The Real Test

As my regular readers know I have been experimenting with my solar oven and have found it a fantastic tool.  I especially appreciate the fact that it will keep me out of the kitchen during the hot summer, which is fast approaching!

There is one project that I have hesitated to try and that is baking bread in the solar oven.  Bread baking can be a little tricky and since you can’t completely control the temperature in the solar oven I wasn’t sure how it would work, but everything I read said you could do it.  So  I decided to try.

I used my regular dough recipe which is a combination of several I have tried over the years.

Whole Wheat Bread

1 1/2 cups hot water
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp dough enhancer
1 tsp vital wheat gluten
1 serving mashed potatoes (I use instant and prepare them per the package)
4-6 cups fresh ground wheat flour
1 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cups ground flax seed (optional)
1/4 cup pumpkin seed (optional)
1/4 cup sunflower seed (optional)
1/4 cup sesame seed (optional)

Combine water, oil, honey and salt.  Add dough enhancer, gluten and potatoes.  Mix well.

Add 4 cups flour and any seeds you are using.  Mix very well and then add yeast.  I use an electric mixer to knead the dough and run it for about 6-10 minutes. 

Place dough in an oiled bowl and flip the dough over to coat the dough with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and place in a warm spot to rise.  Rising takes about an hour. 

Remove dough from bowl and punch down to get all the air out.  I use a rolling pin to make sure I have gotten rid of all the air pockets. 

At this point you can make loaves, dinner rolls, or use the dough for a pizza crust.   Whichever you choose, shape the dough and place in a warm spot to rise.  This takes about 30 minutes.

While the dough is rising preheat the oven to 350. 

 At this point I pulled out the solar oven and set it up to preheat.  Place the risen loaves in the oven and bake for about 30
minutes.  It took about an hour in the solar oven because the temperature only got up to 325. 

Here is the finished product:

I was very pleased with the results especially since today was a warm day and I did not have to heat up the house by using the oven.  The bread got rave revues at church today so I guess it came out pretty good!

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