Huge outdoor pizza oven building project pledge

Steve

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Ah yes, great question Mark as that is the whole trick.
It took me a while to get it right but now i've got it down to an art.

The trick is to give the tray a sprinkle of polenta before laying the base on.
Just make sure the whole tray is covered and more is better in this case.
The polenta acts like tiny marbles and keeps the dough up off the tray. (or at least that what i think is happening)
And the other trick is to be careful with the toppings. You don't want them spilling over onto the tray as they will melt/burn and you'll have all sorts of trouble.
Once the tray gets burnt then you might as well throw it away as **** will stick to it, just like a blanket! :D
And once they are cooked I either just tip them off onto a board to cut or use an egg flip.
:eat: and Enjoy.
 

Justin Dallas

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Im looking to build a med size clay pizza oven - done a few days of looking up info. There is a mix of a good quality cement and vermiculite as mortar, to set the red clay bricks - here in South Africa, Ive never seen refactory cement (what is used in the US). But, apparently a good cement is good up to 1000 degrees C.
One thing that I read was that the actual bricks (in a dome shape) are self supporting, the mortar is just there to link the bricks together - but, the structure isnt held in place by the mortar (like a wall etc...)

Ive also been looking at some sort of terra cotta clay lining over the structure - but, I think that the weight may be an issue.
 
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Mark

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Hi Justin I'm going over my brother inlaws place today for a braai (he's from RSA) and I know how passionate you guys are about your outdoor cooking!

Today we're roasting a couple of pekin ducks I grew on a charcoal grill and one of the reasons I decided I wanted a pizza oven was to hang roast my ducks.

Yes I also read how the archway is self supporting. I've seen square fronts on pizza/bread ovens instead of an arch the bricks are supported by a steel support beam about quarter inch thick. This design seems to give a little more access room to work with but of course the square front does look different.

One of the most common problems I've seen online and at famiy or friends with diy and professional installation pizza ovens is the cracking in the rendering. Hairline cracks are ok apparently but larger cracks can let too much heat escape so when I build mine (or get one built ) I'll ensure the rendering is especially rated high for heat.

1000 degrees sounds pretty good to me though!
 
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stevo

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I'm not sure, but the cracking could be because the heating is done too soon, or too hot too soon, before the materials have dried properly? It might be worth leaving the structure for a month, even cover it up for the first week to avoid it drying too fast and cracking, and then start with a very small fire to run for a while and don't try cooking on the first fire? In the below design they say they let it dry for a few days and then they make a big fire in it, I would think it'd need more time to dry?

I like this, but the only thing I see as a problem is the wooden pallet. Those pine pallets tend to have short lives outside in the elements. Maybe they'll move the oven to another location and remove the pallet, but they didn't mention it. It'd be bloody heavy though, you'd think you'd build it in it's final position.

 

Mark

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It'd be bloody heavy though, you'd think you'd build it in it's final position.
I think you've slapped the pepperoni right on the margarita in a nutshell... What if you move - how does one take their pizza oven with them?

Because of the portability issue, I have been looking at wood fired ovens as an option to a pizza oven where the fire is in a separate chamber to where the food is cooked and the thing can be moved around or taken with you if you move house. What do you guys think about these ovens?

There seems to be a handful of contenders:
  • Fornetto - Looks good and is good quality has a great smoker. They sell the old model and the new Alto at Bunnings and I have got a run down by a guy in store the other day who reckons they are very popular and rates it highly. Price is ok too with the Alto selling at about $1250.
  • Fontana - More upmarket and very expensive. To me, it looks more like an indoor oven and I don't really like it.
  • Hark Pizza wood oven - Not a lot of information or videos about cooking with it but I do quite like the make and it can burn up to 600 C which could be handy for cleaning and pizza making.
  • Koala wood fired oven - Not sure what has happened to this company because their website has gone but some retailers are still selling the ovens.

 

firm351

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Any one who is considering building a wood fired oven i would recommend having a look at this website,
http://www.fornobravo.com/pompeii_oven/pompeii_oven.html

There is a free download of the very comprehensive plans to build your own wood fired oven and all the information you could ever need on the subject.

I have been thinking about building one for a couple of years now but now i live in a rural area that bans any fires from the end of october to the end of march i'm not sure if its worth it because i reckon thats the time of year when i would use it the most, saying that cooking in a wood fired oven is probably better in the cooler months rather than summer time so i might build one after all. Another one for the long term project list.
 
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Mark

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Nice find Paul, that's another good site! He sells a huge range of ovens and is very passionate about wood fired cook that's for sure.

I do think wood fired ovens are a great way to cook. I'm just spoilt for choice at the moment and with the new pre-made ovens coming on the market they look professional and are pretty well priced - some are almost cheaper than a person could make it for... The oven pictured in the very first post of this thread is my cousin's and I remember her husband saying it cost them north of 6K about 5 years ago but these days you can get similar ones for around $3000 and portable ones on large steel frames just as big but not as glamourous for just over $2000 at Bunnings.
 

Mark

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Comment from Andy of YouTube about his pizza oven...

"If you build one Mark, don't make it too big. My one takes forever to heat (and I have to log the Daintree to get enough wood)."
 

bearded1

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Yandina demolition has solid bricks atm for $1.00 each. These could be used for the actual oven, but not the base
 

bearded1

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Nice find Paul, that's another good site! He sells a huge range of ovens and is very passionate about wood fired cook that's for sure.

I do think wood fired ovens are a great way to cook. I'm just spoilt for choice at the moment and with the new pre-made ovens coming on the market they look professional and are pretty well priced - some are almost cheaper than a person could make it for... The oven pictured in the very first post of this thread is my cousin's and I remember her husband saying it cost them north of 6K about 5 years ago but these days you can get similar ones for around $3000 and portable ones on large steel frames just as big but not as glamourous for just over $2000 at Bunnings.
I reckon I could build a beauty for well under $500.00
 

Mark

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I do too but I'm not as handy as I would like to be... it would take me considerable time to build a good quality and functional wood fired oven.

I initially was going to build one down the back of our yard in our picnic area which is about 70 metres from the house but that would limit it to daytime use mainly.

We also have a double story home so if it was built around the house it probably should go on the deck upstairs and that's where it starts to get complicated (for me anyway).

Therefore, we've started looking into commercial wood fired ovens because although more expensive it would be easier to install and probably look/operate better than something I can make.
 

Ash

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Just came across this cool thread - thanks guys!
Mark, all hats off to you for giving it a go. Building it needs some gusto and know-how, and I'm like you - no brickie in any way. Buying a good one already done sounds like the way to go - and after all, it's more a lifestyle investment, and such costs are not made purely on value for money.
I'll hope to do one down the line but will be keeping a close eye on your own path to success in it...
 
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Mark

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Thanks Ash, yeah it's one of those projects that sounds easier than it practically is to do. Sometimes you have to weigh up diy self-sufficiency against time, effort, and ability... this is where I'm at.
 

Tynan

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One thing that I read was that the actual bricks (in a dome shape) are self supporting, the mortar is just there to link the bricks together - but, the structure isnt held in place by the mortar (like a wall etc...)
Yes I also read how the archway is self supporting.
Interesting fact for the pair of you, they're known as Roman arches, or 'keystones' the angled stones utilise the above and below stones to pinch the central stones, and they swap roles as the arch progresses, being both a central and supporting stone (upper and lower).

I'm still of a firm belief that the Romans of old, lived better than any other culture in history, including our materialistic and debased society. Everyone here appears to be a rare breed of human being, I like it. If you've not read Cicero's How to Grow Old, I could firmly recommend it for anyone that likes gardening, philosophy or psychology.