Author Topic: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza  (Read 3973 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Pizzaiolo7

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Il mondo
Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« on: September 07, 2013, 12:40:32 PM »
Hello all,

I have been contemplating purchasing a WFO to make neapolitan pizza. I have only been using a modified BBQ setup and have very limited WFO experience.

I'm looking to purchase an assembled unit, preferably with 32+" diameter. Ideally, I'd like to spend less than $6500, but I also want this purchase to last. The oven would be outdoors, covered by an overhang.

I've scoured this board for advice on neapolitan style ovens, and I've decided to try and gather a consensus.

Thank you!


Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 16014
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2013, 06:22:02 PM »
I'd encourage you to consider a larger oven if you're serious about Neapolitan pizza - more like 40"+

It will really help with the heat balance as will a low dome.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline Pizzaiolo7

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Il mondo
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2013, 07:20:20 PM »
Craig,

Thanks for posting! I had seen you make that same comment before. Any other reason for the larger diameter, other than heat balance?

I have cooked in a friend's FB Primavera 70 before, and I found the area to launch/maneuver the pizza was constricted (read: nearly impossible for a newbie).

Any suggestions as to which ovens? I have been looking at some Mugnaini ovens, but their Medio 110 & Piccolo 110 models seem to have a rather high ceiling (over 13-15 inches).

Offline JConk007

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 3771
  • Location: New Jersey
  • Lovin my Oven!
    • Flirting with Fire
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2013, 10:50:33 PM »
Our member Antione sells the Four Grande Mere a nice choice the 950 model is around 40" cooking floor
Breadstoneovens
I Love to Flirt with Fire! www.flirtingwithfirepizza.com

Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 16014
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2013, 11:46:22 PM »
It's all about heat balance. IR is proportional to temperature^4. If your fire is 1800F and your walls are 950F,  the IR from the fire is 13X as intense as that from the walls. As such, the bigger the diameter, the more the view factor works in your favor.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline Pizzaiolo7

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Il mondo
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2013, 12:04:55 AM »
Our member Antione sells the Four Grande Mere a nice choice the 950 model is around 40" cooking floor
Breadstoneovens

I have looked at some of the Four Grande Mere models as well. How have individuals' experiences been with these ovens? Admittedly, I am quite naive to the Four Grand Mere ovens.

It's all about heat balance. IR is proportional to temperature^4. If your fire is 1800F and your walls are 950F,  the IR from the fire is 13X as intense as that from the walls. As such, the bigger the diameter, the more the view factor works in your favor.

Thanks for the insight! In your opinion, is there a significant difference between the material used for the walls (e.g., brick vs. modular dome)? I see that most assembled, residential ovens do not come with brick walls.

As a side note, I want to strike the proper balance between size of oven and portability (as I am likely to move in the next year or two).

Thank you guys for the help!

Offline nachtwacht

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 54
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Netherlands
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 03:00:45 AM »
If you are sure you are going to move in the next year or two I would not build an oven like you are looking for right now. The ovens you talk about are indeed build out of pieces of concrete and you are likely to be able to take them apart again and build them up on a different location but there is also a (don't know how big) chance that in the two years you might develop some small cracks (very normal with most ovens I think) and if you then try to take it apart to move it, you might brake it and destroy it. You will for sure have to destroy the stuco that you have to make around it. Thats a big waste of a lot of work.

My suggestion would be to check this forum and check out the other, much cheaper and more portable, ways some people are making very nice pizza's with. That way you can learn to make some pizza and after you have moved, you can build the oven you want. (and yes, preferable bigger, if you realy do not have the space to build +40 inch, then go ahead and make it smaller since any WFO is better than no WFO :)  )

If you are still considering getting a WFO now, then I suggest looking at "no mortar wood fired oven". It was how I build my first oven just for the fun to see if and how it worked. Ofcourse, it is square and it is leaking heat  etc. but it realy works. I baked some very nice pizza's in it. Biggest advantage, it is very cheap and anyone can make one.

Still considering a round modular oven ? I do not think there is a whole lot of difference between bricks or modular. I have unfortunatly not tested it out myself side by side so can not give you hands on experience on it. To me it sounds like there will for sure be some difference, but thats the same for every modular oven out there. It depends on the concrete or wich duty firebrick etc. In the end, if you have an oven with enough thermal mass, I think you can bake a nice pizza in any oven. This forum convinced me of that. Some people have very sifisticated setups but some people use a simple grill and stome or kettle bbq and also get very nice results. How would that be possible if a wood fired brick oven would be a a lot better. Not saying it is not better, I just think it would be marginal and not a big difference. (I prefer brick by the way, just because it looks better)

Since you allready know forno bravo, there are a lot of people building ovens themselfs over there... ever considered that ?

gl on the decision making.

