Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Solar Cooked Bread

I mentioned in my opening post yesterday that I had just finished baking my first loaf of solar cooked bread. Well I made another loaf today with a slightly different method and will discuss them both briefly.

First for yesterdays loaf.

I used a basic white bread recipe (ingredients below) and used my bread machines dough cycle. Yeah I know, but if I have it and can do other things, why knead it if I'm not in the mood?

Once it proofed according to the machines settings I removed it, rolled and formed it and placed it into my loaf pan. When it had risen again I placed the whole pan inside a dark turkey roasting pan with lid and put that into my turkey bag along with an oven thermometer. The idea was to make a little oven to try and get as much heat as possible. It was then placed onto the solar funnel.

The bread cooked for about an hour and 10 minutes before I removed it because when I checked it part way through, the "oven" only reached about 245 degrees.

The results... a pale loaf of bread that was cooked all the way through and smelled well, like a loaf of bread. Other then color and length of time to bake, it was a pretty standard loaf of bread. Well, that and I didn't let it rise enough in the pan because I was using it for the kids lunch and running late so it was not as tall as it should have been. It began baking at noon.

Today's loaf was the same recipe with a couple of differences in method. First, I let it rise properly in the pan. Second, instead of putting the whole thing in the roasting pan I put it straight in the turkey bag with a couple of clean clear pop bottles on either end to hold the bag off the bread while it cooked. This was all set onto the shelf of the solar funnel.

This time I let it cook from 11:30 am to 12:50 pm. The temp. in the bag reached 250 degrees by the time I removed the loaf and looked pretty much the same as yesterdays except it was taller. It cooked just as well, and one other difference my kids pointed out today is that the crust was soft, almost like store bread which they liked. It browned where it touched the pan, but was otherwise a pale loaf of bread. I also squished it when taking it out so you will notice the top is lopsided.

Today's temp. outside while cooking was 75 degrees and the sky was clear.


1 cup warm water
2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
2 T oil
2 T milk (should be dry but I am out)
3 cups all purpose flour (recommend bread flour)
1-1/4 tsp dry yeast

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