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Forno Bravo oven owners: tell me about your oven


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i know one person who has one.

they have mentioned the biggest disadvantage is that you have to start a hardwood fire and wait for it reach heat. there is clean up involved, . it's a lot of work to turn out one pizza for dinner.

i lusted after one, but as i've grown older, i've come to realize that ease of use and minimal clean up is a big plus.

i ended up getting a weber summit gas grill (this from a devoted lump coal griller), adding a pizza stone, and know i bake bread, and make pizza's on the grill. The grill has essentially no clean up, reaches temps of 600- 700 degrees in 15 minutes, and allows me to cook a pizza in 6-10 minutes.

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I've had multiple weber kettle's, smokey joe's, various smokers, and a Green Egg, I viewed gas grills like a sailboat owner views powerboats...with distain. I switched to lump hardwood charcoal years ago...I was a grill snob.

Then I had to bake and cook for a dozen+ people in the wilderness, and I wanted consistency and ease. I ended up buying a gas grill, and now I wonder why I waited so long.

As for pizza, I mix the dough in the morning (Wolfgang Puck's recipe, works great), let it rise all day while at work, fire up the grill (turn a bunch of knobs) when I get home, make the pizza...by the time i've made the pizza, the grill is 600+ degrees, I slide the pizza onto the baking stone, 6-10 minutes later perfect crust and toppings.

I use to make pizza's in my oven at 500 degrees, and I had to par-cook the crust, then load the toppings, then recook the pizza, in order to get the toppings and the crust just right.

the blazing heat of the grill/pizza stone gets it all done in one step, and both are perfect.

High heat makes for easier pizza cooking with superior results.

When i'm done cooking the pizza, I shut the grill off. No loading charcoal, no clean up. It's like using a kitchen oven, except it gets hotter quicker, and it doesn't heat up the house in the summer.

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I have a wood fired oven, not a Forno Bravo, but you'll note that I identify it as a WFO not a pizza oven. That's the magic of it, the multiple uses it serves. Takes a couple of hours to heat the oven at which time we do pizza when it drops to 850 degrees from 1,000-1,100 degrees. After the pizza we let it cool to 500 or so and put in a chicken or short ribs to cook. The final cooking is a couple loaves of bread. This is an oven for my wife and I, occasional family and neighbors. All being said it's worth the effort of firing and cleaning up (small chore) for the oven benefits. I'd build one again in a heartbeat, only larger. Home built with super insulation to retain the thermal efficiency for cooking beyond pizza. Rock fish on salt, gratin vegetables, mushroom, sausage, shrimp apps before meals, etc.....I still use a gas grill, weber, hibachi and electric smoker but none will substitute for the WFO. Here's a look.

http://slice.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/08/my-pizza-oven-nick-and-robin-gladdis-paso-robles-california.html?ref=search

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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I've had multiple weber kettle's, smokey joe's, various smokers, and a Green Egg, I viewed gas grills like a sailboat owner views powerboats...with distain. I switched to lump hardwood charcoal years ago...I was a grill snob.

Then I had to bake and cook for a dozen+ people in the wilderness, and I wanted consistency and ease. I ended up buying a gas grill, and now I wonder why I waited so long.

As for pizza, I mix the dough in the morning (Wolfgang Puck's recipe, works great), let it rise all day while at work, fire up the grill (turn a bunch of knobs) when I get home, make the pizza...by the time i've made the pizza, the grill is 600+ degrees, I slide the pizza onto the baking stone, 6-10 minutes later perfect crust and toppings.

I use to make pizza's in my oven at 500 degrees, and I had to par-cook the crust, then load the toppings, then recook the pizza, in order to get the toppings and the crust just right.

the blazing heat of the grill/pizza stone gets it all done in one step, and both are perfect.

High heat makes for easier pizza cooking with superior results.

When i'm done cooking the pizza, I shut the grill off. No loading charcoal, no clean up. It's like using a kitchen oven, except it gets hotter quicker, and it doesn't heat up the house in the summer.

Wait, i thought to cook a pizza on a grill you had to grill the dough one side before you add the toppings since your heat is basically only coming from the bottom. Am I wrong? Can you cook a pizza on a grill the same you do in your oven? I assumed once you open the grill hatch the temp would drop to like 200 degrees instantly and would take a while to creep back up.

Edited by Crouton (log)
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http://forums.egullet.org/index.php/topic/141189-baking-on-the-grill-a-revelation/page__hl__+grilling%20+revelation#entry1855463

this post has a picture of my setup.

With this setup, your grill becomes an oven suitable for baking bread, and high temperature pizza cooking.

Yes, the temperature drops when you open the grill, just like it drops when you open your oven door.

The thermal mass of the grill, the rising heat from the burners, and the heat retained in the pizza stone make the temp bounce back up.

