Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

Instant oven

One thing I’ve really missed since setting up home in the yurt has been an oven. We have a 30 year-old camping gas stove out of an old VW campervan with two burners and a grill, plus the wood burning stove to cook on, but no oven. No fresh home-made bread. No cookies. No roasts. No oven-baked vegetables. It’s been hard …

We’ll be building a bread oven eventually. Maybe even more than one. At the moment though, it’s not a high priority. But a cunning plan has been hatching somewhere in the back of my head over the last year and with rain stopping play yesterday, Em and I took a trip to Oliveira do Hospital and the numerous Chinese shops there. I was looking again for another cheap size 30 aluminium saucepan the same as the one we use for heating water on the woodburner. Periodic searches through the summer had failed to find one, but this time I found a size 28. Good enough. We could use the new one for water and the old one for what I had in mind.

Which was a stove-top oven.

The ingredients for this recipe are a cast iron trivet, a size 30 saucepan, a cardboard box big enough to contain it and some mineral wool insulation. The saucepan, turned upside down, fits the top of the stove perfectly with the handles slotting over the front and back edges.

Oven ingredients

Assemble so that mineral wool surrounds the saucepan to within an inch of the top of the box, and the top of the saucepan protrudes an inch or so above the top of the box. This is to prevent contact with the top of the stove and burning of the box and insulation. The mineral wool will tolerate temperatures up to 1,000°C, though can scorch. The cardboard patently won’t. I am thinking that for high temperature baking, we will wet it first.

Assembled oven

Idle the stove and prove the bread dough.

Proving dough

When the bread is ready for baking, fire stove up again, stand on trivet

Risen dough

and place ‘oven’ over the top.

Oven in action

Bake until bread is cooked.

Freshly baked bread

Allow to cool (well just a bit at least) and eat!

Freshly baked bread from stove-top oven

Freshly baked bread again! Joy!

After a while of use I concluded the rockwool was much better protected and kept in place by a layer of crumpled aluminium foil. That’s the only modification we’ve made. And we haven’t had to wet the box either, even for long hot baking.

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  1. sophie November 9, 2010

    fantastic !!!

  2. michelle November 10, 2010

    great stuff!Bread looks good too!

  3. janis November 11, 2010

    *mambo loco*!! How DO you do and think of these things??? You will never cease to amaze me, m’dear… fantastic!

  4. Helen November 11, 2010

    MMmmm! looks great!!

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