Author Topic: Forno Napoletano  (Read 8608 times)

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Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #25 on: February 16, 2007, 03:16:38 PM »
It is about seasoned wood and it depends on when it was cut... Well seasoned wood do not re-absorb much humidity even if it seats in the rain. Most wood are sold with few months seasoning. The best wood I ever came across was 15% and was 2 years old......

It doesn't make any difference how dry (seasoned) the wood is, there are standard ways (diffusion equations) of calculating how long it takes for wood to lose or gain moisture through humidity.  15% sounds about right because wood left outside (but out of the rain) has about 15% moisture content.  However, one shouldn't store wood that way.  One should store their wood near the hearth or opening of the oven to let it dry out more.  The relative humidity near a wood burning oven should be much lower than 70%.  Most times there is a brick cavity built next to the oven for storing the wood, and I guarantee the heat that comes through that brick wall drives most of the moisture out of the wood.

In any case, wood will always burn with less water in its combustion products than methane or propane.  That's the bottom line.

- red.november


Offline shango

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #26 on: February 16, 2007, 03:27:10 PM »
uhh... :-D
 :-X
pizza, pizza, pizza

Offline scpizza

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #27 on: February 16, 2007, 03:34:30 PM »
If drier heat creates better crust, then maybe an electric oven adding 0 water would bake better than a wood-burning one.

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #28 on: February 16, 2007, 03:36:19 PM »
My arguement wasn't that there is less or more humidity that gas, but that there was the right humidity level to bake pizza napoletana. If the wood is not seasoned properly the time near the oven doesn't help much.

The bottom line is that gas ovens do not deliver the same quality of pizza napoletana as a wood oven, even if these are made by the same manufacturer... And by baking in the two you will realize that.

I love science and have been studying a lot of "food science" in the last few years, but make no mistake, when it comes to artisanal products, Science help to understand but it is skills that make possible the production of masterpiece....

All the food technologist I work with have long realised this..... :-D :-D

« Last Edit: February 16, 2007, 03:38:03 PM by pizzanapoletana »

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #29 on: February 16, 2007, 03:42:26 PM »
If drier heat creates better crust, then maybe an electric oven adding 0 water would bake better than a wood-burning one.

I almost said something about that because I had a feeling someone was going to ask.  In theory, yes, an electric oven should bake with the lowest amount of moisture.  However, that can only be optimized by either ventilation or tiling for the moisture to have a place to go.  In a wood burning oven you have ventilation which can carry away excess moisture.  It's a safe bet though that more moisture will come from the pizza itself than the burning wood baking it.  Of course, an electric oven can't replace the dynamics or flavor attributed to wood.  Very few electric ovens get as hot as wood either.

- red.november

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #30 on: February 16, 2007, 03:58:10 PM »
My arguement wasn't that there is less or more humidity that gas, but that there was the right humidity level to bake pizza napoletana. If the wood is not seasoned properly the time near the oven doesn't help much.

Marco, nobody has defined how much time the wood spends near the oven.  It could be there for weeks, which in fact could reduce the moisture by half or more.  As far as your argument goes, I don't see the connection between my reply to scpizza and "the right humidity level."

The bottom line is that gas ovens do not deliver the same quality of pizza napoletana as a wood oven, even if these are made by the same manufacturer... And by baking in the two you will realize that.

I don't recall seeing anyone trying to refute that.  All that was being compared was the moisture of the two.  No conclusions were drawn as to the quality or Neapolitan authenticity of either oven.

- red.november

Offline rdb

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #31 on: February 16, 2007, 04:25:32 PM »
"I have no dog in this fight". Matter of fact...there is no fight. I believe there is a language barrier, however.

Where November is answering a direct question as to the moistures present in various combustibles, Marco is arguing an ideal environment he feels necessary for a true Neopolitan oven.
Both are correct, in my humble opinion.

