Thursday, March 20, 2008


While eating the pizza we cooked in the indoor oven on Tuesday night, we went over our notes and formulated a plan for Wednesday. Top of the list: Keep a fire burning in the oven long enough to be certain we have driven the dampness and cold from the oven' clay walls and heavy foundation.

Since Rosanna can't focus ALL her attention on the oven (she and Carol had an appointment in Benson), Odel and I were the fire bosses. We started the fire at 12:30 and burned until 5:00. By then, we could feel heat on ALL parts of the exteror of the oven, including the super-thick lower walls. For the first time, the oven was heated all the way through.

We pulled the coals out, put the door in place, started the 30 minute countdown timer for the "heat soak", and went inside to make our pizzas.

Look at the results and let your mouths water!

We each made two small pizzas, and cooked four at a time. This is our first batch, cooked for five or six minutes, I think. When we cut them and started eating, we decided to cook the second batch for 10 minutes, and they came out dripping bubbling cheese off the hot, crispy, sourdough crusts. Heavenly!

At 6:45 this morning, when the air temperature was 35 degrees, Rosanna applied the infrared thermometer to the oven. Here are our "six point" stats:

Apex of the oven (measured on the outside): 46 degrees
At the floor in the doorway: 116 degrees
Midway up the back wall: 125 degrees
Lower left wall: 117 degrees (compared with 74 degrees yesterday morning).
Lower right wall: 114 degrees (compared with 74 degrees yesterday morning).
Middle of the floor, center of the oven: 140 degrees! (compared with 82 yesterday morning). Even with nighttime temperatures close to freezing, we had residual heat in the walls and floor. Looks like we finally heated the oven completely!

As much fun as we have getting to know the oven, preparing the pizzas is almost more fun. The 30 minute "heat soak", which allows the hot and cold spots in the oven to equalize, is pizza-making (and wine drinking) time. We must have had twenty different toppings; lots of comparing, peeking, peering and discussion of techniques and combinations. We even experimented (briefly) with hand-tossed dough.

Today's experiment needs less heat - Rosanna is baking bread (no pizza making), along with 4 big russet potatoes for our dinner (which will include grilled salmon, gingered cucumber salad and greens). Bread baking will be the primary use of the oven; we are anticipating something irrestible.


  1. My mouth is watering....

  2. Odel is looking like he can't to dig in