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Author Topic: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions  (Read 780 times)

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Offline stevenfstein

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Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« on: May 11, 2022, 03:51:48 PM »
My daughter and almost husband just purchased a house that has an outdoor wood fired pizza oven and she is expecting me to make some pies for her when I visit and holidays. I have a Blackstone and can turn out a very decent pie but have absolutely no experience with wood fired ovens. Looking for someplace to learn type of wood to use, best practices, maintenance, etc. I'm assuming the top right is the oven - are the other two to store wood?

Best... Steve

Offline 02ebz06

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2022, 04:07:25 PM »
I use oak, but whatever you get, make sure it's a hard wood.
Soft woods burn too fast and won't provide the same heat.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2022, 05:33:22 PM by 02ebz06 »
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Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2022, 04:43:13 PM »
Based on the slight soot stain on the arch, I'd say the lower left is an outdoor fireplace, lower right is storage and upper right is the oven. Looks like the left side might have a clay chimney pipe on top. Hard to see. Can't see any chimney on the right. Hopefully it isn't coming directly out of the oven.

Using dry hardwood is good advice. I make a fire in the middle of mine and keep it going for a few hours, then I bank the coals to one side. Clean the floor with a damp towel on turning peel and cook on the clean side. In my oven it is easier to heat saturate the oven and let it drift down to the temperature I want. Then maintain a temperature by adding logs to the bank of coals. But that's bout it. Keep everything dry. Can't tell if there is an oven door, but keeping that closed will help keep it dry.

There is some trial and error to it. Just have fun. When things aren't going how you want them to go, it can be frustrating, but you'll still be having pizza that is better than most.


Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2022, 05:25:29 PM »
forgot to say an IR temperature gun helps too. They are fairly inexpensive.

Offline 02ebz06

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2022, 05:37:14 PM »
Jon, your reply triggered something in my brain.
If it hasn't been used in a long time and/or humid environment, you will have start with low temp fires and work your way up to high heat.
Going to high heat too fast can crack things if there is moisture in stone/tile.

I agree with Jon, lower left looks like a fireplace based on the soot.
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Offline stevenfstein

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2022, 05:55:36 PM »
Hope to get a better look once they close in a month or so and I'll get some better photos and let you know what I find. Doubt I would be able to chat with the current property owner. Appreciate the input.

Thanks.... Steve

Offline Pizza_Not_War

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2022, 06:37:35 PM »
Buy your daughter and future husband a house warming gift of lessons to make pizza in a wood burning oven. Problem solved and let them make you pizza.

Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2022, 10:55:00 PM »
Jon, your reply triggered something in my brain.
If it hasn't been used in a long time and/or humid environment, you will have start with low temp fires and work your way up to high heat.
Going to high heat too fast can crack things if there is moisture in stone/tile.

I agree with Jon, lower left looks like a fireplace based on the soot.
This is a great point. If it looks like it has sat a long time, a few small re-curing fires to slowly push out any moisture is a really good idea.

Offline stevenfstein

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2022, 04:37:54 AM »
was able to look at the oven yesterday and took some quick photos. The opening is a little bigger than 18" so nice size but looks like the flue seems to be directly in the top so all the heat will go straight up? Thoughts appreciated.

Best... Steve


Offline scott r

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2022, 07:57:22 AM »
It might not be hard to place something over the opening in the top of the dome to seal it, even temporarily, to see how it works that way.  Yes you will get a lot of smoke on the outside of the oven that will stain the bricks, but it might actually bake better that way.

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Offline wotavidone

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2022, 10:11:20 AM »
Yes put a terracotta roofing tile or a couple of fire bricks over it, sealed in place with some high temp mortar.
Now we have photos of the inside, I predict this oven will still be a little tricky to use after that mod.
It's always hard to get a sense of the shape from photos, but it looks like there is a course of half bricks, then a soldier course before the roof of the dome starts to curve over. The terracotta "chimney", based on the view from the inside looking up, looks fairly short.
So I think we are looking at quite a high dome, which will make achieving Neapolitan cooking times a bit challenging I think.
Mick

Offline stevenfstein

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #11 on: May 25, 2022, 06:16:51 AM »
If they plan on cooking American/NY style pies would it still be necessary to cap the chimney?

Thanks... Steve

Offline Jon in Albany

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2022, 07:14:15 AM »
I think you'll have to try and see. Kind of tough to tell but it looks like it is a hemisphere dome to me in the photos. A lot of heat will go out the top, but you might be able to keep enough in the oven with the walls hot and a live fire to one side.

I think what happens is people see a Neapolitan oven with the chimney coming out of the top of the dome, and don't realize it is really vented out the oven door and routed back up the outside of the dome to the top. This image is from a thread on Neapolitan ovens. The side view shows what I mean.

https://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php?topic=26441.msg266852#msg266852

Offline scott r

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2022, 09:52:11 AM »
My neighbor made and oven exactly like the one shown on the OP.... with a screen half way through the bake I can get good 3-5 minute pizzas out of it.  So I think you will be ok with the chimney as is... however, it would be easy to put a slab of something over the top of the current chimney since it looks really flat... this will allow you to see the difference for yourself. It might make their lives easier to have it front venting, as it will allow less guesswork out of when to screen etc for a newbie.  I also think it will allow the oven to heat up much faster, and working with a saturated oven is much easier than one that is not. 

Offline TXCraig1

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Re: Wood Fired Pizza Oven Questions
« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2022, 02:07:04 PM »
You'll burn less wood if you plug the chimney.
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