it without a permit  8),
That is exactly what I mean. And stop talking to that inspector...you didn't give him your address yet I hope.

How is a 'lil WFO sitting quietly behind your house ever going to draw the type of attention that would cause someone from the city to come to you and say it's got to go? If your relationship with your neighbors is that bad then you prolly aren't doing this anyway. Permits serve a good purpose and they have their place...jus not here.You're not planning some out of the ordinary, wierd eyesore are you?

Insurance company? Burn barrels, fire rings, outdoor fireplaces, tiki torches, a nice roaring bbq grill.....waaay more dangerous,an how many of those come U.L. approved. 'Cmon, a door and a chimmny
cap is your "insurance".

A building permit around here is not expensive (for the things I've done anyway).Your kit should have plans and a drawing...not sure what the big deal is? But I still wouldn't mess with "the Man" on this 'lil DIY...the slab "maybe".


Bob
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Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #51 on: July 12, 2012, 04:24:33 PM »
Hey Bob. Your advice is tempting and well taken  ;D but I might pass. The neighbors are not a problem and they know better not to mess with the Italian (except they are Italians as well).

Anyway, this is all new for me. I thought: OK I am going to finally get a WFO, as my passion outpaced past cooking experiences including my LBE, Pizza Bella and tampered residential oven. Then all of a sudden, I get hit with paperwork and stuff, worth of building a swimming pool.

I have never personally applied for a permit but I guess it is doable. One final (rhetorical) question: what happens if I obtain a permit but then my DIY artifact does not pass inspection because skilled as I am, my creation is non compliant? Time will tell.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 06:11:54 PM by italdream »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #52 on: July 12, 2012, 06:42:18 PM »
. One final (rhetorical) question: what happens if I obtain a permit but then my DIY artifact does not pass inspection because skilled as I am, my creation is non compliant? Time will tell.
"The Man" is going to tell/show you what you need when you go to pull the permit...might need to schedule an appoint. with him. Also , depending on your build/install, there may be "stages" of inspections(ie.inspect grade, reinforcement, and forms on a patio install before the pour)...this is your opportunity to ask any questions you may have concerning the next phase.
  btw, my advice is just that and I prolly wouldn't follow it either ...'cept I got no choice!  ;)     :-D    You gotta do it the way you'll feel comfortable.....all inspectors are not the big bad wolf and ,belive me, that route really is not all that difficult and it jus might help keep you from screw'in sum'in up.
 Any other questions just ask away...this should NOT be a deal breaker!

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Offline chef-marty

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #53 on: July 30, 2012, 09:46:36 PM »
I have seen many videos of the Alfa pre-fab ovens and I have seen properly charred crusts and many white under fired crusts. I believe that the skill of the pizza maker is far more important than the oven. I took a 2000 Euro gamble and bought a "Forno 4 Pizze." I know that I will use it more often since it takes only a few minutes to heat and we'll see how it makes pizza. I have seen videos of a 90 second pie that looked just great! I know about the mass problem but for me, a little coals left inside along with the bread will not disturb me.

Offline Bigfoot21075

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #54 on: July 31, 2012, 08:30:25 AM »
Italdream,

If all you are looking for is a good WFO that will get high heat to make a great Neo pizza and be able to roast or cook for a few hours on residual heat, give Roundboy a look for less than $2,000 delivered - No building permit required, assembles in a half day with one helper.

http://www.roundboyovens.com/


Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #55 on: July 31, 2012, 10:11:18 AM »
Hi Bigfoot, it appears that the dome height is 14". I think that many people here would tell me that it might be too high for Neapolitan style. Anybody here having experience with Neapolitan pies in the roundboy? Once I go with a WFO I'd like to get as close as possible to Neapolitan style as opposed to my LBE elite-NY outcome.

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #56 on: July 31, 2012, 10:18:09 AM »
Sorry. Actually I see that you have one. A few questions:

Are you also shooting for Neapolitan style? How difficult is it to control temperature and are you satisfied with the actual outcome? Do you think it would fit two pizzas at once or just one?

Offline Bigfoot21075

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #57 on: August 02, 2012, 07:33:50 AM »
Sorry. Actually I see that you have one. A few questions:

Are you also shooting for Neapolitan style? How difficult is it to control temperature and are you satisfied with the actual outcome? Do you think it would fit two pizzas at once or just one?

Neapolitan style is the main reason I went with this oven. That was the only thing on my MUST HAVE list. Everything else was secondary. The cieling gets hot enough to easily cook the top of the pie without having to dome it.

IT took me a few tries to get it down, but now I start off with a big enough fire where the roof turns white (4 pieces of really small kindling, and 5 to 6 medium logs - then I light it and that seems to do it).

