My holiday project is to build a pseudo brick oven *and test out some wood fired pizza, bread and anything that sounds good. I
I am really interested in those of you that actually bake in a wood fired oven (WFO) and any keeper recipes you have, tips and tricks, and general experience. Recommended websites or books are good too.
You can make most anything in it. Thin crust pizza works best for the high temperatures you can achieve. Mine gets up over 900F, my infrared thermometer won’t register any higher. Get the book Flour Water Salt Yeastfor all the details on pizza and bread you can make. In the spring I plan to weld up a Tuscan Grill for other cooking styles. It will act something like an Argentine Asado. One thing I should have done was get the tiles from Forno for the base of the oven. I put together a herringbone pattern of fire bricks but there will always be a lot of little cracks to catch on. I built the oven using a foam mold to form the dome, it worked pretty well, but the technique of using clamps to hold the bricks in one at time would have been cleaner. All in all I think I had more fun building it than using it so far, but there’s plenty of time ahead.
If you have a source of clay, you can build an Earth oven for a fair bit less money. Not quite as permanent, but should last for decades. You can see mine as I described in a HubPage. I also talk a bit about cooking in mine in the 2nd hub I made. http://butler1850.hubpages.com
Tripolar - is that your base temperature (oven floor) at 900+? Or the dome temperature?
Butler - nice looking earth oven you have.
Tomorrow hopefully I’ll get my clay bricks, durock, cinder blocks and angle iron to test out the pizza oven. I already have a pizza steel, and that will be my baking base. I still need to figure out how to reduce the oven mouth to make it hotter, and build a door for actual bread baking. My thermometer is ordered but not yet arrived so I can check out the temp, time to get to max heat, time to cool and all that fun stuff.
Thanks for the suggesions. Forno Bravo has a couple of good pdf cookbooks that I’m starting with…
Both initially, the base seems to cool somewhat faster when the fire is removed. I followed the Forno Bravo recommendation not to make the base too heavy, though I’d have to go back to check the reasoning on that. The dome is very well insulated with ceramic blankets and a lot of perlite on top of that. I don’t intend to use that high a temperature in the future, I have a big cast iron pan now to build the fire in and I’ll remove it when it gets to about 750F. I’m also working on an insulated door with a sliding vent that should help me control the temperature better.
Another note, if you’re cutting bricks get a diamond blade. I got a discontinued blade from Lowes for next to nothing. You’ll wear through abrasive blades quickly and produce less dust. Soaking the bricks in water also cuts down on the dust if you don’t have a wet saw. I cut a few hundred brick shims to help form the arch and cut down the amount of expensive refractory cement needed. I’m sure you’ve seen the instructions for the ‘indispensable tool’ from Forno, don’t start without one.
Well, it’s certainly harder than it looks to cook. My fitted brick oven went together quickly, although I’ll rebuild it tomorrow with some foil to reduce heat escape. Not sure if using the pizza steel is a good or bad idea. It certainly got very hot, but maybe too hot? My oven thermometer sitting on the pizza peel only recorded around 500 degrees F but I did manage to singe the hair on my left arm pretty easily.
First breadstick on the pizza steel burned in about 15 seconds. Found out that parchment paper spontaneously combusts on the heated pizza steel. Also that the pizza peel is pretty cool but my wet dough just stuck to it or else I used a ton of corn meal. Pita breads didn’t come off the peel and ended up a doughy mess.
managed to get dough with some mozzarella to bake. Doming it was pretty cool. My kids verdict “I like it dad but not as good as the cheese sticks you did in the oven.” No knead bread in a clay pot came out well at the end. And I’ve dried out a bunch of firewood by stacking on top of the oven and then now in the oven to suck out the retained heat.
I made some dough and it’s rising over night. So will try again tomorrow.
Well, my fitted brick oven was a fun experiment but I won’t be building a real brick oven or hearth oven. I cranked it up to about 600 degrees (using an oven thermometer about 1/3 of the way in the oven) and baked a couple of pies on the bricks. They came out okay but it wasn’t hot enough for the 90-120 second pizza.
The oven looses too much heat to be a good bread oven.
I’ve played with a Big Green Egg a few times. I’m pretty sure that can do a high temp pizza with some practice and it can certainly do a loaf of bread. Of course, a brick oven can do several loaves of bread and other stuff at the same time, but I don’t think I would do that.
I’m sure a brick oven would be kinda fun and be a good back yard entertainment. That said, I’d probably use a Big Green Egg or a killer Weber more and use my full sized Miele oven for the bread…
I’m curious, how long does it take to get one of these home built brick ovens to temp for say something like baking home made pizza or roasting a chicken or some other meat? Also, what pans/cookware would stand up to the incredibly high heat these things tend to reach?
We’ve done both pizza and bread on the Egg. I highly recommend Peter Reinhart’s bread and dough recipes and we’ve found that an afternoon baking event works out well for us. I do a half dozen or so loaves of bread at a time and then freeze them in vacuum bags. Fresh bread for a month :). Given that bread is a lot of waiting around time I try and plan some other work for that time so it feels like I’m accomplishing more. It’s an excellent day for packaging up slow cooker meals for the freezer.
We’ve never tried a steel, we use the pizza stone we bought with the Egg. I must admit losing a few pounds of bbq gear is an attractive option!
2 to 3 hours of pre-heat. Cast iron, stainless steel and stoneware can take the heat. A stainless steel pan with a riveted handle may have that handle loosen up from expansion of the rivets, or seams might pop open.