First Attempt: Dinner Rolls
We keep hearing a lot of contradictory reports about bread and solar ovens: some people say it makes bread perfectly, and other people say that it will make bread, but it wont brown the tops. Opinions vary, and we decided to not take anyone's word for it. So I grabbed a bag of frozen rolls from the freezer (I know, its cheating. Especially when we have a delicious Honey White and Wheat bread mix right next door in the warehouse).
We preheated the SOS Sport Solar oven by... setting it out in the sun, of all things. After about 30 minutes, we noticed that it wasn't heating up much. We realized this was because we were trying to heat it up without the panels. The panels detach, and are only supposed to be used in the winter or cold days. Since it wasn't very cold outside we didn't think we needed them. So our oven went from this:
With the panels on, we had the oven preheated to about 300 degrees in about 30 minutes. Not bad for just sitting outside on the lawn.
We greased one of the included pans with our Clarified Butter, and then put the rolls in. It is recommended that you cook everything in black or dark colored pots, as they help absorb the heat better. Even when baking bread, you need to have the lid on the pot so it will trap the heat and moisture.
We then set them in the oven, re-closing the lid as fast as we could to preserve as much heat as possible. We then made sure the oven was pointed toward the sun, and went back to work.
We checked the temperature every 30 minutes or so. We discovered that when you put cold food into the oven (such as bread dough that was in the freezer the night before) you can lose as much as 150 degrees in the oven, which will then take longer to regain. After about 45 minutes the oven was back up to about 250, and we let it be for a total of 2 hours and 11 minutes. Feeling slightly nervous, we pulled the bread out and...
Delicious, golden brown bread. The tops were browned, the bottoms were fluffy. All-in-all, not a bad first attempt at cooking in the SOS Sport Solar Oven.
What we learned today:
1. It IS possible to bake bread that browns on top and is delicious in the solar oven.
2. Preheat the oven as hot as you can (within safety limits), because you will loose a lot of heat when you put your food in.
3. Use the reflectors in autumn and winter.