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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: igthebold on June 25, 2012, 01:07:01 PM

Title: Cooking outside
Post by: igthebold on June 25, 2012, 01:07:01 PM
Hi folks,

We like to cook bread and pizza, but obviously that heats up the house. We already move our crock pot and rice cooker in the garage to cook. Pizza is harder, as are other kinds of baking. In theory we could get a bread machine, and are considering it, but I'm curious if any of you have experience

Title: Re: Cooking outside
Post by: Worsted Skeins on June 25, 2012, 01:20:53 PM
I experimented with bread in the crock pot just last week.  I assembled a wet dough (similar to something from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day), let it rise, then shaped a loaf which I placed on parchment.  I "baked" this on high in the crockpot.  It produced a soft crust (I hear you can crisp it under the broiler but I thought that the point is not to turn on the oven).  I would say it was OK--not great.

We regularly make flat bread on the grill.  I use a potato based dough, a recipe from a 1950's Better Homes cookbook, I think.  It is one of those refrigerator doughs that you can turn into about anything.

Formerly we placed the loaves directly on the grill grates but we now own a rectangular stone that fits nicely on the grill.  This can also be used for pizza or focacia.
Title: Re: Cooking outside
Post by: kolorado on June 25, 2012, 03:21:09 PM
Our old house didn't have any outside outlets or garage to set up a cooking area. I've always wanted one though! Here in our rental there's an outlet on the deck so I've been cooking in the crock pot out there. I have a vintage Rival gold baking insert for my large crock and yes, you can bake in it! I've used it so far for quick breads, cakes and brownies. I use a little less moisture that the recipe calls for and cook on high for 3X the usual oven time. I paid $12 for mine on Ebay, shipped.
My ideal outdoor set up would be a counter with sink, an icebox under, and 2 double outlets so I could use my electric grill or griddle out there as well. This area would most likely be on a covered porch or deck. Then I'd want a real campground iron firepit out in the yard. I love cooking over a real wood fire! I have a nice selection of seasoned cast iron for that purpose as well. The things you can make with a dutch oven and slow coals are mind boggling.  Throw in a comfy patio set for the adults and a picnic table for the kids, a vintage sprinkler, a couple hammocks, a hot tub and a compost toilet outhouse and I don't think I'd come inside the house all summer. :)
An idea for the pizza might be to make a month's worth of crusts, bake and freeze them. Then instead of 20-25 minutes in the oven to cook, it should take more like 15 and you could probably use the preheat time. I make 4 medium pizzas every Friday night and it is not a pleasant task in the summer. :/ I've been mulling the idea of pre-baking crusts but I can't figure a way to wrap the crusts economically unless I made a bunch of small rounds and use gallon baggies. And then I run into more time to roll, bake and package little circles. The mediums are so quick to make. *sigh*
I've seen some awesome solar cookers. I'm making a homemade one this summer to try out. That could be an option for pizza if you make it big enough.
Title: Re: Cooking outside
Post by: R62 on June 25, 2012, 08:12:40 PM
This isn't specifically for outdoors, but generates a pizza without turning on the oven: (

I've made it several times, and give it a thumbs-up.

Title: Re: Cooking outside
Post by: velocistar237 on June 26, 2012, 08:59:44 AM
This isn't specifically for outdoors, but generates a pizza without turning on the oven: (

I've made it several times, and give it a thumbs-up.

Looks like a great camping recipe, too.
Title: Re: Cooking outside
Post by: ShavenLlama on June 26, 2012, 10:07:46 AM
I was a Girl Scout troop leader a few years ago, and they teach all kinds of fun tricks in the camping classes. On the troop's first campout we made cinnamon rolls in a box oven. I imagine other bread products would work out similarly. (

Also, Coleman makes this (although it looks like it's essentially a sturdier version of the scout box oven): (

Title: Re: Cooking outside
Post by: igthebold on June 27, 2012, 11:37:29 AM
Thanks folks, I love all the suggestions. Some of them seem more sustainable than others, but there are good ideas in all of them.

I love the idea of an "ideal setup." For some reason I'd been thinking in terms of minor adjustments to a normally indoor routine.

Anyone use an outdoor gas burner? I used to when I brewed beer but I sold it. Now I'm thinking about getting another one to make pan things, like the pizza, scrambled eggs, etc.
Title: Re: Cooking outside
Post by: mustachio on June 28, 2012, 06:24:16 AM
This reminds of this DIY Outdoor Kitchen...for inspiration on the perfect setup:

( (