Author Topic: Homemade "HearthKit"  (Read 49206 times)

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Bryan Chitwood

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #50 on: May 22, 2005, 08:02:44 PM »
This is the only place I've seen a particular tile named, and it was a lifesaver. No one at Home Depot, Lowe's, local tile shops or the area brickmaker knew what I was looking for. Fortunately, there's a daltile warehouse here and they gave me enough for my convection oven as samples. Otherwise, I would have had to buy an entire case. They work very well in my 1.5 cubic foot Waring convection oven. I very much like the idea of building some sort of frame to hold the tiles so they can be installed vertically along the oven walls. Has anyone come up with a design? Also, I've read several articles that recommend using a stone or tiles above the pizza as well. By the way, I have a nice baking stone in my gas oven, and it's thicker than the tiles. I haven't been able to find a stone small enough to fit my convection oven, hence my search for suitable tiles. According to the good folks at Baker's Catalog, however, the stone could be cut down to fit a smaller stove. My neighbor thinks his wet tile saw would do the job. Bryan


Offline skitchmo

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #51 on: May 26, 2005, 12:42:47 PM »
I think this is a great thread of thought. I have had the best success doing something similar but using fire bricks. I bought a dozen of the half sized (1.5 inches thick instead of 3 inches) and line my oven rack with them for the base of my pizza oven. I then build up the sides with full 3 inch thick fire bricks in a sequentially narrower patern so that finally on top is a roof of two 15 inch pizza stones. The only problem is the amount of time all of that thermal inertia takes to heat up, about 2 hours!

Oh, and I once tried putting the bottom layer right onto my gas oven floor so it was right over the burners. I almost burned the house down because the wood floor under the oven got so hot. I now have a heat sheild under my oven for safety!

I am making pizza this weekend so will post some photos of my oven and results.

eric

Offline skitchmo

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #52 on: May 30, 2005, 10:48:17 AM »
Here is a picture of my homemade hearth kit, and a picture of last night's sausage and mushroom pizza from it. Even with 2 hours of preheating I am frustrated with my results since my oven barely reaches 500 degrees (even after recallibrating it that's the best it will do). It's on to a backyard wood fired oven for me.
Skitchmo

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #53 on: May 30, 2005, 03:06:59 PM »
skitchmo,

The photo of your setup reminded me of a piece I read recently at the website theartisan.net about constructing an oven within an oven (a standard home oven). To see the photo of the setup (as used in an electric oven), go to the above-referenced website, click on the link Bread Basics in the frame menu to the left and then the link Oven Humidity & Simulation of a Professional Oven. In the meantime, I have have cut and pasted the text of the article below (in quotes).

"Simulation of a More "Complete" Masonry Oven

Kenneth Sole

Using both a high quality mercury calibration thermometer and a "contact" thermometer of the sort used to measure the surface temperature of a wood stove, Mr. Sole had determined that he can achieve temperatures of about 700 in a standard home oven set to 500. How is this achieved? 

A ring of fire bricks are stood on end on a soapstone baking sheet. An opening is left in the front wide enough for the peel. The oven heats until the oven thermostat tells it that the air within is 500. It then shuts off the gas, and start to cool. The air cools much more rapidly than the mass of bricks. Assume  that the oven thermostat has a "swing" of 50. When the air in the oven drops to 450, on comes the gas to heat the oven once again. At that moment, the bricks would be significantly hotter than the air. The gas keeps cycling on and off in this fashion, each time increasing the temperature of the bricks.

At the point when the bricks and air reach the temperatures defined above, the dough goes into the oven.  Mr. Sole states, "...The results astounded me. I have used today's recipe for years, but the spring this time was perhaps 50% greater than ever before..."

The Artisan Baker has built and used this simulated masonry chamber in an electric oven, and it works as well in this situation as in Mr. Sole's gas oven. The photo depicts the setup in an electric oven. As can be seen, the weight of the bricks on the rack causes the rack to sag a bit toward the enter. We suggest that prior to using this setup, a call be made to your oven manufacturer to ascertain the estimated weight load that your rack can handle. Lighter refractory brick may be used to obviate this problem, but they are more difficult to obtain. Half thickness brick are available, and would probably work as well if they are not thinner than the spacings on the rack itself. For example, in the oven depicted here, the rack spacings are approximately 1 inch, but the thinner bricks are about 1/16" narrower, and fall through the spacings.

