My Wood Fire Pizza Adevnture
So first I just want to thank everyone for their direct or indirect help: TXCraig1, JConk007, JDV, Serpentelli, Mmmph, Pete-zza, Fornographer, Fidel Montoya.
So a little over two weeks ago my Andiamo 70 Forno Bravo oven arrived. I decided to make the purchase after coming to the conclusion that there is no great pizza in my area (aside from Italian Pizzeria III in Chapel Hill, which is fantastic – more Neo-neopolitan/NYC though).
I have always loved food and some of the best memories I have with my dad growing up were making pizza at home – he is a Long Island boy so the pies were always great.
I also had the opportunity to live and travel throughout Italy in 2010 and eat my way up the West Coast. The highlight dish was without question a pizza from Naples – my brain was rearranged and like a drug user I have been chasing that flavor/high for years with little success.
So Forno Bravo recommends a five day/five fire cure, but per the suggestion of Fornographer I went with a two week cure (technically it was a thirteen day / sixteen fire cure). The first week I exclusive used cardboard and small sticks from the yard (oak/maple). The next week I basically add a medium size log everyday raising the temperature of the oven by ~100F each day until last night when the dome reached over 1000F. Each day small amounts of water would seep out of the sides where the metal sits next to the stand.
Oven – Forno Bravo Andiamo70
Oven Tools – two old school wooden pizza peels, one perforated loading peel, one perforated banjo turning peel, one solid turning peel, and a U-shaped brass brush (all from JConk007).
Other accessories – Lenox LT91 propane blow torch, Fluke 62 MAX Plus IR Thermometer (range -20 to 1202), All-Clad food mill, Canon 7d/iPhone 4s, and I’ll throw the wood in here: I used Red Oak from a friend. The caveat with this wood is that it is from a tree that fell from Hurricane Fran (1998) so it burns hot and fast – truly awesome.
Caputo Flour, Nina’s San Marzano Tomatoes, Cento San Marzano Tomatoes, Sicilian Olive Oil (Lucini/California Olive Ranch/Barbera), Basil, Sicilian Sea Salt, IDY, Mozzarella (Garfolo [Buffalo], BelGioioso, Chapel Hill Creamery), Tutto Calabrian Chilis, Sicilian Oregano.
From JDV: 18 Hours Caputo with 60% hydration, 2.8% NaCl, 0.2% IDY. I knead it in my dad’s KA for 10 minutes then hand kneaded for another 10. Bulked for 12 and balled for 6 at room temperature.
So I made 8 pies and each seemed to get better as the oven became a little less brutal. My dome temperature was hanging out around 1070 and the floor was between 850-960. The first pie I christened the oven with was a Marinara – I trusted my gut and did not use any cheese just in case the pie came out a little well done. Needless to say the pie was great aside from the fact that the bottom was jet black haha (learning lesson number one). The bottoms of the pies had a great leoparding on them but the goal for the next round of pies it to get a better leoparding around the outer rim. I think I did a good job with the cornizone – tried to imitate Motorino’s as much as possible with the high rise.
The pizzas were Marinara (tomato, oregano, garlic olive oil). Margherita (tomato, Buffalo Mozz, olive oil, basil). Filette (cherry tomatoes, mozz, garlic, chili flake, olive oil, basil)
Always looking for feedback, but not too bad for my first pies!
-Chris (I always like seeing the face behind the pizza, I'm the guy on the left in the glasses standing next to my best friend Mike from college).