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Having recently been given some awesome bread by our friends on Happy Times, we are once again giving some thought to either purchasing or making a solar oven. Remember of course that we don’t have an oven on board ZTC. If there’s one thing we do have down here though, it’s sunshine (in between the rain squalls that is). We think a solar oven would work just awesome if we left it sitting on our trampoline during the day.

This bread did NOT last long.

Anyone have any first hand experience with one of these bad boys (solar ovens in general, not this particular model)?

31 Comments

  1. A solar oven?! We’ve never heard of such a thing, but you’ve got our interest! Thanks for the links … these ovens look pretty easy to make. We just may have to construct one in our “spare time”. Please let us know if you decide to make/purchase one. We’d love to hear more about this.

  2. Hey M&R,
    Check in with Karen Conger of Toast Floats. She has discussed their experiences with a solar oven on her blog. I think it is a great idea.

  3. Solar ovens work great when doing things that are not heat critical, as their temperature will fluctuate…usually when you have steady sun the temp rises which is the easiest to deal with. You can also make great bread in a pressure cooker if you have one of those.

  4. Have you tried cooking bread on your grill?

  5. I’ve seen such things on DIY sites like Maker or Instructables. Actually I see there are a several on instructables. Here is one:

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Best-Solar-Oven/

    I think it’s a smart idea.

    Cheers,

  6. Does a solar car count? (They get oven-hot inside when in Australia…..) But back on topic… A few of our guys built a solar hot-dog cooker back when I was on that team. Parabolic reflectors work pretty well for hot dogs. For an oven, of course, you want a rather more uniform heat; thermostatically controlled is possible but tricky. But you seem like the type, Mike, who likes fiddling around a bit. I’m very curious what you’ll come up with.
    This is definitely a “make your own” project, rather than a go-buy-something one. Solar’s fun!

    • Maybe I could just fly you down here Matt and we could make an industrial-sized one together to feed the entire anchorage.

      • If only, Mike, if only! I haven’t even been out sailing yet this year- power only, so far. (The damn Sunfish has soaked up so much water that we can barely lift it out of the barn anymore.)
        But you should be able to get by on your own 🙂 Whatever metal box you can find, flat black paint inside and out, centre the box over a concave reflector (Al foil on hardboard works fine, if you’re feeling cheap) and something clear overtop to prevent convection currents from cooling the whole thing down- that’s the essence of it, the rest is what we engineers call “just details” and spend 90% of the budget and 96% of the time on.

  7. No experience with a solar oven, but I promise you one would work here today. The heat index in St. Louis today was 116. Yes, 116 that’s what I said. Taking the Northern route out of here through the St. Lawrence Seaway next year sounds really really good about now.

    Back to bread – I made a loaf in our pressure cooker and although crustless, it was fantastic. Great texture.

  8. P.S. We’ve been experimenting with pizza on the grill and it’s turning out great. We put a pizza stone on the grill and preheat it and then put the dough on it to cook a while then add the toppings. You might be able to do the same with a loaf of bread.

    Deb
    S/V Kintala
    http://www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com

  9. we cooked extensively with ours on our boat. (cooked as in past tense since I’m mid way through building our next boat) It works great on a boat as there are many fewer obstructions to cause shade. You may have to move it around the boat once and awhile to keep it in the sun, but I like it much better than heating up the cabin with a typical oven. We would even cook while underway on our 30′ monohull. You have to be more aware if you’re cooking meat (we’re vegetarian) to be sure the temps stay up, but they’re more than capable of doing so. If you get a small unit with reflectors, you can even boil water. It’s also a very healthy way to cook as the food is slowly and evenly heated preserving more of the nutrients.

  10. I haven’t used one since high school, but it worked OK then. I do remember making bisquits. Our physics class made one and used it.

  11. We’ve had a solar oven (www.solarovensociety.org) for over 10 years. They work great. Breads are inconsistent, so are pot pies and biscuits. Anything slow cooked like pulled pork is fantastic. Makes rice super easy too. SOS.org supplies the pots, thermometer and reflectors.

    Glad you two are having fun. We just got back from sailing Croatia and loved it. But it was only two weeks.

    • Sailing in Croatia sounds cool, Eric. Sorry it only lasted 2 weeks. Perhaps you should take another vacation down here. Off season rates are probably pretty good:)

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