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Old 20-07-2010, 07:57   #1
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Solar Oven Failure

My solar oven has a temp gauge so I should have known better than to try baking bread when it didn't register a high enough heat. Total cannonball. Wouldn't you think a solar oven in full Florida summer sun could have done the job? Oven came with dark, enameled steel pots but this time I used a shiny aluminum bread pan. Won't try that again. Solar does work great for New England Boiled Dinner, etc. Janet Groene, Janet Groene's BoatCook
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Old 20-07-2010, 08:29   #2
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Bread takes not just high temperature, but high heat. The dough is cold and wet. The oven needs to make it inflate with steam in a hurry before it cooks. Takes a big burner and much hot preheated steel. Maybe put a stone slab in there to hold the heat?
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Old 20-07-2010, 08:33   #3
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I don't think a solar oven will reach the temps needed to bake bread. Don't you need something like 400/450F?
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Old 20-07-2010, 12:25   #4
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I make whole wheat bread from freshly ground grain and it calls for 35 minutes/loaf@ 375 degrees. I will try again with black steel and more preheating. It's also crucial to raise heat first so yeasty action stops before loaf collapses. My two mistakes were not preheating enough and not using a dark bread pan. Mea culpa. Cruising with only two burners, I make bread in a locked pressure cooker (preferably cast aluminum, not stainless steel) with rubber gaskets removed. It forms a great oven with browning on bottom and sides but top does not brown due to steam. Janet Groene, Janet Groene's BoatCook
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Old 20-07-2010, 13:45   #5
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After reading your post,looked up solar ovens,they are rather pricy.How large is yours & does it normally work?marc
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Old 20-07-2010, 13:48   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randal Johnson View Post
I don't think a solar oven will reach the temps needed to bake bread. Don't you need something like 400/450F?

Depends on the bread. I usually run about 350F for mine.
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Old 20-07-2010, 13:55   #7
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Mrs.Tellie makes bread in our solar oven. But you do need the black pots to create the proper heat.
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Old 20-07-2010, 14:45   #8
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Solar Oven

Mine is from solarovens.org , a group that uses its profits to provide solar ovens to developing countries. They find all sorts of benefits accrue to the people, e.g. cutting down on lung diseases in women who spend their lives over smoky fires, saving rain forests that are being cut to make charcoal and sanitizing water using solar heat. Seems waterborne disease is a major, if not THE major problem in many nations. On the plus side, my solar oven takes two lidded, black enamel pots so you can accomplish a lot in one space. On the minus side, even tho it weighs only about 10 pounds including the two empty pots, it's bulky. Ideal for boats that have a lot of stowage space for light items. Cost was about $110 including shipping within U.S. It won't take a LOT of bashing about but with care it should last a couple of years. Janet Groene, Janet Groene's BoatCook
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Old 20-07-2010, 15:28   #9
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Thank you will ck on it.mrc
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Old 20-07-2010, 20:30   #10
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Add a reflector and a heat plate.
Remember the television commercials for the miracle plates supposedly covered with a super conductor that were meant to be used for thawing frozen foods? There were several different names, and they actually worked pretty well. Place one inside your oven where the sun can hit it directly. The suns rays will be absorbed better, raising your heat quite a bit. A stone plate in bottom already heated before beginning the actual cooking cycle will help sometimes. One of the large magnifiers can be used to focus higher heat onto either a black pot or the conductor covered plate.
Cheap solar oven. Get a piece of sono-tube, or whatever it is called where you are located. This is the thick cardboard tube used as a form to pour concrete piers. Short pieces for things like deck post pads and such are available at hardware places. Cut about a 10 inch deep piece. Cut a second piece at about 9.25 inches. Slit the second piece down the side and slowly trim it down until it will get small enough to slide inside the first. You now have a fairly air tight cardboard tube about an inch thick. Cut a round base with a groove for the first ring to sit about .25 into it. Slide the second one into place. You now have to make a top with double glass that has a .25 lip that fits into the recess left by the inner circle being a little shorter than the outer. Aluminum flashing to make a reflector. Taking time at this point to make brackets or ways to adjust the reflector will be appreciated later.
Set in sun. Use reflector to reflect light into the oven. Use magnifier to raise heat and add to efficiency. One of the large 12 inch magnifiers that come with a ring light and an adjustable stand works perfectly for this.
Wood doesn't do very well being heated to high temps and bathed in steam time after time. The cardboard tube lasts longer and is easily replaceable. Make the tube two inches taller and add a gray or black round landscape stone to the inside bottom as a heat sink.
You can get fancy from there if you wish. Deep black aluminum or cast iron pan with two or three layers of the tube around it and with a stone under it, gives you isolation from the carbboard.
Sorry so long, but I spent a summer playing with re-inventing the solar oven one year!
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