The fire bricks used in the oven on the photo were obtained from Pacific Clay Products, Inc., located in Lake Elsinore, California. They may be contacted via email at Pacific Clay, or visited on the Internet at http://www.pacificclay.com."

Peter


Offline skitchmo

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #54 on: May 30, 2005, 11:56:37 PM »
Fascinating! I can imagine how that might work with an electric oven with the element right there above the simulated oven (the fire bricks). But with gas it would seem to break the laws of thermodynamics. Heat (energy) goes from heigher heat to cooler temps, and if the oven never goes above 500 degrees where would the extra heat come from? If you have your heating element within your "oven with an oven", and your thermostat sensor outside of the "oven within the oven", you could fool the thermostat into producing more heat inside of the "oven within the oven" than it should given your temp setting.
Anyway this is all hyperbolea (sp) since today I started excavating in my backyard for an outdoor Neapolitan wood fired oven. I am going to try some Roman pizzas later this week and will let my oven warm up for 3 hours to see if it makes a difference, but it doea better with the thinner crusted pizzas anyway.
Skitchmo

Offline Rubino

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #55 on: November 09, 2005, 07:52:08 PM »
Steve,

Sorry if I missed this somewhere in the thread, but why the double stack of tiles on the bottom?

Pizza looked great, by the way.

Thanks,
Michael

Offline dkipta

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #56 on: November 10, 2005, 08:40:39 AM »
Fantastic!  Thats almost how I did it.  Except I put an additional layer of tile on top.  Works great doesn't it?  I would think the thermal mass is greater than that of a Hearth kit. 

Well done grasshopper!

Offline Steve

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #57 on: November 10, 2005, 08:59:24 AM »
The double layer of tiles was to increase the thermal mass of the oven.

Offline dkipta

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #58 on: November 16, 2005, 08:23:13 AM »
Wow!  Amazing!  Using my Kenmore gas oven with no top broiler,  I was able to achieve temperatures over 600 degress from the layer of tiles I placed on the middle rack used as the ovens ceiling.  The temperature was only set at 500 but the tiles still superheated!


Offline 5hortbus

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"- Thermal Mass Crazy??
« Reply #59 on: December 03, 2005, 12:50:26 PM »
Hey there,
I'm breand new to this, and pretty new to pizza in general. I've put together my "homemade hearth" using quite a bit more in the tile department.
I used two boxes of 6x6 unglazed quarry tile from Home Depot.
-I split most of the first box to fit on the bottom of my elecrtric oven around the element and stacked the sections 6 high to fit right under the bottom rack and support it. (The first go 'round I used two layers on top of the rack, and the rack became pliable enough under heat to bend and fall to the bottom of the oven- hence the support).

THen  I use two layers of tile on the rack itself 3 across and 3 deep. I haven't figured a way to get the tiles to stay vertical along the sides, although my first experiment was using the other rack to hold them up.

I don't have a fancy thermometer yet but it doesn't take all that long to preheat (45min or so?) But that's the air above the tiles as I only have a oven thermometer sitting on the tiles. I can get it up to around 650 (therm only goes to 600 so it's a guess)

Here's my question, am I going crazy with the amount of tiles? Using so many on the bottom doesn't take up any space in the oven itself, so I'm thinking more is better.
I'm, sorry I don't have pictures, but my camera is broken. I'll take some shots next week when it's fixed.

Also, in regard to temp, my oven (old GE self cleaning wall oven) has two dials, one for bake/Broil, Clean/Time bake?/Off, and one for temp that runs from 200 to Broil, then clean. I just set the selector to Bake, and then turn the temp up past Broil. The bake element still heats, but it keeps going to well over 600.

Thanks for all of the ideas. I'll take a pic of a 'za when the time comes.

Any questions, input, comments or smart remarks are welcomed.]

Thanks,
Ken

Offline apizza

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #60 on: December 04, 2005, 12:04:14 PM »
Since there is so much talk about ovens here let me ask a question. I feel our newer stove (about 5 years) gets much too hot on the surface where the four stove top elements are. Our old stove (1969) never got this uncomfortable when I pushed it to high heat. I expected much better insulation for a newer stove.
 
