Wednesday Wisdom: Stove Top Baking
What is your favorite way of cooking food? Stove top? Broiling? Grilling? Boiling? Steaming? Or baking? Mine is definitely baking because it is so versatile and never ceases to amaze me. Some say baking is science and some say it is an art and according to some it is both. To me it is mostly science that incorporates chemistry and physics to cook food in a way that a weird looking and weird tasting batter becomes a beautiful, spongy and fragrant cake. So rewarding! Baking uses hot air to cook food. When the lower burner of an oven is ignited, it heats up the air which rises and cooks/bakes whatever is inside the oven. It is important to keep the door shut to maintain the inner temperature. Otherwise, when the oven door is opened, the hot air escapes quickly. A little understanding of such baking basics helps a lot to achieve a perfectly baked item.
What to do when there is no oven? Or it has malfunctioned or out of order? Can we bake? Simple answer is Yes you can. I do advocate using proper tools and techniques for any cooking medium and for baking of course it is highly recommended to use a properly functioning oven but there are times like a mishap that I previously shared when an oven can completely freak you out and you get a little over cautious (Ahem! Chicken is the word) but that baking itch keeps on pushing you which takes you to stove top baking. There are many recipes available online that say bake a cake without an oven, or a pizza or bread and such techniques work too. Recently I tried stove top baking and ngl it did surprise me. Here is how it works and what I have learned so far:
- First you need a big pot that is large enough to put your baking pan or tray in, WITHOUT touching the sides of the pot. This big pot will serve as a temporary oven environment to create hot air for baking.
- To avoid direct contact with the bottom of this large pot, there are a few options. You can spread a thick layer of salt or layer some pebbles which will keep baking pan or tray separated from touching the bottom of the big pot and will distribute the heat evenly as well. Both are doable but I prefer putting a wire rack or a small pan at the bottom of the pot to keep the baking pan or tray elevated.
- Just like a regular oven, you will have to preheat this big pot too with lid on. This will ensure that baking starts as soon as you put the pan or tray in the pot.
- Now comes a tricky part. There is no thermostat control for stove top baking unlike a regular oven.
- I would highly recommend keeping the flame to low medium or low.
- Remember, no matter how big the pot is, it is still a lot smaller compared to an oven which means it will get hot quickly and if the flame is set on high, it might burn the food without cooking it through properly.
- Another thing to keep in mind is baking time. Follow a recipe for proper timing guide.
- In my experience so far, if flame is kept at low or medium low, it will take almost as much time as a regular oven would to bake.
- Preheat the pot with lid on and keep the lid on through out baking to keep the hot air inside. Think of the lid as an oven door. So don’t be tempted to take it off after every five minutes.
- If you need to rotate the pan, do it after at least 70% of the total baking time.
- To be more in control, put a glass lid. But be sure the lid fits otherwise the food won’t bake properly.
- Use oven mittens to place or remove the baking pan to avoid any burns.
Hope it helps 🙂 and I’ll see you with stove top baked bread in the next post In Sha Allah.