Brick Pizza Oven in your house? [moved from DC/Baltimore board]
Great info. Warthog.
I've been thinking how nice it would be to have a brick pizza oven in my next house. It seems that gas would be the only thing feasible, but I'm not sure if it works well with brick. Is it possible to have a coal, charcoal or wood fired brick oven at home that's safe and isn't a ton of work?
I built a wood or charcoal fired oven out of mud. It works great and costs virtually nothing. I used fieldstone for the base. The floor of the oven is firebrick and the dome is mud or earth (specifically sub soil). It makes great pizzas and is far superior to a regular gas/electric oven in almost every way except for convenience. Search Amazon for Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd Edition: A Low-Cost Wood-Fired Mud Oven; Simple Sourdough Bread; Perfect Loaves
If you would be building the house, you might want to look into having a wood or coal fired cooking oven as part of a larger masonary oven heating scheme. Do a web search on "masonry oven", "masonry heat" or "rocket stove" as a place to start. There's a fine tradition in parts of Europe and elsewhere of massive brick or stone stove/bench/wall structures that serve as the core of the house, and use wood both for cooking and for heat.
If you do a web search on "wood fired oven" or "brick oven", you will find several web sites and some decent books on the subject. To make a long story short, if you are capable of mixing cement and laying brick, you can learn enough on the web to build your own outdoor one. If you want to trade money for labor, there are some "modular" ones avaialble, where the actual oven part is pre-cast from appropriate refactory (AKA "firebrick") materials, and you have your favorite mason build whatever structure you want around it.
To be honest, I don't think I'd want one in the house, unless I was really certain that those building and installing it knew what they were doing.
Do a search for my recent post on the Laurienzo's thread - that one was presumably installed by professionals, but the space between oven and the framing of the building was inadequate, and they burned down three buildings, to the tune of $4 million in damage.
I have been thinking a lot about building an outdoor one. I've also been mourning the one at my grandfather's house that my aunt and uncle had removed when they moved in after my grandfather's death (they also took out a really good pear tree!). So far, though, I've decide not to take the plunge.
For me, the work and expense were not the show stoppers - it was the realization of the difference between the person I'd like to be, and the person I really am. In my case, I've already got a really good BBQ smoker, and I've only fired it up a couple times this year. Extrapolating, I have to ask myself how often I would really use a brick oven. In truth, I have to admit I might not use it enough to warrant the outlay of time and resources, no matter how romantic a notion it may be to have one.
That said, I can't believe my aunt had one demolished! At least she's left the smokehouse standing, though it's only currently used for storage.