 What I am interested in, since I intend to build my own oven this spring, in the yard is  my understanding of the oven's dynamics.  My reading indicates that air and moisture enter the oven from the opening. Because of the oven's shape, the combustion of the wood, the air, and the moisture circulate throughout the oven and by thermal dynamics are led up, and forward to be vented through the chimney. This is why chimneys are not in the back of the oven...everything would leave the oven too quickly that way, without circulating.  The next thing that is considered essential is the thickness of both the floor, and the walls of the oven.
 Too thin, and the heat is hard to maintain...too thick, and it takes too long to heat up.
 Lastly, the insulation of the entire oven keeps the dynamics consistent.

Am I correct in this summation?

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #32 on: February 16, 2007, 04:26:06 PM »
Marco, nobody has defined how much time the wood spends near the oven.  It could be there for weeks, which in fact could reduce the moisture by half or more.  As far as your argument goes, I don't see the connection between my reply to scpizza and "the right humidity level."

I don't recall seeing anyone trying to refute that.  All that was being compared was the moisture of the two.  No conclusions were drawn as to the quality or Neapolitan authenticity of either oven.

- red.november

I think this post is moving away from the original subject in any case, any professionals pizzaiolo knows that these space near the oven usually do not cantain more then 3 days worth of wood........ and you can only put it by the mouth (as you suggested) for about 20-30 minutes and anyway it is a couple of pieces at the time....

The right moisture level was not in response to scpizza has I was already posting while he wrote it. To bake bread you need a lot of moisture for pizza very little but that little is important.

Ciao

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2007, 04:46:23 PM »
Marco,

"The right moisture level was not in response to scpizza"

I have yet to hear what you consider the ideal moisture content for wood; only that there is one.  Are you suggesting that 15% is ideal?  Something not mentioned yet, but the more moisture the wood has, the cooler the wood will burn.  I don't see why someone wouldn't want the driest wood possible if they want the hottest oven.

- red.november


Offline Glutenboy

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #34 on: February 16, 2007, 05:10:53 PM »
This is good stuff...  >:D
Quote under my pic excludes Little Caesar's.

Offline abatardi

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #35 on: February 16, 2007, 09:10:14 PM »
 :-D
Make me a bicycle CLOWN!

Offline scpizza

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #36 on: February 17, 2007, 07:34:48 AM »
I almost said something about that because I had a feeling someone was going to ask.  In theory, yes, an electric oven should bake with the lowest amount of moisture.  However, that can only be optimized by either ventilation or tiling for the moisture to have a place to go.  In a wood burning oven you have ventilation which can carry away excess moisture.  It's a safe bet though that more moisture will come from the pizza itself than the burning wood baking it.  Of course, an electric oven can't replace the dynamics or flavor attributed to wood.  Very few electric ovens get as hot as wood either.

Well, I found brick-lined industrial benchtop electric furnaces that get to 2000F, so it is possible.

What I'm hearing from you is a flow of hot air over the pizza results from the continuous production of combustion gases from a burning log or burning methane/propane.  This convection of hot air has much to do with the drying action of the oven.  An electric setup would lack this and could result in stagnant air accumulating moisture from the pizza that then wouldn't cook properly.

Perhaps one could include fan-forced convection to replicate the gas flow.  A cursory search reveals the hottest brick lined convection ovens out there only going to 650F and definitely shaped wrong for pizza.  Would make for a fascinating oven modification project to take an authentic Neapolitan dome and fit it with industrial electric heating coils and a convection fan.  Could turn out pizza cooked better than the traditional way with wood.

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #37 on: February 17, 2007, 07:50:42 AM »
Someone has removed my last post?????

Well, I won't post it again.. I will be waiting to see pictures that demonstrates your theories...

Ciao

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #38 on: February 17, 2007, 07:52:57 AM »
What I'm hearing from you is a flow of hot air over the pizza results from the continuous production of combustion gases from a burning log or burning methane/propane.  This convection of hot air has much to do with the drying action of the oven.  An electric setup would lack this and could result in stagnant air accumulating moisture from the pizza that then wouldn't cook properly.

