Pizza Making Forum

General Topics => Pizza Ovens => Pizza Making Equipment => Hearth Ovens => Topic started by: italdream on July 03, 2012, 04:45:57 PM

Title: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 03, 2012, 04:45:57 PM
Hi guys:

What is your opinion of the ALFA 10 minuti pizza oven? The company that produces it is located between Naples and Rome IT. http://www.alfapizza.it/products/Forno-10-Minuti.html

A smaller version also popped up at Costco.com at
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11764859&search=alfa&topnav=&Mo=0&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode%20matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=alfa&Ntt=alfa&No=0&Nty=1&Ntx=mode%20matchallpartial

Basically, I am looking for a low budget (max $3,500-shipping included) WFO to do Neapolitan pizzas (my priority), some bread and the occasional baking-pan of peppers, potatoes meat etc. I am developing a preference for pre-assembled ovens since I do not seem to be able to locate a reasonable contractor in Lower Hudson/NY-CT area.

Any suggestion/link would be greatly appreciated. After over one year with the Little Black Egg (and some frustration), I am ready to go WFO.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 03, 2012, 05:54:08 PM
Hi guys:

What is your opinion of the ALFA 10 minuti pizza oven? The company that produces it is located between Naples and Rome IT. http://www.alfapizza.it/products/Forno-10-Minuti.html

A smaller version also popped up at Costco.com at
http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11764859&search=alfa&topnav=&Mo=0&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode%20matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=alfa&Ntt=alfa&No=0&Nty=1&Ntx=mode%20matchallpartial

Basically, I am looking for a low budget (max $3,500-shipping included) WFO to do Neapolitan pizzas (my priority), some bread and the occasional baking-pan of peppers, potatoes meat etc. I am developing a preference for pre-assembled ovens since I do not seem to be able to locate a reasonable contractor in Lower Hudson/NY-CT area.

Any suggestion/link would be greatly appreciated. After over one year with the Little Black Egg (and some frustration), I am ready to go WFO.
Anything you can cook in your indoor oven can be prepared to its succulent perfection in your wood fired oven, all year long.  hmmm...the info given makes no mention of heat specs., wonder why!
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 03, 2012, 10:45:02 PM
Good point. The description was likely prepared by some know-nothing Costco marketing employee.

I know that $3K for the 5 minuti is a bit expensive considering that the oven retails for 800-1000E in Italy. At any rate, the company seems legit and well established. I wonder why nobody on this forum has heard about it.

Here is a video showing some pizzas made with the 5 minuti (smaller) model http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rKN6ANqUUSg

I do not think that the guys in the video know what they are doing. However, it looks like a nice little pizza toy, although likely not intended for the serious pizza fan. In the comment area, a guy who owns it, indicates high temps attainable in 30 minutes (350C/480C).

Anyway, suggestions still accepted about my original query for a $3500 or less decent pre-assembled WFO.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: scott123 on July 04, 2012, 01:02:21 AM
From what I can tell, the dome of this oven is insulated, but it lacks any thermal mass.  It's also too tall for Neapolitan pizza, which can normally be worked around, but between the height and the lack of thermal mass, I would avoid this oven.

Take a look at the rims of the pizzas in the video- no charring, no color whatsoever.

I've read every single oven related post in this forum for the last 3 years and have never come across any pre-assembled WFO that seemed the slightest bit impressive.  They're frequently very pretty, but never truly functional.

Some sanity has recently emerged in the pre-cast WFO market with lower dome heights (Four Grand Mere, etc.), so hopefully that consciousness will spread to the pre-assembled folks and lead to more functional products. Until then, though, I would take a look at the 2stone grill. When it comes to pre-assembled ovens that can reliably do Neapolitan bakes, I think that's it.  Do a search on 2stone and read through the threads.

Btw, I've heard of Four Grand Meres going for $3K.  Add another $1K for installation and you've got an oven that can run circles around the pre-assembleds.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: SinoChef on July 04, 2012, 07:37:43 AM

As someone who has no idea what they are talking about,(on this subject :)and has never actually used a WFO.

This thought came to my mind, before I had a chance to scroll down and read it from you...

Quote
it looks like a nice little pizza toy

Also not a Neapolitan purist, but like Gump, Forest Gump says,  I know what it is not. The recipe they offer for Neos is a 2 hour rise, with sugar and oil....  ???

http://www.alfapizza.it/pages/RECIPES-OF-ALFAPIZZA.html (http://www.alfapizza.it/pages/RECIPES-OF-ALFAPIZZA.html)

But it is made in the Italy land, so it must be good?

They do fun word games with the wine here.

Embouteillée en France, (bottled in France) means it was made in Turkey, transported to France by tanker, and then "bottled" there.

Fabriqués en France, means it was made from grapes that were actually grown in France. (and if you are native French speaker, feel free to correct my Google translations, I know its off)

The point I am trying to make is, for the Chinese, it is a bottle of wine that has the word "French" on it. therefore it must be better then the rest, and they get ripped off on the product.

Quote
although likely not intended for the serious pizza fan.

Maybe to decide what you are, before spending any money is good advice. Why go 3500$ deep, if your just going to be disappointed, and  selling it at a loss in a few months. Then investing, again, to the alternative Scott123 is suggesting.  :-\



Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Woodfiredovenpizzero on July 04, 2012, 10:08:11 AM
Basically, I am looking for a low budget (max $3,500-shipping included) WFO to do Neapolitan pizzas (my priority), some bread and the occasional baking-pan of peppers, potatoes meat etc. I am developing a preference for pre-assembled ovens since I do not seem to be able to locate a reasonable contractor in Lower Hudson/NY-CT area.

Any suggestion/link would be greatly appreciated. After over one year with the Little Black Egg (and some frustration), I am ready to go WFO.

I own  picollo from www.fornoclassico.com for  little over  year nd is in your price range.

Edgar
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 05, 2012, 12:40:38 PM
Thank you scott123, SinoChef, and Woodfiredovenpizzero for the great information.

With regard to 2stone, I have known about it for a while. It seems to me no more than a perfected LBE. I am sure that it would likely make much better pizzas than my LBE, but next year I'd be still here wanting to upgrade to a real WFO.

If the consensus on the forum is that no pre-assembled oven possesses the basic requirements for a decent neapolitan-style pizza, I would just start looking elsewhere instead of regretting the purchase later on. Perhaps, Four Grand Mere is the way to go. Does anybody know any distributor in the NYC area?

Turning back to the ALFAs, I was surprised that there was so little information on this forum since the company seemed to have established a sizable mass-producing operation, now going nation-wide with Costco. My feeling, (as such it is not a factual statement) is that they came out with a nice-looking product, good Italian design, suffering however the  structural defects for pre-assembled ovens identified by scott123.

A final note on the location of ALFA. On matter of Neapolitan-style pizza, I agree that being Made in Italy, even close to Naples, is not an insurance against lack of quality, China or not China. I lived for almost three decades 20 minutes away from Naples before moving on this side of the pond a few years ago. The difference of style, quality and flavor of the final product varies widely, and I presume that it has also to do with the oven used. True Neapolitan pizza is difficult to find outside of Naples, and you'll hear most Neapolitans (including myself) debating endlessly about which one is the standard even in Naples. Personally, I have gone through periods, starting from Michele ai Tribunali to Di Matteo. On a recent trip, I got great pies at il Presidente.

The province (call it the suburbs of Naples) is a whole underworld of different neapolitan-style variants and offshoots. A lot like the dialect changes a little bit from town to town, so does the pizza-style, except that the geographical boundaries are much less defined.

Anything outside of Campania (and basso Lazio to an extent), is often not worth bearing the pizza name not because I want to sound like a purist, but because I'd rather eat a good pizza in New York than an half baked, unsalty, pita like pie in many central-northern italian pizzerias. I suspect that it is lack of pizza-making skills as much as it is lack of good ovens.

Again, more suggestions accepted. It is going to take a while before I make my mind up but I will take a look at the Four Grand Mere. Woodfiredovenpizzero, how do you like the piccolo? -  looks tall but kind of small.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Woodfiredovenpizzero on July 05, 2012, 04:05:41 PM
italdream:

The piccolo has a 24 inches diameter heart and  l4 inches wide door. I've done pies in two minutes and cook bread and chicken with residual heat. Purchased on April last year and still performs well. Give Giuseppe a call. Their customer service is superb.

Edgar
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: scott123 on July 06, 2012, 02:10:56 AM
Edgar, no offense, but if someone's going to spend a couple thousand dollars on a wood fired oven, it would be a tragedy if they didn't get an oven that wasn't optimized for Neapolitan pizza.

With enough tweaking, you probably can get fast Neapolitan bake times out of these ovens, but it takes a considerable amount of time and expertise to do so. Lower dome/smaller door ovens are specifically made for Neapolitan pizza. This is not.

Just because one can, a la Tin Cup, play a round of golf with a baseball bat, it doesn't necessarily mean that golf clubs aren't the better tool for the job.

Italdream, you sound, to me, like a Neapolitan pizza obsessive.  If that is the case, you want an oven that will give you Craig quality results with relative ease.  The piccolo (or the Andiamo) is not that oven.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 06, 2012, 09:10:17 AM
Thanks for the advice Scott. Not sure if i view myself as obsessive, perhaps just very passionate for a type of food that i grew familiar with.  :D


And you're right I'm mostly going to try neapolitan style, so I'd prefer an oven that facilitates the task. Do you think that the FGM kits can be assembled DIY or would I need a contractor?

Bread stone ovens has a complete neapolitan solution, including a metal stand that goes for about 2K. i wish they had something similar but a bit bigger.

 http://www.breadstoneovens.com/collections/frontpage/products/outdoor-700-kit

What do you think of that?

Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 06, 2012, 10:29:20 AM
Also, for decent Neapolitan-friendly WFO, is a 9" dome too much, should I try to get something lower than that?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Michael130207 on July 06, 2012, 11:55:04 AM
That oven from Bread Stone Ovens looks very tempting especially at $2k. I was tempted by it and had a couple concerns. I am not sure if it is just the photo but is looks like you can see sunlight between the dome and floor and that gap looks apparent in the front too. Maybe Antoine could post some more pictures of the fit between the dome and floor. Also it is fairly light.  That makes for quick heat up but the reduced thermal mass may make it hard to keep the temperature consistent although insulation seems reasonable but still on the low side.

I would love to see a standard test on all of these turnkey ovens in which they graph temperature, say 2 inches up from the center of the floor, and plot versus time after it is brought up to 900F temp and all coals have been removed. It would be a great representation of thermal mass and insulation. 
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Woodfiredovenpizzero on July 06, 2012, 12:31:02 PM
Edgar, no offense, but if someone's going to spend a couple thousand dollars on a wood fired oven, it would be a tragedy if they didn't get an oven that wasn't optimized for Neapolitan pizza.

With enough tweaking, you probably can get fast Neapolitan bake times out of these ovens, but it takes a considerable amount of time and expertise to do so. Lower dome/smaller door ovens are specifically made for Neapolitan pizza. This is not.

Just because one can, a la Tin Cup, play a round of golf with a baseball bat, it doesn't necessarily mean that golf clubs aren't the better tool for the job.

Italdream, you sound, to me, like a Neapolitan pizza obsessive.  If that is the case, you want an oven that will give you Craig quality results with relative ease.  The piccolo (or the Andiamo) is not that oven.

Thanks for the clarification Scott, nd by no means No offense taken. Someday I will want to "upgrade" to n NP oven.

Edgar
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 06, 2012, 12:58:15 PM
Thank you guys. Good points. It looks like it is a kit (Four Grand Mere) so there may be something used during installation which reduces the gap. Scott, what do you think of that? Worth exploring? Too Small? DIY installation too much of a stretch? I am thinking- I am somewhat handy but would need idiot-proof step-by-step instructions.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: breadstoneovens on July 06, 2012, 04:25:24 PM
Good afternoon,

Ok I am a little late on my reply, sorry about that. I am actually in Europe visiting Four Grand Mere and working with their artisans on a new oven concept.

Regarding Alpha oven, they had contacting me to distribute their products. After looking into it, I saw it was pretty poor quality and decided to stay away from that type of trouble. As mentioned earlier, they use metal to make the dome, so it heats-up quickly, but not thermal mass at all. Also their is issues with getting the floor hot enough to cook the bottom of the pizza and the dome not too hot so you don't burn the top of the pizza. Just not a good oven to bake bread or anything but pizza. Warranty is very limited and complicated.

For the Neapolitan Oven Complete Solution, the photo is a stock photo that is not truthful to the quality of the oven, I will have to replace it as soon as I get back. Their is no gap between the floor of the oven and the dome nor between the arch and the floor. If there was to be any type of gap, we provide a refractory clay with the oven to be placed between the floor and the dome of the oven, so everything is perfectly air tight.
Bellow are a few pictures that show the oven floor and dome, with a dry fit and it fits perfectly. These are not the best pictures, but as I said I am away and it is all I have on my computer right now.

The installation of the Neapolitan oven is very simple, pretty-much idiot proof, I have very detail instruction with great pictures and I can be called for more details if anything comes-up.
Italdream, for the installation I will send you a personal email as I have a few people I work with who could take care of that.

Finely regarding the temperature graph, I will post a chart when I return.

Antoine
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 06, 2012, 06:25:01 PM
I wonder how difficult it would be to make a mold of that baby, hmmm....
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: breadstoneovens on July 07, 2012, 12:55:14 AM
I wonder how difficult it would be to make a mold of that baby, hmmm....
Probably not that hard. It is how Chicago Brick Oven started, they ordered a few oven from FGM and stole their design. If you look on their website, many pictures are from FGM ovens they originally ordered.
However CBO can't get the refractory material right and have major issues with their oven cracking.

Antoine
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 07, 2012, 08:50:45 AM
That u- shaped piece attached to the front of the oven seems very clever to me...it cleans up the vent design (makes it simple?) while also giving a nice smooth look to the unit. Is this a common approach to vent design? Thank you!
Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: breadstoneovens on July 07, 2012, 09:04:17 AM
That u- shaped piece attached to the front of the oven seems very clever to me...it cleans up the vent design (makes it simple?) while also giving a nice smooth look to the unit. Is this a common approach to vent design? Thank you!
Bob
For FGM, yes, all of the oven have the same U-shape piece. On this one model it is just refractory concrete. For the rest of their ovens this piece is made of refractory bricks with refractory concrete. Picture bellow.


Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 07, 2012, 09:51:25 AM
Thanks David. Have these ovens been sucessfully used on a mobile trailer(think I saw somebody in Canada)? If so , what size would you recommend to comfortably do 2 or 3 , aprox. three minute pies at a time. Any gas assisted models? Thanks!

Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: breadstoneovens on July 07, 2012, 02:30:57 PM
Thanks David. Have these ovens been sucessfully used on a mobile trailer(think I saw somebody in Canada)? If so , what size would you recommend to comfortably do 2 or 3 , aprox. three minute pies at a time. Any gas assisted models? Thanks!

Bob
Hi Bob,

Yes, this oven has been successfully put on a trailer. More often in Europe where portable pizza trailer and truck are everywhere.
The best size to make 3 pizza a time is the 950 or the 1030. The 1030 was specially designed to be mounted on a trailer as it lighter and has a metal brace to bolt it onto the trailer and maintain it into place.
I will contact you directly for more details.

Antoine
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: RobynB on July 07, 2012, 03:53:13 PM
There is a dealer in Colorado, Rocky Mountain Ovens, that was selling trailer-mounted ovens and I know he deals in FGMs too.  His name is Seb.  I spoke with him when researching FGMs before we bought ours. 
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 07, 2012, 05:00:30 PM
Thank you Robyn,
Boy, people sure do come up with some really neat trailering ideas....going to be hard to make a decision.  :-\

I followed along on your install, Robyn, and that was fun....I know you are enjoying your oven. Please let me know if it ever cracks in half on ya!  >:D   Ha!..jus kidd'in girl.... :)

Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: scott123 on July 08, 2012, 04:07:46 AM
Italdream, it looks like my excitement over the FGMs low dome got the best of me, and I've been completely overlooking a major FGM fault.

I don't know how I missed this, but the door is too big.  It looks like FGM uses the same size door on all their models, so, on the 950 (Robyn's), the door size isn't glaringly noticeable, but, as you start looking at some of their smaller ovens, the door size is ridiculous.

Now, this may not be the end of the world and may not prevent me from eventually endorsing this oven, but, for now, especially with your desire for something simple, I'm not recommending it to you.

The only way I can endorse this oven is if

1. FGM offers a door insert that shrinks the size considerably
2. The person purchasing the oven is willing to build an insert themselves.

Because FGM uses the same size door and throat on all their models, I'm not sure an insert will even be the answer for the smaller units. I'm going to have to think about it.  Jeff (Shuboyje), from the specs on the Neapolitan inspired oven that he built, seems to feel that a tight throat is important, but I'm not 100% certain how much it brings to the table.  It's kind of like the looped back chimney that traces back on top of the dome in Neapolitan ovens- if one of the pre-cast folks could incorporate that as well, I'd be ecstatic, but I don't think it precludes an oven's ability to do top quality Neapolitan pies.

In a perfect world, the FGM would have the 9" ceiling, the looped back chimney, a small throat and a small door. But, alas, this is not a perfect world :)  Out of all these features, though, I think the dome height is the most important and the door a close second.  The chimney is probably a bit of a pipe dream.  And the throat, it may not be that critical, but I still have to think about it- especially in relation to the smaller FGM kit.

Antoine, are you reading this?  :)  Could you pass along these concerns to the powers that be?  An oven with a 9.5" dome really shouldn't have an 8.5"  door. Perhaps for bread, but not for pizza.  How about taking a page out of the Stefano Ferrara playbook and fabricating some kind of insert for the door?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 08, 2012, 06:57:23 AM
Hi Scott, thank you. This is very instructive.

Turning to the original question about "Other Lower Budget WFOs", if you were me what oven (brand, model etc.) would you get with a $3,500 or less investment, to do Neapolitan pies? I think that with this budget, I will have to make concessions one way or the other. Still not sure what to do.

I know that one or two features are more important than others, just unclear which oven on the market is the best compromise. For example the Forno Bravo Casa2G90 has good size for me (36") and decent price but dome is higher and door larger. As you said, FGM ovens also have large doors, although they seem much better products than some of the others, and in fact, they look more expensive, especially after the installation cost is again factored in, unless I go with the smaller 800C (31"1/2). Alternatively, I could decide for some pre-assembled option like the Forno Classico Piccolo ($2,900), Forno Bravo Primavera 70 ($2,550), Andiamo70 ($2,950.00) or the Roundboy ($2,245.00 - looks like a dog house), but all these ovens seem to fall short at Neapolitan-style features, each one in its own different way. Again, not looking for perfection, just for the best compromise.

I mean, all this is confusing.

Clearly, I could just put the whole think on hold, waiting for a higher budget, but I am just so dying to get one  ;)
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: pizzaneer on July 08, 2012, 07:53:59 AM
I don't understand your confusion.  You've been coached until you know the correct parameters for a NP WFO oven.  Now find those parameters in a ready-built oven within your budget.  If you can't find anything in that price range, then you have two choices:  increase your budget or build your own.   Don't expect anyone to do your shopping or decision-making for you.

Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 08, 2012, 08:19:36 AM
Pizzaneer, thank you for your reply. I certainly don't expect you to do my shopping or decision-making. I just wanted to make sure that I got all the proper options, none missing, re: ovens in my budget. Also, regrouping the various possibilities in my previous post would (hopefully) serve as well other people in my same budget category.

Separately, your first reply on this topic comes out along the lines of "do not waste my time". To be honest, If I am wasting your time, you are just as much wasting mine. Thank you again to all the other people who kindly helped me (and the discussion) thus far.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: scott123 on July 08, 2012, 09:23:35 AM
Italdream, I recently acquired a few reservations about the FGM, but, imo, they pale in comparison to my reservations regarding the Piccolo, Primavera and the Andiamo.  Out of the three, I think the Andiamo has a slight edge, but they all have huge ceilings, huge doors and cramped dimensions.  At least with the FGM, even the smallest kit, you're not getting the huge ceiling, and if you go with the 800, it won't be that cramped either.

One important thing to keep in mind- there's not a member on this forum who went with a smaller oven who was later content with their decision.

If you absolutely have to pull the trigger on an oven now, I'd go with the 800C, otherwise, I'd wait until you can spend a little more.

One other thing to keep in mind is that brick ovens tend to be a little more durable than refractory.  I don't personally know anyone with a refractory oven that's failed, but, in theory, brick is a bit more durable. The brick version of the 800 tacks on another 500 bucks- that's a tough call. $2.5K for the refractory version seems pretty reasonable.

Before you do anything, I'd touch base with Robyn and see how much she paid for installation.  It was an indoor install, which I'm sure drove the price up a bit, but it might be helpful to get an idea.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 08, 2012, 09:35:53 AM
Hey Scott, you are the man! Thank you for that. I kind of was reaching the same conclusion. FGMs just look better products (at least to me, and based on my limited understanding). It seems that for basic neapolitan, it may be now for a 800C or wait (arghh... waiting) for a 950 (BTW the bricked version looks fantastic). at least I won't be falling for the ALFA thingy any time soon.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 08, 2012, 01:36:26 PM
Scott,

Nice call on adding an insert...wonder how long it would/will take now for FGM to be adding this new accessory to their catalog. Any thoughts on that Scott...would it be easier for them to just incorporate that design into a whole new build or is that crazy mans talk? Also,if a guy wanted to add this insert you talked about am I correct in assuming that one would want to fashion it in a way that when it's butted up to the oven just inside the U piece you would want to bypass/minimize some of that vent channel...will this give you more heat? And, depending on the depth of the insert you can get the more advantageous throat you mentioned? Sorta two birds with one insert.. ;)  Speaking of benefits...why the deeper throat anyway? (keep it clean now Scott! :-D)

Thanks,
Bob

edit: ok, I jus now found out what the throat is, makes sense now. :-[


Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 08, 2012, 01:57:56 PM
For example the Forno Bravo Casa2G90 has good size for me (36") and decent price but dome is higher and door larger.



Steve,"EV" jus put one of these in an old converted Airstream trailer. Really neat an I think that oven is capable,check it out....http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19725.msg193381.html#msg193381
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 08, 2012, 02:13:12 PM
The retro looking WFO RV is classic.

Steve,"EV" jus put one of these in an old converted Airstream trailer. Really neat an I think that oven is capable,check it out....http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,19725.msg193381.html#msg193381
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: RobynB on July 08, 2012, 05:44:28 PM
If you look at FGM's website under oven accessories:  http://www.fourgrandmere.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21_24&osCsid=tcv94h690n7at9uka5706nk4n1 (http://www.fourgrandmere.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21_24&osCsid=tcv94h690n7at9uka5706nk4n1) (there are two pages) you can see that FGM already offers some door options.  It seems like it wouldn't be much work for them to re-engineer a door with the specs you want, or at least close.  Scott, have you looked at that section? 

I, personally, wouldn't want a smaller opening.  With the 950, as Scott said, it's less of an issue, and I'm very comfortable with what I have, wouldn't want it any smaller.  By contrast, I've cooked in a Cirigliano Forni oven with a bigger opening, and it definitely feels like it uses more wood and puts out a lot more heat into the room.  But again, these are bigger ovens so not relevant to this discussion.

Bob, thanks for the nice comment!
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: shuboyje on July 08, 2012, 10:37:44 PM
The doors FGM sells are all outer doors.  The size of the inner door is of larger concern because of it's function as a damper for the ovens combustion.  A door height of 63% of the dome height is considered "ideal" for a masonry black oven.  I will be the first person to question that number.  For instance the door shape should change that number drastically, yet it is never considered.  That said, an 8.5" door on a 9.5" oven is 90%.  The raised option FGM offer further increases this number to 92%.

Another french option, Le Panyol, sold in the US by Maine Wood Heat is similar to FGM in the facts that it's ovens have a low dome and all use the same size door.  In the case of Le Panyol most of their residential ovens seem to have a near perfect IMHO 12 1/4" dome height with a door height of 8 5/8".  That works out to 70%, much closer to the "ideal".  Down side is these ovens are extremely expensive.  Over $4000 for the core kit alone for a 40" oven.  By the time you insulate and enclose it you could buy a Neapolitan oven.

After dome height door size is the next most important "number" in pizza oven design.  From a thermal efficiency standpoint the door is a pizza ovens biggest achilles heel.  It's a gapping un-insulated hole that let's heat poor out of the oven.  The smallest door possible that allows what you want to cook in and the combustion gases to come and go freely is the best one.   
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 09, 2012, 12:00:56 AM
Hey Jeff,

You built a beautiful oven and your "so it begins' thread is great in so many ways. Thank you for that.
Would you mind explaining why you prefer a 12 1/4 in. dome height(or 12 3/4 as in yours) rather than the 20% lower variety....thanks!

Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: breadstoneovens on July 09, 2012, 09:13:10 AM
Antoine, are you reading this?  :)  Could you pass along these concerns to the powers that be?  An oven with a 9.5" dome really shouldn't have an 8.5"  door. Perhaps for bread, but not for pizza.  How about taking a page out of the Stefano Ferrara playbook and fabricating some kind of insert for the door?

Yes, I am reading this and will try to reply to everyone at once and will try to not come across too defensive.
I have to say that I have had requests for a taller door ( which generated the raised option ) or wider door ( special order ) but never for a smaller door. You need to keep in mind that you need to be able to put wood and pizza ( or other food ) through the door, so smaller may make it more challenging. Also if you are tall and want to be able to look at you pizza without breaking your back, lower door means more bending to see inside, even if your oven it set high-up on a stand. Anyhow, I will speak with FGM about your request and see what we can come up with.

For the throat, there are 3 sizes; 6", 7" and 8". I use 6" for small ovens and 8" for bigger ovens. 7" is not used much as it is more expensive to find the right chimney pipe that size. Too small of chimney pipe with make your oven smoke, but bigger only helps better venting.

The special shape of the dome helps with greater retention of the heat, but of course most of it goes through the door and the exhaust.

The oven and their doors are made for indoor and outdoor installation.

Finely, as much as the 63% dome/door ratio is highly regarded in North America, it is seen as irrelevant in Europe and they have been using such oven since before the Roman Empire.

Now everyone has opinions about what is best and at the end each person need to find the right oven for them.

Such comments are very interesting, so please keep providing your feedback so FGM can keep improving.

Antoine
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: scott123 on July 10, 2012, 12:31:39 PM
The doors FGM sells are all outer doors.  The size of the inner door is of larger concern because of it's function as a damper for the ovens combustion.  A door height of 63% of the dome height is considered "ideal" for a masonry black oven.  I will be the first person to question that number.  For instance the door shape should change that number drastically, yet it is never considered.  That said, an 8.5" door on a 9.5" oven is 90%.  The raised option FGM offer further increases this number to 92%.

