Author Topic: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs  (Read 25115 times)

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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.
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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

Offline Bigfoot21075

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #75 on: August 13, 2012, 08:53:07 AM »
Yes, I am actually already there, those are older shots. I took some more yesterday and will get them posted...

As for that mondo pizza you posted earlier, that is more pie than I am willing to try  :-D

Yes physically the space is there, but I think it would be very hard to mange a pie that big and the odd shape....

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

Offline oliverks

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #76 on: August 24, 2012, 02:10:40 AM »
One of the distributors of Alfa Pizza Ovens has kindly invited me up to try his personal oven this weekend.  I will report back on how well it works. :pizza:

Offline italdream

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #77 on: August 24, 2012, 11:23:55 AM »
Thanks Oliverks. Let us know. Since my original post, serious concerns have been expressed about this oven's ability to maintain proper temperature and to reach results that would be judged acceptable by the majority of this forum participants. Dome height and lack of thermal mass come to mind, but I am sure that there are more concerns.

In my case, I liked the design and portability but I am now convinced that its overall flaws are an absolute no-no for any Neapolitan pizza lover. In your demo, see if the oven can reach and maintain  higher temperatures (800-900F range) and perhaps shoot for Neapolitan style. If you could post picture of pizzas, that would be super.

I think that one of the issues is that pizzas that the manufacturer posted online are far from anything judged acceptable by the pizzamaking community. Although doubtful, it is perhaps just a problem with their advertising strategy.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2012, 11:39:47 AM by italdream »

Offline Jacquie

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #78 on: August 25, 2012, 06:38:56 PM »
I used my ALFA oven for the first time today...it reached temps of 800 degrees
« Last Edit: August 26, 2012, 11:20:32 AM by Jacquie »

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
« Reply #79 on: August 25, 2012, 06:41:43 PM »
I used my ALFA oven for the first time today...it reached temps of 800 degrees within an hr.
Pizza turned out perfect in 2min
Did you take pics of your 2 min. pie ?
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"