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Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community


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Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

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  • Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

    Monitored my fire today and found that the floor was too hot (burned the base a bit) ... and the top was too cold!

    The flames were licking up the roof and I revved the fire up for about an hour before hand but no luck.

    I did a temp test and got a reading of around 400 C on the floor with the lazer gun.

    Question is - how can I get a happy medium heat dispersion between floor and top to cook the perfect pizza?
    / Rossco

  • #2
    Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

    400 C. (752 deg F.) is too hot for me and my pies. My (and others too) only consistant complaint is blackened bottoms so I'm really sensitive about working to avoid it.

    On my last firing I was almost that hot on the floor too and I got it down to 300-320 C (600 deg F) only by moping 3 times in a row to cool it down. The bottoms were mostly good but some barely kept the black at bay.

    Did you have the "flames licking up the roof" for an hour or was the whole thing from light-up to pizza temps an hour? Maybe you could have more medium temps going longer before taking it up to pizza temps for an hour.

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    • #3
      Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

      I had a fierce fire on Anzac day and got the hearth to 480˚C and the dome well over 500˚C (as my laser only goes to that temp).
      I was so hot that O ended up melting one of my downlights which illuminate the hearth, so a quick replacement was the go just as the guests were arriving.
      I usually get the dome 30 -40˚C hotter than the hearth but my first pizza cooked in just under the minute, half done on the aluminium pan and 20 second to leopardise the base.
      They could not believe it and it was in the queue to make my next pizza as they sampled my first.
      We ended up doing over 40 pizzas from 1.30 to 8.00pm.
      Also did 2 caramel/bana pizzas which went down a treat.

      Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

      The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know

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      Neillís kitchen underway


      • #4
        Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

        I usually have a floor temp over 800F when making pizza. They cook very quickly, and I occasionally get a bottom more brown than I wish- but that's pretty much the first pie and none of the rest. I do have to keep them moving (and I can only do one at a time- I just can't manage two) and if the top isn't quite there, I lift it with the peel and let the heat from the dome finish it off.

        I don't make thick pies, though, and if you do, cooler temps would be better.



        • #5
          Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

          Thanks for the feedback...

          Dino - I got the licking flames going about 1/2 hr before the cooking started. Definitely some black bottoms happened along the way.

          Neill - You have a furnace not a pizza oven ;-). That is crazy heat. Glad to hear banana caramels turned out well...

          Elizabeth - I wonder why your bases aren't getting blackened at that temp and mine are.

          What I really would like to know is the following:

          How can I regulate the fire to get the correct floor temp and ALSO the correct dome temp at the same time. If I add wood to get the flames licking then I am generating more floor heat and coals so the floor temp increases. There seems now way to get one lot of heat without the other. Quite a conundrum.
          / Rossco


          • #6
            Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

            Rossco - it sounds like you manage your fire like I do, though I usually let it heat up for 60-90 minutes depending on how big the fire is (when it clears, it's ready).

            In my experience, flour type and hydration are important factors in getting the crust cooked just right. The best pizzas I've made have been at higher temps (800+F / 426+C) and using 00 flour is key. When I've used 100% bread flour, the undersides burned.

            I now use a 50/50 00, bread flour mix (I like the texture, bubbles and ease of handling that the bread flour adds).

            I also lift my pizzas with the turning peel to the top of the dome for several seconds to finish the tops.

            If you don't have access or otherwise don't want to use 00 flour, I'd try cooking at lower temps; when the bottoms are done, lift them to the dome to finish the tops.

            Hope this helps.

            Last edited by sjmeff; 04-27-2010, 08:46 AM. Reason: Fixed typo.


            • #7
              Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

              If you want to up your dome heat relative to the floor heat try shorter burns with the same amount of wood.

              Instead of firing for one hour, try firing for 45 min. Split the wood smaller and stuff it in.