Since the old stove still ran well it's in the basement for my use. (green was out)
 
Anyway do you folks have any comments on how hot the stove surface gets at about an oven temp of 500-550, or even 475? Ours is a self cleaning model so it should be built for high heat. Can you put your hand on the surface and leave it for awhile?  The newer stove is a Maytag. Love the electronic thermostat, but I find the high surface temp a slip in design. The idea is to keep the heat in, I believe. Any brands you find built with better insulating abilities? Thanks

Offline Perk

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #61 on: January 27, 2006, 03:25:48 PM »
Great Set up Steve!
I got to try this out.

A question, Since I have a self cleaning oven, What if you preheat the bricks using the Self Cleaning method?

I mean turn on the Self Cleaning this should get the oven as hot as it possibly can then once the bricks are to the right Temp. turn it to max or top broil and cook away.

Just a thought, I'm sure someone has already done this and said this in a different post but I just now reading on the Hearthkit stuff.

-Dave
Jacksonville Fl.

Offline Steve

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #62 on: January 27, 2006, 03:51:50 PM »
A question, Since I have a self cleaning oven, What if you preheat the bricks using the Self Cleaning method?

Your oven door will lock shut on the self-clean cycle and you will not be able to open it to insert pizza.  ;)

Offline Perk

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #63 on: January 28, 2006, 01:26:11 PM »
Your oven door will lock shut on the self-clean cycle and you will not be able to open it to insert pizza.  ;)

You are absolutely right my fellow friend!!  :-D

I just tried it, I preheated my  stone on clean mode, and the basstad stove wouldn't unlock until the oven cooled
down to 550F. Which is my max baking temp!

Maybe it heated the stone up hotter, I don't know but I do know I'll do it again next time too
since the crust turned out great for me today. :chef:
-Dave
Jacksonville Fl.

Offline Park.Pizza

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #64 on: January 30, 2006, 01:01:07 PM »
I wanted to copy your idea for using tiles. But after going to the 3 large homebuilding/hardware stores in Milwaukee, I've have'nt been succesful. The closests I got was unglazed red ceramic tile. But the issue was that they had "Slica" in them. Bad stuff that can kill you. I also went to the tile stores but they won't sell me any thing because of the liabilty.

So if you folks have any suggestions, I'd appreciate them.

cheers,
Tim :chef:
Throw me a slice, won't ya

Offline Park.Pizza

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #65 on: April 08, 2006, 10:25:36 AM »
Well, I've learned alot about Silica lately and I've purchased some of the red clay tiles. We've made some great pizza's on them.

Throw me a slice, won't ya

Offline billneild

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #66 on: April 13, 2006, 08:18:15 PM »
As to the self-cleaning oven bit, take a hint from one of our fellow members and hack the locking mechanism off.  He cooks his pizzas at 800 degrees!  Maybe not recommended by the manufacturer, but we're talkin' PIZZA!


Offline briterian

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #67 on: September 25, 2006, 11:33:28 AM »
Hi Steve,
Are you still using your awesome homemade HearthKit?  I tried it this weekend. I unfortunately put my tiles on the oven base  and and at 550, the tiles got up to 680 and burned the bottom of my pizza. On the second pizza, I changed the temp to 450 and my tiles got to around 550 and the bottom turned out great but the top wasn't as crispy as I wanted (even though the kids liked it).

I know what I need to do, I think, but wanted to talk to you. I am going to move my tiles up to the middle of my oven and preheat at 550 - as you illustrate.  The tiles should get at around 550. But I wanted to know if you still put the oven on broil as soon as put your pizza in?  I am afraid it will burn the top of my pizza but I'm up for it if does the trick.  I think I need to have the top of my oven at around 700 to have the top crust brown nicely but not quite sure how to go about producing that kind of heat.  I was thinking of buying a stone and putting int on the top rack to radiant the heat downward.  Any ideas?

Offline bocajr9

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Re: Homemade "HearthKit"
« Reply #68 on: September 08, 2011, 01:44:29 PM »
Hello,
I like what you did with your oven. I want to do the same for mine and had a few questions. How safe is putting tile in your oven? Is it a fire hazardous? What do you have to look out for? Do you just leave them in there all the time? Thanks sorry for all the questions. Really excited to buy some unglazed tile and start baking.


 

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