Hey all, I'd like to start to plan my WFO build. The build itself will likely not start for at least a year, but I want and need to put my plan together so that I can start slowly acquiring the supplies I will need to build it. The only real decisions I have made at this point is that it will be a flat/low dome design and will be built on a cart for mobility.
One of the first real decisions I need to make for the design process is what size oven to build. This will be my first (and hopefully only and last) WFO, so I want to make certain it will meet my needs. I will not only use this for our family pizzas, but of course for pizza parties at our house, and I also hope to do some "events" with it (some for money and some for charity). Based on these goals, I expect that I will need/want to bake multiple pizzas at a time in the oven but still be reasonable to just bake one at a time.
I'm wondering how many pizzas a professional Neapolitan shop would bake in an oven at a single time? I have to believe that when you are talking about cooking pizzas in 60-90 seconds, there is a practical limit to how many pizzas can realistically be managed
in a single oven at a time regardless of how big you make it. I am thinking that one person (in particular me) dedicated only to tending the oven could probably manage 2 possibly 3 pizzas in the oven at a time (provided of course there were others responsible for "feeding" me the prepared pizzas). Even 3 seems like it would be challenging and really keep you hopping always needing one placed, rotated, or removed at any given moment, but with experience and practice, it is probably possible.
Does that sound reasonable to you all out there who have actual experience in this area? If so, that leads back to the original question, what size oven is necessary to bake 2 pizzas at a time (pizza size <=14")? What about 3 pizzas at a time? I know I could simply draw out some dimensional circles and figure it out mathematically, but to allow for proper heat distribution for even cooking I don't want to be crowding the fire to accomplish multiple pizzas, and if the pizzas are all crowded too close together that would make it difficult to manage as well. So I'm looking for wisdom from those with actual experience in managing a WFO with multiple pizzas in the oven at the same time. How much space is realistically needed? Would this same size oven not be ridiculous to fire up for a single pizza? Would it consume drastically more fuel (wood) than an oven designed only for a single pizza at a time?
Secondly, in regards to thermal mass, heat up time, and heat retention. Ideally, I would like to be up to cooking temps 800-1000 (right?) in an hour or less to allow for weekday cooks. I would also want to be able to retain enough heat to bake bread and/or do some low-&-slow roasting over following day or two (this would also help in shortening the heat-up for pizzas again within this timeframe, right?). I hope these two goals are realistic and aren't mutually exclusive, but once again I'm looking for your wisdom on these matters. How thick should my walls be? One-half firebrick (4.5")? More? Less? How much insulation will I need (under the floor and on the outside)? What else needs to be considered in these matters?
Lastly, especially for those who have built (or have knowledge about building) a low/flat dome oven, I know there will be a lot of outward pressure on the walls with this type of design. How can this be dealt with? What type of reinforcing and/or support is necessary? What are the preferred/recommended/best ways to accomplish this?
I will greatly appreciate any and all input in these matters. I have been thinking about doing a build for a LONG time (several years) but don't have a lot of money to spend at one time and don't have a lot of skills in this area. So I will be scouring for deals on the building supplies I need and will be spreading out the purchases over at least the next year. During that same time I will be endeavoring to learn as much as I can about that actual building procedures and hopefully with a good plan put together with all your help I will be able to do something previously impossible for me...build something that is functional, enduring, and aesthetically pleasing