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temperature monitoring

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  • temperature monitoring

    i want to get more consistent with my bread baking...

    when building my oven 4 years ago, i embedded a thermocouple wire in the outer surface of the dome to measure "heat soak". i finally got around to installing the thermocouple reader, so now i can monitor the inner surface of the dome (with an infrared gun) and the outer surface of the dome (with the thermocouple).

    question is, how hot should the outer surface be before i remove the coals and allow the oven to equalize for bread baking?

    during pizza parties, i will keep an eye on the outer dome temperature, and after an hour or so of 1000F baking, the dome only seems to creep to about 200-300.

    Last edited by jlaw; 05-29-2012, 12:44 PM.

  • #2
    Re: temperature monitoring

    Jlaw, for Pizza "heat soak" is not that important. You have a fire going in the oven so any energy used gets replaced with that fire. Granted you want a heated oven to do pizza. But the reality is that heat soak takes time that is determined by the transmitting properties of your oven walls and floor. So you can heat the interior to 1000 degrees but it will take the same amount of time to transfer that energy through the oven mass. But that 1000 degrees can tell you where the oven will equal out.

    Now for baking bread heat soak is very important especially if you want to do multiple batches of bread. When you bake bread you take out the fire and coals and use only the stored energy. So the Heat Soak is what you use to bake and once that energy is used up you need to refire the oven if you want to bake more.

    Hope that helps. Faith


    • #3
      Re: temperature monitoring

      Faith's right on. The following elaboration may help or may not.

      Your description of temps is basically why you need a big fire for a good while to heat load the oven. A pizza fire is not really hot enough to heat load the oven. And for baking you tend to need a big fire for about two to four times as long as heating the oven for pizza. Then you need to heat soak it so the oven mass will have heat to release back to the oven. Ideally you would like the entire oven mass to be 550 or so when you begin baking bread. It won't be - the outside will always be cooler but... If the outside of your oven mass is 300 and the interior of the oven is 550, both the bread and the outside will be drawing heat from the oven interior to bake and you won't get the proper temperature profile for baking great bread - the temperature in the oven will drop pretty dramatically and will not bounce back up to 525 or so like it should. Hope that helps.


      • #4
        Re: temperature monitoring

        i understand the need for a sufficient thermal soak for bread baking - my question specifically was, as i have a thermocouple monitoring the outer dome, what temperature should i be looking for?


        • #5
          Re: temperature monitoring

          I think it would be cool to chart the curve of your oven's equalization. If you took inside IR readings and outer thermocouple readings every 30 min. during and after firing, I think you would learn when to back off on the fuel and how long thereafter it takes for the dome to become fully saturated (when the temp stops rising).

          Since all ovens are built of slightly different design, size, bricks, mortar and insulation, this would provide you with your very own oven signature.


          • #6
            Re: temperature monitoring

            I just got done charting my oven and it is interesting how the oven works. Sorry Jlaw I thought I answered your question. So my new answer is "pick a number".

            Not to be flip but there are lots of factors here. For pizza things to take into consideration are the types of pizza's your cooking. Real thin three minute pizza or thick with lots of toppings. The thin pizza you will want a hot oven and the thicker a bit cooler.

            Now other factors, the oven. Is it a cast oven or fire brick. If firebrick is it high, medium or low duty firebrick. How much thermal mass do you have...I have 7.5 inches.

            So that is just a few of the factors.

            Now depending on all the the particulars of your oven build such as materials and size and thickness if the inside of your oven walls is 2000 degrees it may still take hours to get the outside of the oven to raise 200 degrees. For cooking pizza the outside temp really does not matter. The hot spot of your oven will always move towards the cooler area. (Like water will always flow to the low spot) Heat always tries to dissipate.

            Now let's say you have a huge fire going the oven walls is 1200 degrees and the out side is 80. Take the fire out of the oven and heat will radiate back into the oven and the oven walls will try to equalize.

            So the longer you have a fire going the more heat transfer you will get to move to the outside of your oven. None the less this is a slow process.

            So if you are cooking a pizza with a fire in the oven the inside of the oven will always be hotter than the outside. So as you cook pizza heat is still moving from the inside to the outside of the oven slowly and at a constant rate. The heat will not move back towards the inside of the oven until the inside is colder than the outside. Therefore it dose not matter what the outside of the oven reads. So pick any number if that makes you happy. There is no magic number. No right answer.

            Hope that helps, Faith


            • #7
              Re: temperature monitoring

              jlaw, I don't know if this will help but this is the flow chart of my oven.