Monday, May 17, 2010

My Sun Oven Rocks!

We are getting to that time of year here in Arizona.  HOT is the only way to describe it.  Ugly, nasty, over the top, ridiculously HOT. (Can you tell I'm not a fan of summers in Arizona?  LOL)  Thank goodness for my lovely AC!  However, that blessedly cool air does not come cheap, so heating up the kitchen by baking is not something I like to do. Enter my wonderful Global Sun Oven.  I have had it for a couple of years now and have used it for everything from roast  to rice but have never tried it for bread.  Since it only gets up to 300- 325 degrees I was afraid bread was off the list.  However, I did some online research and talked to a few people who assured me it could be done.  So, yesterday I decided to give it a shot and it worked.. beautifully! I'm so excited.  I used the master recipe from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day which is our assignment this month in our bread group.  One site I found particularly encouraging was Chef Tess Bakeresse- She also lives in Arizona and has the same issues that I do when it comes to turning on the oven during these months.  Anyway, I pretty much followed her advice including doing the final raise in the sun oven as it heats up.

Raising in the sun oven

I'm still in the learning stages- as you can see, I left the bread in the oven a little too long.  I should have pulled it out at 170 degrees.  But, we couldn't tell any adverse effects- the bread was moist and delicious.  It didn't taste dried out or over baked. 

Here is my loaf of bread.. completely cooked by solar power.  Hubby pronounced it the best bread I've made so far using the HBin5 method.  So, it was a success all around.  (Love it when that happens!)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Milk and Honey Craisin Bread

     I am really late in posting this last assignment in our HBin5 group. (Sorry, Michelle!)  But, oh, my!  This is one delicious bread.  I decided to change it up a bit by putting a cinnamon sugar filling in it.  I mean, after all, doesn't that name just seem to beg for cinnamon and sugar??  YUM. I also used Craisins (double the amount) because I happen to LOVE cranberries and jump at any excuse to use them.  I had some white wheat flour in my freezer so I used that instead of the regular whole wheat called for in the recipe  (page 270) in Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  The bread turned out moist and tender with a nice hint of sweet raw sugar crunch on the crust.  I was able to get a nice 2 lb loaf as well as a mini loaf- perfect for a quick gift for a neighbor.