Print the instruction card! Making Bread in a Wonder Oven
I love my wonder ovens, I have two of them, and beyond just having them around for preparedness sake I’ve used them a lot in every day life to cut down on heating up the kitchen and as a time saver.
Definition of a Wonder Oven (also called a Wonder Box):
A Wonder Oven is a heat retention cooker. After you bring your food to a boil (so it is heated throughout) using any number of heating methods, you remove it from the heat source and quickly place the pot inside the Wonder Oven.
The insulation of the Wonder Oven keeps food at a high cooking temperature for hours. This means that you use a fraction of the energy/fuel that you normally would’ve needed to cook! Inversely, the Wonder Oven can also be used to keep cold foods cold and frozen foods frozen.
The key to the Wonder Oven’s magic are the styrene pellets which it’s pillows are filled with–they form an insulating barrier, holding whatever temperature you place the food in with.
You can sew the pillows yourself (here I made mine from some old table cloths) or buy them (information below). Often, online patterns are difficult to interpret due to the large dimensions of the pattern. If you’d like a paper pattern mailed to you free of charge, email your request to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can buy the styrene beads via this online retailer! ==>
Also, feel free to print yourself a copy of my Wonder Oven Cooking Guide here, explaining more of the basics:
Cooking with a Wonder Oven
Each Wonder oven has two pillows — one that fits under the pot and one that fits over it. The pillows (much more loosely filled than some other styles of Wonder Oven Pillows, some are able to stand on their own without a container) are used inside an 18 gallon plastic container. The price on this (if you don’t have an extra on hand) is extremely minimal: I got mine at Target for $5.
Wonder Box Cooking
I use my wonder box/ wonder oven all the time. I make bread in it as well as many other things. With two Wonder Boxes, the other night I cooked chicken in one and some potatoes in the other for dinner. I left them all day to cook and never had to worry about burning. One of the things I love best about it is the food is ready to go when you are!
Here’s a list of some of the things you can make using a Wonder Oven which you’ll find here on the blog (visit this archive to find the recipes):
- Any dish requiring a simmer time
- Whole grain cereals (Steel Cut Oats)
- Small cuts of meat
- Rice/ Grains
In this post I’ll be demonstrating how to make some of the most excellent bread in your Wonder Oven. I think you’ll agree, it’s probably the most moist bread you’ve ever tasted! Plus, kids love it because it bakes with out any crusts. From a preparedness perspective, I love it because knowing this method (and having the tools) means I can make bread for my family even if my sun oven isn’t operational due to cloudy skies. This without using any more fuel than is needed to bring a pot to boil for 10 minutes.
Another reason I love it? Food can be left for hours “baking” without any worry of it burning. The bread made below was baked (or more appropriately “steamed”) for 6 hours. At a minimum, it takes 2 hours to bake, but I’d had a very busy day this particular day and didn’t have time to pull it out of the Wonder Oven until later in the evening. Still, I ended up with perfect bread.
There are a couple of containers you can choose from in order to bake bread in your Wonder Oven.
The first is using large 46 oz juice cans. I’ve found that due to their tendancy to rust I have to replace them fairly often. Another disadvantage is that they are very light weight which means that you have to be ready to secure the cans so that they don’t tip over in the boiling water. Using juice cans turns out nice rounded loaves which when sliced are about the size of a hamburger bun. The advantage to using the cans is that you can get started making bread without purchasing anything more than a couple large cans of juice.
After using it quite a bit I realized I wanted a more permanent container for making bread than the juice cans because the cans have a tendency to rust after a few uses. At first I found a tall cylinder shaped pot with a lid, an ‘asparagus steamer’, which worked quite nicely but was very pricey. Rather than having two juice cans of bread, the one larger pot bakes two loaves worth of dough at once. It makes a bigger loaf; when done, I cut the bread in half and serve in large semi-circle slices. Even though it holds more dough I’ve never had a problem with having to increase cooking time as compared to the juice can method. As long as it cooks a minimum of 2 hours it’s been fine.
**UPDATE: an all around better Wonder Oven bread container (because it’s so much more affordable) is This Stainless Steel Bain Marie Pot (purchased w/ lid separately). You can also find them at restaurant supply stores. Read my review of these containers here in this post for more details.
How to make “wonder bread” (using a Wonder Oven)
Using Juice Cans
Use your favorite recipe for any kind of bread. Mix up the dough and let it raise once (if that is what your recipe calls for) and then after pushing it down for the first time put it in a 46 ounce juice can that’s been greased (I use Pam). Fill two cans about half full with dough and put them in a larger sized pot with two large Mason jars filled with hot water in order to keep the cans from tipping over into the water. Fill the pot with warm water (I do this in the sink), about 2/3 up the can. Let the bread raise until almost to the top. Very carefully (as not to make the raised dough fall) remove the cans and cover the top with a pre-greased piece of tin foil or the original lid (if you have a Pampered Chef can opener to initially remove the juice can lid with the lid will fit nicely on top and can be used over and over again). Put an elastic band around the tin foil or lid (so that the water doesn’t get into the bread). Put the lid on the large pan and bring the water to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Put immediately into the Wonderbox and “bake” for 2 hours.
The great thing is that you can leave it for as long as you need to without worrying that it will overcook. This batch today that I did (pictured) was in the Wonderbox for a total of about 6 hours but like I said before 2 hours would be the minimum.
The bread slides easily out of the cans, nice rounded loaves which then make slices close to the size of a hamburger bun. They have no crusts (which my kids love), and are the same texture as regular bread although much more moist. You just have to taste it, it’s “wonder”-ful!
Container choice #2: an asparagus steamer
Same directions as above excepting that you can use double the amount of dough and you don’t need to secure the lid with a rubber band before boiling. I prefer using this container.
A Bread Recipe We Like
This is just a recipe I pulled out of a cookbook one day but we’ve stuck with it for a while and we like it. Really you can use any bread recipe and have good results.
1 T yeast
2 T sugar
2 cups very warm water
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 T oil
4 c. flour (1 1/2 c. wheat)
Mix thoroughly until soft and smooth. Rise 25 minutes until it doubles in size. Punch down. Makes two loaves.
A couple other points:
★Be sure that when you get to the boiling stage that you remember to put the lid on while it’s boiling because it’s important for the lid to get really hot.
★No peeking during the cooking time in the oven!
★The only thing I have not had good results making in the Wonder Oven is cake–I can’t get that one to work.
To buy :
If you or anyone you know would like to buy the pillows, I have a friend who makes them and ships them as a business. Her web address is http://ecowonderoven.com/
Step by step pictures:
The asparagus steamer that I use
Mix up the dough
Allow the bread to rise once in the mixing bowl and remember to
grease the cans before putting the dough in them.
With your bread containers half filled, fill the larger pot with warm to hot water and
allow the dough to rise again, 25-30 minutes.
Allow the dough to rise until it’s almost to the top of the cans.
Remember to grease the insides of the lids or foil.
If you’re using juice cans, carefully remove
each can from the pot and place the lid/foil
and elastic band on each.
Bring the pot to the stove to boil for 10 minutes with the lids on.
Place the pot into the Wonder Oven to bake for atleast 2 hours.
The bread will slide out easily.