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Half brick pizza oven build?

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  • Half brick pizza oven build?

    I want to build a pizza oven for family use (cooking half a dozen pizzas per firing.

    I can understand the theory of thermal mass holding/refracting heat for an oven that is being used commercially but is this amount of mass needed to fire 6 pizzas?

    Would an oven dome built of half brick work just as well for firing 6 pizzas? Would it heat quicker and cool down quicker (former an advantage)?

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum!
    Ovens can be build in different thicknesses - the thicker they are the longer they take to heat up and the longer they take to cool down, allowing retained heat cooking.
    The ovens that follow the FB plans are a half brick thick (4.5"), meaning taking a 9" X 4.5" rectangular and cutting it in half. Is that the half brick you were referring to or are you asking about using a brick in a different orientation?
    Last edited by JRPizza; 02-12-2021, 07:38 PM.
    My build thread


    • #3
      Based on how you want to cook. I suggest you look at David S posts and thread for a cast oven. He uses a smaller diameter oven made from dense refractory rather than brick and can easily meet you cooking criteria.
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      • #4
        A 2" thick dome provides sufficient thermal mass to cook pizza and maintain fairly even temperature, as well as reasonable heat up times and fuel consumption. However with the door open to provide access for moving pizzas in and out as well as monitoring cooking time it is essential to maintain a small fire on the side. For roasting or baking withe the door on or off 2' wall thickness is quite adequate. If you want to bake bread for your village, more thermal mass (thicker walls) is a better suited alternative.

        If you attempt to build a brick oven with bricks of half the usual thickness (ie 2" instead of 4") expect multiple failure at the mortar joints. Houses built of bricks require the full 4" brick thickness for the same reason. You don't see houses built with bricks on edge. Cast ovens by contrast will survive much better with the thinner wall thickness. The cast can be a one piece casting to avoid joins, although the difference in temperature that a one piece dome will experience (way hotter at the top than the base) creates extreme stress, so long term expect a crack to develop. A multi-piece dome will account for the difference in temperature, but expect hairline cracks where the sections are joined. However it's done, brick, one piece casting or multi- piece castings, the dome won't collapse because it's a self supporting structure.
        Last edited by david s; 02-26-2021, 07:39 PM.
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        • #5
          Appreciate greatly the responses.

          Was thinking of split bricks which are 4 1/2" x 9" x 1 1/4"; would the 1 1/4" thickness, w/ample insulation, be sufficient ?

          Understand the concerns about reduced bonding surface for the mortar although as the structure is dome shaped it is self supporting in a sense.

          Also if a full brick was cut/split into 3 pieces you would end up w/a 3" thick brick as opposed to cutting in 2 pcs for 4 1/2". Assume this could be a good compromise also.


          • #6
            Having a 4.5 inch contact/bearing surface is just a proven design. Yes a dome is self supporting but there is some point where bricks can be just too thin, especially with all the thermal stresses. At what point the dome will have premature failure is anybody's guess, but that is why david s suggested going with a bonded shell (also proven design) if you want to go thin. If you proceed please document your build so we can all learn one way or the other.
            My build thread