Author Topic: Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?  (Read 2460 times)

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Offline Fio

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Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?
« on: April 20, 2006, 12:01:36 PM »
The weather is nice, and I've started building the base for my wood oven.  Before I get too far down the road, I want to make sure I'll be happy with it.

It's based on a design by Alan Scott in his book, "The Bread Builders." Most of the ovens built from his design are for baking bread using retained heat; mine will be mostly for baking pizza using an active fire in the chamber.

The current plan is to build an oblong oven with a useable hearth of 24" X 30"  I intend to bake only one pizza at a time, (but quickly!).  The base measures 48" x 56." So I am already limited to some extent.

I have read in another thread where Bill in SFNM lamented having a 35" oven, wishing he had built a 42" diameter dome oven to bake more than one pie at a time.  So I realize that I would ALWAYS want a bigger oven.

The question is: would a 24" X 30" be such a pain in the butt, i.e. SO SMALL, that I would lament the time and $$ I put into it?

FWIW, Alan Scott confirmed that it would be suitable for baking pizzas using direct heat with a fire in the chamber.
Since joining this forum, I've begun using words like "autolyze" and have become anal about baker's percents.  My dough is forever changed.


Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2006, 12:14:33 PM »
If the live fire is to the side of the pie (better to illuminate the pie rather than at the back), how much area do you have for the pie? Depending on the size of the fire, I like to have 6"-10" of buffer between the pie and the fire. What diameter are your pies? In my oven, the coals bed is 6"-12". Plug these numbers in and you'll have your answer. In my oven - worst case: 12" (coals to the side) + 10" (buffer) + 12" (pie) = 34".  See why I wish had a bigger oven?

Bill/SFNM

Offline Fio

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Re: Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2006, 02:12:27 PM »
If the live fire is to the side of the pie (better to illuminate the pie rather than at the back), how much area do you have for the pie? Depending on the size of the fire, I like to have 6"-10" of buffer between the pie and the fire. What diameter are your pies? In my oven, the coals bed is 6"-12". Plug these numbers in and you'll have your answer. In my oven - worst case: 12" (coals to the side) + 10" (buffer) + 12" (pie) = 34".  See why I wish had a bigger oven?

Bill/SFNM

If the live fire is to the side of the pie, I'm practically hosed.  Even with a small buffer and a narrow bed of coals, my 14" pie will be touching the opposite wall.

I guess I'll have to consider three things:

1) Smaller (12") pies. Heck, the VPN won't permit anything over 12" anyway.
2) Compromising illumiation and visibility by putting the fire in the back of the oven
3) REALLY cramming the coals to the back to reduce the depth of the coal bed

Have you ever tried charcoal? A narrow glowing bed of briquettes could sustain heat, with small kindling thrown on for flame, seems like it be workable.


Since joining this forum, I've begun using words like "autolyze" and have become anal about baker's percents.  My dough is forever changed.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2006, 03:11:10 PM »
Have you ever tried charcoal? A narrow glowing bed of briquettes could sustain heat, with small kindling thrown on for flame, seems like it be workable.

Have not tried charcoal. I like a real fire with big flames to help cook the top of the pie. Sounds like your design is meant for pushing the coals and fire to the rear. You should still have plenty of plenty of illumination if you have a good live fire. You'll want to make sure you feed the fire between pies If you're a klutz like me you could easily end up with a piece of wood as your topping.  :D

Bill/SFNM

Offline JPY

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Re: Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2006, 07:39:39 PM »
With the oven that bill has (35 inch cooking diameter) you should be able to do 2 - 12" pies.  I have done three with the same oven, since bill runs his oven very hot he might be using more wood. I would still think 2 twleve inchers should be no problem.  With a 24 x 30 i would think that one 12" pie should be no problem.  I'm sure no one is going to come knocking on your door if you made an 11" pizza.  VPN is metric anyway.
-JP-

Offline Fio

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Re: Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2006, 08:46:07 AM »
With the oven that bill has (35 inch cooking diameter) you should be able to do 2 - 12" pies.  I have done three with the same oven, since bill runs his oven very hot he might be using more wood. I would still think 2 twleve inchers should be no problem.  With a 24 x 30 i would think that one 12" pie should be no problem.  I'm sure no one is going to come knocking on your door if you made an 11" pizza.  VPN is metric anyway.

An observation and a question:

1) The pizzas cook so darn fast, that I don't think I could press out and dress a single pie in the three minutes that  another one is cooking, so having the ability to cook more than one at a time isn't worth much.

2) Is there any value in squeezing a couple more inches of width?  I can probably make it 28" wide.  Of course, I'll have to sacrifice some insulation on the side walls, but I'm using 1" Unifrax Board insulation on the sides (It's super high tech and expsen$ive stuff) and I dont think the outsides of my oven will get over 150 degrees anyway.
Since joining this forum, I've begun using words like "autolyze" and have become anal about baker's percents.  My dough is forever changed.

Offline Fio

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Re: Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2006, 11:05:04 AM »
My answer is NO.  Though one can cook a pizza or two small ones in that oven, it's too small for comfort and flexibilty.

That's why I'm building a 35" round oven. And even that is on the smallish side.

Now if I can only delete this thread. . .
Since joining this forum, I've begun using words like "autolyze" and have become anal about baker's percents.  My dough is forever changed.

Offline bakerbill

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Re: Will my 24" X 30" oven be big enough?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2006, 04:59:54 PM »
I have an Eartstone 90 and if I were to build another one, I would get the next larger size so that the pies were not so close to the fire. I have discovered, however, that if I put a 2 inch angle iron between the coals and the pie, I have much greater control over the baking and have not had problem with the edges getting scorched. Last time, however, I put a log on top of the coals.  This turned out not to be a good idea as the fire burned the edges of the pie. So next time, I will be content to let the coals do the work.

Bakerbill


 

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