The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking in HOT weather

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Mochamom's picture
Mochamom

Baking in HOT weather

Hi,
I have been a lurker for over a year, and LOVE this site. I'm looking for ideas, and tips on hot weather baking. What do YOU do? We have an old 50's gas stove (I'll NEVER get rid of this fantastic beauty), that gets uber hot so I don't use it to bake from spring until fall. Needless to say I spend the better part of the year (we live in sunny hot California) NOT baking. This isn't working for me (to say the least). Aside from building an outdoor oven (not an option, at the moment anyway), does anyone have nay idea on how to get my baking "fix" during the HOT months ? Machine baking? Crockpot? Barbecue?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

You can plug it in outside on a table and any heat doesn't add to your AC bill.

edh's picture
edh

We have one of the Coleman portable gas grills that comes with a griddle surface to put over one of the burner heads. It works wonderfully for pita bread and english muffins.

edh

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

Cuisinart has some portable ovens with brick inserts that are supposed to be good.  A bit larger than a toaster oven, good for 1 or 2 loaves of bread.  You can get it with convection or, for less money, without.  Their model numbers are BRK-100, BRK-200 and BRK-300.  I haven't used them, but a correspondent has been using one.

 

Or, if you need more capacity, you could get an oven and put it on your deck or patio.  If needed, you could convert it to use bottled gas.  It's an easy change.  Used ovens are often sold in shopper newspapers and garage sales for a song.  And sometimes they are being sold because someone redecorated their kitchen and the two year old oven they had no longer "looks right" in the new kitchen.

 

Mike

 

Marni's picture
Marni

Hi Mochamom,  I'm in southern CA and I agree, right now it is so hot, we'll have to wait for some June gloom to cool off.

I remember my parents having a camp stove that we used on the BBQ.  I'm not sure how even the cooking would be, but they are probably not too expensive.  My other thought is a large toaster oven or small oven.  I have the Kitchenaid countertop oven which would probably bake one reguler loaf or two small ones.  It does get pretty warm on the surface, so maybe setting it up outside would work.

 Also, bake at night if you are baking indoors and try to plan for one baking session.  A few loaves that will last a few days.

 Marni

Mike Avery's picture
Mike Avery

We just moved into a new house.  And one thing I insisted on was a vent hood that vented.  It is above the oven and range and it vents outside.  So, I am hoping this summer it will vent oven heat to the great outdoors.

 

If not, I'll consider an outdoor oven.

 

You might consider whether you can get a real vent hood rather than one of those filter things that just blow the air back at you.  I'm about 6' tall and they blow into my face and hair.  I never did like that.

 

Mike

 

cordel's picture
cordel

I plan to start baking on our Big Green Egg, as soon as it gets too warm to enjoy the heat from the oven. So far, I just choose the day it is cloudy, and since I am in Northern Ontario, the heat is welcome.

Mochamom's picture
Mochamom

WOW! So many options now to choose from. Thank you all for the suggestions. I really hated waiting until fall to bake again (usually waiting until late October). I'll try a small portable oven to begin with. My husband isn't to keen on building an outdoor bread oven (can't think why-LOL). Then maybe some Pita and Pizza on the grill (our homemade pizza is a food group around here). If you have any other suggestions keep em comin'.

mse1152's picture
mse1152

The baker part of my brain says...if you can't use your oven from spring till fall, what bloody good is it?

I live in San Diego, where it was 94F (!!!) on Sunday. Yet I baked a batch of Craig Ponsford's ciabatta, which requires a 450F oven. We bought a Bosch range two years ago, and the oven is so well insulated that you really couldn't tell it was on, even on such a hot day. That must be some wonderful old stove for you to give up baking for so long. More power to you!

Sue

LindyD's picture
LindyD

It snowed here today, so any heat source is welcome at this point. I'm curious if anyone has ever baked bread in a Weber kettle grill. I imagine I could crank mine up (charcoal) to a pretty high temp and move in my stone. Might be fun to do a bit of experimenting this summer...presuming it ever gets warm enough to not want to fire up the gas oven.

Ah, the charm of a Northern Michigan spring...

possum-liz's picture
possum-liz

I bake in my webber fairly often. I usually only do roasts in it so while the roast is resting I pop in the bread--not too big loaves and they bake in the residual heat. I don't bother with a stone--just a daggy old heavy cookie sheet.

Summertime in Australia is always hot but it doesn't stop me from baking.  Biggest problem is slowing down my sourdough so I put it in the Esky with a couple of ice bricks--especially if I'm going out for a while during the first proof.

Liz

Eli's picture
Eli

what is the "Esky"?

Just curious,

Eli

possum-liz's picture
possum-liz

Sorry, Aussie slang! Esky is a brand of coolers (as in insulated box to keep the beer cold in) but we use it as generic for a cooler.  I'm a missouri girl but have lived here a long time.

Liz

gbramwell's picture
gbramwell

I'm moving to Texas in August, so I'm glad that someone brought this up.