              • #8
                Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

                I bring my oven up to about 800F to 900Fon the sides and the floor then let the floor cool to about 650F while maintaining a good flame with one or two small logs. I find that 650F floor temperature is a perfect temp for me to cook my pizzas, any higher, and the bottoms will char too much. I buy my flour from a local Italian market that also has a pizza oven, but I'm not sure what the mix is b/c they give it to me in a plastic bag. I've experimented with straight high gluten flour as well as different mixes and all seem to work good at the 650F temp.
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                • #9
                  Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

                  During a dark winter night, I fired up the forno, had a nice hot fire going and let it burn down to a bed of very hot coals. I banked them over to the side of the dome and in the dark, saw the fire bricks on the oven floor glowing red from the heat of the fire that had been over it. After 15 minutes or so, the floor is much cooler and I do not burn the bottoms of the pizzas so readily. I will throw in a log just to keep the flames licking over the top of the dome and back down the far side to help cook the top. Not lots of flame, just a slow cooking flame.
                  Can't really speak to temperatures as I do not have an infrared thermometer, but it is important to let the floor cool a bit after you scrape the coals from the center of the dome and bank them over on the side.


                  • #10
                    Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

                    Thanks for that info - I am also wondering if the inclusion of semolina in the recipe may also be a contributing factor to the burned bottom...
                    / Rossco


                    • #11
                      Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

                      We cooked 21 pizzas the other night for a party. I hadn't measured floor temps before so this time I did. The floor was at 725 when we started, the dome had cleared. My internal probe mounted 4" above the floor had been as high as 800 but was about 650 when we started cooking. The floor temp held above 700 most of the night as I checked it, we kept adding wood to keep the oven in 650-750 range while cooking. Pizzas cooked in 2 minutes. I use Caputo 00 for my dough, it works like a champ. As usual no pictures because I was busy cooking, but the favorite pizza was pesto, prosciutto, garlic and mozarella with some fresh thyme sprinkled on top.


                      • #12
                        Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

                        Thanks Eric - i will be have a go making some pizza without semolina one of these days. It seems to have a lower resistance to burning. May have to trade off some crispness for an unburned bottom! Would be great to be able to get Caputo flour here at a reasonable price though...
                        / Rossco


                        • #13
                          Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

                          Hi Rossco....

                          I am not aware of semolina being particularly sensitive to hearth temperature (relative to regular flour) but any burning issues should be easily resolved by simply reducing the hearth temperature a bit. My normal test for hearth temperature is to throw about 1/8 tsp of semolina onto my hearth. If the semolina turns black in less than three seconds the hearth is IMO too warm. If it is much over 3 seconds it is too cold. And three seconds is about right. Though my dough is flour based (for I don't use semolina in any of the doughs I routinely make). IF dough containing semolina is more susceptible to burning perhaps the answer is closer to four seconds. I like the semolina test because it uses materials I have down at my oven when cooking pies doesn't require me to carry my UV temp gun down and back. The reason I use semolina over flour is the larger granularity makes it work better but one can get similar results with flour or corn meal (but corn meal makes a less appealing flavor on the bottom of the pizza IMO so I use semolina on my peel).

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                          • #14
                            Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

                            Hi Rossco,

                            anything above 400 on my hearth and I get a burned base as well.

                            I am using a straight commercial pizza flour, with the normal hydration.

                            I have read that 00 flour doesn't burn as easily. can't say (from experience) if this is true or not..

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                            • #15
                              Re: Fire: Too Hot - Too Cold

                              Hi Guys,
                              i am new to this. My uncle built a pizza oven recently. We have lit fires in it for the last few weeks just to cure it but on saturday we lit it for real. Im not sure why but the pizza's would not cook. The base is 30" diameter and the floor to celing is 23" the opening is 18" wide and 15.5 high. The materials used for the oven 2" sand behind brick and 2" of insullation. After hours of waiting and lots of hardwood no luck. We are totally confused to why the oven would not get to the sufficent heat. Any suggestios pleaseeeee