The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Utilizing the sun?

Kooky's picture

Utilizing the sun?


Is there any interesting way to utilize the sun in my baking process? It's a bit of a reach, but it is always extremely hot in Florida obviously, either so bright you can't see or clouds so dark you think you're in Twister. Yes, solar energy is one way, I am looking into it a bit to reduce energy consumption from the oven. But maybe more directly in my baking process.

Sometimes I put bread outside to rise if it needs a little boost, but I have yet to utilize any direct UV or sunlight.

Ilya Flyamer's picture
Ilya Flyamer

You can look into solar cookers - they heat the food by concentrating sunlight directly on the cooking vessel. I've never seen one myself, but know they exist :)

E.g. a review

idaveindy's picture

As a rough ball-park, and almost a worst-case-scenario, assume your oven consumes 2.5 kwh (kilowatt hours) total electricity to pre-heat the oven and bake a loaf.  Assume an inefficient 3.5 kwh to run the air-conditioner to remove that heat. 

Grand total of 6 kwh (rough estimate)  to bake and to cool the house.

Multiply that by your marginal cost per kwh of electricity (not avg cost). That means the price of the "last" kwh used. Most utilities charge less the more you use.

That is then your estimated electricity cost to bake a loaf of bread.

Divide the cost of the solar oven by that estimated electricity cost per loaf.

That is the number of loaves you have to bake in the solar oven to break even.


Also consider that you have to babysit the oven, rotating it to keep it aligned with the sun to maintain the temp.  And I suppose it is necessary to frequently rotate the baking vessel so that it heats evenly.


GaryBishop's picture

The joy is in the journey, not the destination. Many of us would save money by buying commercial bread but we enjoy the process.

The commercial solar ovens I see quickly looking online seem really small. If I was going to try this I would build something big! I hallucinate that down there in FL you could have it point straight up and do pretty well. 

A wood-fired outdoor oven would likely be more practical and delicious. 

GaryBishop's picture
idaveindy's picture

That is an awesome oven. Easily adjustible azimuth and elevation. And up to 600 F !

( Don't tell DanAyo about it, or he'll start another backyard project. ;-)

stanss's picture


I have a Sun Oven brand of sola oven,  It will bake bread but not get it very brown and a soft crust.  The oven being "air tight" makes for a good slow cooker.  Anything that you can bake in a conventional oven it works for, except bread.  I live in northern California and cook many meals in it.