There are many good reasons to cook in a solar oven. It saves on the electric bill, not only because the oven wasn’t used, but because the air conditioner didn’t have to cool down a hot kitchen. It is good for the environment. It is good in an emergency situation, camping, or on picnics where there might not be a ready fuel source. And of course the food tastes good. It’s moist, it doesn’t burn, and it is hard to overcook. But the really big drawback to solar cooking is that there must be sunshine. So recently we took a class in dutch oven cooking with charcoal. The class was held outdoors under canopy tents — and it’s a good thing that we had those canopies — because it was raining the day of our class. Which brought home the fact that if there is no sun, there is no solar cooking. Our class assignment was to make homemade cinnamon rolls and bread. Those cinnamon rolls were delicious! Today, I used the same simple recipe, but I baked them in the solar oven instead of the dutch oven.
CINNAMON SWIRL BREAD & CINNAMON ROLLS
Makes a 2 pound loaf (or two 1 pound loaves)
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water (about 100 – 110 degrees)
- 2 packages or 1 3/4 TBSP of active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup of honey
- 1 TBSP salt
- 4 cups of unbleached flours
- 4 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- Enough honey to lightly coat after it is rolled out
- 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (if desired)
- 2 – 3 TBSP milk
First, proof the yeast, which means testing it to make sure it is still active. To do this, place the yeast, and the warm water in a large mixing bowl until the yeast dissolves. Add the honey to the mixture and within a few minutes small bubbles will appear as the yeast ferments. Add the salt to the bowl and then slowly add the flour.
Stir the mixture with a wooden spoon or your hand until the ingredients are thoroughly blended and tend to form a ball that breaks away from the sides of the bowl. Add flour if needed. Knead the dough until it has a smooth, satiny elastic texture, approximately 8 – 10 minutes.
After kneading, place the dough back in the mixer bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours or until the dough doubles in bulk. In the meantime, mix the swirl mixture in a small bowl and set aside.
After the dough has risen, punch the dough down. Divide the dough into two balls if you want two loaves. Roll the dough out on a hard surface until about 1/2 inch thick. Spread a light coat of honey on top of the dough, then spread the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture on top.
For Cinnamon Swirl Loaf, roll up the dough as if you were rolling up a sleeping bag, and fold in the ends as you roll. Pinch the seams together and place seam down in a baking pan (or dutch oven)
For Cinnamon Rolls, after you have rolled up the dough, cut the dough into slices about 3/4 – 1 inch thick. Place into a baking pan.
After the bread and/or rolls are in the baking pan, cover and let rise again until double in bulk. This will take between 15 – 40 minutes.
At this point, you will want to put out your solar oven to pre-heat.
Bake the bread and/or rolls in the solar oven for about 45 minutes – 1 hour.
When done, cover the top of the bread with glaze.
These rolls were so good, we finished off the first pan before the cinnamon rolls were cool.
We made the second dough ball into a regular loaf of bread. We simply shaped the second ball into a loaf shape, and put it into a baking pan. This loaf baked perfectly, and was not sweet because it did not have the additional honey in the loaf. And of course, we did not add glaze the bread.
The cinnamon rolls were baked in the SOS Sport. The loaf was baked in the GSO.
There are many similar recipes, but this recipe came from RR Catering/Rocking RR Chuckwagon. If you are in Arizona, check out their dutch oven cooking classes. It’s fun. There is also a very nice video on Modern Survival Blog.com demonstrating a very similar recipe. They not only make it look easy, it is easy. Give it a try.