The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

buying and using solar ovens

jodicello's picture

buying and using solar ovens

I want to buy a solar oven for baking (esp., sourdough breads). I found some old postings but I wonder what has come on the market, and what people recommend; also, whether what suggestions you have adjusting preparation and baking for this method. 

I live near DC, so summer can be hot (and I avoid turning on the oven for months), but weather is unreliable, and I don't have full sun anywhere in my yard. Thanks, bread community!

dabrownman's picture

get it done.  Do what I do in AZ,  Just get a convesction toaster oven and take it outside, plug it in and bake away.   The best bread I make is made i n my Cuisinart couter tope convection  toaster oven,  You just have to learn how to steam in it, I can help you there and keep he loaves to 750 G max.  I even have a DO that fits mine and work great.  In another month I will be baking outside once it hits 100 F 

stanss's picture

We have a "Sun Oven" brand solar oven.  They are great for slow cooking, but not baking breads. On a sunny day here in N Calif. ours will run 325-375 F., but since they are closed, fairly air tight the bread will not form a good crust of get brown.   They are great for stews, roasts, beans and things like that.  Don't buy one for just making bread.

Potameid's picture

Sorry I’m late to the party; Just joined the site and saw this thread.

I live in the Adirondacks (Upstate NY) off the grid and the only oven I have in the summer (other than the kamado grill) is an All-American Sun Oven. (I use a wood burning  Nectre Big Baker’s Oven in the winter)

I’ve been making 100% whole wheat sourdough weekly in the solar oven; it has worked pretty well.  The oven makes a convenient rising chamber.

Condensation is an interesting challenge; I’ve found I have to leave the door cracked to let the steam escape.  Otherwise the condensation inside the glass blocks the heat coming in.  Up here that means the temperature rarely goes above 250-275F but that is still sufficient to bake the bread, if you give it sufficient time.

Also, once the tops sound hollow when tapped, I have to take the loaves out of the pan and turn them upside down and put them back in to let the moisture escape the loaf bottoms.

The process has worked well and consistently for us; the two of us usually go through about two loaves a week.  We’ve only had to use the toaster oven three times and the kamado once for baking the bread; we prefer how it tastes and bakes in the solar oven.