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.
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.
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. 🙂