FAQ: WHY/WHEN DID YOU DECIDE TO BUILD THE WOOD-FIRED OVEN? I’ve been interested in hand craftsmanship since a childhood visit to Old Sturbridge Village in New England. When we opened Thousand Oaks Winery in the spring of 2008, we wanted to translate that interest into a unique dining experience for our family, friends, and customers. In the spring of 2009 we began construction of our wood-fired brick oven, which is based on a classic European oven design.
FAQ: WHO CONSTRUCTED THE OVEN? The oven was hand crafted on site by a good friend of mine and a true artisan mason, Mark Sattler.
FAQ: HOW DO YOU HEAT THE OVEN? Our oven is fueled with Missouri oak and hickory wood and reaches temperatures of up to 800 degrees.
FAQ: DO YOU CUT DOWN TREES TO HEAT THE OVEN? No, our oven is only heated with wood from fallen trees.
FAQ: HOW DOES THE OVEN WORK? Unlike conventional ovens, our oven heats by direct, convection, and radiant heat. Burning wood directly on the firebricks causes them to store thermal energy. The domed oven design creates a convection current and the open flames provides radiant heat.
FAQ: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COOK A PIZZA? The cooking time of our pizza changes as the oven continues to store thermal energy with use. Typically, our pizzas cook from start to finish in less than seven minutes. The cooking time decreases with each day we bake, so pizza on Saturday takes a minute longer than it does on Sunday.
FAQ: WHY IS THE OVEN SO EFFICIENT? The simple answer is thermal mass. The thick hearth is made from concrete and fire brick and is suspended by ¾ inch rebar, which thermally insulates the oven. The oven’s 3 layers of firebrick and concrete brick and them covered with several inches of ceramic insulating material. The oven is so efficient that it’s still warm on Friday morning even though last baked in on Sunday afternoon.
FAQ: DOES THE OVEN HAVE A NICKNAME? Yes, Dante after ‘Dante’s Inferno’.
FAQ: HOW DO YOU BUILD THE FIRE? We start the fire daily at 8am by building a small fire at the front of the oven. The fire is moved backward and wood is added. Within 2-3 hours the oven reaches 800 degrees and burns the soot off the roof of the oven (white oven).