Another french option, Le Panyol, sold in the US by Maine Wood Heat is similar to FGM in the facts that it's ovens have a low dome and all use the same size door.  In the case of Le Panyol most of their residential ovens seem to have a near perfect IMHO 12 1/4" dome height with a door height of 8 5/8".  That works out to 70%, much closer to the "ideal".  Down side is these ovens are extremely expensive.  Over $4000 for the core kit alone for a 40" oven.  By the time you insulate and enclose it you could buy a Neapolitan oven.

After dome height door size is the next most important "number" in pizza oven design.  From a thermal efficiency standpoint the door is a pizza ovens biggest achilles heel.  It's a gapping un-insulated hole that let's heat poor out of the oven.  The smallest door possible that allows what you want to cook in and the combustion gases to come and go freely is the best one.   

Thanks, Jeff, I was hoping you'd chime in because of your background in these matters.

I'm not sure we're on exactly the same page, but I think it's very similar. When I talk about 'throat' I think it's along the same lines as your 'inner door,'  although my 'throat' encompasses the whole entryway. If, for instance, FGM went with a 63% inner door and 63% outer door, but left the rest of the throat the way it is, that would miss the mark as well, imo. The chimney area should be elevated, but I don't think it should be 90% (or higher) either.  Ideally, the entire entryway would be less than 70%- and a bit deeper.

So, if I'm hearing you correctly, a reduction in the inner door height is more critical to the FGM design than the outer door.  Is that correct?  Would an outer door insert, while not being as combustion friendly as an inner door reduction, at least prevent some heat from 'pouring out of the oven?'  Would an outdoor insert be a bit more feasible, since it would involve modifying the inserts they have now?

I'm picturing a cast iron door with a second door within it- two sets of hinges.  When the larger door is opened, you have the full width (for fire tending and larger pizzas) and the smaller door gives you Neapolitan access. It would be nice if the door could be insulated, but that may not be practical.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: scott123 on July 10, 2012, 12:56:36 PM
Yes, I am reading this and will try to reply to everyone at once and will try to not come across too defensive.
I have to say that I have had requests for a taller door ( which generated the raised option ) or wider door ( special order ) but never for a smaller door. You need to keep in mind that you need to be able to put wood and pizza ( or other food ) through the door, so smaller may make it more challenging. Also if you are tall and want to be able to look at you pizza without breaking your back, lower door means more bending to see inside, even if your oven it set high-up on a stand. Anyhow, I will speak with FGM about your request and see what we can come up with.

For the throat, there are 3 sizes; 6", 7" and 8". I use 6" for small ovens and 8" for bigger ovens. 7" is not used much as it is more expensive to find the right chimney pipe that size. Too small of chimney pipe with make your oven smoke, but bigger only helps better venting.

The special shape of the dome helps with greater retention of the heat, but of course most of it goes through the door and the exhaust.

The oven and their doors are made for indoor and outdoor installation.

Finely, as much as the 63% dome/door ratio is highly regarded in North America, it is seen as irrelevant in Europe and they have been using such oven since before the Roman Empire.

Now everyone has opinions about what is best and at the end each person need to find the right oven for them.

Such comments are very interesting, so please keep providing your feedback so FGM can keep improving.

Antoine

Antoine, thank you for your reply.

I think we might be using the term 'throat' differently.  I might be wrong about this, but, for me, 'throat' is synonymous with 'entryway'- any non-dome area.

It's very important to keep in mind that we're pizza makers here, not bread makers and, for many of us, the holy grail is Neapolitan oven thermodynamics in a sub $4K oven.  When you say 'Europe' I'm guessing you really mean France, right?  ;D France may have a long history baking bread in high door ovens, but Naples has a very rich, not quite so long history of using low door ovens for Neapolitan pizza. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but FGM has taken a very big step in giving us Neapolitan thermodynamics in a 9" dome.  This 9" dome a very very very big deal and it's the sole reason why FGM is currently the toast of the forum.

Just because FGM is giving us a 9" dome, though, doesn't mean that we're not yearning for more.  Neapolitan pizza is huge right now, and, from what I can tell, only getting bigger.  The market for home ovens that are optimized for Neapolitan thermodynamics is only going to grow.  It won't be long before someone comes along and not only gives us the dome height we want, but the inner door height as well as the chimney loop.  Intentionally or not, FGM is the first on the scene.  If they can listen to John Q. Neapolitan Pizzamaker and bend a little bit with special inserts, and, ideally, tweaked designs, they could make a load of money from this.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: breadstoneovens on July 10, 2012, 03:53:00 PM
Antoine, thank you for your reply.

I think we might be using the term 'throat' differently.  I might be wrong about this, but, for me, 'throat' is synonymous with 'entryway'- any non-dome area.

It's very important to keep in mind that we're pizza makers here, not bread makers and, for many of us, the holy grail is Neapolitan oven thermodynamics in a sub $4K oven.  When you say 'Europe' I'm guessing you really mean France, right?  ;D France may have a long history baking bread in high door ovens, but Naples has a very rich, not quite so long history of using low door ovens for Neapolitan pizza. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but FGM has taken a very big step in giving us Neapolitan thermodynamics in a 9" dome.  This 9" dome a very very very big deal and it's the sole reason why FGM is currently the toast of the forum.

Just because FGM is giving us a 9" dome, though, doesn't mean that we're not yearning for more.  Neapolitan pizza is huge right now, and, from what I can tell, only getting bigger.  The market for home ovens that are optimized for Neapolitan thermodynamics is only going to grow.  It won't be long before someone comes along and not only gives us the dome height we want, but the inner door height as well as the chimney loop.  Intentionally or not, FGM is the first on the scene.  If they can listen to John Q. Neapolitan Pizzamaker and bend a little bit with special inserts, and, ideally, tweaked designs, they could make a load of money from this.
Sorry, I thought you meant flue connector by "throat", and I get your point for the 63% opening. There is an opportunity on the US market for the WFO to be with a lower opening and I will be addressing that with FGM next week as I will be there.
I'll let you what comes out of it.

Antoine
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Tommy T on July 10, 2012, 05:31:54 PM
I am getting ready to build another oven for myself.  A few things posted in this thread have got me thinking I may want to change my plans.  I built my oven from Pompeii oven plans several years back.  I can get some good Neoish pizzas (60-90sec) out it when its totally cranked up.  But doesn't take long until I'm in the 2-3 min cook time.  Basically, dome is too high (22"), door is too wide (20"x12"), chimney throat too big (10"x7").  When I built my oven I didn't realize how important all of these things played into making great pizza.  Then again I had never had Neapolitan Pizza before either and didn't understand what it took to cook it properly.  I can get real close to where i want my bakes to be but after the fire dies a bit so does the oven.  After the third or forth pizza i feel i need to apologize.

Can a 9" dome height really work?  My idea was more in the 12-14" range.  You guys have been batting around door sizes.  What actual door size do you feel would work with a 9" dome?   

I have also considered a squirrel tail exhaust throat similar to along the lines of what Berry in Cape Town had done.  In doing an exhaust like this what are the advantages?  I could see that the heated gasses going through the exhaust would actually help in  charging the dome.

Any additional thoughts or ideas would be great!
Thanks,Tom
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: shuboyje on July 10, 2012, 05:47:33 PM
Sorry, I thought you meant flue connector by "throat", and I get your point for the 63% opening. There is an opportunity on the US market for the WFO to be with a lower opening and I will be addressing that with FGM next week as I will be there.
I'll let you what comes out of it.

Antoine

In my humble opinion the oven FGM needs to make, and an oven that could be huge is the US market would have a dome height in the 12" range and a door height in the 8" range.  Round in shape and about 40" in diameter. I would also put an 18" wide door on it so those who want to can launch an 18" New york style pie into that bad boy on rare occasions.   A brick lined version of this oven would take what is already a top notch product to the next level in my book.

I for one really love your presence here.  You seem to have a direct line to FGM, and with your input they could produce the next generation of kit oven that is truly on par with a Neapolitan oven for home use.  From what I've seen they are already very close.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: shuboyje on July 10, 2012, 08:49:02 PM
Hey Jeff,

You built a beautiful oven and your "so it begins' thread is great in so many ways. Thank you for that.
Would you mind explaining why you prefer a 12 1/4 in. dome height(or 12 3/4 as in yours) rather than the 20% lower variety....thanks!

Bob

Thanks Bob.

A 12 3/4" dome height is plenty low enough to produce a 40 second pizza if you desire while still allowing a door height of 8".  I can tell you from experience building a fire inside a 42" oven through a 8 inch door is a challenge.  Building one through a door that is less then 6 inches would be near impossible.  That is what would be required to have the thermal characteristics I am after with a 9" dome height.  I'm not saying that the dimensions of the FGM make it unsuitable, but if you are going to the trouble of custom building you might as well build the oven within ratio.

I should note that my oven dimensions were not based on the door height, they were instead based on my interpretation of the dimensions used to build classic neapolitan ovens.  My dome height was derived by laying out a three centered arch with a 42" base.  The 8" door height was based off the standard door height used on Neapolitan ovens.  It just so turns out that those two numbers work out perfectly with the 63% ratio.  I do not think this is a coincidence.  I did deviate from the classic neapolitan hemispherical door shape slightly to make an 18" wide door so I could launch 18" pizzas.

