Has anyone tried baking using solar power? Looking for a good design to bake bread this way over the summer months.
Read about a third of the way down. for $5 you can buy plans for a home-built oven, costing $10-$15 in materials., or a manual on solar cooking (including baking) for $10 that includes the plans.
Many years ago, when I was a Boy Scout leader, I cooked with solar ovens, and made quick breads. Yeast breads I always did in a Dutch oven, because I could get the temperature to 450°F easily with wood coals. If you barbecue consider using your coals, before or after grilling, to bake in a Dutch oven. You have to put coals on the top, otherwise your loaves won't brown on top.
A guy lived a few blocks away from us has one of those aluminum/glass solar ovens commercially built. It's very neat but not cheap, to the least. I did try building a small one a years agao but had only used it for baking potatoes. Here's a picture of my humble solar cooker?
for a long enough period to bake a loaf of bread?
That's the ultimate in "green baking"--I often feel guilty for preheating the oven for so long and try to plan my bakes so that multiple things are baked for one preheat.
I think if you want to go "green" with your baking, you need to live in the sunbelt.
Ain't going to happen in my area, where we're still having frost warnings and the farmers are going crazy.
those 325 degree temps. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have a shady back yard so my solar oven doesn't get opened until January or February when I'm RVing in the southern California desert and the temperatures are in the low 70s. The weather doesn't need to be hot for these ovens to be effective, but you do need sunshine. And the calmer the wind, the better. I think mine will fly in a stiff breeze.
That does look like it could fly on its own!
I live in the North Bay Area. It gets very hot here in the summer (sometimes), but sun is limited in my yard thanks to surrounding hills, trees, and fences. It would still be fun to try because no way I'm going to heat the oven on those really hot days (100+)--we have no AC.
I've committed to making all the bread my family eats, so I can't stop baking in the summer. I'm going to experiment with baking on the gas grill when it's too hot inside, but that's still pretty hot and miserable to work with on a hot, hot day.
Luckily, a run of hot or warm days is often followed by the return of coastal fog (I call it "North Bay Air Conditioning"), so I try to stay ahead of the need and do as much baking as possible on cooler days.
P.S. If anyone is looking for a very worthy cause related to solar cooking, This organization http://www.jewishworldwatch.org/refugeerelief/pdfs/JWW_FactSheet_Mar09_lr.pdf provides solar cookers to women in Darfur refugee camps. These cookers SAVE LIVES because the women don't have to risk rape and murder foraging for fuel for cooking fires.
I love it! Did it get those potatoes done?
I have a commercially made solar oven and it normally achieves temps around 325 degrees. I've baked a loaf or two of ciabatta in mine that baked nicely but didn't brown.
If solar doesn/t work for you for baking, check the following:
Examples of bread outdoors
Picture of device for baking
I have the model K7 of this device and can bake bread & pizza, slow cook, grill,
smoke and almost any kind of cooking with excellent results. Go to forums that
are accessible when you click the picture of the device. Then go to recipes etc. to get a feel for what is possible.
If you have questions contact me.
THANKS EVERYONE! THIS DISCUSSION AND SHARING OF IDEAS IS AWESOME.
In Boy Scouts big brother and I made a dandy parabolic reflector cooking "something or other" out of cardboard and aluminum foil, with a stand for a hamburger at the center focal point of the parabola. Just about blew up the meat it was so hot. About 3.5 feet across and a foot deep it produced awe inspiring heat. Kinda like this ...
Now, want to make your own pure drinking water for free on the same principle?
Google Aqua del Sol
We produce around 2.5 gallons every day of pure water for home drinking. The best part is ... no government involved, no regulations, no waste in plastics and if everything goes wrong with the economy we'll still have clean water. Very cool.