Offline Pizzaiolo7

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Il mondo
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2013, 01:00:10 AM »
Nachtwacht,

Thank you for the well-thought out response. I am amazed at the quality of pizzas produced by members of this forum with "more portable" ovens. I have researched the smaller versions of the FB and the Forno Classico ovens. I am not completely ruling out the possibility of purchasing a smaller diameter oven since I have seen the results this forum's members can produce.

Also, I am a little impatient about starting my WFO adventures and am becoming increasing jaded using a modified BBQ.

However, even though I was a novice WFO user, I had some trouble launching and rotating the pizza in a 28" diameter FB. I am afraid that if I were to purchase a smaller oven (FB or Forno Classico), I would have a more difficult time producing the Neapolitan pizzas I desire.

Just my two cents.

Offline nachtwacht

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 54
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Netherlands
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2013, 03:07:31 AM »
Hello,

not a native english speaker so not sure what "increasing jaded" means in relation to a modified BBQ. But my idea was indeed that for the time being you could use a modified BBQ or build a 1 hour wood fired oven. It probably means that you are allready doing exactly that ? Using a BBQ ?

Since you apperantly allready have some experience with WFO's you allready know the downside of something like a 28" WFO. I would only build / buy something that small if it was a temporary oven. My first oven was even a little smaller and was a real 1 pizza oven. I always had trouble keeping the heat in the floor. It still worked very nicely though and we had some great pizza parties with it.

Anyway, I can not look in your wallet, but if you are considering buying a WFO wich you will only use for 2 years and then have to break down again, I would think it is a "waste of money" (not realy a waste ofcourse but you probably get what I mean)

Thats also just my two cents ofcourse :)

Greetings


Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 16014
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2013, 09:53:35 AM »
Thanks for the insight! In your opinion, is there a significant difference between the material used for the walls (e.g., brick vs. modular dome)? I see that most assembled, residential ovens do not come with brick walls.

If there is a difference, I don't think it's meaningful. Unlike the deck which is in direct contact with the pizza, the conductivity of the walls is no so much of a factor. The walls emit thermal radiation which is a function of temperature and emissivity. I don't think there is enough difference between brick and cast refractory to matter. The key is that there is enough mass/insulation to keep them at temperature.

Notwithstanding, the geometry of the dome matters. Lower domes are better for Neapolitan pizza.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline nachtwacht

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 54
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Netherlands
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2013, 10:14:27 AM »
If there is a difference, I don't think it's meaningful.

My thoughts also....

Wich makes me very curious why people (especialy vendors ofcourse but also people using their ovens) do report that their product is superiour to others. I also think that if an oven has 2 inch walls and a 2 inch floor, insulation and firewood you put in all being the same, they should perform clso to the same wether made of firebrick, refractory concrete or even clay.....

Ofcourse, since firebricks and concrete and clay do not have the same density and a 2 inch oven might weigh a lot more or less depending on the material used, this will ofcourse change the thermall mass of the oven and the performance of the oven. Still I doubt that it will change the characteristics so much that we suddenly talk about an oven being bad where an oven made of a different material would be a good oven....

Anyone ever tested this or has any more insights ?

Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 16014
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2013, 10:27:35 AM »
Wich makes me very curious why people (especialy vendors ofcourse but also people using their ovens) do report that their product is superiour to others. I also think that if an oven has 2 inch walls and a 2 inch floor, insulation and firewood you put in all being the same, they should perform clso to the same wether made of firebrick, refractory concrete or even clay.....

The floor is a very different matter than the walls and dome. Proper conductivity of the floor is critically important. Where 0.5 W/(mK) may be perfect, 1.1 W/(mK) may force you to dome early and 1.5 W/(mK) may burn the bottom almost instantly.

With respect to the walls and dome, I think you can substitute mass for insulation to some extent. As long as they can hold a constant high temperature, I don't see why you would have a problem.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline nachtwacht

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 54
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Netherlands
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2013, 11:09:14 AM »
Proper conductivity of the floor is critically important

Would you, or anyone, have any insight in to what would be a good base value ?

Probably not an easy answer... if it can be answered... because for a high oven, 0,5 W/(mK) might be perfect but for an extremely low dome 1,5 W/(mK) might be what you need....

Maybe that is what makes one oven better than another... the materials for the dome and floor are chosen correctly and therefore the oven will perform perfectly. That also has realizing that if a manufacturer has 3 different floor options for the same oven, that can not be a good thing unless they all share the same thermal conductivity....

ps: very intresting discussion which suddenly has me thinking about something I never thought about before but I have the feeling we are derailing from the original question  :)

Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 16014
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2013, 11:22:53 AM »
Would you, or anyone, have any insight in to what would be a good base value ?

