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42" Dome in California: detailed build journal

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  • 42" Dome in California: detailed build journal

    Hello friends. I lurked here for many months, bought and studied every word of the Forno Bravo build guide, and eventually gathered enough information and misplaced confidence to build a 42" dome in my back yard in California. The project started August 29, 2019, and I met my ambitious goal of pizza before the end of the year: our first pizzas were enjoyed on December 15, 2019, 108 calendar days and 29 build days later. We used the oven for 15 very enjoyable cycles during 2020, making pizza, bread, roasts, and all manner of good things. Then we sold our house . I wanted to gather all the documentation and share it with you all here, before I forget all the details... and because it is inevitable that I'm going to need to build another one sometime soon. Cheers to you all, and thanks for great spirit of cooperation and sharing here.

    Photo album of build from start to finish:

    Build journal and details, including budget, materials receipts, and temperature logs.
    42" dome:
    Journal, budget, temperature profiles:

  • #2
    Hi Craig

    Nice looking oven, well done! Any changes you'll make next time?

    Oh, and your breads look fantastic!
    Last edited by MarkJerling; 02-01-2021, 01:07 AM. Reason: Added note about bread.
    My 42" build:
    My oven drawings: My oven drawings - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


    • #3
      Thanks! Good question. There is only one major change that I would make, and a few other little maybes.
      1. The only major change would be to add more water to the concrete mix used for pouring the top of the base. Lacking prior experience, I could have better judged the proper ratio if I has done some small test molds in advance. I erred on the dry side because of the many warnings I had heard about avoiding a "soupy mix". With a dry mix, I ended up with some imperfect filling, and it was challenging to smooth out the top.
      2. I would also better contour the bricks at the inside intersection of the entry with the dome. If you imagine the surface of a sphere inside the dome, these bricks clipped inside that sphere, and I wish I would have trimmed them to follow that spherical contour. As it stands, I think this impeded the airflow a bit. Too difficult to fix after the dome was finished.
      3. I might have been better off with a Neapolitan style (lower dome) oven for bread baking, because less volume would make it easier to fill with steam. But I really do like the aesthetic of the sphere, and once I figured out the steam injection process, the Tuscan style oven did the job just fine.
      4. Next time I might put some more thermocouples in the dome and floor, maybe three in each. When there's a live fire, I think there's quite a bit of variation from side to side. I would also place tubes in the concrete and through the insulation so the thermocouples could be replaced if necessary. Also longer thermocouple wires would have been helpful. I needed to extend mine.
      Last edited by lorenzo73; 02-01-2021, 10:14 PM. Reason: corrected Neapolitan to Tuscan
      42" dome:
      Journal, budget, temperature profiles: