The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

oven brush

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gepp's picture
gepp

oven brush

can someone suggest a type of brush that will not burn for cleaning out my oven after i burn, and also what temp. to start baking at. gepp

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

Gepp,


WFO brushes have bronze bristles that won't burn.  Mine is ten years old.  There are many suppliers, but, depending on where you are, you should check out www.fgpizza.com.  Frankie G, the owner, is a very trustworthy guy, and his prices are just about the best around.  He is, however, in the Bay area of California, so shipping might be an issue.  I don't represent him, by the way. On the east coast, check out Empire Bakery Equipment (industrial stuff). You'll also need a swab, basically a long stick, with a piece of towel wired to it, that you make yourself.  Use it damp, not wringing wet, to swab up the last of the very fine fly ash (and, no, you won't harm the brick or refractory tiles doing this; just keep it moving so it doesn't catch fire on you).


The baking temp question is difficult to answer, because it depends a lot on the oven in question.  I bake 90 second pizza (65% hydration, Caputo flour) at 750 F, high hydration baguette at 650 F (8-9 minutes), 2 lb hearth loaves at 550 F (22 minutes), bagels at 500 F (18 minutes), pan breads at 350 F (20 minutes +-), slow roast meats at 200 F (3 to 5 hours, depending), etc.  These are all masonry temperatures, not air temperatures, which are misleading, at best, in a wood fired oven.  As a very basic starting point, cut the bake time in half for any recipe or formula developed for a home or deck oven. Steam for half the time, then vent, then finish. You should probably invest in point and shoot laser temp gauge if you don't have one already (Frankie G again).


Can't be much more specific than that.  Hope it helps.


CJ

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi Gepp


Traditionaly a Scuff is used, it is no more than a piece of hessian, or in our small oven i use a couple of old teatowels attached to a small hole in the end of a broom handle with some wire, immerse in a bucket of water and wring out, then go into the oven and start a swinging action that gets the cloth rotating, it will the flick ash dust and cinders out through the door way, safety glasses are quite a good idea to use here.


If you are cooking pizza with the fire still in the oven then simply wring out the cloth and rotate the handle so that the damp cloth wraps itself around the stick. you can then use a back and forth side ways motion  to push ash and coals to the sides for a clean surface for the pizzas to be deposited 


With oven temp, if i have used the oven for pizza first on a dying fire of hot coals pushed to the side and it has lasted for about an hour with  20 plus pizzas being cooked and the fire then raked out of the oven and the scuffing completed the oven can be used almost straight away, or best still after about half an hour.,It really depends when the dough is ready for the oven, (i have had to put it in almost straight away) in which case i usually give it a couple of scuffs with the damp scuff as it does take a bit of a sting out of the oven. Otherwise half an hour to even up is good. depending on your summation of how hot it is that half an hour can be with either the doorway open or blocked. An infrared thermometer is in valuable here and they are getting cheaper all the time (ebay brand new). other than that experience will soon come to the fore. i always take a peek early to see if the bread is taking colour, say 20 minutes into a 35 minute bake, if it is darkening then keep the door open for the next 10 minutes or so.



In the picture you can see by the colour of the bricks that the fire has been good and hot, the carbon has burned off, the oven was used to bake pizza first and then scuffed out there is a bit of cracked or sprouted wheat that has dropped off the baked loaves onto the oven floor. Nice end result and just the bread to give away!


 



 


 


Kind regards YOZZA  

Dhaus's picture
Dhaus

Hello Mr Yozza,


I am in the planning stages of building a large wfo.  My intentions for use is starting an artisan bakery from home focusing on wholesale to restrants at first and then seeing what the market wants in this area.


 


Other than surfing around the internet including this forum as well as the purchase of a couple of books that mainly focus on small scale for home use stuff, I haven't really run across any detailed info on building for a medium to a med-large operation.


The oven I want to build needs to be able to handle a decent batch of 4 plus pount loaves at a time.  I am thinking the baking deck needs to be at least 4'x5'  or possibly a little more in surface area.


