Bread without an oven

Cloud Swift

Well, our oven has failed and it looks like it will be weeks before we can get a replacement. Apparently, COVID has interfered with production (or maybe it's the supply chain). We could have tried getting the Miele wall oven repaired, but it's needed repairs multiple times over the years. The last time it had problems was around a year ago so I'm done with it.


Only the upper oven is malfunctioning, but it's doing that by staying on continuously and running at about 300 degrees no matter what the control panel is set to so we've had to throw the breaker for the whole thing off. It failed Friday and our kids were here so we did turn it on Saturday evening to bake bread dough that was already prepared and planned on in the lower oven. By the time it was done, the oven was venting seriously hot air out of the vent under the control panel and the "off" upper oven was at almost 400 degrees so I don't think we will try that again.


So any bread for the next few weeks (which may stretch out to longer) will have to be done on the stove top, in the toaster oven or on the gas grill outside. I baked on the gas grill a couple of times during our kitchen remodel in 2007, but it required being a human thermostat to control.


I don't particularly like how bread comes out if we allow the bread machine to bake it. I think it is partly because it doesn't get the structure that comes from forming the loaf. I've wondered about getting the dough out as the final rise, forming it and dropping it back into the bucket for final rise and baking to see if that improves things.


I have one of those Dutch oven things with a flat lid with a rim around it so possibly could heat up charcoal and pile some on top with some underneath to get an oven effect.


I'm interested in any tips or recipes for making bread like things without an oven. Most other things, I can either live without, make in the toaster oven (e.g. bake off a few cookies or cook a baked potato), or do a stove top version.

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annie1992

Well, if you have a cast iron dutch oven with the legs and the lid with the rim, you can bake nearly anything. I used to go camping with the girls and I've made chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, cinnamon rolls, biscuits and cobbler in one. You just have to get the amount of coals right and remember to rotate the pot and/or lid to avoid hot spots. I used charcoal briquettes because they were always available and easy to procure. I didn't bake much bread, but I made cinnamon rolls, so bread is similar and "doable".

I've also seen recipes for bread in the crockpot, although I think they call for browning under the broiler, maybe the toaster oven would work for that if the bread is OK. I've also made flatbread on the stovetop, but that's not traditional "sandwich" bread, if that's what you are looking for.

I'm with you on that faulty oven, I wouldn't try to use it. I'd have to "make do" until it is replaced. I do know that AnnT bakes a lot of bread in her countertop toaster oven, but she has a big one, and it's convection if I remember correctly.

Good luck!


Annie


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Cloud Swift

Our toaster oven has convection too. It holds a 12" square pan. Two loaf pans fit, possibly with enough air space around them, but I've never tried baking something that tall in them up to now. My main issue with it is that it's not well insulated, especially on top and we won't want the heat in the kitchen. I might be able to use it outside - there's an outlet at the grill area.

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CA Kate z9

I haven't ever baked bread in my grill, but I've done other baking in there when I don't want to heat up the house in the summer. I'd try baking bread in my Dutch oven on the grill just to see how it would turn out.

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lizbeth-gardener

I baked a cake in a crockpot years ago, so would think it might work for bread. Do you have a Nesco oven?

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lindac92

Ugh....I think I would take to my bed and whine until the new one came. Or perhaps make do with soda bread baked on the grill.


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dcarch7 d c f l a s h 7 @ y a h o o . c o m

The Chinese has steamed bread for thousands of years. As a matter of fact, they consider baked bread unhealthy.


dcarch

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Lars

You can make crumpets on a griddle, but you need crumpet rings.

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carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b

Chapatis or tortillas?

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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Use your neighbors oven and share a loaf :-)

But I would do:

the cast iron grill thing, make waffles, pancakes, naan and english muffins, New England brown bread in the crock pot Yum!, Buy a new toaster oven, bake one loaf in the one you have and keep the other in the refrigerator til the first is done, and try the cast iron on the stove top.


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Jasdip

There are lots of posts in my cast iron FB group about cooking bread over charcoal, using your exact thoughts......the charcoal on the lid and under the pot.



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sleevendog (5a NY 6aNYC NL CA)

Excellent photo jas. I could not find similar. But yes, that works great. The grill is a bit small but definitely works. Key to have a chimney starter or a similar method to start a batch of coals for the top.

We just had a massive thunderstorm roll through with more on the way. Even with the kettle lid this downpour would have dampened the coals for sure.

Once hot though, bread does not take long, especially with a heavy lid. To be heat efficient, a 1,000 gram flour batch of bread cut in half will yield two good size Boules. One comes out, the next goes in. Plenty of heat with that method. Or the second half could be rolls or buns. Flatbread, pizzas.

While at it since it is a project, best to stock up the bread baking as all of it freezes well.

If you have a small loaf pan that fits inside your Dutch oven, a slice loaf is possible. I have three cast iron pieces designated for the grill. A dutch oven, a rectangle griddle and a small saucepan.

Depends on your dedication to a grill,😜

A toaster oven outside is pretty fuss-free.

Ann_t has two counter-top ovens for bread. The cuisinart steam and the Oster larger double door. Both seem to work well if an interim oven is needed. The Oster is less than 300. We considered that one when our double wall gas ovens were removed waiting for re-configuring and for electric to be installed.

This was a few years ago, so no covid intervention. I have a partialy covered deck so the Oster would be a good option as it is a very large oven.

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Jasdip

Mine is a Cuisinart counter-top oven and it holds 2 loaf pans or a 10" cast iron skillet. I use it far more than my full sized oven.

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plllog

If you're baking outside anyway, and building a fire, you can also make a temporary brick oven. Use a combination of actual bricks and heavy clay tiles and just stack them. Keep it low in case of earthquakes, and keep a bucket of sand handy if the fire gets out of hand. :) Could be fun!

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Cloud Swift

We want 4 challahs every week - 2 for us and 2 for the son that lives locally. We are okay with small loaves and my son prefers them so we can use one batch of dough to make 4 loaves. I'd like to be able to bake everything in one batch rather than having to retard rise on some of the batch to bake in series.

I did half a batch in the toaster oven last night and half in the grill. Our gas grill has a cover so it can simulate an oven sort of.

Since the toaster oven tray area doesn't provide enough space for the usual free form challah loaves, I lined a loaf pan with parchment paper including a parchment paper divider in the middle to divide the 9 by 5 inch loaf pan into two 4.5 by 5 inch almost squares. I braided two small challahs and then put one in each side by folding it. I felt that that would be a better shape than two long thin ones. I put an empty loaf pan in the toaster oven along with the one with the dough to simulate the air flow that would occur if we did a whole batch in the oven. That worked great. The loaf shape is a bit odd - almost a cube, but it makes nice slices and has a good texture.

For the grill, I put a baking stone in the grill to defuse the heat and also retain more heat when the grill cover is opened. The loaves were on a sheet pan that I put on top of the baking stone. I put a temperature probe in the grill and attempted to control the heat to around the same temperature that we would normally use (around 325 to 350 F). They baked okay but they didn't get very brown on top and got to browned, almost burned on the bottom. It might have been better to allow the temp to rise higher or perhaps I should have used something to hold the pan a bit above the stone.

The toaster oven method worked and my husband (our usual challah baker) is more comfortable with it so we'll go with that. I may try making some sourdough bread or bagels next week using the grill or, for the sourdough, the dutch oven with coals.

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l pinkmountain

When our oven was broken I made scones on the stovetop in a covered frypan with crumpled aluminum foil on the bottom so they weren't sitting directly on the heat. They were pretty good.

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