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Old 16-11-2019, 06:23   #1
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Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

I am on a quest to reduce propane usage for cooking. It is a PITA to replace when we live at anchor.

Stove top cooking is conveniently available on board our current boat all year without gas (half the year using an induction hotplate when solar is plentiful and the other half on the top of the Refleks diesel heater), so that is a good start.

The problem is that I love baking and up to now the oven has still been needed daily. I tried using a pressure cooker for this last year with little success. After several attempts I learned the hard way that cooking directly in the pot produced a burnt bottom and raw top . Using a pudding bowl and steaming a cake gave a reasonable result, but produced a huge amount of undesirable steam for an hour.

An Omnia pan that lots of cruisers recommend does not fit on the Reflex.

This autumn I started experimenting with a covered frypan and results have been phenomenally good, so I thought I would share the technique.

The key is to “bake” in small quantities using, for example, 1/6 of the bread dough made with 500g of flour, or 1/4 of a cake recipe using 2 cups of flour. With only two on board, this is not an issue, in fact it is preferable, as it makes the perfect amount for a couple of very generous servings of freshly baked cake or bread.

The result is a round only about 2cm high and the top is not browned, but bread (left to rise in the pan before baking) and cakes are otherwise beautifully cooked. Pizza is especially good, with a crispy bottom and super soft top. An even better result than using the oven.

Cooking times with the Refleks set on very low:
Bread: 12 minutes
Pizza (crispy bottom): 15 minutes
Chocolate cake: 17 minutes
Apple, cinnamon and sultana cake: 20 minutes

I have being making up bread/pizza dough in batches using 500g of flour as usual, letting this rise and the refrigerating what is not needed that day. Warm, fragrant bread or pizza is then available on demand .

Given the surge in induction cooking, this technique could also probably be successfully adopted. I will need to wait to summer to try it out.

SWL
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Old 16-11-2019, 06:54   #2
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

Thank you for this information! We installed a Refleks 60M heater on our boat 2 years ago and love it for keeping the boat warm and the kettle hot. We do have an induction cooker that we use, but never tried to cook on the heater - yet.

Which type of fry pan are you using? Cast iron or aluminum?
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Old 16-11-2019, 07:08   #3
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

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Originally Posted by LostBiker View Post
Thank you for this information! We installed a Refleks 60M heater on our boat 2 years ago and love it for keeping the boat warm and the kettle hot. We do have an induction cooker that we use, but never tried to cook on the heater - yet.

Which type of fry pan are you using? Cast iron or aluminum?
I am using a small non stick “Stellar Rocktanium” pan. It is reasonably heavy with a sandwiched magnetic base than can be used on a induction plate, otherwise aluminium. It is quite a bit heavier than standard non stick pans and heat distribution is good.

Cast iron should work well if you have any small pans on board. I suspect a very lightweight pan would give less good results.

The results are so good using this method that I am going to continue doing this even when gas is easily available.

SWL
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Old 16-11-2019, 07:19   #4
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

Hi, SWL,

Sounds like you've solved a problem nicely!

What happened with your pressure cooking attempts is that the fire was too high. You could get good results that way, using a flame tamer under the pot, and/or by placing an aluminum foil tent over the cooker. I've never had p.c. bread fail in the way you describe, that must have been really discouraging. Never had to use a flame tamer, but found the tent decreased cooking time, and may have lessened heat into the cabin, which was an issue because we were in the Solomons, and keeping it cooler below was a priority, which it isn't for you guys.

Ann
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Old 16-11-2019, 07:43   #5
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

Ah! We have the 5 piece set of Stellar Rocktanium we picked up in the UK a few years ago and are using them for the induction plate, so this is perfect. Very nice nonstick pots and pans. Time to experiment with the heater then and try some baking!



Thanks again!
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Old 16-11-2019, 08:42   #6
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

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Hi, SWL,

Sounds like you've solved a problem nicely!

What happened with your pressure cooking attempts is that the fire was too high. You could get good results that way, using a flame tamer under the pot, and/or by placing an aluminum foil tent over the cooker. I've never had p.c. bread fail in the way you describe, that must have been really discouraging. Never had to use a flame tamer, but found the tent decreased cooking time, and may have lessened heat into the cabin, which was an issue because we were in the Solomons, and keeping it cooler below was a priority, which it isn't for you guys.

Ann
Hi Ann
Yes, I guess the heater was too hot even on low (and the top of the high cooker too cold for the volume of food). I tried adding a few bits of aluminium on top of the hotplate to create a trivet and raise the pressure cooker in an attempt to lower the temp, tried aluminium foil over the cake mix, tried insulating layers under the cake mix, tried everything I could think of. I don’t give up easily .

After an appalling start, the final results were somewhat edible, but very second rate, and I eventually reluctantly gave up in disgust.

This frypan method using a small quantity actually produces a fabulous result. It was quite a revelation.

