Author Topic: Should I build a WFO?  (Read 1043 times)

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Offline bradtri

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Should I build a WFO?
« on: March 31, 2013, 11:05:19 PM »
I've been on the fence for quite a while about building a WFO and would like to solicit some input.  I've become very happy with my pizzas coming out of my Big Steel Keg.  With a couple of mods, I've got a consistent 4 minute bake that produces a pizza I'm very happy with.  But, the lure of a WFO is strong and I just love to build things ...  I'd likely go with the fornobravo plans for Pompeii oven if I did build.

BSK
Pros:
   Cheap to operate, less than $1 of lump coal will produce 6 pizzas
   Produces pizzas that I like now
   Mobile

Cons:
   Bottom/top heat is not matched, I need to put a screen under my pizzas after 1.5 minutes cooking.

WFO
Pros:
   Very high cool factor
   I get to build something!
   Easier to handle large parties to bake 10-20 pizzas
   
Cons
   Takes up space in the yard
   Expensive to operate and acquire wood
   Not mobile unless I go with the iron cart base

I'm not sure that I'd even desire to produce the 90-120 second pizzas that many cook with WFOs.  One BIG question I have is how hard it is to maintain a WFO temperature at around 650-700 to produce the same pizzas I'm making now, but hopefully with more top browning.  Is this reasonably easy to do with a WFO?

Here's a pic of what typical result is with the BSK:


Offline ccgus

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2013, 11:24:18 PM »
\One BIG question I have is how hard it is to maintain a WFO temperature at around 650-700 to produce the same pizzas I'm making now, but hopefully with more top browning.  Is this reasonably easy to do with a WFO?

I made five pizzas tonight in my WFO, and a couple of hours later it's still sitting at 700 with the door closed.  So I don't think it's going to be an issue to keep a temp of 650-700 (the WFO is usually around 1000 when we bake our pies). I think you'll find that with the right combo of dough and temperature, a WFO will be able to make pizzas that you didn't think were even possible.

Offline Chicago Bob

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2013, 11:56:48 PM »
I've been on the fence for quite a while about building a WFO and would like to solicit some input.  I've become very happy with my pizzas coming out of my Big Steel Keg.  With a couple of mods, I've got a consistent 4 minute bake that produces a pizza I'm very happy with.  But, the lure of a WFO is strong and I just love to build things ...  I'd likely go with the fornobravo plans for Pompeii oven if I did build.

BSK
Pros:
   Cheap to operate, less than $1 of lump coal will produce 6 pizzas
   Produces pizzas that I like now
   Mobile

Cons:
   Bottom/top heat is not matched, I need to put a screen under my pizzas after 1.5 minutes cooking.

WFO
Pros:
   Very high cool factor
   I get to build something!
   Easier to handle large parties to bake 10-20 pizzas
   
Cons
   Takes up space in the yard
   Expensive to operate and acquire wood
   Not mobile unless I go with the iron cart base

I'm not sure that I'd even desire to produce the 90-120 second pizzas that many cook with WFOs. One BIG question I have is how hard it is to maintain a WFO temperature at around 650-700 to produce the same pizzas I'm making now, but hopefully with more top browning.  Is this reasonably easy to do with a WFO?

Here's a pic of what typical result is with the BSK:
bradtri,
Maybe make you a new list, 2 columns, left and right. Eliminate the wfo pros: "cool factor, get to build something"(those are usually fleeting desires).

Take a good look at the revised list and consider thinking about throwing an extra $1 worth of lump coal on your current fire.  :)

Bob
"Care Free Highway...let me slip away on you"

Online TXCraig1

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2013, 08:23:45 AM »
I think "cool factor" is a legitimate pro. It makes for parties few can match. It's not a problem maintaining 650-700F.

Have you ever tried a well made 90 second pie?
Pizza is not bread.

Offline bradtri

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 09:49:36 AM »
Thanks for the replies, but I can see I didn't express myself correctly.  My concern with maintaining 650-700 was more from the perspective of not getting the WFO too hot.  I see many people quoting very high temps in their WFO (800-900) and I didn't want to be fighting the oven trying to keep the temperature down. 

I would presume it's as simple as "just don't add more wood" when you are at the temperature you want.   But, would it be easy to overshoot your desired temp by 100 degrees and then have to wait an hour or so to get the temp back down?


Offline bradtri

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2013, 09:53:38 AM »
Also, Craig, I don't know that I've ever had a 90 second pie.   The best pie I've ever had was at Marco's in Denver and I see there's a current thread on it.  I think there's a good chance I would like it, but I've seen many WFO results are way too charred for my tastes.

I'd hate to spend months building a WFO and a small chunk of change to do it only to find out that I find it difficult to make the pizzas the way I like.

Offline jeff v

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2013, 10:05:06 AM »
Thanks for the replies, but I can see I didn't express myself correctly.  My concern with maintaining 650-700 was more from the perspective of not getting the WFO too hot.  I see many people quoting very high temps in their WFO (800-900) and I didn't want to be fighting the oven trying to keep the temperature down. 

I would presume it's as simple as "just don't add more wood" when you are at the temperature you want.   But, would it be easy to overshoot your desired temp by 100 degrees and then have to wait an hour or so to get the temp back down?

I made 15 pizzas yesterday and stayed in the 700-750 range pretty easily. My experience is limited, but I don't think it would be a problem to do what you want to do.

Have you considered the versatility of a WFO vs BSK also?

Online TXCraig1

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2013, 10:15:38 AM »
Certainly it will take some time to get to know your oven, but I can't imagine it would take too many times to nail down a constant 650-700F. I've been to several restaurants that run their WFO in that range.

I've have many eye-opening experiences with pizza. My first WFO pizza was one. My first 90 second pie was another (and well after my first WFO pie which was in the 4ish minute range). My first sub-60 was yet another.

90 seconds or less does not have to mean charred - if you are running the oven, it is whatever you want it to be.

Pizza is not bread.

Offline Tscarborough

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2013, 10:32:22 AM »
You can run a WFO at whatever temp you want, it just takes time to figure it out.  I run mine in the 700 range as a rule.

Offline Reep

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2013, 12:56:22 PM »
As a rookie, I was very surprised at how easy it was to keep the temperature constant.  It is kind of like turning a large ship though.  It doesn't go up or down quickly.  If you are paying attention during the oven warm up it shouldn't be that difficult to hold it wherever you want.  I think the only way you could mess up would be to keep chucking wood in and not pay attention to the temp at all.


Offline bradtri

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Re: Should I build a WFO?
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2013, 03:10:35 PM »
Appreciate the replies on maintaining the heat.   My BSK basically has a built in governor as the max temp I can get it to is right where I want to cook my pizza. 

Do you find that the constant heat remains "symmetrical" between the top and bottom?  i.e. if you're feeding a small amount of wood because the temp is where you want it, do the top and bottom (in a well-performing oven) maintain heat at the same rate?



 

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