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Alfa Forni Ovens FAQ

Click a link below to jump down the page to read the answer, or scroll down to see all the answers to Alfa oven FAQ's.


HOW ARE ALFA OVENS MADE?

Alfa ovens, made in ItalyAlfa began as a manufacturer of traditional wood-fired ovens, and since the very beginning they've focused on improving refractory materials in order to gain better thermal performance. Today, Alfa produces high-caliber commercial and residential ovens and has renewed the home sector by developing the Forninox™ technology (learn about this technology in the next section).

Alfa Ovens came up with the idea to insulate a refractory wood-burning oven by encasing it in layers of stainless steel. This has enabled them to improve the thermal performance of their ovens, drastically reducing their weight and facilitating mobility.

 

WHAT IS FORNINOX™ TECHNOLOGY?

Alfa Forni Stone oven

The Forninox™ technology combines the excellent physical and thermal properties of steel and those of refractory bricks, the materials used to manufacture traditional wood-burning ovens. Alfa ovens, built on Forninox™ technology, reach the same temperature as traditional wood-fired ovens, but in a much shorter time.

The steel structure is specially designed to withstand thermal and mechanical stress due to the high temperature of the oven. The three-layer ceramic fibre dome insulation allows the temperature to rise quickly and to retain heat longer, thus cutting down fuel consumption. The base and the inside of the cooking chamber are made with the best refractory materials so that the oven accumulates heat and gradually releases it to deliver perfectly baked dishes. This innovation made it possible to manufacture high-performing ovens particularly appreciated by pizza chefs who experienced their advantages firsthand. Today, most of the Alfa models, including the domestic models have this technology: to give all pizza buffs the chance to bake a real pizzeria quality margherita at home. 

The Forninox™ patent is now ten years old, reaching a milestone that highlights the great attention Alfa pays to the design of their stainless steel wood-fired ovens, to the relentless search for the best materials and to the implementation of continuous innovation with the purpose of producing great cooking machines for home use. 

Alfa's high performance ovens are the result of the development of more efficient structures as well as the use of top quality materials.

 

WHAT IS ALFA FIREBRICK?

Alfa Firebrick explainedAlfa has manufactured traditional wood-burning ovens since the 70's using refractory materials produced in-house. The experience and skills gained over many years of R&D have been put to good use to deliver high performing, solid, and long lasting wood-fired ovens that please lovers of traditional cooking with a penchant for modern rustic style. 

The traditional wood-burning oven must be lit and tended to at least two hours before cooking so that a bed of red-hot embers will heat up the cooking chamber and the floor, more effectively than the flame could do.

Refractory material is a very good thermal insulator that absorbs heat gradually and slowly. Some might think this slowness is a disadvantage, but it actually allows the oven to quickly reach, then maintain extremely high temperatures around 932° F (500° C) for a long time, to bake a genuine Neapolitan pizza in 60-90 seconds. The heat is accumulated and released little by little which means that larger ovens can bake hundreds of pizzas in a few hours by adding a few pieces of wood to the fire as you're cooking. 

Alfa’s refractories are among the best on the market because they contain high amounts of alumina (aluminium oxide), a substance that stands out for its excellent insulating capability, low electrical conductivity and high resistance to acids. For Alfa ovens built on Forninox™ technology, a layer of Autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) is added to enhance the insulating capability, the energy efficiency, and to stabilize temperatures to guarantee a more precise cooking.

 

ARE WOOD-BURNING OVENS SIMPLE TO USE?

Alfa steel ovens are simpler to use than traditional refractory ovens since you can manage fire more easily thanks to their compact structure that allows hot air to circulate inside them and to maximize heat while baking. In addition, the low weight makes them suitable for a variety of uses.

 

CAN I BURN WOOD IN A GAS-POWERED OVEN?

Yes, as long as the gas elements are protected with a heat proof cover. Alfa will be coming out with covers for the gas elements soon that will retro fit all gas models. 

 

Alfa One oven

WHERE CAN I INSTALL THE ALFA OUTDOOR OVENS?

Practically anywhere. The steel ovens come in a mobile version with casters for using them on the terrace, in the garden then putting them indoors during the winter months. Our range also features small-sized models if space is in short supply. With the tiny One compact pizza oven, you will be able to bake even on your balcony.