Probably not an easy answer... if it can be answered... because for a high oven, 0,5 W/(mK) might be perfect but for an extremely low dome 1,5 W/(mK) might be what you need....


I think you'll find it's a pretty narrow range that is a function of the floor temperature much more so than the dome height. If you're running the floor at 850F, for example, there is no dome low enough for the 15 seconds that it will take the pie to burn with a 1.5 W/(mK) deck. I think at Neapolitan temps, 0.7 W/(mK) is going to be about the max for efficient operation.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline nachtwacht

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 54
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Netherlands
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2013, 12:00:54 PM »
I did search for some numbers for firebrick and soapstone etc to see the thermal conductivity for but what I found is that firebrick, 21% alumina, allready has a thermal conductivity of 0.98 W/m.K 40% alumina firebrick would have a thermal conductivity of 1.13 W/m.K

That would mean that those would allready have a thermal conductivity that would be (to) high.....

Online TXCraig1

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 16014
  • Location: Houston, TX
    • Craig's Neapolitan Garage
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #15 on: September 09, 2013, 12:49:11 PM »
I did search for some numbers for firebrick and soapstone etc to see the thermal conductivity for but what I found is that firebrick, 21% alumina, allready has a thermal conductivity of 0.98 W/m.K 40% alumina firebrick would have a thermal conductivity of 1.13 W/m.K

That would mean that those would allready have a thermal conductivity that would be (to) high.....

Correct. They are not good choices for a WFO to be run at Neapolitan temps.

Light duty fire brick is a better choice at around 0.7. http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,23596.msg240081.html#msg240081

The Biscotto di dorrento used in traditional Neapolitan ovens is not generally available here. I believe the conductivity is closer to 0.4, but I can't back that up other than with personal experience.
"We make great pizza, with sourdough when we can, commercial yeast when we must, but always great pizza."
Craig's Neapolitan Garage

Offline nachtwacht

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 54
  • Age: 46
  • Location: Netherlands
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #16 on: September 09, 2013, 01:13:49 PM »
Thanks for all the info. Fortunatly I live close to Italy... if I get burn issues with the new oven I am building I now understand why I should go to Sorrento and buy some stones there :) I never even thought about looking at the thermal conductivity of the floor tiles I am using.... since I am picking them up tomorrow I better ask them if they actualy know about it or not. Can't hurt to know what I will have in my oven.

Thanks again !


Offline fagilia

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 397
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2013, 09:52:08 AM »
Do it. Make sure to ask read in the end of my thread at heart ovens and you will see ;)

Offline jhrcdn

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10
  • Location: Canada
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2013, 12:34:24 PM »
I am a WFO newb--what I don't know would fill volumes :) But I've been making pizzas a long time. After reading and searching this forum, I also would like a wfo that is "moveable." Or is that a simply silly idea?

I think I know the consensus here on Forno Bravo and things like the Roundboy (and the Alfas), though they have some appeal for things other than pizza and for price.

ETA--found the thread where the oven I was asking about was identified and recommended.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 02:32:42 PM by jhrcdn »

Offline Pizzaiolo7

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Il mondo
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2013, 09:31:34 PM »
I am giving a long, hard look at the Forno Classico 100 (or the Classico 80), and the Forno Bravo Toscana 90D.

As for the Forno Classico 100, the oven seems relatively maneuverable - with a stated weight of 900lbs. Over the next couple weeks, I will try to contact FC to determine certain measurements (e.g., door width and height, and ceiling height).

The FB Toscana 90D seems much less moveable as their website lists the oven at over 2000lbs.

I'd be extremely interested to hear individuals' thoughts on each of these ovens and also how people have been able to install their outdoor ovens.

Thanks!

Offline breadstoneovens

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 665
  • Location: Dallas, TX
    • Bread Stone Ovens
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2013, 10:25:18 PM »
I may be jumping in a little late but here is my feedback.

As far as wall or dome materials there is a difference. I didn't want to believe it at first but now I experienced it for my self.
The refractory bricks make  a pretty big difference compare to the refractory concrete. FGM was able to compare side by side and found the bricked dome is 20 to 25% more efficient than a concrete dome. I am talking fire bricks made for a wood fired oven not the cheap fire bricks used for a fireplace.
Over all for the same walls thickness with a bricked dome, the oven heats-up faster, the natural convection is more efficient and the oven stays hot just as long.

I have had many costumers, mostly commercial user, who reported the same thing. They got to try different types / brands of ovens and after trying an FGM with the bricked dome they were sold. Some of them are now repeat costumers as they expended their business.
At this point most of my costumers take a bricked dome for the superior performance.

