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CHALLENGE - Baking without an oven

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. 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

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

      One cannot cook things "in" a grill.

      1. re: FrankJBN

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

      2. re: scuzzo

        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

          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

          scuzzo, I'm really, really impressed .

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

            2 Replies
              1. re: JungMann

                What do you cook in a Dutch oven?

              2. 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

                  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

                    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

                    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

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

                  3. 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

                      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

                        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

                          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.