Ariane and Bob began curing the oven today. Curing is a process which requires the oven be maintained at low but gradually increasing temperatures over a period of five days. Maintaining low temperatures in an oven that is designed to conduct heat naturally can be a tricky task but Bob and Ariane were able to figure out how to manage the fire to keep the oven temperature at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It will be a few more late nights and early mornings for Pizza Carrello, but in the end, pizza will be baking.
Once the oven is cured, there are only a few finishing details until Pizza Carrello is ready to serve pizza! Last week, Bob and Ariane were able to build landings for the oven and make table. They also began construction of the herb boxes that will adorn the trailer. This is where we will grow some of our fresh herbs, like basil, to put on the Pizza Carrello pizzas!
Additionally, the trailer will be fitted with an aluminum skin to help add to the artistry of the business and the oven will be covered with hand-made ceramic tile. However, we're so excited to share our pizza with you that we might be on the streets before these details are finished.
More curing updates to come...
Well, yet again I got to do something really cool that I'd never done before... STUCCO! We made our own recipe that included lots of sand, portland cement, and hydrated lime. The results are FANTASTIC! We have an extremely hard stucco, done over multiple layers to a uniform thickness of nearly 2". It's truly beautiful! I finally took the camera home, so I also posted the insulation process and the metal mesh that had to go on top of the insulation onto which we stuck the stucco. Thanks again to Bonnie Omang for enduring the torturous task of helping us with the insulation!
The oven construction continues! We wrapped the whole oven in kaowool blankets with the assistance and expertise of Bonnie Omang, a fellow local potter and a great friend. Kaowool is itchy, fibrous, snowy-white insulation used to make kilns, insulate furnaces and fireplaces, and also pizza ovens! And we used more than I have ever seen! To give you an idea, when kilns for firing pottery are built using kaowool for insulating walls, one or two layers of 1" kaowool is all that is usually used to reach temperatures over 2000 degrees. But our giant oven has up to 6 layers of kaowool on top of the refractory cast walls, then there will be two or three layers of stucco, then we are making our own ceramic tiles and applying them as the final outer layer of the oven. There is so much insulation that the outside of the oven will never even get warm, unless you count the warmth of a sunny day! Pretty cool, eh?
Stucco pictures coming soon!
Pizza Carrello is building a trailer on which to build a wood-fired pizza oven. This blog documents the progress, struggles and successes of the construction project.