Baking bread on the stove is a good alternative to the oven. Baking on the stove can be an energy saver, but also a convenient alternative if an oven is not available. This method can be used at home, camping or on a boat to have fresh bread on the table quickly.
Part 1 of 5: Using a cast iron skillet
Step 1. Start with a large pan
The heavier the material, the better. You cook dry, so cast iron is best. If you choose to use something lighter, such as aluminum, consider using this pan only for cooking on the stovetop, as the bottom will likely burn a little.
Most cast iron frying pans have a capacity of 5-7 liters and are large enough to bake a loaf of bread
Step 2. Make a thermal ballast
Place something on the bottom and center of the pan. This will be the base your loaf pan will rest on, allowing air to flow around it. It also prevents the pan from coming into direct contact with the worst heat to minimize the risk of burning the bottom of the bread.
- Try it with some broken pieces of thick tile. Flat or small round stones can also work well.
- Another option is to reuse an empty fish can. Make sure the paper is removed and place it on the bottom of the pan.
Step 3. Find a loaf pan that fits in the cast iron skillet
You can use a Pyrex bowl or an equivalent (not a regular glass) bowl that can withstand the heat. Other options include a metal or ceramic loaf pan. Place the mold in the cast iron casserole on top of the stones. If you're using a rectangular loaf pan, make sure the long sides fit into your pot. The mold should not extend higher than the rim of the cast iron casserole.
The loaf pan should not fit too tight. You need space for the air to flow all the way around it
Step 4. Place a lid on your cast iron skillet
This lid should provide enough space for the loaf pan to fit while also leaving room for the bread to rise over the top of the pan. Test the lid with a loaf pan in the larger pan.
If you're having a hard time finding a lid that fits, try using another pan that's large enough to cover the top of the pan
Step 5. Make sure the lid stays on
It is important to make every effort to retain as much heat as possible in the cast iron casserole. As the heat rises, it is helpful to cover the lid or pan with a second lid to force the heat back into the pan. If the lid has a steam hole, try to find a stainless steel bolt, washer, and nut that will fit.
Part 2 of 5: Preparing the dough
Step 1. Gather the ingredients
For a basic bread you need 375 grams of flour, a teaspoon of active dry yeast, two teaspoons of salt and 400 ml of warm water. These are the basic ingredients, but you can add spices to taste. Some suitable herbs are, for example, rosemary or thyme.
You can halve this recipe for smaller loaf pans
Step 2. Mix your ingredients in a mixing bowl
Mix the dry ingredients together before stirring them into the warm water. Turn the dough until everything is completely mixed. The dough should be slightly sticky.
Step 3. Let the dough rest
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter for 18-24 hours. The yeast allows the dough to rise during this time. It can also create visible air bubbles on the surface of the dough.
Step 4. Finish the dough
Remove it from the bowl and place it on a floured surface. Fold the ball of dough in half and tuck the edges underneath. Wrap this dough in a floured kitchen towel and let it rise for another two hours until you can stick your finger in about an inch and the dough springs back.
Part 3 of 5: Baking the bread on the stove
Step 1. Heat the pan
Place the cast iron skillet on the largest burner. Place the thermal ballast on the bottom of the pan and cover with both lids. Set the burner to high heat. Let the heat develop in the pan for five minutes. After five minutes, lower the temperature to just above average.
Step 2. Put the dough in the floured loaf pan
Make sure all parts of the inside of the mold are covered with flour. It's helpful to rub oil or lard on the inside so that the flour sticks to it, then add some flour and shake the mold until it's completely coated on the inside. The dough should fit well in the pan. The dough will rise further during baking, so it should not rise above the rim of the tin.
Another option to cover the mold is with oatmeal. Pour the oil over the bottom and sides of the tin, then sprinkle in finely ground oatmeal. Turn the mold around and shake until all sides are covered with oatmeal
Step 3. Place the mold in the pan
Using an oven glove, remove the lids from the pan and set them aside on a heat-resistant surface. Carefully place the loaf pan in the center of the pan, avoiding the hot sides. Make sure there is enough space on all sides of the mold for heat to surround it.
