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Hi from Cleveland, Ohio - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Hi from Cleveland, Ohio

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  • Hi from Cleveland, Ohio

    This is my first post.

    I come from a family of bread bakers. My great-grandfather came over from Italy about a hundred years ago and learned the bricklaying trade. He then built himself a brick house with a commercial bakery attached to the back including a brick oven. He made his living baking bread and pizza for wholesale. According to my elderly great aunt, he used to sell bread crumbs "by the barrel" to his friend Hector Boiardi's prepared food factory. You probably know Hector Boiardi better as Chef Boy-Ar-Dee.

    My grandfather and some of my great aunts and uncles also ran bakeries, but it's hard work. The last person in our family to bake for a living, one of my cousins, finally shut down the family oven about 15 or 20 years ago. The oven is still standing after 85 years, but the house is no longer in the family. It's in a part of town that you wouldn't want to walk through after dark now.

    I want to bake not only because I love fresh pizza and bread, but also as a way to preserve family traditions. My plan is this: to build a slightly scaled down version of the Pompeii oven on a trailer. I'll insulate the bottom with insulating panels or vermiculite. That way I can take the oven with me to family events, and also I won't have to leave it behind if I move.

    I am an engineer by profession, but I do not know how feasible this is. Bricks are heavy, but trucks carry big loads of bricks all the time. I have a truck that can tow 1000 lbs on an unbraked trailer and 3000 lbs on a braked trailer.

    Am I crazy? Can this be done? Well, I'm gonna try!!

  • #2
    Re: Hi from Cleveland, Ohio


    There are a couple of threads regarding mobile ovens and a few pictures scattered here and there. In theory, there is nothing wrong or that difficult about building a mobile oven, however, practicality has shown that road vibrations aren't so wonderful with heavy masonry structures. The Fire within, custom builds mobile ovens and Le Panyol has a version that can be mounted on a trailer (as could a couple of the modular units sold in the Forno Store.). Like many others, I dream of the freedom that a mobile oven could provide however, the DMV, structural/vibration issues and various health departments see different. Now, rocket ovens without any insulation could work well for pizza but the lack of thermal mass makes them next to useless for anything other than flat breads such as Naan and pizza. Good luck and I'd love to see pictures of your progress.


    • #3
      Re: Hi from Cleveland, Ohio

      Yeah, I didn't make it clear in my post, but I am going for a mobile pizza oven, not a retained-heat oven. I did run across the Fire Within site, so now I know it is at least feasible. But even their smallest oven seems a little big for me - I only need to make one pizza at a time. Plus, they mount their oven on top of a trailer with sides. All that mass high up makes me nervous about going around corners. I'm thinking of getting a flatbed trailer. It doesn't bother me to bend down to feed the oven.

      Masonry is brittle and has very bad tensile strength (that's why arches, vaults and domes are used - they minimize the tensile loading.) It also transmits shocks very well if you go over a bump. Too bad there isn't some kind of rubbery additive you could put in the mortar to give it a little damping. You could put in chopped-up rubber balls, but they'd melt the first time you fired up the oven.

      The challenge is going to be trying to keep the oven and trailer under 1000 lbs. That will save a lot of expense because then I won't need brakes on my trailer. Plus, it'll be easier on my old truck.


      • #4
        Re: Hi from Cleveland, Ohio

        you might want to check out an oven that was custom built in brooklyn,ny..google pizza moto check that out..


        • #5
          Re: Hi from Cleveland, Ohio


          Unless you are intent on building custom have you considered something
          like the self contained FB primavera oven? If you only need to cook one pizza at a time it appears to be easily portable. This would be great for your family
          gatherings--although for a business it would be nearly impossible to turn a
          decent profit without the ability to bake multiple pies. Best of luck...