Hope this helps a bit
   
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: shuboyje on July 10, 2012, 09:17:57 PM
Thanks, Jeff, I was hoping you'd chime in because of your background in these matters.

I'm not sure we're on exactly the same page, but I think it's very similar. When I talk about 'throat' I think it's along the same lines as your 'inner door,'  although my 'throat' encompasses the whole entryway. If, for instance, FGM went with a 63% inner door and 63% outer door, but left the rest of the throat the way it is, that would miss the mark as well, imo. The chimney area should be elevated, but I don't think it should be 90% (or higher) either.  Ideally, the entire entryway would be less than 70%- and a bit deeper.

So, if I'm hearing you correctly, a reduction in the inner door height is more critical to the FGM design than the outer door.  Is that correct?  Would an outer door insert, while not being as combustion friendly as an inner door reduction, at least prevent some heat from 'pouring out of the oven?'  Would an outdoor insert be a bit more feasible, since it would involve modifying the inserts they have now?

I'm picturing a cast iron door with a second door within it- two sets of hinges.  When the larger door is opened, you have the full width (for fire tending and larger pizzas) and the smaller door gives you Neapolitan access. It would be nice if the door could be insulated, but that may not be practical.

Finally the last of my many replies, lol.  I've added an image to help explain my terms.  The image should explain why the outer door dimension has little bearing on the ovens function.  It is only the inner door that controls the flow of air in an out of the oven, and it's height that creates a chamber of super heated air in the top of the oven above the door.  This space above the door helps keep the hot air inside the oven a bit longer allowing it to give off more of it's heat before it finally drops low enough to flow out the door and then up the stack.  That should explain why the door insert would need to go on the inner door to reduce it's height and in turn increase the space above the door for better thermal efficiency. 

Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 10, 2012, 10:15:14 PM
Finally the last of my many replies, lol.  I've added an image to help explain my terms.  The image should explain why the outer door dimension has little bearing on the ovens function.  It is only the inner door that controls the flow of air in an out of the oven, and it's height that creates a chamber of super heated air in the top of the oven above the door.  This space above the door helps keep the hot air inside the oven a bit longer allowing it to give off more of it's heat before it finally drops low enough to flow out the door and then up the stack.  That should explain why the door insert would need to go on the inner door to reduce it's height and in turn increase the space above the door for better thermal efficiency. 


Nice call on adding an insert...wonder how long it would/will take now for FGM to be adding this new accessory to their catalog. Any thoughts on that Scott...would it be easier for them to just incorporate that design into a whole new build or is that crazy mans talk? Also,if a guy wanted to add this insert you talked about am I correct in assuming that one would want to fashion it in a way that when it's butted up to the oven just inside the U piece you would want to bypass/minimize some of that vent channel...will this give you more heat? And, depending on the depth of the insert you can get the more advantageous throat you mentioned? Sorta two birds with one insert..



shuboyje,

Does it look like I am understanding this correctly?  Thanks.

Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 11, 2012, 04:25:28 PM
I wanted to give an update about my quest for a lower budget "neapolitan-style" oven. Having ruled out stand-alone pre-assembled WFOs, I turned my attention to oven kits. Based on my understanding and people's opinion on this forum, FGM seems the closest to what I'd like to get.

However, it turns out that I would likely need a building permit to install a kit in an outdoor setting, even if it is set up on a metal stand. In fact, the cement slab would be seen as construction, regardless if the stand is metal or cement. This changes things from a budget stand-point and makes any DYI option harder (plans, drawing, BP application etc.). In other words, the oven kit becomes a little, albeit very important tile, in a more complicated puzzle.

I have a call out to the building inspector in my town to confirm my preliminary findings about need for a permit. But if this turns out to be true, sub-$4K ovens become unattainable, at least in areas like mine where a building permit is required. The DIY route becomes much harder.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Michael130207 on July 11, 2012, 04:45:27 PM
Depending on where you live the requirement for a building permit will certainly change. Your building inspector will be able to give you details, however some are more helpful than others. Make sure to ask what it is about your design that triggers the need for a permit. In many areas if the total height is below a certain height (often 6 feet) or a certain square footage (64 square feet where I live). If you are going the metal stand route and want to avoid a concrete slab, you could put it on a patio with a base of compacted crushed stone covered in pavers.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 11, 2012, 05:23:56 PM
Not trying to be a wise guy but why in the world would you want to have to deal with a building inspector just to put a 'lil 'ol oven in your back yard?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 11, 2012, 06:54:30 PM
Not a problem. But do you mean i should just go ahead and do it without a permit  8), or forget about the whole thing until i am ready to fork out at least $7K to 10K?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: JConk007 on July 11, 2012, 11:22:54 PM
 spend $5K  and get a Permit (i did ) if your house burns down (very extreme case be hey you never know ) do you  think your insurance might frown upon your uninspected oven.?
I like the finish of the FGM but I believe its a finish Scott, not actual brick full size bindividual brick ? as with the forno picola ? Those doors are too big also !! same with Pavesi its a " brick finish"  I  really like the 950 B and highly recommend  it . I think if FGM can get that on some type of a stand ready to cook (with a slighlty smaller door)  for under 5K they have a real hit !
John
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: BrickStoneOven on July 11, 2012, 11:22:59 PM
Not a problem. But do you mean i should just go ahead and do it without a permit  8), or forget about the whole thing until i am ready to fork out at least $7K to 10K?

If you need a permit get it, because if you spend the money and you have to pay a fine or take it down after you spent money is going to suck. FWIW I didn't have to get one and I'm in MA. The only thing I did was call DigSafe.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 12, 2012, 09:51:00 AM
Not a problem. But do you mean i should just go ahead and do it without a permit  8),
That is exactly what I mean. And stop talking to that inspector...you didn't give him your address yet I hope.

How is a 'lil WFO sitting quietly behind your house ever going to draw the type of attention that would cause someone from the city to come to you and say it's got to go? If your relationship with your neighbors is that bad then you prolly aren't doing this anyway. Permits serve a good purpose and they have their place...jus not here.You're not planning some out of the ordinary, wierd eyesore are you?

Insurance company? Burn barrels, fire rings, outdoor fireplaces, tiki torches, a nice roaring bbq grill.....waaay more dangerous,an how many of those come U.L. approved. 'Cmon, a door and a chimmny
cap is your "insurance".

A building permit around here is not expensive (for the things I've done anyway).Your kit should have plans and a drawing...not sure what the big deal is? But I still wouldn't mess with "the Man" on this 'lil DIY...the slab "maybe".


Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 12, 2012, 04:24:33 PM
Hey Bob. Your advice is tempting and well taken  ;D but I might pass. The neighbors are not a problem and they know better not to mess with the Italian (except they are Italians as well).

Anyway, this is all new for me. I thought: OK I am going to finally get a WFO, as my passion outpaced past cooking experiences including my LBE, Pizza Bella and tampered residential oven. Then all of a sudden, I get hit with paperwork and stuff, worth of building a swimming pool.

I have never personally applied for a permit but I guess it is doable. One final (rhetorical) question: what happens if I obtain a permit but then my DIY artifact does not pass inspection because skilled as I am, my creation is non compliant? Time will tell.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on July 12, 2012, 06:42:18 PM
. One final (rhetorical) question: what happens if I obtain a permit but then my DIY artifact does not pass inspection because skilled as I am, my creation is non compliant? Time will tell.
"The Man" is going to tell/show you what you need when you go to pull the permit...might need to schedule an appoint. with him. Also , depending on your build/install, there may be "stages" of inspections(ie.inspect grade, reinforcement, and forms on a patio install before the pour)...this is your opportunity to ask any questions you may have concerning the next phase.
  btw, my advice is just that and I prolly wouldn't follow it either ...'cept I got no choice!  ;)     :-D    You gotta do it the way you'll feel comfortable.....all inspectors are not the big bad wolf and ,belive me, that route really is not all that difficult and it jus might help keep you from screw'in sum'in up.
 Any other questions just ask away...this should NOT be a deal breaker!

Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: chef-marty on July 30, 2012, 09:46:36 PM
I have seen many videos of the Alfa pre-fab ovens and I have seen properly charred crusts and many white under fired crusts. I believe that the skill of the pizza maker is far more important than the oven. I took a 2000 Euro gamble and bought a "Forno 4 Pizze." I know that I will use it more often since it takes only a few minutes to heat and we'll see how it makes pizza. I have seen videos of a 90 second pie that looked just great! I know about the mass problem but for me, a little coals left inside along with the bread will not disturb me.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Bigfoot21075 on July 31, 2012, 08:30:25 AM
Italdream,

If all you are looking for is a good WFO that will get high heat to make a great Neo pizza and be able to roast or cook for a few hours on residual heat, give Roundboy a look for less than $2,000 delivered - No building permit required, assembles in a half day with one helper.

http://www.roundboyovens.com/

Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 31, 2012, 10:11:18 AM
Hi Bigfoot, it appears that the dome height is 14". I think that many people here would tell me that it might be too high for Neapolitan style. Anybody here having experience with Neapolitan pies in the roundboy? Once I go with a WFO I'd like to get as close as possible to Neapolitan style as opposed to my LBE elite-NY outcome.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on July 31, 2012, 10:18:09 AM
Sorry. Actually I see that you have one. A few questions:

Are you also shooting for Neapolitan style? How difficult is it to control temperature and are you satisfied with the actual outcome? Do you think it would fit two pizzas at once or just one?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Bigfoot21075 on August 02, 2012, 07:33:50 AM
Sorry. Actually I see that you have one. A few questions:

Are you also shooting for Neapolitan style? How difficult is it to control temperature and are you satisfied with the actual outcome? Do you think it would fit two pizzas at once or just one?

Neapolitan style is the main reason I went with this oven. That was the only thing on my MUST HAVE list. Everything else was secondary. The cieling gets hot enough to easily cook the top of the pie without having to dome it.

IT took me a few tries to get it down, but now I start off with a big enough fire where the roof turns white (4 pieces of really small kindling, and 5 to 6 medium logs - then I light it and that seems to do it).

You could fit 2 pies, but the would not be side by side, that seems too tight to have enough room to easily maneuver the pies. Instead they would have to be one in front of the other. I just do one at a time, they cook really fast so keeping up with two is too much work.

The most I have done are 15 pies, duering one event. I made 10, there was a lull in the action so I raked the coals back over the floor, when we were ready I made 5 more back to back and feel I could have done several more.

The down side of this oven and any smaller oven is the inability to do several pies at once. At first I thought that might be a deal breaker until I talked to a guy who uses this oven to do events, he sells between 70 and 100 pies per event with no terrible lines.

The other thing is when I see a true work of art oven (Like Robyn B) I really wish I could swing one of those and cook from the comfort of my air conditioned kitchen - but then I would have to tear my whole house down if I followed that logic   :-D

If you are in my area feel free to stop by we can take it on a test drive. I am ALWAYS looking for an excuse to make Pizzas during the week now.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 02, 2012, 08:12:45 AM
Thanks Bigfoot...this is very helpful information you're providing. Are there pics of your NP pies already up here somewhere? Thanks.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Bigfoot21075 on August 02, 2012, 10:07:25 AM
I will get more online when I get home from work. Somewhere I have a nice one of both bottom and top.
Thanks Bigfoot...this is very helpful information you're providing. Are there pics of your NP pies already up here somewhere? Thanks.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on August 02, 2012, 11:06:17 AM
Thanks Bigfoot. This is very helpful. With my various contraptions (Modified Pizza Bella, LBE, and now Kettle Insert+LBE), I found that what is really difficult is getting the top charred, before the bottom gets completely burned. I think that for many of us Neapolitan pizza hobbyists, it is the key to success.

Do you feel that you figured out, once and forever, how to properly set the fire so that you get consistent acceptable outcomes, or is it going to be a continuous struggle to get that top charred, decent leoparding, without the bottom looking like a FDNY arson scene?

In other words, do you recognize any structural imbalance in the roundboy that prevents you from reaching consistent results, or once you figure that out it becomes second nature.

I want to end my personal fight against the burned bottom and finally move on with more fun tweaking (ingredients, dough etc). I know that it'd be cursing, if I pour money in a WFO and still get charred bottoms, and pale tops.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 02, 2012, 12:36:45 PM
italdream,

If you don't mind..could you please put up a pic of your latest kettle/LBE configuration and finished pies? Link? Thanks!

Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on August 02, 2012, 05:00:35 PM
I found this picture on my phone from some time ago. No perfect by any means, actually pretty bad.

Anyway, for my contraption setup, I'll see what I can do this weekend picture-wise. I am thinking of increasing my LBE opening to avoid lifting the lid, and for the Kettle insert (till now, very bad results) I want to try the wood instead of the LBE version.

Ultimately I need to graduate to a decent WFO, without breaking the bank.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 02, 2012, 05:28:23 PM
I found this picture on my phone from some time ago. No perfect by any means, actually pretty bad.

Anyway, for my contraption setup, I'll see what I can do this weekend picture-wise. I am thinking of increasing my LBE opening to avoid lifting the lid, and for the Kettle insert (till now, very bad results) I want to try the wood instead of the LBE version.

Ultimately I need to graduate to a decent WFO, without breaking the bank.
Ok thank you.
You have a lot of upper heat and I'm very interested to know how you achieve this...also, not sure what you mean by "want to try the wood".
How long have you had your contraption italdream?   8)
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: buceriasdon on August 02, 2012, 05:57:18 PM

I am thinking of increasing my LBE opening to avoid lifting the lid.
My concern with that change is the "venturi effect" will be pretty much destroyed. Bake times will increase and most likely less top bake will occur as you will no longer have sufficent superheated air being drawn to the opening. Better idea is to cut the whole front third off the top dome somehow and hinge it so you have easy access to turning or loading with minimum heat loss. I tried the big opening on a LBE and it was a disaster. Been there, done that.
Don
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on August 02, 2012, 06:11:34 PM
Hi Bob. There is nothing scientific about the upper heat, and it drives me crazy because the whole thing is difficult to control. I'll take pictures at some point.

Basically with the regular LBE, I move the stone closer to the front opening, leaving a small space in the back. That area gets very hot (850F vs. front 700F). I equate that area to the side of the pizza that in a WFO would be close to the burning wood.

After 35/45 seconds, I start rotating the pizza with a large metal spatula. At ~1:15, I lift the pizza with the spatula to keep it from burning at the bottom, and I cook it for 30 more seconds to get the top burning. Something that drives me crazy every time.

The red paragraph means: I have not used the kettle insert with wood yet, only with propane. I want to fire it up using wood as intended, instead of propane. I already bought another used, non-modified Weber grill to that effect.

I have been into making pizzas since I moved from the old country to the States, about 10 years ago . Before, would just go to a pizza place and eat the damn thing. My pizza bella dates 2008 and my LBE about June/July 2011. The Kettle insert (Damn it)!! three weeks ago.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 02, 2012, 06:27:39 PM
Alot of propane grills just don't have the btu's for the insert, one needs to check and see what burners they  have, or be prepared to whip out the foil an start blocking off etc.
"There is nothing scientific about the upper heat", meaning you have no deflector or director mods?
Good luck with the wood. I too have a Bella..well, it's a Deni, same dealio....I keep my home oven broiler on when playing with the Deni... ;)
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: pizzaneer on August 04, 2012, 02:41:40 PM
Getting a balanced bake in your LBE or the KPI+LBE still depends on two things:
1. Bottom stone conductivity and temperature vs.
2. Airflow on the top + temperature should be 20% higher than the bottom.

If you have these factors properly balanced at a 20% ratio, you should have no problem whether you are baking NY or NP or some combination.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 04, 2012, 02:52:39 PM
Getting a balanced bake in your LBE or the KPI+LBE still depends on two things:
1. Bottom stone conductivity and temperature vs.
2. Airflow on the top + temperature should be 20% higher than the bottom.

If you have these factors properly balanced at a 20% ratio, you should have no problem whether you are baking NY or NP or some combination.

And enough btu's......there are a lot of grills out there with less than 40,000 btu. There is also a lot of grills rated at 50k + but their design, and or, construction makes them lag behind in the true temps. needed to do even good grilling.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: pizzaneer on August 04, 2012, 04:29:14 PM
And enough btu's......there are a lot of grills out there with less than 40,000 btu. There is also a lot of grills rated at 50k + but their design, and or, construction makes them lag behind in the true temps. needed to do even good grilling.


True dat, bro - but I was talking about LBE's....  usually more than enough oomph to get 'er done.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 04, 2012, 04:32:47 PM
Oh....sorry  :-[
....man, I gotta quit do'in that!   :-D
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Bigfoot21075 on August 07, 2012, 12:07:29 PM
Hi italdream,

It took me a few tries to get it sorted out. My mistake was not building a big enough fire. The Roundboy is really easy to get reproducable results. I build the fire, when it gets so hot it turns the roof of the oven white, it is ready. This was the main concept to grasp. If the roof does not turn white it is not hot enough. Once it is ready, I move the coals over to one side, sweep and start shoveling pies in (it is actually a few minutes before the pies are ready to go in the oven after I sweep the coals oven as I do not prep them ahead of time).

I would be glad to take some temp readings with my IR for you, but the real proof is in the pies. When allowed to heat up sufficiently the top clearly has enough heat to char the pizza tops before the the bottom burns. I think there is a video of it cooking on the Roundboy website or You Tube.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on August 07, 2012, 02:06:45 PM
You make it sound tempting, especially given that the price for the regular-stand terracotta oven is less than a 2stone. And shipping is free as in F.R.E.E.

Truth be told, I have some reservations about built quality vs. some of the others but the price is something.

On a completely different note, I wonder how it would handle pizza al metro, the neapolitan version of pizza al taglio. I think that I could fit a 22 inch-long, 10 inch-wide pizza in one of those. Have you tried? Click here to see what I am talking about http://goo.gl/yF4aX
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Bigfoot21075 on August 07, 2012, 03:07:06 PM
Here are some 14" pies from a little while ago. The first two shots show how the top cooks well. The third you can see there is enough space even with the peppers.

