Baking and cooking without power or gas
What is the best way to secure a reliable source of heat for cookery in the event of absence of power or piped gas?
Obviously a camping stove with a gas cannister would be useful, but I’m wondering whether it is possible to obtain a wood and/or coal fired stove which will serve for both frying and baking, so a burner, a hob and an oven. The ability to bake seems very important to maintain a good diet. Ideally this machine will also provide a good source of heating.
If such a stove is not available, how best can baking be practically done on a day to day basis with the minimum of fuss without a modern oven?
I don’t know if you can get Rayburn ovens in the USA, but their UK website is here:
The link above shows an oven that can be set atop any heat source for baking. It will accomodate up to a 10" by 10" cake pan, or a 1-lb bread pan. It is primarily used on kerosene stoves such as the red one pictured to my left. Some have used it on campfires as well, by hanging it with wires.
I tried showing the picture in this message using the img src= command, but could only get it to display the command text – perhaps someone can educate me, as the html statement I use on my own site doesn’t work here.
10% of any money you spend at my website goes back to Chris in order to help fund this website. I am the sole importer in the US for the Butterfly brand of kerosene stoves, lanterns and oven. They are manufactured in Indonesia and Singapore and used worldwide, mostly in third-world countries (and soon-to-be third-world countries).
If you click the link in my sig line below, you will be directed to my website – check out the Family Preparedness items. I sell many varieties of kerosene stoves, primarily because kerosene is a widely available fuel around the world and it can be stored for long periods. Kerosene, fuel oil, diesel fuel and some types of jet fuel (but NOT gasoline) are very similar fuels. I cannot recommend using anything other than kerosene in the stoves, but I can say that people do sometimes substitute fuel oil, diesel fuel and some types of jet fuel.
Kerosene stoves are not as efficient as kerosene catalytic heaters, so should not be used for heating. Adequate ventilation should be provided, as they do put off some fumes. Kerosene will go up in cost a lot, along with gasoline, but the amounts you use for cooking will be miniscule compared to the amount of gasoline you’d use driving a car, so even at higher prices, kerosene stoves will be useful for some time. Many of the survivalists in the US are already using kerosene stoves daily as their sole cooking appliance.
Get a cast iron dutch oven from any camping supply store. Make sure you season it with vegetable oil before using it.
You can use charcoal briquets or briquet sized coals from a wood fire to use as a heat source. The thumbrule for charcoal is 25 degrees per briquet so 12 briquets will heat the oven to 300 degrees.
I have cooked everything in a dutch oven from cakes and brownies to pork tenderloin, pizza and spaghetti. Cleanup is a snap to – fill the oven about halfway with water, heat until boiling and scrub it out with a plastic scouring pad.
Never use soap unless you want everything you cook afterwards to taste like soap.
Dutch ovens are durable and easy to cook with once you get the hang of things. The only drawback is they are somewhat bulky and heavy and don’t backpack very well.
[quote=Dogs_In_A_Pile]I have cooked everything in a dutch oven from cakes and brownies to pork tenderloin, pizza and spaghetti [/quote]
Now we’re definitely coming your way. Yum!
When there is good sun, I enjoy my solar oven. I can bake/cook in it
from spring equinox to fall equinox. During the winter, I enjoy cooking
on top of my woodstove with the dutch oven as mentioned above. The
dutch oven also fits in the solar oven so I can make a roast without
heating the house. Wood heat and solar heat seem to really, really
matter in a way I never knew before. The heat source really makes the
flavor better. I don’t know how to explain it.
Also, you can use the sun oven or woodstove to boil/sterilize water for drinking.
Obviously, you’ll have to do your solar cooking on a sunny day and that won’t help at night.
I have a small folding oven made by Coleman that sits on a stove burner or wood stove. During the ice storm in New England last December we had no power for 5+ days but happily baked christmas cookies and muffins and even a beef stew in the oven, on my gas range or wood stove.
Concur — cooking on the woodstove is a fine way to go. We had no power for 48-ish hours after the Dec ice storm and did just fine. My advice would be to use whatever your alternate means o’cooking is *before* circumstances force you too. The practice will stand you in good stead when it’s "for real"…
The Butterfly brand oven is ten times as good as the Coleman. The Coleman is nice in that it folds up and is light and transportable. The Butterfly oven, once assembled, is about a 14" cube and it does not fold up. But the sides, back and top are all insulated with air pockets that make the oven bake at a more even temperature. I’ve had many customers who used Coleman ovens before getting the Butterfly oven, and all have remarked how much better the Butterfly brand is.
I’m not aware of any other brands – just the two.
Wow, thanks for all the great replies! I hadn’t realised rayburn did wood burning versions. Great to have lots of cheaper alternatives too.
Now, just need to persuade the wife…