Monday, August 21, 2017

Chris Bianco Pizza Lesson

This 11-minute video is amazing, as we get Chris Bianco's tips on dough, sauce, and more:

I also learned that actor and comedian Aziz Ansari has a wood oven in his backyard.

You can buy Bianco's new cookbook:

Bianco: Pizza, Pasta, and Other Food I Like

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pizza Oven, Phase 2

I'm very excited that the backyard pizza oven project... the full design... is almost complete.

In my last post, I wrote about the oven and its base being completed.

It took longer than I liked because my outdoor kitchen contractor was really behind on his projects due to the rainy spring that we had in the DFW area... but the island / counter and extended patio are now complete.

Here's how it looks (click any photo for a larger view).

Here are some of the design concepts from the landscape / kitchen designer:

You can see I had the oven entrance put at a 45 degree angle (135 degrees to the counter, actually), where it was at a right angle in the design concept.

We said no to the fire pit and will be putting the table on that patio flagstone extension.

Here are more photos of the oven, counter, and space.

The front service is a workspace or a place to put food and drinks for guests. The upper / back counter is bar stool height for eating or hanging out.

We decided to put an umbrella stand into the counter top.

This flagstone was a bit wet when this next photo was taken. This gives us room for a 4-seat round table.

Here I am with the oven (the top counter wasn't on yet) and two pizzas:

More posts and photos to come...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Firing Up the Oven! First Pizzas!

Last Friday, I had the chance to fire up the oven for the first time.

Forno Bravo cured the oven before they shipped it (a new service that they have started offering). So, I took their word that I didn't have to go through the usual multi-step curing process of building incrementally larger fires to ramp it up.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

I did first burn just a little newspaper to get started.

I stacked wood and some paper bags to get the first fire going.

Here I am lighting it.

The first pizza:

I'm still relearning all of this. Instead of making my own dough, I bought dough balls at our local Central Market store. I'm not sure what type of flour it was or how long it had risen. The pizza turned out OK... I didn't have the oven quite hot enough and I'm still re-learning the ropes to get proper spotting on the pizza. But it was delicious!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Oven Installation - Placed on the Base

Delivery of the Forno Bravo Vesuvio oven was scheduled for Tuesday, May 10. Forno Bravo had quoted 21 days to build the oven and up to a week for shipping and everything was on schedule.

I had my contractor lined up with a forklift rental... unfortunately I had to be out of town that day because of my grandfather's funeral in Ohio. It would have probably been too difficult to push this back, given the freight company not wanting to hold the oven long probably... so my in-laws were here to help supervise the process.

It was quite a process... it's quite an oven. A few tiles were chipped during the installation process (and a bit of grout, as well). 

But, Forno Bravo sent some extra tiles and my contractor's going to patch things up when he comes back to build the island that is going to come out to the right of the oven, as part of the bigger project.

This is one of the conceptual drawings, below. I'll have work space and more wood storage and there will be a dine-in counter on the other side. We're just going to have a table instead of a fire pit though. The pizza oven is our fire feature!

More pictures to come from the first two times we fired it up over the weekend!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Final Pizza Oven Base Preparation

Here is the final prep of the pizza oven base that was done by my contractor. The oven will be set on top of this base and counter top. Note in the first picture that some concrete block is still exposed because our contractor is going to build a long countertop off to that side that will be attached to that base.

The oven dome is going to be delivered tomorrow. If weather holds (if the grass isn't too wet for the forklift), it will get placed on the stand. Or, we might have to wait until Saturday, which means renting the forklift again, but oh well. We want to make sure this gets done properly without tearing up our grass or dropping the oven!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Day 2 of Oven Base Construction, The Oven is Ready to Ship

Here's progress from day 2 of the pizza oven base construction and the oven itself is ready to ship from Forno Bravo:

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Base Construction Starts for my Pizza Oven

My landscape / outdoor kitchen contractor started with the construction for my pizza oven base yesterday. Again, I'm getting the Forno Bravo Vesuvio oven.

We decided on the location and they had to pour a little extra concrete foundation beyond my existing patio.

Then, they started building the base out of cinder blocks.

They're going to be also building a counter to the right (workspace and dining area) and they'll be expanding the patio more for some seating area.

But, since the oven will arrive next week, the focus is on getting the base in place so we can place the oven on top when it arrives (which means renting a forklift just once).

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Oven is Almost Ready to Ship!

Forno Bravo is going to deliver on their 21 day lead time for producing my custom-tiled oven. That's impressive.

I'm now having to coordinate delivery with my local contractor who is building the stone base and hearth. I wish he had gotten that done earlier... such is life sometimes when working with busy contractors who are good.

Once FB ships the oven, it's going to be about four to seven business days before it arrives.

Here it is with the custom Texas star tile that they did... so beautiful.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Even More Progress on the Tile

Here is yet another photo of my Vesuvio oven being built by Forno Bravo (thanks to them for the pictures!). Click for a larger view of the tile and their progress.... they still need to cut out tile to place my Texas star and they front of the opening area needs done still.

Tile Being Placed on the Oven

Here is another photo of my Vesuvio oven being built by Forno Bravo (thanks to them for the pictures!). Click for a larger view of the tile being placed:

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