Baking on the Stove: Experiment 1

11 March 2009
By

Fahim complained (read: whine ;-)) a few days ago that, by day three, my breakfast sweet buns were starting to get a bit stale. Well, yes, I agree, the buns are definitely at their best on day one. But baking single-serving buns in the oven would be a huge waste of gas. As it is, baking anything uses a tremendous amount of gas compared to cooking anything on the stovetop.

So I returned back to the idea we had previously explored, albeit briefly – baking on the stove.

Fahim’s told me that, years ago, it was possible to buy equipment that would enable a person to bake on their stove. Basically, it’s a contraption to trap the heat from the propane burner in a large-ish air-filled space, much like an oven is.

See, most people here don’t have ovens. Most people use propane stoves (2-3 burner, like people from the US or Canada would use camping), or one burner propane stoves (again, like would be used for camping), or kerosene stoves, or would burn coconut husks, wood, or paper for fuel. It’s only fairly recently – the last five to ten years – that some in the middle- and upper-classes have gotten stoves that have ovens.

But that equipment to have an on-stove oven doesn’t seem to be readily available anymore, so if I want to do this, I’ll have to create my own.

The experiment.

For today’s experiment, that meant using a roti pan, an aluminum pot to serve as a fairly well-fitting high-dome lid, and a smaller aluminum lid on the floor of the pan to serve as a spacer so my baking dish wouldn’t be getting direct heat. Then the baking dish goes on top of the aluminum lid. Makes sense?

I used up one day’s worth of bun dough, formed into two buns, inside a metal enameled pot. I put whole contraption onto the second largest burner and put the gas onto halfway for ten minutes. At that point, I checked the buns and they looked like the bottom was cooking too fast (already brown) compared to the top, so I put the gas down to the lowest setting and popped the dome lid back on. Ten minutes later, I checked it again, and the bottom looked burned, so I turned the gas off, put the lid back on, and let the buns bake further in the residual heat.

The end result.

The bottoms were burnt, although Fahim ate the burnt bottom anyway as they didn’t taste all that burnt or bad to him. The rest of the bun was just very very slightly underdone, so could have used perhaps one or two more minutes of baking, but no more. The buns didn’t have the normal crust that happens through baking – it was moister, softer.

However, the end result was definitely edible and merits further experimenting to perfect the technique. It worked well enough that that’s warranted.

What I would do differently:

I would put the gas onto perhaps 1/4 open (medium low) instead of 1/2 open (medium) for ten minutes, then turn down to low for 15-20 minutes. If that results in something still too burned, then I would try it on low for the entire baking time.

If I can, I would like to use something that will give greater separation between the bottom of the pan and the baking vessel. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more aluminum lids that are small enough to fit, so I’ll have to look around and see if I can find anything else that’ll work.

Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? Suggestions? I’m all ears. πŸ™‚

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9 Responses

  1. #1
    Kristal L. Rosebrook 

    It turned out great.

  2. #2
    Laurie 

    Kristal, what did you try? And, if you blogged about it, do you have a link?

  3. #3
    Oscar N 

    I successfully bake a sourdough cheesecake baked in a stove, just was a little under cook a thin 1 millimeter line between the pastry pie and the cheesecake filling, but a use a little different approach, while you use a not to tall pan/casserole in the bottom part like in this picture:

    http://album.laurieashton.com/v/SriLanka/kitchen/stove-baking/20090310-00.jpg.html

    I use the invert, the more tall in the bottom part and the less tall in the upper part, and maybe using a dish for the loafs rather than the casserole you are using, maybe the tall sides of the casserole are interfering with the airflow to cook upper part of the loaf, and maybe reducing a little the flame a go a few more minutes longer the bake, the cheesecake I bake was 45 minutes at medium low flame. My system was an aluminum pan 28 cm diameter and 7 cm tall, in the bottom a inverted 9 inches disposable aluminum pie pan/mold then the cheesecake pie in the aluminum pie pan, and closing the system the top of a casserole like 3 or 4 cm tall, so the system is a little flat like 11 or 12 cm tall, so I can use medium low flame, so maybe if you use medium high flame to cook/bake quickly I think you need use a taller mold/pan in the bottom of the system so higher heat from bottom don’t burnt the the bottom of the loaf, and using a not no tall casserole to let the hot air cook/bake the loafs, well thats what i will try to bake a loaf, using the system I use, I bake sourdough pie crusts, for lemon pies, just I need put some weight over the crusts because they shrink and crack a little.
    So I will check later to see maybe experiment 3 results?

