I'm not nearly as eloquent as Peter Reinhart, but I share his sentiment. As a mother and wife, making bread is a prayer of love. To me, a meal isn't complete without an accompanying loaf of bread. The smell of it cooking brings a sense of satisfaction and well being (but the 45 minute wait to slice it open is absolutely agonizing). The look on everyone's face as they eat a still warm piece of bread, though, is the best reward.
|Our Global Sun Oven out by the garden path.|
Rick's recipe is super simple—flour, instant yeast, sea salt, and water. That's it. Mix together and leave overnight. Normally he'll cook the bread in a Romertopf clay cooker, but I was planning on using two regular loaf pans in the solar oven. Because of that I increased the flour and added more yeast because I wasn't sure if the solar oven would be hot enough to pop the dough up nicely. And I couldn't resist adding some honey and powdered milk.
|The finished loaves.|
My solar oven bread recipe:
4 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup powdered milk
1 Tbl. honey
2 cups water
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
I mixed the dough and left it over night. I put the solar oven outside first thing to heat up. Then I divided the dough into the two loaf pans and let them rise a bit while I ate breakfast. I left the breads in the solar oven while I ran 5 miles and took a shower. When the internal temperature of the bread reached 210 degrees and the top looked brown, I took them out. The bread didn't rise as much as if I had left it for a longer second rise, or baked it in a hotter oven, but it did taste great and had a good crumb. Next time I might let it rise a bit more. Rick says I should use less yeast, especially since I'm leaving it overnight to ferment, but I'm not sure about that. I feel that the bread should be risen about an inch or more over the top of the bread pan before it goes into the solar oven.
We have a Global Sun Oven, which they say can reach temperatures of 400 degrees. Ours tends to average between 300 and 350 degrees. It's wonderful, though, and I'll post other solar recipes.