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CHALLENGE - Baking without an oven

bite bite Oct 4, 2007 10:48 AM

After months of jerry-rigging, the door to our oven has finally fallen off for good. Getting a replacement, but wondering what to do in meantime. Can probably still use the bottom grill part I think??? Also have a propane BBQ outside -- used this to cook frozen pizza which was surprizingly effective -- seemed to turn the bottom of the metal tray into kind of a pizza-stone so the crust was really crunchy and delicious. Obviously there's lots that can be done on stove-top but turning to y'all for creative baking solutions while I await the new oven. Is making cookies an option? Any other ideas?

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  1. scuzzo RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 11:26 AM

    I don't have an oven. I live in a small house with a studio type kitchen. I do have a propane grill and I bake bread, cheesecake, creme brulee, pizza and more on the grill. I went to Home Depot and bought four 12-inch clay tiles (sometimes called Saltillo). I stacked two on one side and sometimes two on the other. Often times I just have tiles on one side, then have the heat low on the tile side and medium on the open side and then bake on the tile side. This way the higher heat is not directly under what you're baking. Plus I suspect the two different temps creates a bit of convection. I do check my progress and find that I often need to rotate my food more than in a regular oven. The stuff I do in my grill turns out picture perfect. Oh, also get a thermometer for the grill. The cheesecakes get baked in a water bath too, just to make sure the heat is as even as possible.

    When doing pizza, I get the tiles hot, then assemble on the tile, then reduce the heat a bit.

    Oil the tiles good if baking bread directly on. They eventually get seasoned and won't need further oil.

    Lastly the tiles will crack, but usually just a couple big pieces, which I just push back together. They still work great. The tiles only cost less than $2 each.

    5 Replies
    1. re: scuzzo
      FrankJBN RE: scuzzo Oct 4, 2007 11:41 AM

      This isn't just a propane grill, it is a propane cooker.

      One cannot cook things "in" a grill.

      1. re: FrankJBN
        scuzzo RE: FrankJBN Oct 4, 2007 11:52 AM

        It's your standard type BBQ GRILL, propane two burners and a lid. Thank you.

      2. re: scuzzo
        bite bite RE: scuzzo Oct 4, 2007 06:48 PM

        Wow. V impressive! I think we might actually have some of those kind of tiles stacked under our house. Have you ever tried cookies?

        1. re: bite bite
          scuzzo RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 07:48 PM

          Yes, I have. Worked fine. Just don't get too underneath. When starting, get them well oiled. It will take a few good coats, as a lot will soak in. After a number of times, you won't need any oil!

        2. re: scuzzo
          Sam Fujisaka RE: scuzzo Feb 18, 2008 01:10 PM

          scuzzo, I'm really, really impressed .

        3. m
          MobyRichard RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 11:31 AM

          Well, can bake small in a toaster oven, and you can make, if not bake, certain things in a slow cooker. I use to make a banana bread in my slow cooker, and it was pretty tasty, but it didn't brown on top, which was unfortunate. I've also made my Christmas persimmon puddings in a slow cooker, and the non-browning was not an issue.

          1. JungMann RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 12:00 PM

            Isn't this a perfect occasion for the Dutch oven?

            2 Replies
            1. re: JungMann
              missfunkysoul RE: JungMann Oct 5, 2007 01:13 PM

              ^^ what he said.

              1. re: JungMann
                bite bite RE: JungMann Oct 9, 2007 06:10 AM

                What do you cook in a Dutch oven?

              2. kimcheesoup RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 12:01 PM

                well, if you have a lot of time on your hands, theres a way to "bake" cookies outdoors with the sun and some bricks- i went camping and one of our friends did this

                you need a foil covered cardboard box, some empty soda cans, a cooling rack or cookie sheet, a few bricks and patience
                just heat the bricks, put the soda cans around them, cookie sheet on top of the cans, cookie dough on top of that and box goes over all of it. leave it in the sun for a bit and you got yourself some cookies.

                4 Replies
                1. re: kimcheesoup
                  bite bite RE: kimcheesoup Oct 4, 2007 06:51 PM

                  Seriously? Wow. Few questions. How did you heat the bricks? How long did you leave in the sun? And did they taste like normal cookies?

                  1. re: bite bite
                    kimcheesoup RE: bite bite Oct 16, 2007 01:47 PM

                    well, we were camping, so of course there was a fire - you put the bricks on hot coals or wood thats not still burning like crazy (dont put directly in the flames!!!!! - too hard to get them out) and we left the box there for about 1/2 hour.... checking every so often and yeah, they tasted normal with the exception of a very slight smoky-ness b/c of the "fire bricks"... i think this would work on an over-cast day too, but it might take a little longer.... and you said you had a propane grill? i'm sure you could use it to heat the bricks, but i'm not sure how long (we used a campfire) if you decide to do it, let me know if it comes out okay, and how they tasted

                  2. re: kimcheesoup
                    Sitka RE: kimcheesoup Oct 16, 2007 09:50 PM

                    Instead of the bricks, use charcoal brickets - each bricket is 40 degrees. I use a pie pan under the rack (held up by the soda cans) . Put whatever you want on the rack and put the box over - there should be a flap so the steam can escape. We've baked cakes in this - learned it in Girl Scouts.

                    1. re: Sitka
                      kimcheesoup RE: Sitka Oct 18, 2007 02:19 PM

                      do you know about how many charcoal brickets to use?..... i guess it depends on the size of the box huh?