Step 4. Bake the bread
Put both lids back on the pan using oven mitts. Bake the bread for about 30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes if the bread seems to be getting a crust. The top of the bread will not brown, but it should no longer be soft and doughy once baked.
Step 5. Place the bread on a cooling rack
Remove the lids and the mold from the pan using oven mitts. Carefully shake the bread out of the pan. It should fall out easily because you floured the mold. The bottom of the bread will be significantly darker than the top.
If you don't have a cooling rack, you can cool the bread on another heat-resistant surface such as a plate
Part 4 of 5: Using a hay box
Step 1. Start the baking process on the stove
Place the pan on the stove with the loaf pan in the pan and on the thermal ballast. Put the lid on the pan and heat on a high temperature for 15 minutes.
Expect a few failed loaves that are undercooked in the middle, or overcooked. If your equipment is different from the picture, the cast iron casserole can provide more or less heat. Baking time may need to be adjusted
Step 2. Finish baking in your own version of a hay box
The idea of baking in a hay box is that sufficient heat has built up in the pan. Completely insulating the pan ensures that the heat does not escape and that the bread can continue to cook.
- Remove the pan from the stove using oven gloves. Instead of baking the bread on the stove, gently cover the pan with insulating material such as blankets or sweatshirts to create a hay box.
- Make sure to use a durable natural fabric like cotton. Synthetic material can melt from the heat from the pan.
- If it's a sunny day, place the hay box in the sun for a little extra warmth.
Step 3. Leave the pan in the hay box for at least an hour
Three hours gives a better chance of success and will only benefit the bread. When the time is up, or if you're just too hungry to wait, gently open the pan.
Step 4. Cut the bread and check whether it is well done in the middle
If it's overcooked and dry or burnt, or if it's not done and still doughy in the middle, make a note and adjust the time on the stove for the next time you try to bake another loaf of bread this way. When it's turned out perfect, like in the picture here, enjoy the reward.
You have saved up to 80% of the fuel needed to bake the same bread in the oven
Part 5 of 5: Baking a flatbread in a skillet
Step 1. Make the dough
Stir 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast and two teaspoons sugar into 180 ml warm water. Let this stand for five minutes, while you pour 250 grams of flour and a teaspoon of salt into a large mixing bowl. Pour the other ingredients and a tablespoon of olive oil into the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly until there are no more dry spots and the dough is sticky.
Step 2. Round the dough
Move the dough from the bowl to a flat, floury surface and knead for 10 minutes. Lubricate the bowl with oil to prevent the dough from sticking and return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
Step 3. Form the dough
Break the dough into six pieces. Roll each piece into a ball in the palm of your hand, then place on a floured surface. Roll the dough into a circle using a rolling pin. It should be about 20 cm in diameter.
Step 4. Prepare your pan
Heat a frying pan on the stove. Turn the heat down halfway and let the skillet heat up. A cast iron skillet works best for distributing heat evenly. If you don't have a cast iron skillet, you can use any pan. Brush the bottom of the pan with oil or butter.
Step 5. Bake the flatbread
Place a disk of the dough in the pan and bake for 30 seconds. Use a spatula to turn the bread. Cook the other side for 1.5 minutes, then flip again and cook the first side for another 1.5 minutes. Set the baked flatbread aside in a kitchen towel as you repeat this process with the other five dough circles.
- The bread should rise during baking.
- Each side should have small brown spots after baking.
This can work on any heat source including a campfire, and this setup is much lighter to carry around than a cast iron pan. Look for stones as ballast at the campsite
- If you are using glass, make absolutely sure it is Pyrex or a similar heat resistant glass, and be aware that even Pyrex can explode violently if used directly on the hob.
- If you remove the pan from the stove after the cooking time has elapsed, keep in mind that the pan may be 150 degrees Celsius or more. So very hot! Using leather gloves, potholders or the equivalent, test first by gripping the pot without lifting it.
- Some rocks may contain water if they are cracked or porous, causing them to burst in the pan and break the inner bowl or glass lid, possibly resulting in injury. Choose whole, hard and dry rocks or dense igneous rock.