Yesterday i could not stand it any more so i built a fire in Craven, have i mentioned her name is Craven?, with the intention of baking some pizzas. I must say I was a bit apprehensive about getting her all hot and bothered. For all i knew she could totally collapse in a heap of mud... or explode into a million pieces. I built a fire out of old pallet wood and kept it blazing for 2 hours which i figured would be good enough for cooking a couple of pizzas. The fire door worked great at promoting good air flow while allowing easy feeding and tending of the fire. I used the blow pipe a couple of times to rev up the flames.
As darkness fell it decided it was now or never. I assembled the pizzas and (attempted) to put them in the oven :-p It was at this point that I began to learn a few things about cob oven in general and this oven in particular.
This is What I Learned:
- I need a proper peel- sometimes DIY is just not worth it. I found a restaurant supply on line from which i can get one for under $10.00. Ordering it next.
- Use a flat surface on which to assemble the pizzas - a cookie sheet with a lip does not allow one to effectively slide the peel under the pizza without messing it up.
- Do not put too many toppings on said pizza - they fall off with handling.
- Calzones are easier to handle that pizzas - and taste just as good.
- It takes a lot of foreplay to get Craven really hot - 2 hours of firing was not enough to heat her enough to even cook pizzas properly. I am guessing 3 hours minimum and 4 hours + to getter her hot enough to make buns in the oven, i mean, bake loaves of bread. This suggests that the abundant thermal mass in this oven will retain heat for a long time once it finally reaches maximum temperature.
- I need to start stockpiling lots of firewood - i have enough for probably one good firing. I am going to keep my eye open for construction sites, few and far between in this depressed economy. and start cutting brush around here that we've been planning to do for a while now.