Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Turns out the whole wood fired oven thing actually works as advertised!

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the WFO project ended up reminding me of the end of our house build. Although on a much smaller and MUCH less stressful scale, once I finally got it to the point where it was done enough to actually be put to use I discovered, or rather I am discovering, that the way I think about it hasn't caught up. So here we are again, all of the sudden, with a mostly finished project that works and is usable and that we can enjoy while my brain is still playing that "when the WFO is done... " track.
Perhaps that explains why I've been a major loser in the photography department. It's either that, or, as I was just explaining to someone else, the whole WFO pizza cookery event is somewhat ill-suited to photojournalism, what with the timing issues invovled. And the smoke, of course.

So when I left you last, the build was complete and we were spending a few days on air drying. From there we progressed to a very exciting first fire. A wee one so as not to get things too hot while moisture might still be hanging around in the bricks and mortar that would cause havoc by expanding when it turned to steam.
first fire
Smoke from the flue=crazy exciting!

Even a wee fire is good enough for this sugar addict to cook up some marshmallows for smores:
smores from a wee fire

Moving on to a bit bigger fire:
a little bigger fire

And finally, a bigger, hotter fire that was enough to get some serious heat in the hearth bricks and produce a couple of gorgeous calzones for dinner:

first food from the wfo

Those burnt ends are evidence of what happens when you step away from the oven just long enough to grab the camera from inside the house. Char, baby....wHOOHOO! And char, or more specifically a controlled, just-a-bit-of-char kind of thing, is part of what the WFO is all about when it comes to dough.
And seriously, is this not just about the best looking calzone you've ever seen? Check out that crusty browned goodness...and all from FIVE minutes of cooking:
veggie calzone

and it got even better on the inside:
inside a veggie calzone
not bad for a practice, warm-up fire and literally 10 minutes of prep using whatever I could dig out of the fridge. Veggie for me, pepperoni and cheese for Boy. We were practically yelping with delight. I'm saying without a doubt these were the best calzones I've ever made or eaten, and I suspect it's only going to get better from here.

Boy was thinking maybe we need to take before WFO and after WFO pictures of ourselves so we can appreciate the effect all the forthcoming edible practice will have on our waistlines...
We'll title that essay "why NOT to build a WFO" :)


Blogger Beth said...

Very fun! Glad you got to use it, what with all that weird summer weather you've been having. We were just up there (from TX) at our family cabin wa-a-ay up in northern MN, and had some wonderful weather - lucky us - and got out of this TX heat. No need for a wfo down here. Enjoy!

7:36 PM  
Blogger Sarah Rae said...

It looks fantastic! This was such a fabulous summer project!

12:19 PM  
Blogger Andy M. said...

Hi Splatgirl. I think you have inspired me yet again. After lifting your railing designs, I've begun to prep the foundation for my own WFO.

Any plans for how you will clad the exterior? Going to match the house?


6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your inspiration. You do all the hard work and still have energy left to write about it. I find that amazing!

I have wanted a WFO oven forever. I'm finally building my house. I want it to be under the patio on the back of the house, more like if it was part of an inside kitchen. However, 90% of the photos I see show them away from the house. Can I have it built right under the patio? -- kathy

7:42 AM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

You need to consider where the chimney (and smoke) will go. This is dictated by building code...there is a requirement for distance from and height above adjacent structures.

7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I understand from reading, you built WFO from scratch and didn't use an oven form, correct? I saw the downloadable instructions on (I've read most of it now). Did you buy the $1000 material package, or just get it locally? And - one more - what's the best thing you've cooked in it so far?
Thanks again! Can't wait to have mine built!

-- kathy

7:48 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Hi Kathy. I'm sorry, I don't know what an "oven form" is. I used my own version of "Hendo's dome gauge" cobbled together from stuff I found in my garage to get the radius and dome shape.
I sourced my materials locally other than the insulation blanket and board which I bought from FB (although I could have gotten locally as well). They did not offer a materials package at the time of my build, but regardless, I'm not sure why one would pay (presumably a lot of $$) to ship something if it can be obtained locally.

If you hire someone make sure they follow the instructions! I've read about lots of ovens that get built wrong by "experienced masons" who think they know better. If you've perused the FB forum and read the downloadable instructions, chances are you now know more than anyone you'll find to hire it out to.

good luck!

10:37 PM  

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