There are many reasons why someone would want to learn how to bake without using an oven. For example, biscuits baked fresh over a campfire can be a wonderful treat and a great way to start a day in the wilderness. Other times people might be living in a travel trailer without an oven or perhaps you simply want to keep the heat out of your kitchen and find an alternative way to bake some of your favorite foods. Regardless of the reason, baking many foods is certainly possible and an oven is not necessarily an essential component.
Baking in a Cast Iron Dutch Oven
The cast iron Dutch oven has been a favorite vessel for cooking all types of foods and has been in use for generations. This simple pot can be used to boil water, cook soup and bake biscuits, beans and a variety of breads. A favorite treat is corn bread baked in the Dutch oven over a campfire.
When you are cooking over a campfire, you want to be sure to get your cooking area organized. Grease the inside of your Dutch oven and pour the batter into the pan and place the cover on the pot. The trick with baking in this type of vessel is that you need to surround it with heat, as much as possible. You should have a layer of coals to set the pan on, make sure it is fairly level. Then place more coals on the top of the Dutch oven. This will create an oven environment for your food to bake in.
Bake in Your Crockpot
The crockpot makes an excellent environment for baking. You can either bake directly in the crock that comes with your crockpot or you can use a clean coffee can to hold bread dough and other foods. Simply place your food inside the crockpot and let it bake. This is an excellent way to bake meat, breads and desserts. In fact, you can adapt almost any recipe to be used with your crockpot.
Baking with the Sun
The process of baking involves placing food in some type of environment where it will be surrounded by heat. The modern oven makes it extremely easy to regulate the temperature and turn out perfect baked goods; however, you can even construct a simple solar oven that utilizes nothing more than the power of the sun to bake your food. This type of oven will certainly take longer than your traditional oven, but it is easy, fun and good for the environment. A solar oven is also something that can be extremely helpful when the electricity is out or you find yourself looking for a way to cook at a cabin or other remote location.
Other Sources of Baking without Using an Oven
Of course, you can use your Dutch oven or other covered pot to create a baking environment either by using the coals from a campfire or some other type of heat source. For example, the same principles that applied for the campfire can also be applied to baking on your stove top. The only problem with this method is that you do not have hot coals to place on top of your pot, so be sure you thoroughly preheat the pan, then place your food inside and cover tightly. Make sure there are no areas where the hot air can escape. A strip of foil around the gap between the pot and lid is a great way to seal your improvised oven. Watch the temperature carefully so that your food does not burn.
Another good heat source that can be used for baking is an electric fry pan. Depending on the type of food you are baking, you might want to put a little water in the bottom to more evenly distribute the heat. This is much like a water bath that is used for baking custards and other delicate foods. Any pan that fits inside the electric fry pan can be used to bake bread, beans, biscuits and cakes.
With a little ingenuity and creativity you will begin to see the baking possibilities in a whole new way. Simply create an environment where you can both contain your food, while also providing a consistent heat source to surround it. From your electric fry pan to a campfire or crockpot, there are numerous possibilities. Of course, you can even purchase an electric roaster that is large enough to bake an entire Thanksgiving turkey and you will never even have to turn on your oven.
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