It is possible to cook a Neapolitan pizza in a small oven like the 700, some members can witness of that, but it takes more practice. The pizza being so close to the fire it is not very forgiving.
Ideally, I agree with Craig a 950 size oven is perfect, but I would say being able to cook with an 800 is already pretty good.

When you look at an oven, I strongly recommend to do serious research and ensure the oven you will be getting includes more than just an oven floor, dome and a sheet metal door. You will certainly start with pizza but I can guaranty anyone who buys an oven they will want to bake bread, smoke, grill, do rotisserie and much more. Just make sure it offers all of that.
Also it needs to be reputable company with BBB accreditation and so on.

The concern over, what do I do if I move is very legitimate. Having recently relocated my self, I certainly wish I could have taken my oven with me.
With the help of some costumers and forum members (they will recognize them self) I have developed a mobile cart option like the one attached. Not only you can move it around on a patio, but you can take with you no problem. Here is a picture of the last one I have put together for a client in Florida and he knows he will be moving with it.
There is also, to another costumer's request, a metal finish dome in the works. Picture of the prototype attached, just sent it to be powder coated.

I am happy to hear more suggestion on what people would like to see as it helps me offering a better product.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.

Offline Pizzaiolo7

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 20
  • Location: Il mondo
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2013, 10:44:40 PM »

It is possible to cook a Neapolitan pizza in a small oven like the 700, some members can witness of that, but it takes more practice. The pizza being so close to the fire it is not very forgiving.
Ideally, I agree with Craig a 950 size oven is perfect, but I would say being able to cook with an 800 is already pretty good.


Antoine,

Thank you for the thoughtful response!

Pardon my naivety, but can you explain as to what a "700" oven is compared to a "950"?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2013, 11:10:38 PM by Pizzaiolo7 »

Offline breadstoneovens

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 665
  • Location: Dallas, TX
    • Bread Stone Ovens
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2013, 11:14:15 PM »
Pardon my naivety, but can you extrapolate as to what a "700" oven is compared to a "950"?

Not naivety just strange European measurements  :-D

The 700 is a 700 millimeters or 70 centimeters of inner diameter oven or right about 27"1/2 of cooking floor inner diameter. The next size up is the 800 or 32"1/2.
Finely the 950 and most popular is a 37"1/2 inner diameter oven.
All those ovens have a 2" refractory concrete floor with 1"1/4 thick hand made refractory brick tiles that you cook on. Then you have the option of the concrete dome which is a casted refractory concrete referred as "C" or a bricked dome referred as "B". Bricked dome is made of 1"1/4 thick refractory bricks with a casted refractory concrete in the back to keep everything together.
The dome bricks have a special V grove in the back to anchor them in the concrete so they can't fall off.
The concrete is a refractory concrete reinforced with metal fibers in it. Just like a concrete slab that requires rebar reinforcement to prevent cracking and deteriorating over time, a refractory concrete should be reinforced.
The dome thickness is 3"1/4 minimum and much more in some areas.
The ovens have the same low dome at 9"1/2 tall but can be raised 3" which brings it to 12"1/2.

All the ovens you see on my website have 2 doors, insulated door and hinge mounted cast iron door, dome thermometer, damper, top and bottom insulation.

So from a 700 to a 950 different cooking floor sizes but same quality.

Some manufacturer may go as small as a 500 size oven, 20", but it is way too small to do anything but burn some wood.

Hope this answers your question.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.

Offline jhrcdn

  • Registered User
  • Posts: 10
  • Location: Canada
  • I Love Pizza!
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #23 on: September 12, 2013, 12:31:55 PM »
Antoine--just to confirm... is the Neapolitan Pizza oven on your Breadstone site the same as the FGM 700?

Thanks in advance!

Jamie

Offline breadstoneovens

  • Vendor
  • *
  • Posts: 665
  • Location: Dallas, TX
    • Bread Stone Ovens
Re: Thoughts on a WFO for Neapolitan Pizza
« Reply #24 on: September 12, 2013, 01:03:05 PM »
Antoine--just to confirm... is the Neapolitan Pizza oven on your Breadstone site the same as the FGM 700?

Hi Jamie,

The Neapolitan is a "700" size oven with a 27"1/2 inner diameter. FGM calls it the 700 A.
It is more a pizza oven, fast heat-up, due to the 2"1/4 floor and dome thickness rather than the regular 3"1/4 material thickness on the 700 B-C ovens.
You can make your first pizza after about 30 minutes of firing and about 1,5 hours to heat-up to the core.
It is entirely made of refractory concrete, no brick floor tiles, but it is an option should you want it.
 
If you chose the Extended package, it comes with the sames features, 2 doors, damper, thermometer and so on.

Let me know if you need more details or pictures.

Antoine
WFO cooking is about passion.