I had a few questions about this oven, I have read a BUNCH of threads so far all positive, I was wondering how this oven can hold heat yet have minimal amounts of thermal mass? Does the ceiling get hot enough to brown a pizza or do you have to "dome" it like I see in some videos? How does the top stay hot?
I REALLY like this concept if it will work as well as a mason oven with less time. I have a small Mason oven it must weigh 2,000 LBS and it takes a full 4 hours to heat up enough. This has made pizza an ALL day event so I rarely cook pies now that I am so busy. If it could really do a good job and be ready in under an hour it would be GREAT!
I appreciate any thoughts or advice on this. BTW - I am a home user hobby cook.
You pretty much described the main reason I got a Pizza Party oven (the other reason being I like toys). My "regular" WFO takes roughly 4 hours to heat up and begin baking - as much as 5 hours when I make Neapolitans. And, the one I have happens to use a lot of wood.
So, when it is just my wife and me and we are making a couple of pies, it is a bit of overkill.
The Pizza Party takes 1 1/2 hours or less (I think an hour is pushing it) to begin baking and it uses much less wood. So, it is a better choice when it is "just us."
It heats up fast and cools down fast. So, it requires more - but totally doable - hands on management to have the heat operate at the level you want and to have balance. You asked about doming. There is definitely enough top heat to brown any pie, including Neapolitan. Doming is more about balance, if the bottom bakes faster, you get it off the floor and finish the top.
On the other end, for example, I had a dinner party last night and there were 7 of us. I used my FGM WFO for the party. Yes, the heat up was longer. But, I was making more pies (I made 7) and the WFO management was much easier. Every once in a while, I put another small log on the fire to maintain a flame. The oven maintained the same temperature, completely steady, for 3 or 4 hours, and I was able to spend a lot of leisure time at the table with everyone or in the kitchen working without having to manage the oven.
And, when I woke up this AM, my oven was at 450 - just right for morning bread baking. And, if I plan, I can cook all day with the residual heat. It will still be well over 300 later in the day.
So, I think I have "both worlds" now. Fortunately, it was a luxury I could afford.
Your mileage may vary, but that is my experience so far.