As for quality, it is solid concrete (or whatever the high heat concrete is called) with a fire brick floor. i can't see why it would not last as long as you want it too. It weighs near 2,000 pounds, it certianly is not going to blow over  :o  :chef:

For specific quality info you may want to call the folks who build them in PA, they were very nice and informative.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on August 09, 2012, 05:29:41 PM
Thank you very much Bigfoot. Stuffed Pepper... I love them. The pies look like they get good top heat, judging from the toppings. Are you going to shoot for a larger and more charred cornicione like slopeyjoe in this topic?

 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20245.0.html
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Bigfoot21075 on August 13, 2012, 08:53:07 AM
Yes, I am actually already there, those are older shots. I took some more yesterday and will get them posted...

As for that mondo pizza you posted earlier, that is more pie than I am willing to try  :-D

Yes physically the space is there, but I think it would be very hard to mange a pie that big and the odd shape....

Thank you very much Bigfoot. Stuffed Pepper... I love them. The pies look like they get good top heat, judging from the toppings. Are you going to shoot for a larger and more charred cornicione like slopeyjoe in this topic?

 http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,20245.0.html
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: oliverks on August 24, 2012, 02:10:40 AM
One of the distributors of Alfa Pizza Ovens has kindly invited me up to try his personal oven this weekend.  I will report back on how well it works. :pizza:
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: italdream on August 24, 2012, 11:23:55 AM
Thanks Oliverks. Let us know. Since my original post, serious concerns have been expressed about this oven's ability to maintain proper temperature and to reach results that would be judged acceptable by the majority of this forum participants. Dome height and lack of thermal mass come to mind, but I am sure that there are more concerns.

In my case, I liked the design and portability but I am now convinced that its overall flaws are an absolute no-no for any Neapolitan pizza lover. In your demo, see if the oven can reach and maintain  higher temperatures (800-900F range) and perhaps shoot for Neapolitan style. If you could post picture of pizzas, that would be super.

I think that one of the issues is that pizzas that the manufacturer posted online are far from anything judged acceptable by the pizzamaking community. Although doubtful, it is perhaps just a problem with their advertising strategy.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Jacquie on August 25, 2012, 06:38:56 PM
I used my ALFA oven for the first time today...it reached temps of 800 degrees
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 25, 2012, 06:41:43 PM
I used my ALFA oven for the first time today...it reached temps of 800 degrees within an hr.
Pizza turned out perfect in 2min
Did you take pics of your 2 min. pie ?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: oliverks on August 25, 2012, 11:15:46 PM
I got to try the Alfa Minuti 5 today.  The unit we were using was a prototype  that had many hours of use.  The first thing to note is even though it has traveled all around the state, (and been dropped once) it was still in good shape.  

The oven lighted easily and got going quickly.  I would say 5 minutes is a stretch but it was certainly usable in 20 minutes.  

We were not trying to make Neapolitan pizza, but rather cook a mix of stuff to see how it worked.  We did do some pizza, but using a thicker wetter dough than classic Neapolitan.  So bear that in mind.  My previous experience has been using Mugnaini ovens.  You can google them if you don't know them.

The first image below shows the oven floor with the fire pushed over to one side during the warm up.  This was about 30 minutes in.  We already had been cooking mushrooms and veggies in the oven.  Most of the floor is already over 270C with some cooler spots still down at 240C.

The next image show the oven floor after about a 1 hour cool down, with the door open.  We started the cool down from about 270C (500F) floor temp.  Out side temperature was about 30C (86F).  The average temp has fallen to about 180C (360F).  So we are losing about 5C per minute from the oven floor.

The last picture shows the outside of the oven.  Now we had been using this for several hours at this stage so it is hot at around 90C or 195F.  I was finding roof temperatures to be about 50C higher than the floor.  This seemed to be a bit more consistent than Mugnaini ovens where I find the roof temps can change quite a bit quicker than the floor temps.

Overall I was impressed with the results from the oven.  If you wanted to make Neapolitan pizzas, I think you would need to keep moving the fire, bouncing it left and right, between pizzas as I think it is going to be hard to maintain floor temperature with a 5C cool down per minute.  However the amount of fuel in the oven is much less than a conventional oven, so it is not as hard as it sounds.

For other pizzas that like 600-700 degrees, roasts, veggies, and breads this oven will work right out the box.  After due consideration, I have decided to purchase one.

Oliver

Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 25, 2012, 11:23:26 PM
Where are the pizza pics gentlemen?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: scott123 on August 26, 2012, 12:19:29 AM
Oliver, I think your camera's broken. Either that or it's on acid  :-D

Seriously, though, I would kill for one of those cameras. Forget the oven, I'll take the camera  ;D
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: oliverks on August 26, 2012, 12:35:44 AM
@ Chicago Bob

I know this might seem retarded, but I forgot my "normal" camera.  However the distributor took a couple snaps.  I will see if he could send me one.

Oliver
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: oliverks on August 26, 2012, 12:38:06 AM
@ scott123

I think you are now legally allowed to own these cameras.  I would recommend getting a Fluke Ti25 for your oven.  This will go up to over 700F.

Oliver
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: scott123 on August 26, 2012, 01:06:52 AM
Oliver, I may be legally allowed to own this camera, but am I legally allowed to steal the money to be able to afford one?  ;D
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: pizzaneer on August 26, 2012, 10:29:08 AM
No kidding, $5,500 for a used one?  :-\
http://www.nextag.com/fluke-ti25/stores-html
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on August 26, 2012, 12:30:27 PM
Oliver, I may be legally allowed to own this camera, but am I legally allowed to steal the money to be able to afford one?  ;D
:-D
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: GeeKacky on December 22, 2012, 04:40:39 PM
Re; Alfa Forno 5 Minuti Oven--I have been looking for a nice WFO for quite a while but have space limitations.  I was very happy to find this oven as the size and design seemed very nice (only 190 lbs.)  I have been reading Pizzamaking.com for a couple years now and even though the initial reviews on this web site weren't great, after reviewing the Manufacturer's videos it appears they aren't really making great dough and don't fire the oven to get hot enough so their pizzas have no char and don't really look that good!  Well I pulled the trigger ( Thank You Costco on Cyber Monday) and have made about 8 pizza's so far.  My main concern is that the oven wouldn't get hot enough.  Last night we hit 950 degrees on the fire up...heat is no problem!  Keeping it stable at 800 for enough time to make 5 pizzas one at a time is a little more difficult-but I feel I will get better with practice as I learn the oven.  (The oven can accommodate 2 pizzas but I don't have the expertise to deal with 2 at a time just yet.).  Oven floor averaged about 825 degrees.  I have posted 1 photo in the gallery thus far.  Bottom line is at this point I am thrilled the oven gets to temp (45 minutes kids-not 5 minuti) and am extremely happy with it thus far. Neapolitan pizza's are my quest. This oven makes them in 1-2 minutes.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: PN.pizza on February 04, 2013, 08:35:15 PM

I'm curious to hear more trials and tribulations on the Alfa.  I've been following this thread in addition to the thread on the Millar.  I'm looking at the Fontana Forni which seems to be price wise in the middle between the Alfa and the Millar.  For those who purchased the Alfa, would you do it again?

Thanks, 
 -Paul
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: GeeKacky on February 04, 2013, 09:15:12 PM
Looks like the Fortana has a new model "The Margharita" which looks just about the same as the Alpha Forno 5 Minuti!  The video that they show (just like Alpha's videos ) once again show low level temps for cooking (550 or so) and not a very good looking dough -but their fire is VERY small!    At this time, I can get the Alpha Forno 5 Minuti VERY hot ---but the trick is to keep it there while I make 4-6 pizzas!   I have signed up for formal VPN training  next month hoping to learn a little more about oven management.  If I even learn 20% of what I've learned here at Pizzamaking.com from all of my fellow pizzaioli, I will be extremely satisfied!
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: PN.pizza on February 05, 2013, 08:10:51 AM
Looks like the Fortana has a new model "The Margharita" which looks just about the same as the Alpha Forno 5 Minuti!  The video that they show (just like Alpha's videos ) once again show low level temps for cooking (550 or so) and not a very good looking dough -but their fire is VERY small!    At this time, I can get the Alpha Forno 5 Minuti VERY hot ---but the trick is to keep it there while I make 4-6 pizzas!   I have signed up for formal VPN training  next month hoping to learn a little more about oven management.  If I even learn 20% of what I've learned here at Pizzamaking.com from all of my fellow pizzaioli, I will be extremely satisfied!

What tricks have you learned?  Based on what I've read so far, my plan is to start the fire in the center to heat the tiles and then move it to one side.  Do you find it necessary to bounce the fire back and forth?

I'm looking at the 'The Mangiafucco' oven which is 8" wider - closer to the 10 Minuti, maybe?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: GeeKacky on March 22, 2014, 05:54:24 PM
I can maintain the temp between 800-900 degrees by adding a small pice of wood to the fire after I remove each pizza and also putting the door back partially on while I prepare the next pizza.  Once the wood flames again I am back to temp and put in the next pie.

It's been 1 year with this oven now and it makes GREAT NP pizza's......the key is using the correct sized pieces of wood and adding fuel to the fire throughout a multiple pizza making process.