"A lot of the heat transfer in a wood-burning oven is by convection, and I know nobody is going to argue that pizzas don't bake well in a wood-burning oven." -
http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,4037.msg33740.html#msg33740

Yes, that's essentially what I'm saying, but air in a conventional electric oven isn't exactly stagnate.  There are convection currents of air, just not nearly as much as in a wood-burning oven.  I also wouldn't be so definitive as saying that a pizza wouldn't cook properly, but that it wouldn't cook to some people's satisfaction.

Perhaps one could include fan-forced convection to replicate the gas flow.

Just as long as there is a balance of conduction, convection, and radiant heat; and you don't go overboard on the convection.  Otherwise your pizza will just dry out instead of bake.  It might be useful to take a trip to your favorite wood-burning pizzeria and measure the air flow in their oven.  If you have no way of doing that, I can probably give you a decent estimate based on a few calculations.

- red.november

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #39 on: February 17, 2007, 07:55:25 AM »
Well, I won't post it again.. I will be waiting to see pictures that demonstrates your theories...

How inconvenient.  Would you mind explaining to whom you are addressing and what theory needs a pictorial?

Offline scpizza

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2007, 08:00:59 AM »
It might be useful to take a trip to your favorite wood-burning pizzeria and measure the air flow in their oven.  If you have no way of doing that, I can probably give you a decent estimate based on a few calculations.

Sure.  Am curious how big a fan would be needed to replicate convection from burning wood.

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #41 on: February 17, 2007, 08:11:17 AM »
Am curious how big a fan would be needed to replicate convection from burning wood.

Large and slow if you want to replicate the airflow more precisely, but I will get back to you (probably today) on the numbers.  I might also post the numbers in the thread I just linked to since it's probably a more appropriate location for convection discussion.

- red.november


Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #42 on: February 17, 2007, 08:18:12 AM »
How inconvenient.  Would you mind explaining to whom you are addressing and what theory needs a pictorial?

You among others...

I lost the rest of the post.....

So wood theories in a commercial pizzeria...
Electric or gas oven in a commercial environment...

And some thoughts on the fact that if this discussion was commercially viable, many corporations out there would have already developed such a product...

No offence, I love science when it explain thing happening in reality and not when is used for virtual discussions

Last post from me  so I leave you talking on the subject and will wait fro practical demonstrations

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #43 on: February 17, 2007, 08:18:58 AM »
Sure.  Am curious how big a fan would be needed to replicate convection from burning wood.

In my oven and in others I have observed, the size of the fire needed to maintain the temp during baking, is much smaller than that needed to heat it up. Sometimes wood shaving or chips are tossed in to stoke the flames which would create a brief, but dramatic, change in the conditions in the oven, but I always do that in between pies since I missed once and added wood shavings to the toppings.  :(

At any rate, we are talking here about pies that bake in 30-60 seconds. The vast majority of the exposed crust is on the bottom of the pie so the temp and moisture absorption characteristics of the oven floor are far more important than any other factor. The cooking of the rim and the toppings which must be perfectly timed with that of the crust, is going to be influenced mainly by the radiant heat from the walls, ceiling, and coals. In that short time, air flow through the oven with a relatively small fire isn't going to be much of a factor. I would also guess that moisture coming off the toppings in that intense heat will contribute more to the humidity of the chamber than that  from fuel combustion.

Bill/SFNM

 

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #44 on: February 17, 2007, 08:44:09 AM »
And some thoughts on the fact that if this discussion was commercially viable, many corporations out there would have already developed such a product...

For many businesses, a wood-burning oven is not commercially viable, so viability is relative.  Air impingement ovens, combo-convection ovens, etc. have already been developed and have been in use for quite some time.  I don't know what has led you to believe this kind of product functionality doesn't already exist.  As I mentioned in another thread, even conveyor ovens have an element of convection.

