|After the first rising|
I preheated my Sun Oven and the thermometer read 300 degrees when I put the bread in. The remaining three loaves I baked in my electric oven for comparison (and for insurance).
My beloved readers gave me lots of great tips in the comment section after my last Sun Oven fiasco. I took Julene's advice and raised the leg to capture more of the autumn sun and also used bungee cords to stabilize the reflectors. The bungees made a huge difference and it was definitely a windy day that put them to the test.
By 20 minutes, the glass door was covered with condensation. That was a problem. Condensation = less sunlight entering the box = a temperature drop.
|Look! It's actually rising!|
I tried a couple of different methods of removing the condensation. First, I simply unlatched the door and the majority of the condensation went away. It came back within a matter of minutes, however, so I ended up wiping the inside of the door with a dishtowel.
I checked to see if the bread was done at about 45 minutes. It wasn't brown, but I thunked the top. It didn't have that hollow sound that bread should have. After another 10 minutes, the bread was ever so slightly brown and it did sound done.
|"One of these things is not like the other"|
Here's the finished product! Guess which loaf was baked in the sun? I read a tip somewhere that if you gently mist the bread with water prior to putting it in the Sun Oven, it enhances browning. By the time I remembered that, the bread had already been baking for a while. Besides, I used all my spray bottles to apply garlic-cayenne insect repellent this summer. Garlic-cayenne bread might taste good, but it was not what I was going for!
After the bread cooled, I eagerly sliced into the loaf. The outside was crusty but the inside was very moist. It was good and didn't taste at all like industrial strength chemicals. I've finally gotten the chemical smell cleaned out of the Sun Oven! I did miss that dark, caramelized taste I get from the bread baked in my oven. It also required more "babysitting" (oven position adjustments, condensation removal, etc.) than sticking a pan in my electric oven. Overall, I prefer oven-baked bread but I certainly wouldn't hesitate to eat this bread. Anyone would be happy to eat this bread during a power outage or while camping. Finally, I'm able to appreciate what a great preparedness tool the Sun Oven truly is. I'm feeling pretty victorious. :)