I will be placing my hearth slab this week and starting the brick work. It’s been one month since I got it as a birthday present and it has been so much fun to build so far.
My question is about the finish of the oven. I am trying to decide between the open finish or closing it off. It there a benefit to either? I live in Chicago and planning on using it for bread and everything else and I’m wondering if the closed finish keeps the oven hotter.
OPEN OVEN - Great versatility! When you leave the oven open, you can not only bake wood-fired pizzas and breads like a Champ… but you also have plenty of room to bake higher profile foods like large turkeys w/ ease. I like the open oven design for one main reason - Wood Fired BBQ! And everyone knows flavorful wood-fired BBQ is superior to BBQ cooked over charcoal briquets or even gas (if you consider cooking w/ gas real BBQ).
CLOSED OVEN - Closing the front of your oven a bit is encouraged for heat-retention and better smoke direction. Since the oven opening is declined, you will get less cold air coming into the oven… and less hot air escaping the oven - thus, you have longer heat retention, higher temps and less time re-firing the oven (reheating). It also forces the smoke out of the chimney vs simply rolling out the front of the oven.