SWL
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Old 16-11-2019, 10:14   #7
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

^^^^That's really super!

Ann
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:14   #8
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

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Originally Posted by LostBiker View Post
Ah! We have the 5 piece set of Stellar Rocktanium we picked up in the UK a few years ago and are using them for the induction plate, so this is perfect. Very nice nonstick pots and pans. Time to experiment with the heater then and try some baking!

Thanks again!
Let us know if you have any new ideas or tips to share.

In addition to recently “baking”, I have used the Refleks for everything I would normally do on the gas stovetop for two seasons now. My 3 litre pressure cooker fits on, so all my usual soups and stews are cooked on the Refleks. I do have to turn the heat up a bit higher than the usual lowest setting we leave it on, if I want to get a full pot up to pressure.

Other common things cooked are pancakes and French toast and eggs.

We don’t have an actual toaster on board and rather than using the griller I make “toast” by buttering one side of bread or brushing it with extra virgin olive oil (sometimes infused with herbs or garlic or chilli) and heating this coated side down in an uncovered frypan on low until it is hot and crispy. This leaves one side soft and one crunchy and it is scrumptious, even without any additional topping.

Apart from avoiding the need to replace gas, an added benefit to using the Refleks heater for cooking is that it eliminates all the moisture induced when using gas. It is nice having a dry boat and non foggy windows .

SWL
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:15   #9
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

Would one of these work? No personal experience. / Len


https://www.amazon.ca/The-Coleman-Co.../dp/B0009PURJA
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Old 16-11-2019, 11:58   #10
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

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Would one of these work? No personal experience. / Len


https://www.amazon.ca/The-Coleman-Co.../dp/B0009PURJA
Hi Len
It looks like a good concept, but it is too large.
Dimensions listed are 13.5 in. x 12.9 in. x 3.3 in. (34.3 cm x 32.7 cm x 8.3 cm). That may be when folded, but regardless, the width looks roughly as great as the height, so it must be close to 12”.
The maximum diameter the Refleks will take is only 9 in. (23 cm). The fiddle restricts this.

SWL
(typing while happily munching on toast with vegemite made on the Refleks )
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Old 16-11-2019, 12:04   #11
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

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Hi Len
It looks like a good concept, but it is too large.
Dimensions listed are 13.5 in. x 12.9 in. x 3.3 in. (34.3 cm x 32.7 cm x 8.3 cm).
The maximum diameter the Refleks will take is only 9 in. (23 cm). The fiddle restricts this.

SWL
(typing while happily munching on toast with vegemite made on the Refleks )

Cut a round hole in bottom of this alum.box to fit over fiddle? Just bouncing ideas. / L
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Old 16-11-2019, 12:12   #12
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

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Cut a round hole in bottom of this alum.box to fit over fiddle? Just bouncing ideas. / L
There would be a small market if someone wanted to produce a round oven to fit on top of the Refleks. Probably almost everyone with a Refleks would find one useful, although it would be a bulky item and storage is still an issue on most boats. The height would also make it vulnerable to toppling if the anchorage was rough or subject to wakes from other boats.

The beauty of frypan baking is that no additional equipment or cost is required . It is safe, simple and requires little experience to produce great results.

SWL
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Old 16-11-2019, 12:13   #13
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

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Old 16-11-2019, 13:05   #14
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

Hey Seaworthy! With the 5 piece pan set the frying pan isnt deep enough, but the 14, 16, 18, and 20cm covered pans fit inside the fiddle, so that part is taken care of. Now Im trying to get the temperature setting right. So far its always too hot even on the low setting. I need to let the temp stabilize a little longer I believe. Its fine for cooking in the pots Im sure - soups, stews, even a small pork roast I bet, but too hot for bread yet. This is a lot of fun actually, so thanks again for posting !


We use a 6qt Instant Pot for "baking" quick bread and it comes out pretty good, but thats electric. We'll go find a regular small pressure cooker and give that a try on the Refleks and see what happens.



So for now we believe we can cook just fine without using the induction stove or convection/microwave oven. The only thing that uses gas is the small grill we have outside. We've gone full electric for cooking and dont miss the gas at all inside.


We'll be glad to move to a bigger boat in a few months and we'll be getting another Refleks 60M set up. Not just for heating anymore! .



John
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Old 16-11-2019, 13:24   #15
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Re: Frypan “baking” on a Refleks Diesel heater

This might be slightly OT, but I recall seeing a video of a Eric Forsyth, on the boat Fiona, regularly baking bread on a stove-top with something I believe he called a "Swedish oven." It looked a lot like an angel food cake pan with a lid, and was roughly donut shaped, with a pipe, or hole, coming up through the middle of the pan. I think the effect was heat rose through the hole (or pipe, however it is termed) and cooked the bread more evenly. There was no water, or steam involved. The bread came out donut shaped. I've checked around, but can't seem to find anything else about it. Is anyone else familiar with the technique?
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