Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winter Pizza -- The Pompeii Brick Oven

It's been a while since we fired up the brick pizza oven, almost two months. Yesterday a friend called, saying he wants to build one, could he come and check it out. I suppose I should say "acquaintance" since he's never been to Elk Cliff Farm, but he seems like a friend. He's one of those guys who sends out good vibes whenever I run into him, two or three times a year. He retired from the Federal Reserve, which I don't hold against him since I have my own banking skeletons in the closet.

Anyway, Karen said if you wait until tomorrow (which now is today), we'll share some pizza with you. She didn't have to twist his arm. My job is warming up the big mass in our backyard kitchen. I couldn't wait, so first thing this morning I started a small fire and have kept it going. About two hours before dinner I'll stoke it up and we'll watch the firebricks get hotter and hotter, from char-black to white and then to clear, which should be about 850 or 900 degrees.

Actually, last I checked they were already turning white. You can see this in the photo, below. The lower bricks inside the oven are black, but the higher and hotter bricks are turning white. (You may have to click on the photo to make it larger.)

Here's a picture taken two hours later, 20 minutes before dinnertime. Note how all the bricks are clear, back to their original yellowish color.
"No scale," says Virginia. "Your pictures give no idea of the mass of this oven."

All right. Here are a few more.


  1. Brings back some nice memories!

  2. Hmmmmmmm! I remember too! As a matter of fact, I can still taste the great pizza that comes out of that brick oven! It's been way too long!

  3. mary pannabecker steinerFebruary 2, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Maybe I should just come out there to get away from here. I miss you, big brother.

  4. What you noticed about the brick oven reminds me of my nephews because that’s what also they said when we had a pizza party. Well, kids are always like that. A simple thing for us adults is a big deal for them. It’s just their way of exploring the things around them, I guess. ;)