I'm not against the Forno Bravo, and if I had a backyard full of hardwood trees, and did a high volume of cooking, i'd get one. But the romans used these ovens, and they ran them 24/7. they coupled them with bathhouses, so the heat was either being used to communally bake bread or cook food for large numbers of people, or warm water for the baths. the problem is getting the fire going and efficiently utilizing the heat. If you have to light up a hardwood fire, wait for it to be ready, and then cook just one pizza...then clean out the ashes, and load it up again, that's a lot of work. Your not going to be inclined to fire that baby up every day. That's my main point.

You can achieve pizza heaven with any heat source that can get hot enough (600+ degrees). Add a box of wet wood chips, and any heat source can add smoke. The question i'm posing is how much effort, expense and cleanup are you interested in?

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Raoul...your oven is a beauty. Did you buy a precast oven insert, or did you build a brick dome by hand? Either way, it's a fine-looking setup.

Dome was built on site, fire brick on edge (4") with a 12" vermiculite/cement slurry for heat retention. All the remaining space backfilled with vermiculite to the top. After a night of pizza the oven still reads 200-250 degrees w/o the door in place, the following morning.

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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http://forums.egullet.org/index.php/topic/141189-baking-on-the-grill-a-revelation/page__hl__+grilling%20+revelation#entry1855463

this post has a picture of my setup.

With this setup, your grill becomes an oven suitable for baking bread, and high temperature pizza cooking.

Yes, the temperature drops when you open the grill, just like it drops when you open your oven door.

The thermal mass of the grill, the rising heat from the burners, and the heat retained in the pizza stone make the temp bounce back up.

I'm not against the Forno Bravo, and if I had a backyard full of hardwood trees, and did a high volume of cooking, i'd get one. But the romans used these ovens, and they ran them 24/7. they coupled them with bathhouses, so the heat was either being used to communally bake bread or cook food for large numbers of people, or warm water for the baths. the problem is getting the fire going and efficiently utilizing the heat. If you have to light up a hardwood fire, wait for it to be ready, and then cook just one pizza...then clean out the ashes, and load it up again, that's a lot of work. Your not going to be inclined to fire that baby up every day. That's my main point.

You can achieve pizza heaven with any heat source that can get hot enough (600+ degrees). Add a box of wet wood chips, and any heat source can add smoke. The question i'm posing is how much effort, expense and cleanup are you interested in?

The start up is relatively simple and cleanup is a non issue. A cord of wood lasts me about a 18+mos. The objective is to plan secondary meals when you fire the oven tobest utilize the thermal efficiencies and resources. Pizza at 850 degrees is a different equation than the Weber or any oven @ 600 degrees. Comparing them is like my saying my LAD is clean as a whistle after 68 years.

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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The Duke's WFO is a thing of beauty.

You need to decide what best suits your needs, or "when in doubt, buy both"

Oh, this is so far beyond the realm of needs....LOL. I'm turning out pretty good pizza on my Egg, as well as the occasional loaf or two. But a wood-fired oven class at King Arthur exposed me to a Panyol oven w/a 3-meter hearth; what a beast! So I'm thinking long & hard about what kind of oven, placement, etc, if/when I decide to take the plunge.

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HC - Check out the NOLA area for someone who has a WFO that you can see. Check the Slice section of Serious Eats web site for other folks out there like me. It really doesn't have to be elaborate to produce great pizza.

"I drink to make other people interesting".

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I also have a WFO though not a Forno Bravo. I also have a gas grill, and a Big Green Egg. Let me give you my opinion.

1)Pizza in the WFO is a different level than anything else I have made, and I have been making pizza for decades. The difference between 850+F and 600F is meaningful.

2) While heating the oven takes time (I can be making Pizza in 90 mins) it is not a very active process, and I throw tons of veggies in to roast during this time to have ample high quality toppings.

3) Cleanup is a snap, in fact I don't cleanup I just close up the oven and clean out the as before next use which takes all of 30 seconds with the right tools.

I thought this would be alot tougher, and I was worried about all of the above taking away from my enjoyment of it. My family and friends enjoy it so much I am so glad we chose to go ahead with the project.

MSK

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  • 1 year later...

I bought a Forno Bravo oven. What a huge mistake. I have never had such unprofessional dealings with a company. I bought and paid for an oven, as well as a variety of accessories. They never sent me all the parts I paid for. They engaged in a series of delay tactics, then told me too much time has elapsed and seriously stated my only other option was to buy a completely new oven. They are off the charts! I hear there is a significant number of dissatisfied customers. There are plenty of honorable companies which sell these oven for a better price. Buy from Forno Bravo, and you will regret it.

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I am here to update my comments. Under their new, energized, and gifted COO, Forno Bravo has reached out to me and expressed their concerns for my dissatisfaction. They have listened and responded. They are making good on this purchase and have displayed their professionalism and aim to please. Problems can be remedied through simple communication. I am impressed with Forno Bravo's devotion to customer service and their integrity, demonstrated by their commitment to make things right. On the basis of these unfolding developments, I would unequivocally and highly recommend Forno Bravo.

Edited by PizzaMan (log)
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