 One thought - I'm planning on (eventually) getting a full-sized gas grill - is there a good way to get any sort of indirect heat with such a thing?  I can imagine doing things like pitas, biscuits and other things direct heat, but not much else.

 And LindyD, I feel your pain - it snowed here too yesterday.  Chicago weather always seems to be ~2 months behind what it's supposed to be.

audra36274's picture
audra36274

you don't cook. What kind of crap is that? Here in Alabama it is usually in the eighty's now with high humidity. We are in blackberry winter now which means cool nights but today it about 78 now. It only goes up from here peaking out at about 100 June, July, August, then more nineties again on to maybe December. we have had on shorts and flip flops at Christmas with the air on. It is the pits but what can you do. Here it is not only the heat but the high humidity that messes with your dough. The days that as soon as you step out the door your hair is sweaty and clothes sticking to you also makes your dough crawl out of the proofing pan and down the counter. It is a tremendous mess because it sticks to the unfloured surface.   sigh.... You just hold off on the air as long as you can, and bake as usual.

                                                                                 Audra

audra36274's picture
audra36274

Would it be possible to keep your old beauty as your "show piece" and use it on winter days when a warm oven is a comfort to body and soul, and have a new well insulated ,energy star model to do your dirty work? I have a blue enamel warming oven in my kitchen that I'm very attached to that I use a cookbook shelf. My husband would love to chuck it out the back door and replace it with a matching cabinet. I love it too much to part with it. the house was built about 1911, and I have no doubt that it was part of the original kitchen. But I don't use it it is just for show. I hate to see you not do something you enjoy like baking. We can't change the #@##%$^%^ weather here but we can work around it! Summer is long here! We joke that we have about 30 minutes of good weather per year. What part of Texas are you in/ going to be? I have relatives up in the pan handle and they get snow Good luck and happy sweating fellow flour covered gal! Look on the bright side- you don't have to worry about a cold kitchen to rise your dough or counters too cold for your starters!

                                                                            Audra

ejm's picture
ejm

All summer long, we bake pita, hamburger buns, naan, focaccia and pizza on our gas barbecue. We put the dough directly on the grill. It takes virtually no time to bake. (Focaccia is particularly good for making sandwiches.)

But I've heard of people baking regular bread on a baking stone in their gas barbecues.

-Elizabeth

drasaid's picture
drasaid

oven (a turkey baking bag surrounded by mylar sheets) but no go.

I could make english muffins on a grill, naan flatbread, and some other stuff, but I want to make big fluffy loaves. Dang.

I'd also like to know if cake recipes work on a pancake grill. I'd like to make blackout cake moon pies, if you know what I mean . . . .

Anyone fool enough to try? Let me know. 

ejm's picture
ejm

My sister has baked a cake in a wok. On my phpBB, she wrote the following:

I made 1/3 of [this] eggless chocolate cake, in my 5-inch cast iron frying pan. I used our large wok with a round wire trivet about an inch above the water level. We don't have any bamboo steamers, so I just left the pan open on the trivet. After about 45 minutes, it had baked BEAUTIFULLY. It was a tiny bit damp on top, but it dried immediately. It looked just like it had baked in the oven. After cooling for about half an hour, I iced it (I don't normally ice cakes, but this one just looked too beautiful not to). We just ate half of it, and it was fabulous. Not any better than baked in the oven; exactly the same, but I think there was much less heat generated.

 

This is the method she used:

First place a couple of inches of water in wok. make sure it does not come into steamer area. Bring water to boil and place cake in steamer and cover with steamer lid. Turn down a fraction so water is still boiling. I just turn my stove 1/4 turn on dial. It is not all that important, as long as it is still boiling but no need for super rapid boil. Leave for 40 minutes. Test with skewer. If all OK next time just cook it by time and forget the skewer test.

(method written by "WayneT" on toptastes.com)

We've tried it as well and it really does work. But I'm not sure that it would work for making bread. I suspect you would not get a proper crust.  Biscuits might be fine though.

kung fu bbq's picture
kung fu bbq

grilled pizza!!!

Make a basic pizza dough. Fire up the grill (I use coal only, gas gives everything a funny taste).  Oil the grates. Take your uncooked spread out pizza dough and lay it on the grill top. Cook it until you can lift it up and there is a slight flex in it; about 5min depending on grill temp. 

Then take it inside and flip over. place your ingredients on the cooked side. Take it back to the grill and set on grill top. Cook it until the cheese melts. The crust will cook a little deeper. and you'll have an excellent meal.

ejm's picture
ejm

If we had a wood burning oven, we'd use that, but we make pizza in our gas barbecue all the time. There's no funny taste at all. We put an inexpensive round pizza stone (kitchen stores sell them for around $10) into the barbecue, turn it on to heat the stone and then slide the dressed pizza onto the stone. About half way (or so) through the cooking, we move the stone over to cook over indirect heat. It makes brilliant pizza.

(photos of using the pizza stone on the barbecue)

-Elizabeth