You could fit 2 pies, but the would not be side by side, that seems too tight to have enough room to easily maneuver the pies. Instead they would have to be one in front of the other. I just do one at a time, they cook really fast so keeping up with two is too much work.

The most I have done are 15 pies, duering one event. I made 10, there was a lull in the action so I raked the coals back over the floor, when we were ready I made 5 more back to back and feel I could have done several more.

The down side of this oven and any smaller oven is the inability to do several pies at once. At first I thought that might be a deal breaker until I talked to a guy who uses this oven to do events, he sells between 70 and 100 pies per event with no terrible lines.

The other thing is when I see a true work of art oven (Like Robyn B) I really wish I could swing one of those and cook from the comfort of my air conditioned kitchen - but then I would have to tear my whole house down if I followed that logic   :-D

If you are in my area feel free to stop by we can take it on a test drive. I am ALWAYS looking for an excuse to make Pizzas during the week now.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #58 on: August 02, 2012, 08:12:45 AM »
Thanks Bigfoot...this is very helpful information you're providing. Are there pics of your NP pies already up here somewhere? Thanks.
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"


Offline Bigfoot21075

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #59 on: August 02, 2012, 10:07:25 AM »
I will get more online when I get home from work. Somewhere I have a nice one of both bottom and top.
Thanks Bigfoot...this is very helpful information you're providing. Are there pics of your NP pies already up here somewhere? Thanks.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 10:10:20 AM by Bigfoot21075 »

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #60 on: August 02, 2012, 11:06:17 AM »
Thanks Bigfoot. This is very helpful. With my various contraptions (Modified Pizza Bella, LBE, and now Kettle Insert+LBE), I found that what is really difficult is getting the top charred, before the bottom gets completely burned. I think that for many of us Neapolitan pizza hobbyists, it is the key to success.

Do you feel that you figured out, once and forever, how to properly set the fire so that you get consistent acceptable outcomes, or is it going to be a continuous struggle to get that top charred, decent leoparding, without the bottom looking like a FDNY arson scene?

In other words, do you recognize any structural imbalance in the roundboy that prevents you from reaching consistent results, or once you figure that out it becomes second nature.

I want to end my personal fight against the burned bottom and finally move on with more fun tweaking (ingredients, dough etc). I know that it'd be cursing, if I pour money in a WFO and still get charred bottoms, and pale tops.
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 11:08:55 AM by italdream »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #61 on: August 02, 2012, 12:36:45 PM »
italdream,

If you don't mind..could you please put up a pic of your latest kettle/LBE configuration and finished pies? Link? Thanks!

Bob
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Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #62 on: August 02, 2012, 05:00:35 PM »
I found this picture on my phone from some time ago. No perfect by any means, actually pretty bad.

Anyway, for my contraption setup, I'll see what I can do this weekend picture-wise. I am thinking of increasing my LBE opening to avoid lifting the lid, and for the Kettle insert (till now, very bad results) I want to try the wood instead of the LBE version.

Ultimately I need to graduate to a decent WFO, without breaking the bank.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #63 on: August 02, 2012, 05:28:23 PM »
I found this picture on my phone from some time ago. No perfect by any means, actually pretty bad.

Anyway, for my contraption setup, I'll see what I can do this weekend picture-wise. I am thinking of increasing my LBE opening to avoid lifting the lid, and for the Kettle insert (till now, very bad results) I want to try the wood instead of the LBE version.

Ultimately I need to graduate to a decent WFO, without breaking the bank.
Ok thank you.
You have a lot of upper heat and I'm very interested to know how you achieve this...also, not sure what you mean by "want to try the wood".
How long have you had your contraption italdream?   8)
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

buceriasdon

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #64 on: August 02, 2012, 05:57:18 PM »

I am thinking of increasing my LBE opening to avoid lifting the lid.
My concern with that change is the "venturi effect" will be pretty much destroyed. Bake times will increase and most likely less top bake will occur as you will no longer have sufficent superheated air being drawn to the opening. Better idea is to cut the whole front third off the top dome somehow and hinge it so you have easy access to turning or loading with minimum heat loss. I tried the big opening on a LBE and it was a disaster. Been there, done that.
Don

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #65 on: August 02, 2012, 06:11:34 PM »
Hi Bob. There is nothing scientific about the upper heat, and it drives me crazy because the whole thing is difficult to control. I'll take pictures at some point.

Basically with the regular LBE, I move the stone closer to the front opening, leaving a small space in the back. That area gets very hot (850F vs. front 700F). I equate that area to the side of the pizza that in a WFO would be close to the burning wood.