                  3. Antilope RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 12:12 PM

                    A few things that come to mind as temporary replacements:

                    -An Electric Toaster oven.
                    -A Nesco type counter top electric oven/roasting pan.
                    -Cast Iron Dutch Ovens (outside with charcoal or on the stovetop)
                    -Propane grill with lid. Use some type of thermometer to monitor heat.
                    -A Weber charcoal kettle can be used as an oven by controlling the vents, size of charcoal fire and monitoring the results with a thermometer.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Antilope
                      bite bite RE: Antilope Oct 4, 2007 06:54 PM

                      Do have a Dutch Oven -- and propane girll. What would you do in the Dutch Oven -- and could you do it on stove top -- or need to be grill.

                      1. re: bite bite
                        MobyRichard RE: bite bite Feb 17, 2008 05:36 PM

                        I haven't tried it myself, but campfire/trail cooking experts have made biscuits, cobblers, crumbles and even cakes in dutch ovens over coals. I haven't a clue how that would translate on a stovetop.

                        1. re: bite bite
                          morwen RE: bite bite Feb 18, 2008 09:26 AM

                          You can use your dutch oven on the stovetop or the grill or over and under live coals. What you can put in it depends on the size of it. Cobblers and such can be baked directly in the dutch oven. But when doing breads, cakes, etc you should put a rack or something in the bottom and then set your baking pan on it so it doesn't come in direct contact with the hot bottom of the dutch oven and the hot air circulates like a regular oven. This would be the technique for roasting meats as well. Put a regular oven thermometer inside the dutch oven so you can see what the temp is and make the outside heat adjustments accordingly. Be aware also that just like when you open your regular oven door you're going to lose heat so lift the lid as little as possible. If you bake/roast in your dutch oven a lot you get good at judging your temps. Years of campfire cooking experience here and when cooking with live coals my favorite dutch oven is one with feet and a flat rimmed lid. The lid holds hot coals and the feet allow me to push or pull coals underneath it. For stove or grill top the flat bottomed ones work best.

                          But honestly, if you've got an electrical outlet, pick up one of those tabletop ovens (not a toaster oven) for around $50. When your regular oven is fixed it can double as an extra oven when needed or as a buffet server. Most of them come with food pans that rest over a container of warm water.

                      2. Bat Guano RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 01:16 PM

                        I recently bought a crock-pot cookbook with several cake recipes it says can be made in the crock pot. Haven't tried any of them, though.

                        1. leanneabe RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 01:42 PM

                          How long until you get your new oven? With a toaster oven, I would whip up small batches of cookies or bake brownies (or cake) in individual ramekins. Without a toaster oven, I would just resort to stovetop puddings or making peanut brittle. You could do dessert waffles if you're craving a sweet bready thing.

                          I wonder if you could "bake" cookies by placing them on a hot griddle and then flipping them like pancakes?

                          The bbq could definitely be used for baking cookies or rustic breads, too.

                          As for cakes and such, I would just wait until I had a proper oven. I don't need cake so badly that I'd want to experiment with alternative baking methods. In a pince, toasted Sara Lee pound cake slices would do it for me.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: leanneabe
                            bite bite RE: leanneabe Oct 4, 2007 06:58 PM

                            Latest report is that it's been delivered on Tuesday -- but no news yet on when it will actually be hooked up. Figured while I'm waiting could be a good time to experiment. Don't actually have a toaster over...

                          2. Snackish RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 03:37 PM

                            You could try a solar cooker:


                            1. Jennalynn RE: bite bite Oct 4, 2007 05:57 PM

                              I know this isn't what you're asking, but you can get a cheap toaster oven for the duration for under $30 (less if you can find a nice 20% off BBB coupon).

                              1. a
                                Amanita RE: bite bite Oct 5, 2007 05:01 AM

                                At the home of some ovenless friends a couple days ago, I was browsing a "steaming" cookbook, and there were a couple steamed cakes. I guess they're puddings. Dutch oven or pressure cooker sound like the ticket. You can live without pizza and cookies till the oven door is fixed. After all, some people live on raw foods.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Amanita
                                  bigjimbray RE: Amanita Oct 16, 2007 10:26 PM

                                  just think the boy scouts have been baking like kimshee said a cardboard box and
                                  aluminum foil for decades. When I had my 3 sons in the scouts we had about fifty
                                  kids at this buffet and about 20 adults. we cooked with dutch ovens and the cardboard
                                  boxes with the aluminum foil. And it was the best buffet I have ever been to. I just
                                  could`nt beleave all the dishes these kids came up with. I have been to some nice
                                  buffets in vegas but this one with the scouts is by far number one.

                                2. w
                                  willownt RE: bite bite Oct 18, 2007 11:40 AM

                                  I would skip the cookies.

                                  First of all, there is traditional stovetop baking which includes things like catshead biscuits and welsh cakes as well as pancakes. Then there is the dutch oven route.

                                  1. Candy RE: bite bite Feb 18, 2008 09:35 AM

                                    Did you know you can make custards as for creme brulee, cheesecake, rice pudding and things you might steam in parchment packets in an oven in a pressure cooker? They all work like a charm and are very quick too,

                                    1. e
                                      EllenMM RE: bite bite Feb 18, 2008 01:00 PM

                                      Here's an interesting idea for a Chinese steamed cake.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: EllenMM
                                        chowdy RE: EllenMM Oct 21, 2010 03:00 AM

                                        hi everyone,
                                        don't know if this still can be answered. i only have a two burner stove top. no oven, no dutch oven. only one skillet, one 5 quart pot, one 2 quart pot. it is possible to "bake" bread this way?

                                        thank you for any replies.

                                        1. re: chowdy
                                          mamachef RE: chowdy Oct 21, 2010 03:31 AM

                                          If your skillet is cast-iron biscuits shouldn't be a problem. Cookies, now you've got me there.

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