September 1, 2020

Solar Cooking: Bread

Lots of rain and clouds these days, but the other day was sunny, so you get another solar cooking post! This time I made bread.

Sun Baked Bread

Here's my recipe for two loaves:
  • 2 cups warm whey, water, or milk (I use whey because I have lots of it from cheesemaking.)
  • 1 tbsp. baking yeast
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 6 cups flour (I use ⅔ whole wheat and ⅓ unbleached white because that's how Dan likes it.)
  • ½ cup soft butter
  • 1 tbsp. salt

Warm the whey (water or milk) until it's warm to touch but not hot. Pour into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the liquid, then sprinkle the sugar over the yeast. Allow the yeast to start bubbling.

Yeast proofing in the bowl

Add about half the flour, then add the butter, and salt. Mix well with a wooden spoon. Dough will be soft. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and allow to rise until double in bulk.

Ready to turn out to hand knead and shape for the pans.

Stir down and add another cup of flour. Mix by hand, adding flour until the dough is pliable and no longer sticky. Turn out of the bowl onto a floured surface and knead for a while by hand.

A nice elastic dough.

Divide the dough in half and shape it for the baking pans. Allow it to rise in the pans in a warm place until double in bulk. In the meantime, position the solar oven in the sun and let it preheat.

The loaves have risen nicely and are ready to bake.

I mentioned in my Solar Cooking: Brown Rice post that cooking times for a solar oven are variable. Several passing clouds darkened the sky and lowered oven temp, so it took about two hours to bake my bread.

Ready to come out of the oven?

Food cooked in a solar oven doesn't brown as much as it does in a conventional oven, so how do I know when my bread is done? When it's internal temperature reaches 190°F (88°C).

Yes, ready to come out of the oven.

Two sun baked loaves of bread.

Nicely textured, ready for toast or sandwiches.

Between our homegrown wheat and baking in the solar oven, it's the best tasting bread I've ever made.

Solar Cooking: Bread © September 2020


M.K. said...


Cockeyed Jo said...

Good job.

wyomingheart said...

That looks fantastic! I can only imagine how great it tastes, and you are right about it tasting better with your own wheat! Very exciting to get the solar cooking on the LIST ! We revise it the list in two months. The garden is slowing down, but the tomatoes are still going strong! Hope you have a great week, and thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe adventure!

Leigh said...

M.K., good to hear from you! Thanks. :)

Jo, thank you!

Wyomingheart, I'm glad to hear your tomatoes are still doing well. Are those the ones in your keyhole garden? I find mine usually try to make a comeback after the blistering summer heat begins to fade.

wyomingheart said...

Yes, bless them ! I have neglected them almost, and they just keep going strong! They have been also getting rain, almost daily... not a lot, but at least a quarter inch every day, sometimes more. That is perhaps why, but my other 20 plants that are in the garden aren’t doing well at all. It’s interesting to me for sure!

Retired Knitter said...

Nothing tastes better than home made bread. I think that is why I don't make bread. I would devour half the loaf in one sitting. That NEVER happens with bread purchased in the store. hahaha Yours looks wonderful.

Leigh said...

Wyomingheart, definitely an interesting experiment. We're making plans for a second keyhole garden; wish we could put in about 20 more!

RT, that's the problem! Especially, when it just comes out of the oven. When I bake outdoors, the whole neighborhood smells good!

daisy g said...

Gorgeous loaves! What a great way to bake bread!

Boud said...

I bake my own bread always, and like that same proportion, except I also use oatmeal for part of it. No homegrown wheat! Just had buttered toast for breakfast.
I find I really don't need to eat a lot of good food, because it satisfies quickly. And my bread isn't full of air, unlike store bought bread.
I have yogurt whey which I've been using in soup. Maybe I'll try it in bread, too, thanks for the tip.

Ed said...

I have a softness in my heart for freshly baked bread and can eat half a loaf at a sitting. It doesn't matter what kind. Once it is cold though, I rarely eat it, no matter what kind, except for the occasional sandwich.

Mama Pea said...

Wow, wow and wow! What's better than homemade bread fresh out of the (in your case) solar oven? Homemade bread made with your own homegrown wheat. You continue to inspire us all!

Leigh said...

Daisy, it is! Free baking power and no heating up the house. :)

Boud, oatmeal! Great idea. I'll have to grind some up and add it to my next loaves. I agree this kind of bread has satisfying substance to it. And, I use whey as liquid in all my baking, not only bread, but pancakes, biscuits, muffins, cakes, pizza dough, etc.

Ed, especially with butter! Fresh bread with butter melting is heaven. :)

Mama Pea, always happy to inspire! Thank you! Of course, I'm fortunate to have some sun, which I know isn't the case for everybody.

Nancy In Boise said...

Great job! I keep thinking we should build one but not sure if I'd use it that much

Leigh said...

Nancy, it's like everything else - habit! It takes a little planning, i.e. different planning from cooking on a stove, but once the habit is developed, it's easy to think "solar." On the other hand, you have to have sun! Cloudy days are a deterrent.

Renee Nefe said...

The bread looks yummy! I'm sure that if I attempted to cook outdoors that my neighborhood critters would steal my dinner. ah well.

Leigh said...

Renee, that's a possibility! lol

Renee Nefe said...

A squirrel started munching on my not yet ripe tomato today! argh!

Leigh said...

Oh no! Dang squirrels!

Kev Alviti said...

Don't tell my wife but I think I love you! lol. That's a great job with the solar oven, such a great way to save energy- I'm still struggling with the grain problems and trying to get things to dehull! Really want to work on grains for myself and the animals but fells this is a big stumbling block at the moment! What wheat did you grow?

Leigh said...

Kev, everybody loves homemade bread! lol I used commercial seed that I bought from my feed store. So I didn't have the hulling problem that the heritage and landrace varieties have. I grew a small patch of Hourani heritage wheat, but it had a poor germination and I only got a small amount of grain. I'll use it as seed wheat for next year.

Goatldi said...

Wow looks delish!

Between the home grown flour and solar oven I couldn’t begin to duplicate. I am , and have been for over six years, stuck on sourdough with no added yeast. I do have a multi grain I make occasionally. I am always kicking myself for doing the same old sourdough.

But if it “ain’t broken “ well you know. But I may give my best try to yours. I will let you know.

Leigh said...

Goatldi, I need to get back to baking sourdough bread. I especially like the idea of not having to buy yeast. But, like you, I'm stuck in a certain habit, so doing something else doesn't come automatically!

Rhonda from Baddeck said...

I tried baking yeast bread in my solar oven and it took HOURS to finish (at 325-350) - a friend had the same problem (in Michigan). I figured it was because all the moisture stays in the SunOven, and evaporates in a regular oven - but that's the only reason I could think of. Quick breads seem to take the same amount of time, whichever method I use.

Leigh said...

Rhonda, yes, it usually does take longer! In part, that's because things don't brown well in a solar oven (hence, taking the bread's temp). Also, it depends on the type of solar oven. Do you have the SunOven brand? I find it heats to better temps than the others. But, you're right, it still takes longer than a conventional oven or bread machine.