Pizza making skills come from many areas...I took a 3 day class at AVPN which really helped me get NP down!
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Gosseni on March 27, 2014, 02:43:45 AM
I have a new Alfa Forno 4 that I am especially fired up about. I can get interior to over 850 degrees and brick temp to 780 in 90 minutes. Cook a neo in 135 seconds. I was amazed at insulation. Took a very small amount of fuel to sustain temp. Took two days to completely cool down. Still an experimental mode. Looking forward to getting the oven dialed in. Stay tuned.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Gosseni on March 27, 2014, 02:44:07 AM
I have a new Alfa Forno 4 that I am especially fired up about. I can get interior to over 850 degrees and brick temp to 780 in 90 minutes. Cook a neo in 135 seconds. I was amazed at insulation. Took a very small amount of fuel to sustain temp. Took two days to completely cool down. Still an experimental mode. Looking forward to getting the oven dialed in. Stay tuned.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on March 29, 2014, 01:45:10 AM
How does one "un notify" one from a thread?
Please get me outta here man.
Thank you.

CB
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Pete-zza on March 29, 2014, 07:34:44 AM
Bob,

If I understand what you want to do, there should be an Unnotify button at the top of this thread.

Peter
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Gosseni on March 30, 2014, 03:40:59 PM
What is the problem now CB?
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Chicago Bob on March 31, 2014, 12:26:12 AM
What is the problem now CB?
I apologize Gosseni....my girlfriend was getting on my nerves the other night. Plus, my older sister is (finally)wrapping up her 3 week long visit here from Houston TX. I love my girls...don't get me wrong. However....you know what I mean I hope.   8)
I certainly wasn't directing bad vibes from anything you said/posted. Your pizzamaking skills are valued, no doubt about that and...well, like I said...I'm sorry man.

Bob
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Gosseni on March 31, 2014, 12:39:56 PM
Yep. Just messing around.
No worries.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Gosseni on April 20, 2014, 12:02:02 PM

The Alfa Pizze 4 in action.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: jimmy_aussie on October 01, 2014, 10:55:49 AM
The Alfa Pizze 4 in action.

Hi i'm looking to buy the Alpha 4 pizze, can you tell me what you think about it, quality how its help up?
Thanks
Jimmy
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Gosseni on October 01, 2014, 11:15:15 AM
I bought the Alfa in March of this year. Have made pizza in the oven every weekend since I picked it up. The Alfa is very mobile and easy to move around on the deck. Still pretty heavy.... 400 plus pounds.... So getting it up stairs was a two man job. The deck can maintain it easily. Further, exterior temperature of oven never exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit so you cannot burn the house down. After many years of research I went with this oven due to cost, mobility, and yet still retaining the ability to heat an oven to 800 degrees quickly. Pro's and Con's to every approach. Certainly I will be in a position to report better status as I learn. But I have cooked with big Mugniani ovens in my past and have not yet felt that there is too much compromise in the initial stages beyond size of oven. The Mugniani was three times the price with surround. Lot of options to sift out. Lot of it depends on what kind of Pizza you like to create. Warm-up is measured in about 3.5 hours. Temperatures of 850 are easily maintained. The oven is big enough to prepare two 14 inch pizza's at a time. Although I rarely make more than one at a crack. I can get bake times under two minutes. The oven is pretty well insulated but will take more fuel than a ceramic equivalent to be certain. Fit and finish on the oven are exceptional. I like the way the oven looks and operates. I would recommend to anyone. Let me know what other questions you might have.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: jimmy_aussie on October 01, 2014, 09:04:24 PM
I bought the Alfa in March of this year. Have made pizza in the oven every weekend since I picked it up. The Alfa is very mobile and easy to move around on the deck. Still pretty heavy.... 400 plus pounds.... So getting it up stairs was a two man job. The deck can maintain it easily. Further, exterior temperature of oven never exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit so you cannot burn the house down. After many years of research I went with this oven due to cost, mobility, and yet still retaining the ability to heat an oven to 800 degrees quickly. Pro's and Con's to every approach. Certainly I will be in a position to report better status as I learn. But I have cooked with big Mugniani ovens in my past and have not yet felt that there is too much compromise in the initial stages beyond size of oven. The Mugniani was three times the price with surround. Lot of options to sift out. Lot of it depends on what kind of Pizza you like to create. Warm-up is measured in about 3.5 hours. Temperatures of 850 are easily maintained. The oven is big enough to prepare two 14 inch pizza's at a time. Although I rarely make more than one at a crack. I can get bake times under two minutes. The oven is pretty well insulated but will take more fuel than a ceramic equivalent to be certain. Fit and finish on the oven are exceptional. I like the way the oven looks and operates. I would recommend to anyone. Let me know what other questions you might have.

Hi,
Just wanted to ask what you meant by "The oven is pretty well insulated but will take more fuel than a ceramic equivalent to be certain" I thought the Alfa was double ceramic insulated" ?
Also what do you mean about "Warm-up is measured in:) about 3.5 hours" ?
How lond does it take to reach temp?
Thanks
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Gosseni on October 02, 2014, 11:00:50 AM
Hi Jimmy.
Comparatively the Alfa does not retain heat as well as a ceramic equivalent. At least in my experience. I am not familiar with the definition of "double ceramic insulated" so someone else might be able to help. I will tell you that once at temp the oven will stay stable for about thirty minutes. Then more fuel needs to go in. I can get the temperature to over 800 in less than an hour. It takes more time to get the oven floor to set up and stabilize at the higher temperatures. At around a 3 hour warmup I get very little decrease in floor temperature after cooking even multiple pizzas at a time. Plus you can always sweep some coals onto cooking surface to reheat of required. Let me know what else I can do to assist.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: jimmy_aussie on October 03, 2014, 03:29:11 AM
Hi Jimmy.
Comparatively the Alfa does not retain heat as well as a ceramic equivalent. At least in my experience. I am not familiar with the definition of "double ceramic insulated" so someone else might be able to help. I will tell you that once at temp the oven will stay stable for about thirty minutes. Then more fuel needs to go in. I can get the temperature to over 800 in less than an hour. It takes more time to get the oven floor to set up and stabilize at the higher temperatures. At around a 3 hour warmup I get very little decrease in floor temperature after cooking even multiple pizzas at a time. Plus you can always sweep some coals onto cooking surface to reheat of required. Let me know what else I can do to assist.

Hey, thanks for the reply
I was under the impression that Alfa 4 pizze heats up to 400 degrees Celsius in 30 min, is this not the case?
Also on the manufacture specs of the oven it says it has a double ceramic blanket for installation?
Has anyone heard of a company called elite pizza ovens? ? made here in Aus.
Thanks
Jimmy
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: Gosseni on October 03, 2014, 10:59:54 AM
Hi Jimmy,
Sounds like you are in good hands with a local oven builder. I will tell you that the Alfa will not heat up to a temperature of any value in 30 minutes. I believe it is pretty well insulated for a ceramic oven. I dig the oven. Good luck.
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: jimmy_aussie on October 16, 2014, 08:13:53 AM
Hey i'm looking to but a pizza oven but stuck between two models from two companies.
The Zesti EZ1100 Portable Woodfired Pizza Oven
http://www.zesti.com.au/z1100_portable_woodfired_ovens.html (http://www.zesti.com.au/z1100_portable_woodfired_ovens.html)

And the Elite Platinum Series oven
http://www.elitepizzaovens.com.au/models/platinum-series (http://www.elitepizzaovens.com.au/models/platinum-series)

Need some help please!!!
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: breadstoneovens on October 16, 2014, 11:40:34 AM
Hey i'm looking to but a pizza oven but stuck between two models from two companies.
The Zesti EZ1100 Portable Woodfired Pizza Oven
http://www.zesti.com.au/z1100_portable_woodfired_ovens.html (http://www.zesti.com.au/z1100_portable_woodfired_ovens.html)

And the Elite Platinum Series oven
http://www.elitepizzaovens.com.au/models/platinum-series (http://www.elitepizzaovens.com.au/models/platinum-series)

Need some help please!!!

Look carefully at the floor installation. There was a thread from a guy in Australia, a year or 2 ago, that had one of this oven I think and had major heat loss issue from the floor. He ended up having to buy more insulation to put under the oven.

Looking at the website for Elite, they only use 25mm for the floor insulation. That is not enough, you want a minimum of 50mm.
The Zesti didn't seam to list the floor insulation thickness.

When you assemble it you can always add floor insulation. It is inexpensive and makes a big difference.

Good luck.

Antoine
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: pizza party on October 18, 2014, 04:10:41 AM
we produce a wood fired oven and sell directly for customers save money and reduce price, if you are interested, this is a our website http://www.wood-fired-pizza-oven.us (http://www.wood-fired-pizza-oven.us) there is most offer
we use all material 100% made in Italy and CEE and the oven is certified for food, to guarantee the quality

http://youtu.be/FiGdCJqg07Y
Title: Re: ALFA Pizza Oven and Other Lower Budget WFOs
Post by: breadstoneovens on October 18, 2014, 08:37:30 AM
Pizza party,

What is the floor and dome insulation thickness on your ovens?