Bill,

From footage I've seen in some very large wood and coal burning ovens, and from my own personal experience, the fires create significant airflow.  By the very laws of physics they have to.  The fire needs oxygen to burn and that's only going to come from air rushing into the oven.  It won't seem like hurricane force winds because it's a large volume of air moving very slowly, but the CFS remains significant.  I imagine that the reason you don't have a large fire going all the time is because it isn't a commercial wood-burning oven.  For commercial purposes, that fire needs to be large enough to deliver heat for pizza after pizza after pizza, all day long.  If you can describe what the mass of the wood is that's burning in the oven at the time the pizza is also in there, and the temperature of the flame at 1 cm or less from the wood, I can provide reliable numbers for airflow.

- red.november

EDIT: By the way, I agree that the two main forms of heat transfer are conduction and radiation, but convection is not just a form of heat transfer, it's also a method of moving moisture away from the surface.  If you were to construct an oven that heated radiantly and conductively, but kept the pizza in a vacuum, you wouldn't get a very crisp crust, you would get a boiled crust.
« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 08:48:13 AM by November »

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #45 on: February 17, 2007, 08:56:49 AM »
Bill,

If you have access to an anemometer, place it over your chimney/vent of your oven during baking and measure the air speed per square cm of the opening.  Either that or the mass of the burning wood would suffice.

- red.november

Offline scpizza

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #46 on: February 17, 2007, 09:17:57 AM »
I would also guess that moisture coming off the toppings in that intense heat will contribute more to the humidity of the chamber than that from fuel combustion.
That argument would contradict Shango and Marco's experience that gas does not cook as well as wood.  Certainly sticks of wood on a brick floor are heating that floor via conduction in a way a gas jet sitting above the floor will not.  But given the key role of humidity in baking it seems hard to ignore moisture produced from the fuel source.

I leave you talking on the subject and will wait fro practical demonstrations
Sorry, I have not the resources to acquire a neapolitan oven and convert it to electricity in order to test my theory, though you are right, that would be the only way to prove it is valid in the real world.  Until then it remains just a theory, though an interesting one in that the humidity-is-bad arguments that favor wood over gas would seem to favor fan-assisted electricity over wood.

I did a rough cost calculation comparing electricity to gas to wood:

$/Kwh   Kwh/MMBTU      $/MMBTU
in NY   radiant
 0.20      250            50

$/therm  therm/MMBTU   $/MMBTU
in NY
 1.00       10            10
 
$/cord  cord/MMBTU     $/MMBTU
in NY   for Beech
 200      .037             7

So electric heat is roughly 7 times more expensive than wood heat.  Ouch.

Offline November

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #47 on: February 17, 2007, 09:25:29 AM »
That argument would contradict Shango and Marco's experience that gas does not cook as well as wood.

It don't see it as a contradiction, it's just a fact about baking a pizza.  You can't escape the moisture that comes from a pizza, but you can escape the moisture that comes from the burning fuel.

I did a rough cost calculation comparing electricity to gas to wood:

I get my wood for free, and I pay about $0.20 per hour to keep my electric oven at 600 degrees F.

- red.november

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2007, 09:32:12 AM »
That argument would contradict Shango and Marco's experience that gas does not cook as well as wood.  Certainly sticks of wood on a brick floor are heating that floor via conduction in a way a gas jet sitting above the floor will not.  But given the key role of humidity in baking it seems hard to ignore moisture produced from the fuel source.

Are you taking into consideration the coals that result from the burning logs? I think in my oven these radiate a large amount of heat that plays a very key role in cooking the top of the pizza and also in keeping the entire oven up to temp. Once logs have been burned down to coals, very little new moisture will be released. Gas combustion would produce a very different environment than one with coals and burning logs.

Bill/SFNM

Offline pizzanapoletana

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Re: Forno Napoletano
« Reply #49 on: February 17, 2007, 10:36:22 AM »
A very last thought:

There are hundred of different ovens out there ( I know..) NONE of which can replicate the performance of a forno Napoletano (that is the key argument): e.g. Pizza cooked in 30-40 seconds for 5-6 continuos hours...


My arms are pending right now...


Ciao