I am still experimenting to get a better outcome for cooking multiple pizzas.
The cooking area is cooling way fast to cook more than 2-3 pizzas max. After that the bottom remains doughy. (I have built a Mattone Barile Grande.)
I move the charcoals from side to side to continue if I want more than 2-3 pizzas.
I was wondering if anyone has discovered a better way to improve on this situation.
Here is some ideas that came to mind, wondering if anyone has tried them before me:
1 - Use salt instead of sand under the hearth.
2- Use a steel sheet on top of the hearth and cook on it.
3 - Use a 2-3inch high rack to place the pizza on and the charcoal underneath.
Not sure whether these ideas would provide better outcome. I am checking whether any one has tried them before me.
What you’re describing is typical behavior for the oven to keep a hot hearth. I’ve gone a different route and keep a blazing fire against the back wall and bake pizzas in front of it. The flames flowing over the top radiate more heat into the hearth bricks and keep my bottoms from getting soggy.
Of the 3 ideas you list, a pizza steel is the most promising. I may try that in the interests of crust science. I’d be leery of salt under the hearth. It looks like your (beautiful) oven is well protected but some have regular episodes of moisture infiltration so I wouldn’t advise as part of a build. The grilling rack has potential. I don’t think I’d put coals under it because then the bottom would cook way too fast. By itself you’d get some convection going.
Who else has tried variations like these and what is your experience?
I have tried moving the fire around as well (sides or rear) and found a hotter fire in back to be the best. In between multiple pizzas I pull the coals back over the front of the hearth for about 5-10 minutes. Its been working well so far. Also, let the oven heat up over a longer period of time, 2 hours or so, and you get a much deeper heat into the hearth and it doesn’t cool as quickly.
I’m interested in getting longer heat.
Normally we are firing up the oven for parties of 8-12 people. I too, take about 2 hours to get it up to temperature. I just can’t see how I could do it any faster if following the Brickwood instructions, i.e. letting it go to embers before between buildups. Going to embers just talks a long time.
Anyway, I get a maximum of 4 pizzas the first time. The last one is always a push to get it cooked properly.
After that, we spread out the embers then eat that batch. Half an hour later I pile on wood and get a healthy blaze. Then, even though the inner temperature is the same as the first time, the oven retains the heat better and we have no problem getting up to 6 pizzas done before it cools off.
We cook two pizzas at a time, but they do go in staggered because of prep.
I’d certainly be interested in tips for getting more done.
We have discussed that getting the second burn in first would be ideal. However, we just haven’t worked out a way to do that.