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Concrete cladding for wood burning ovens.
Same as with wood fired ovens without the cladding, ovens with the cladding layer included will reach the pizza making temperature in 1-1/2 hour. To add cladding is very important in many aspects, it will not effect heating time of the oven to reach the pizza making temperature in the dome unless you were mad about 10 minutes. To have cladding has many advantages one sees after the two oven types are compared. To apply ordinary concrete cladding is very simple. This page focuses more on oven cladding properties, but for more on efficiency and using ovens from practical points of view read "Which dome is better" page - link is at the bottom, if you haven't red it before.
Oven cladding basics
In oven with cladding, same as with thin wood fired ovens, the hot face of dome walls inside turns white in under 1 hour, the floor is ready. Spread your red-hot embers to 1 or 2 sides, one side is just perfect too to create place for pizza and start making it (you may have to give it about 10 minutes for the floor to cool down a slightly.)
If you plan to make pizza for a longer time, maintain continuous gentle fire going on somewhere at the back.
What happens next?
Here is the time where breaking point in cladding or not cladding differences show up. Oven with cladding has better/bigger volume in heat absorbing mass because as well as firebricks the concrete cladding is dense and has great thermal conductivity too. Firebricks with cladding create thicker chamber walls and so the bigger mass absorbs and stores more needed heat for much longer and efficient cooking. In case you maintained that continuous fire while making pizzas at start and now you want to cook or bake, that's good as well because while continuous fore was on firebricks with cladding absorbed even more heat. This is very important!
Why oven cladding?
Cladding as an additional heat absorbing heavy-mass layer is a very beneficial thing to have. For a few fundamental reasons.
When you make pizzas the immediate heat from fire or still glowing cinder is assisting you to make fabulous pizzas. Don't forget that continuous small fire is again extra energy to be stored in bigger mass again. But when you stop fire or making pizzas, and want to cook meals in less hot environment for long time cooking in 205°C - 400°F atmosphere, or roasting big pieces or long baking in 190.5°C - 375°F, and after to dry fruits or halved tomatoes (all these in heat stored in from previous single fire), temperature starts to drop and right here the cladding is useful.
What else is interesting about oven cladding?
Nothing, it's only a bloody concrete ... joking laterrrrrrrrr. Or did you mean these?
After concrete cladding was poured
Concrete cladding recipe.
Mix dry ingredients then add water. The oven cladding can be mixed by hand using shovel and wheelbarrow. Parts by volume:
Regarding the "concrete blend", it's the simple mix of stones with sand, in which a bonding agent goes as to make a concrete type;
Aluminum foil between firebricks and the cladding layer.
Placing the thin alumina foil onto the firebricks can be a bit difficult in a windy day, but that's the only issue so to speak.
This is ordinary aluminum foil from supermarket, sold in 2 or 3 widths and thickness, get the stronger one while considering the price as well. This foil has one main role to play. It is not there to reflect heat back; there is no light, why would you want to reflect heat away from cladding? We need heat in the cladding. The foil prevents concrete bonding with firebricks, which is the main reason.
Other than that, this foil also stops firebricks to absorb water from the soft concrete when it is being applied and before it fully cures. Instead of an aluminum foil a candle wax or a plastic wrap could be used, but it would burn and be felt in the air for the 2 first firings at least.
Cladding makes ovens extra efficient in performance.
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