The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Solar Powered Baking????

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odd todd's picture
odd todd

Solar Powered Baking????

Has anyone tried baking using solar power? Looking for a good design to bake bread this way over the summer months.

davidg618's picture
davidg618

http://www.solarhaven.org/SolarCooking.htm


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.


David G.

ClaireC's picture
ClaireC

I've been looking in to this too, as I'd love to try it.


Have you come across this site?  http://www.solarcooking.org/


If you click on "Build a Solar Cooker" under the Solar Cooking: The Basics heading, you'll find more different designs and plans than you can possibly imagine!  I rather like the ones based on an umbrella covered in something shiney.

althetrainer's picture
althetrainer

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?


 


 


Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

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. 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

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.

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

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.


 


 



 

Janknitz's picture
Janknitz

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. 

summerbaker's picture
summerbaker

I love it!  Did it get those potatoes done?


Summer

Larry Clark's picture
Larry Clark

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. 


 


 

Bixmeister's picture
Bixmeister

If solar doesn/t work for you for baking, check the following:


Examples of bread outdoors


2nd example


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.


 


Bix

ClaireC's picture
ClaireC

I've been thinking about trying this for a while - this thread has nudged me into actually doing it - a project to try with the kids.  We moved house a year ago and still have a number of large cardboard boxes around the house (!) which will do nicely for this.....


Watch this space!

odd todd's picture
odd todd

THANKS EVERYONE! THIS DISCUSSION AND SHARING OF IDEAS IS AWESOME.

Edouard's picture
Edouard

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 ...


http://solarpanelspower.net/solar-power/build-solar-cooker


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. 

franklin41's picture
franklin41

Hmmmm.. i can't think of this. If this will be implemented. Then, no need of baking powder no more, the rays of the sun will be the one who will make the fresh loafs rise because of the solar power of baking..lols.. crazy days!!! i was just surpose by and i encounter this solar power queensland. i never dreamed this one..

KimNorthrop's picture
KimNorthrop

I started cooking with a cardboard solar box cooker in March. You can easily get to 200+ degrees (boiling) even in March with the sun rather low in the sky. I've found bread to be a challenge. I did manage to get a molasses-yeast-wheat loaf cooked all the way thru but it took 5 hours :). So...I've got some other designs to try but I just wanted to give the cardboard box cookers a heads up :). Yeast-based breads are supposed to be the most difficult.