Thursday, January 21, 2010

here they are !!!!

After a bit trial and error we used these pizza trays to bake for the first 3o sec then when the dough cooked up we flipped them onto the oven floor ,we stuck in a temp thermometer which kept going off the scale , we estimate the oven was sitting at 830 Fahrenheit. it took 90 secs for the pizza to be done with a super crispy base - the pictures look OK they taste bloody great. Will be posting dough recipes and tips as we go .......

Thursday, June 25, 2009

laying the foundation

we cleared the area ,shuttered the foundation area and stamped down 5inches of hardcore ,then 6 inches of concrete was poured with a metal grid sunk in to give added strength -


following the ozak dreams web site we chose a style we liked and built up the blockwork ,it was our first time at trying blockwork so we made sure the levels were ok at every course laid. Every two courses we laid we then waited a day to make sure everything was dry before increasing the height.

upper slab

This was the bit i was worried about , creating wooden forms to support the upper concrete slab which the pizza oven would rest on.
I followed ozarks instructions and they worked ,i couldnt find concrete board in the uk and eventually decided 2x2 concrete slabs did the job ,they formed the base and a watertight seal , the wooden forms were built and levels checked ,the concrete was poured at a depth of about 5 inches - more steel mesh was sunk in then we tamped the surface level with a wooden batton.

Then tapped the sides with a hammer to try to make the finish as even as possible as i wasnt planning to tile the front edge .

slab done

we waited 1 week to allow the concrete to dry out , gently removed the wooden forms and hoping for a smooth edge -- sods luck ,the back and far away side were perfect , the two facing sides looked like swiss cheese ,i spoke with my friend who is a plasterer and he told me to make a cement mix 4:1 and trowel the facing edge smooth then gently rub it in circles with a sponge .

it matched the top perfectly ,on inspection he said i should have spent longer working the top with a float and could have had a smoother finish - i was just pleased to have a slab!

firebrick base

you can see we designed a roof as i thought we should keep things dry whilst we work ,at this point we decided to build a cob oven as i had a wicker dome which Lewis my eldest son had made for my 40th and was the reason for this whole excercise.

we worked our way through "buidling with cob book" and laid the firebricks out set into a mix of fire cemement and sand which helped level out the imperfections in the slab surface

bring on the cob

we dug out clay from our garden which justified my thinking about getting rid of the veg patch and building this oven ,the soil was so clay rich- we followed the books instructions and put a sample in a bottle of water gave it a good shake and within 20 mins we could see it was mostly clay and knew we had to add a lot of sand .

we placed wet newspaper over the wicker frame to give the first layer something even to dry against

1st stage : at a mix of abour 20% clay to 80% sand we stamped out the first layers mix and made small bricks which we build round the wicker dome giving us the first layer about 3 inches thick .This fist layer as shown in the picture sits just within the firebrick base

2nd stage : We then added 1/2 a bale of hay to more 80/20 mix the same as detailed above ,it was harder work mixing this in and took a whole afternoon ,we left it rolled up for a night before making more brick shapes and added this as a 2nd layer the next day probably 4 inches thick which covered the firebrick base -

nearly there

this picture shows the wicker dome ,the paper layers then the first cob layer with no straw and the 2nd layer with straw ,we waited 2 days before carving open where the door would be .
in building the 2nd layer we decided to pull cob back from the oven/ dome and created a chimney.

not sure how efficient this will be but thought we would try it

drying time

now its wait and let the dome dry out ,we opened the wicker at the door and allowed air to circulate and we plan to light some small fires within a week or so - then it will be time to see if the pizza tastes as good as we all hope.