I have found a few freebies such as a load of fire brick and some cinderblock.  What I need however is some plan options that addresses what I am trying to put together for an initial wholesale market scheme with a little light retail on the side to start out.


Any help is greatly appreciated,


Haus

yozzause's picture
yozzause

Hi there Haus


I have only just read your  posting so sorry for the latness of the response, the oven in the picture is from Rado at traditionaloven.com  He will send you a cd with plans etc for a small amount of money he will also answer any questions you might have too. I was very happy and the plans were followed by a group of high school students that built the oven at the college. Rado post his plans to people all over the world. The oven in the picture handles a dough  mix of around 10kgs, 18 to 20  x 500g loaves.


regards Yozza 

Alpine Baker's picture
Alpine Baker

This might be a tad controversial, but I don't mop my oven any more. I find it messy for the indoor space, unwieldy and (despite reassurances and time tested truth) I just don't feel comfortable putting my bricks in direct contact with water. Even if the water doesn't cool the bricks significantly enough to damage them, it just does not feel right. When I say it's messy, I mean it. The mixture of flour, soot and water at temperatures upwards of 700 degrees farenheit makes a concreteous mixture than can help keep your hearth set evenly, but also pry those same firebricks apart over extended years of daily use.


My solution? I use an improvised peel to dust the oven once I've swept out the spent ash and occaisonally coals. Rather than potentially ruin a perfectly good new peel, I use a 1/2" x 2' x 3' peice of plywood. I run water over most of the peel beforehand to save the edges from charring in the oven (it will soak this up before you know it, avoiding the concreteous solution I spoke of earlier) and, starting at a back corner, paddle the ashes thoroughly in a process that covers the entire hearthspace. You'll see the ashes poor out of the doorway and up the chimney. Warning, any backdraft will be very apparent at this stage. If there is one, you will find yourself running to a door or window to ventilate and create an updraft. This may take 3 or 4 passes before the hearth is clear of dust, but it's fast and clean and I will never go back to the mop.


Hope this helps.

CanuckJim's picture
CanuckJim

Haus,


Plans for a large wfo can be gotten from ovencrafters.net.  But, like all the Scott plans, they will need considerable interpolation, especially in the construction of the vent.  To see a very good photo essay on the construction of another, similar style, go here:http://sunnyfield.us/bakery.htm.  The builder, Pat Manley, is well respected for his knowledge and ability.  If you need more detailed information, contact me by email on this forum.


CJ 

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

"This might be a tad controversial, but I don't mop my oven any more. I find it messy for the indoor space, unwieldy and ... "


I don't mop either, cleaning the mop was just far too much bother and took too much time - then there's the problem of where to store the mop and bucket. 


My husband made me a sort of short hoe, with the blade at right angles to the handle. This quickly scrapes away all debris and leaves a much cleaner surface, I believe, than a wet mop did.* It hangs in the void under the wfo so is easily accessible and lives there all year round.


Mary


*My mother taught me never to mop the kitchen floor, she said it was just spreading the muck around. She didn't know everything but she was right there, might was well leave it alone :-) I get down on my knees and clean it with a cloth then rinse and rinse again. Far more satisfying and hygienic than a mop - and you can put the cloth in the washing machine.

yozzause's picture
yozzause

i just need to point out that a scuff is not a mop and although the  scuff is soaked it is wrung out as much as possible before being used in a vigourous ROTATING manner to flick out the last remaining dust and little bits of burt wood that invariably get left behind after the hoe has removed the larger pieces of burnt or burning wood,dust and ashes. Mopping with water is not advocated in my post.


regards Yozza.

Mary Fisher's picture
Mary Fisher

In Yorkshire it's the same thing :-) A mop is always wrung out 'as much as possible' and I've used mine in the classic rotating manner but it still needs to be cleaned itself afterwards, the 'hoe' is a better solution for a busy life - in my humble opinion ...


Mary

Alpine Baker's picture
Alpine Baker

Haha yeah. "Moist helicopter towel" would be a strange name. Even so, a damp scuff is messy. Good to have that clear though. Wouldn't want anyone literally trying to mop their oven.