Chrystalyn’s Adventures With The Sun Oven
By Christalyn Trimble
We’ve been getting a lot of inquiries here at TheSurvivalMom about the Sun Oven. If you’ve read our FAQ and Lisa’s information here, you might be thinking, “Sun Oven cooking, huh? How out there do you have to be to put that shiny thing out there for all the neighbors to see? Some of them will probably think, “Is she trying to signal UFOs?” I got some really weird looks when I first started using it. That’s for sure. So, that’s what the back yard is for!
I’ve owned a Sun Oven for about one year, but have only started cooking in it the last few months. I love it! I’m consistent with having home-cooked dinners every night at our house, but during the Arizona summers, all that baking would heat up my oven and my house along with it. To keep my family happy, I would do it anyway. Sure, you can get away with a crock-pot meal or a pasta salad here and there, but I only have so many recipes for those. So, I was thrilled when Paul Munsen from Sun Oven International came to Phoenix to teach several classes on solar cooking. I learned so much during those classes and it took away some of my hesitation in using my Sun Oven. So, I began to bake. And bake and bake!
I now use the Sun Oven for about 60% percent of all my baking and for even some stove top dishes. It has made a huge difference in how my house feels on those hot days, and I still feel great about what I am feeding my family. I’ve made cookies, bread (lots of it), cobblers, casseroles, rice, pasta, (still perfecting those last two), an amazing roast, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, a cream chicken sauce, rolls, and I’ve even dehydrated some cherries.
So, let’s say you’re a beginner. Where should you start? First you’ve got to have some type of solar oven, or at least be friends with someone who does. We recommend the Sun Oven for all the reasons listed in the FAQ and from our own personal experiences with it. Bread is great to begin with. You can make it really easy on yourself by buying frozen bread dough from the store, or you can use my recipe below and have fresh whole wheat bread, or white bread. Your pick. You can bake two full size loaves side by side in your Sun Oven. I baked one loaf of whole wheat bread and a mini loaf of banana bread the other day. Both turned out great. The banana bread took a little long to bake than the whole wheat bread but was devoured more quickly. Just follow the instructions here for setting it up.
I prefer to heat up the oven about a half hour before the bread is ready to go in. If you’re making homemade bread, that pre-heating time is about the same amount of time your bread needs to do its’ final rise. With the oven temperature at 350 degrees, it will take about 45 minutes to bake. I’ve been using my bread machine to mix up a batch of bread dough each morning. Then I take out the dough, shape it, and place it in my pan to rise. While it’s rising, I set up my Sun Oven and preheat it. Once the bread is finished rising, I pop it into the Oven. I love have fresh bread and a cool house to go with it.
The main thing to remember about the Sun Oven is that it’s an oven! It gets hot! This has a sealed chamber that gets much hotter than other solar cookers. Mine stays steady at 350 degrees if I track the sun. If you just set it out there in the morning and face it south it will act like a crock pot. In fact, I used my crockpot liner to make my roast in. It was actually done before I was ready for it, and the roast was the best!
Check the Sun Oven tab above for more information and visit the official Sun Oven website. You’ll be able to purchase your Sun Oven right here at TheSurvivalMom blog for just $225, which includes FREE shipping. Ordering information will be available by the end of the month, so check back often!
As an added bonus for you, our readers, here is one of my very favorite bread recipes.
Chrystalyn Trimble’s Whole-Wheat Bread Then enjoy.
1 1/4 c hot water
1 tsp salt
3 TBL oil
3 TBL honey
3 TBL powdered milk
3 TBL vital wheat gluten
3 c whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp yeast
Place ingredients in a bread maching in order given. Select dough cycle. After it’s mixed for five minutes, the dough should be soft, but not too sticky. If it’s too sticky, just add a little more flour. When bread machine is done, take out dough and form into a loaf. Place in greased bread pan and let rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat Sun Oven. When oven temperature has reached 350 degrees and the bread has risen about 2 inches above the bread pan, quickly place it inside the Sun Oven on the tray. Bake about 45 minutes, adjusting once to capture the best sun. When finished cool on cooling rack.
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