    IHTH Bye.

  4. #4
    Laurie 

    Oscar, thank you for your comments.

    You’re right, I do need to update on other things I’ve tried. I’m quite behind, unfortunately!

    I think your idea of using a shorter baking pan is quite possibly correct since my bun tops are never quite as brown as I’d like them to be. I’m not sure if I have anything suitable around–will have to look. Unfortunately, living in Sri Lanka means that I don’t have a lot of things available to me that are available in the West.

    Since the above post, I’ve modified my methods further, changing equipment, trying different things. I’ll work on getting a few updates up. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. πŸ™‚

  5. #5
    mmm_paste 

    This is really interesting. This technique might work better with cookies. I steam my bread in a wok on the stovetop. The outside is moist, but it does a good job, even if it is a little dense. I hope you make more posts. I will live vicariously through your experiments.

  6. #6
    Laurie 

    I’ll take vicarious living. πŸ˜€

    I haven’t even thought of trying cookies, but yes, they probably would work quite well. I haven’t tried steaming buns, either, although I’m now thinking that, at least once, I should give it a try and see what I/we think.

    We haven’t been eating sweet bread for breakfast for about a month – it’s currently Ramadan, which means Fahim eats breakfast hours before I even manage to crawl out of bed. Once Ramadan is over, we’ll be resuming the sweet breads for breakfast.

    When that happens, I’ll take a few more pictures and give an update post. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for visiting and commenting. πŸ™‚

  7. #7
    Deepa 

    I actually don’t know the name you’re asking for. Just wanted to pop by to say thank you!! Cos my sonnny wanted a fish pie and my oven was broke and i was wondering how to get the crust ready and i landed on your page, followed your recipe of using an aluminium lid on the pan and the baking dish on top of it and closed tightly with a lid and yes, i took the tip about your buns getting burnt and was careful about the flame and guess what, the pie turned out fantastic! The crust was beautifully done! Of course i had to flip the pie over to get the crust on the top done too.. and the pie lost its beautiful circular shape, but the main thing is the crust was crispy and nice!! Thank you so much Laurie for posting this πŸ™‚ Happy Cooking!

  8. #8
    Deepa 

    Me again! Just posted the comment above. I got this question before the message column that said ‘Paul’s name is?’ And I assumed that may be its one of your moderation techniques whereby a guest had to guess your pseudonym (?!) so only the regular followers of your blog get to comment?? πŸ™‚ And that explains the strange first line in my message above πŸ™‚ It hit me only after i answered wrongly and got the Cyborg msg πŸ™‚ But by then, my comment was already on your wall! Eeps πŸ™‚

  9. #9
    Laurie 

    Deepa, it’s a moderation technique, but it has nothing to do with regular users. The answer to the question is in the question itself. “What is Paul’s name?” The answer is Paul. πŸ™‚

    So glad your pie turned out great and my baking on the stove bit helped. πŸ™‚

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About LMAshton

Howdy and welcome to my site! I'm Laurie and I'll be your, er, hostess today. :)

I'm a Canadian expat currently living in Singapore. I'm married to a Sri Lankan and lived in Sri Lanka for nearly a decade. We also lived in New Zealand for half a year.

I cook Sri Lankan curries, sambols, and mallungs. I bake bread using wild yeast (sourdough that isn't sour). I bake on the stove. I experiment with Indian / Malaysian / Indonesian / Thai / whatever cuisines interest me. And I experiment wildly.

Life is an adventure. Join me! :)

If you want to know more about me, click on the "About" link in the navigation bar above. :)