Gas-fired ovens can be connected to the gas supply or to a LPG cylinder.

 

MY OVEN ARRIVED, NOW WHAT?

To install an Alfa steel oven, follow these simple steps:

  1. Place the base of the structure.
  2. Insert the chimney cowl into the flue.
  3. Put the chimney cowl and the flue into the dome of the oven.

If you have purchased a wood-fired oven you can use it immediately. If you have a gas-fired model you will have to connect it to the gas main or to the LPG cylinder using the supplied hose and attach it with a clamp. If  you want to make your own traditional pizza oven, things are a little bit more complicated as you will have to build a foundation out of bricks and concrete, assemble the parts of the dome and coat the oven with additional refractory material. 

 

HOW DO I LIGHT MY OVEN?

For a gas-burning oven, just turn the knob, push the ignition button and adjust the flame. If you have a wood-burning oven, build a fire in the center of the oven using some sticks of dry kindling then add some pieces of hardwood as the fire gets going. Then add some logs of about 2-3" in diameter to form enough embers.

Of course, the bigger the oven, the more firewood you will need to reach the cooking temperature. In the larger models, Alfa recommends moving the fire all over the oven floor to heat it evenly. Use dry, seasoned hardwoods to avoid dense, black smoke that could ruin your dishes.

 

HOW DO I CONTROL THE OVEN'S SMOKE?

Controlling smoke from Alfa ovenUsing a wood fired oven will always produce a degree of smoke, but proper procedure will minimize it. For starters, always use clean, well–seasoned (properly dried) firewood. When baking, push the burning wood to the back of the oven, making sure to supply an adequate intake of air to the fuel to achieve a strong, hot fire. The presence of moisture inside the firewood produces white smoke due to the evaporation of water. If there isn't enough air supply to fire, the combustion is incomplete and the resulting smoke is darker than it should be.

Smoke from gas fired ovens is invisible and odorless, so gas powered ovens are recommended in residential areas or when neighbors are nearby. If you're considering purchasing an outdoor oven and you live in an apartment you'll need to consider the impact of smoke to your neighborhood. We suggest looking up the applicable laws and any restrictions on the types of outdoor ovens that are allowed in your neighborhood.

 

Alfa Allegro outdoor wood pizza oven

HOW SHOULD I FIRE THE WOOD-BURNING OVEN FOR THE FIRST TIME?

When lighting the wood-fired oven, it's necessary that the heat be increased gradually to a temperature of about 570° F (300° C). This will dry out any moisture and gently “season” the oven refractories so that they can deliver superb cooking results.

 

WHAT ARE THE BEST TYPES OF FIREWOOD FOR BAKING PIZZA?

In terms of heat and aromatic value, the best wood species are oak and beech. Never use evergreen wood that burns fast and can leave heavy deposits of soot and creosote. Learn more about which woods to burn for cooking here: choosing the firewood with the best heat value .

 

WHAT CAN I COOK IN THE ALFA OVENS?

Pretty much everything. Thanks to the extremely high temperatures they reach, Alfa ovens are particularly suitable for baking Neapolitan pizza in about one minute at 840° F (450° C) but they're equally as capable of baking at a lower temperature for breads, roasts, fish, vegetables, puddings, etc. Put a new spin on your dishes by cooking with a wood-fired oven!

 

Homemade pizza, wood fired ovenHOW TO COOK PIZZA: IN A PAN OR DIRECTLY ON THE FIREBRICK?

You can bake any kind of pizza in our ovens, either in a pan or directly on the floor of the oven. Remember that pan pizza cooks at a lower temperature though. Experiment and find out what works for your recipes!

 

HOW DO I CLEAN MY OVEN?

Keeping your oven clean guarantees safety and better performance. Between baking sessions scrub the oven floor with a brush to remove food residue and burnt flour; for a deeper cleaning, let the oven cool and use a damp cloth to wipe burnt food away. If you have a wood-burning oven, remove the ashes with a metal shovel when the oven has completely cooled down. Click here for more cleaning instructions.

 

Shop Alfa Forni Ovens here

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