After 35/45 seconds, I start rotating the pizza with a large metal spatula. At ~1:15, I lift the pizza with the spatula to keep it from burning at the bottom, and I cook it for 30 more seconds to get the top burning. Something that drives me crazy every time.

The red paragraph means: I have not used the kettle insert with wood yet, only with propane. I want to fire it up using wood as intended, instead of propane. I already bought another used, non-modified Weber grill to that effect.

I have been into making pizzas since I moved from the old country to the States, about 10 years ago . Before, would just go to a pizza place and eat the damn thing. My pizza bella dates 2008 and my LBE about June/July 2011. The Kettle insert (Damn it)!! three weeks ago.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #66 on: August 02, 2012, 06:27:39 PM »
Alot of propane grills just don't have the btu's for the insert, one needs to check and see what burners they  have, or be prepared to whip out the foil an start blocking off etc.
"There is nothing scientific about the upper heat", meaning you have no deflector or director mods?
Good luck with the wood. I too have a Bella..well, it's a Deni, same dealio....I keep my home oven broiler on when playing with the Deni... ;)
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Offline pizzaneer

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #67 on: August 04, 2012, 02:41:40 PM »
Getting a balanced bake in your LBE or the KPI+LBE still depends on two things:
1. Bottom stone conductivity and temperature vs.
2. Airflow on the top + temperature should be 20% higher than the bottom.

If you have these factors properly balanced at a 20% ratio, you should have no problem whether you are baking NY or NP or some combination.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #68 on: August 04, 2012, 02:52:39 PM »
Getting a balanced bake in your LBE or the KPI+LBE still depends on two things:
1. Bottom stone conductivity and temperature vs.
2. Airflow on the top + temperature should be 20% higher than the bottom.

If you have these factors properly balanced at a 20% ratio, you should have no problem whether you are baking NY or NP or some combination.

And enough btu's......there are a lot of grills out there with less than 40,000 btu. There is also a lot of grills rated at 50k + but their design, and or, construction makes them lag behind in the true temps. needed to do even good grilling.
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline pizzaneer

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #69 on: August 04, 2012, 04:29:14 PM »
And enough btu's......there are a lot of grills out there with less than 40,000 btu. There is also a lot of grills rated at 50k + but their design, and or, construction makes them lag behind in the true temps. needed to do even good grilling.


True dat, bro - but I was talking about LBE's....  usually more than enough oomph to get 'er done.
I'd rather eat one good meal a day than 3 squares of garbage.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #70 on: August 04, 2012, 04:32:47 PM »
Oh....sorry  :-[
....man, I gotta quit do'in that!   :-D
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Offline Bigfoot21075

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #71 on: August 07, 2012, 12:07:29 PM »
Hi italdream,

It took me a few tries to get it sorted out. My mistake was not building a big enough fire. The Roundboy is really easy to get reproducable results. I build the fire, when it gets so hot it turns the roof of the oven white, it is ready. This was the main concept to grasp. If the roof does not turn white it is not hot enough. Once it is ready, I move the coals over to one side, sweep and start shoveling pies in (it is actually a few minutes before the pies are ready to go in the oven after I sweep the coals oven as I do not prep them ahead of time).

I would be glad to take some temp readings with my IR for you, but the real proof is in the pies. When allowed to heat up sufficiently the top clearly has enough heat to char the pizza tops before the the bottom burns. I think there is a video of it cooking on the Roundboy website or You Tube.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 12:11:03 PM by Bigfoot21075 »

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #72 on: August 07, 2012, 02:06:45 PM »
You make it sound tempting, especially given that the price for the regular-stand terracotta oven is less than a 2stone. And shipping is free as in F.R.E.E.

Truth be told, I have some reservations about built quality vs. some of the others but the price is something.

On a completely different note, I wonder how it would handle pizza al metro, the neapolitan version of pizza al taglio. I think that I could fit a 22 inch-long, 10 inch-wide pizza in one of those. Have you tried? Click here to see what I am talking about http://goo.gl/yF4aX

Offline Bigfoot21075

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #73 on: August 07, 2012, 03:07:06 PM »
Here are some 14" pies from a little while ago. The first two shots show how the top cooks well. The third you can see there is enough space even with the peppers.

As for quality, it is solid concrete (or whatever the high heat concrete is called) with a fire brick floor. i can't see why it would not last as long as you want it too. It weighs near 2,000 pounds, it certianly is not going to blow over  :o  :chef:

For specific quality info you may want to call the folks who build them in PA, they were very nice and informative.

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #74 on: August 09, 2012, 05:29:41 PM »
Thank you very much Bigfoot. Stuffed Pepper... I love them. The pies look like they get good top heat, judging from the toppings. Are you going to shoot for a larger and more charred cornicione like slopeyjoe in this topic?

 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20245.0.html


 

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