Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Word about Wonder Ovens

We have been counseled to store a year's worth of food and fuel where possible. The food I have but fuel is a whole other issue. I quickly realized that it was logistically impossible to store a year's worth of any kind of fuel for a family as large as mine. Especially considering the types of food we store, long grain rice, dry beans, etc. Items that have to boil for hours to be edible. I was looking at mountains of propane, or charcoal, or whatever. Just not feasible.



Then I discovered the Wonder Oven.




The concept is not new, people in poor countries have been using something similar for a long time but now they are being re-purposed for food storage. It's basically an insulating crock-pot consisting of an 18 gallon Rubbermaid, 2 special pillows, and a pot. Together with a one burner stove, it dramatically reduces how much fuel you need to cook your food. You can easily store enough fuel for a year.

How it works is you heat up the food item you want to cook to boiling on your one burner stove, or over a fire, and then boil a short time. Transfer the boiling pot to your wonder oven with the insulating pillows completely surrounding the pot inside the Rubbermaid. Leave unopened the specified amount of time and Ta-Da! Perfectly cooked food using only a few minutes worth of fuel!

I know it sounds like it won't work. That is what I thought the first time I heard of it. But it does work, and it works well. In fact once I got a wonder oven I got mad at how much energy I waste using my regular oven. :)

I mostly bake bread in my wonder oven, but you can do anything in them, even beans. In fact you can boil dry beans, put them in your wonder oven in the morning, and they are ready to eat by evening, no soaking, or cooking on the stove top for hours.

Wonder ovens can be bought or made. I made mine, and one for all my siblings as well. :) You can find the patterns for the pillows online, plus sewing instructions. The pillows are filled with polystyrene pellets, like the ones you find in bean bags. That is what insulates the pot and keeps in the heat for cooking. It is amazing how well it works. Put the boiling pot in in the morning and you will still need pot holders hours later just to get the pot out.

If you would rather just purchase a wonder oven, I have a friend that loved them so much she decided to start making them and sell them. She has a website you can check out. There you will find lots more information, helpful tips, and recipes.

I really feel like this was an answer to my prayer about storing fuel. Of course don't wait until you have to live off food storage to use it. I use mine frequently, especially during the summer. It allows me to bake bread, and cook food without heating up the house. That is almost a miracle in and of itself. It's also useful during a power outage. Take the time to check them out.

Here are some pictures of me using the wonder oven to bake bread.

Make your favorite bread recipe as usual and let rise until double.

Then punch down and divide into 3 equal parts (I use a small scale to make sure they are equal weight). Place into greased large V-8 cans and put in your pot with warm water. Water should come about half way up the can and your pot should be as small as possible while still allowing the lid to close snugly.

Let rise in the pot with the lid on until dough is about 1 inch from the top of the cans. Remove cans from pot and cover with tinfoil.

Secure tinfoil to can with tape or rubber band and place back in pot of water on the stove. Bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.

Immediately remove from heat but DO NOT remove the lid. Quickly transfer entire pot to wonder oven. Place on bottom pillow and cover with the top pillow. Do not disturb for at least 2 hours. You can leave it as long as you want. Food will not burn or over bake. Feel free to run errands while your bread is baking!

After at least 2 hours remove bread from wonder oven. Slide out of can. You will notice right away that this bread does not have a crust. My kids LOVE it!


Cut into slices and you have nice round bread that is the perfect size for sandwiches!



Here is a YouTube video of how to use a Wonder Oven from the lady that introduced me to it: WonderOven Teaser.

23 comments:

  1. That is amazing. I have never heard of a wonder oven before. I can't wait to make one and try it out. The bread looks awesome, too. That will have to be one of the first things I make.

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  2. Thank you so much for all of this wonder information!! Every year I get anxious to do something about food storage. We get about enough for a few months, then it just get overwhelming. I stumbled across your blog and immediately added it to my favorites. My husband is even ecxited noe that we can "see" firsthand how someone else manages their food storage. You are an answer to our prayers!!!

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  4. I have a wonder oven, but I didn't know you could do bread in it!! I am so excited to try it.

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  5. I finished making my wonderbox 2 weeks ago and I cooked blackeye peas in it twice now. Both times the peas came out perfectly. Tomorrow I plan on trying to make bread. I can not wait to see how this turns out. I am thinking about making a couple of these for Christmas gifts this year.

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  6. Where did you find the pellets? Several of my friends and I would like to make these. We've got the 18-gallon rubbermaid totes, and I've downloaded the instructions. Any advice?

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    1. You can find the bean bag filler (pellets)at K-mart...I bought a huge bag this year at Christmas for around $13.

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    2. You can also buy the pellets at Wal-mart.com

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  7. Can someone please give me a tip on where to find the pellets, and how many to buy? There are lots of places online, but does anyone have experience with a trustworthy company? at a good price?

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  8. Michelle in MontanaMarch 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

    I bought a huge bag of the pellets via the Wal-Mart website for $19.88 (plus a few bucks for shipping).
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Popped-Polystyrene-Bean-Bag-Refill-4-Cubic-Feet/11004709

    Can't wait to finish my Wonder Oven and try this out!

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  9. It depends on where you live. In Utah they are more readily available. I live in Cali and we have to drive to a bulk supply place. Usually the problem buying them online is the shipping is usually outrageous. If you can find cheap shipping then go for it.

    Another option is to order the wonder oven pillows online already made. There are a couple of places you can get them. I personally know the lady that owns this site: http://ecowonderoven.com/

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  10. I have seen the pellets at Kmart, they have a display to build your own "bean bag"

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  11. Just so you know, we emailed your friend who sells the Wonder Ovens and never got an answer. Does not make us want to send any money. Any other source where we can purchase one? We are missionaries and do not have time to make one.

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  12. That is very strange! She does work full time but I will ask her about it for you. I don't know your name but I'll ask her if someone contacted her about an order lately.

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  13. Oh, sorry, I am the one who said about the email. My name is Phil. We are super excited about this. We also found a book on Kindle about fireless cooking. It is ever so out dated but did have some good info in it. Oh, one reason that I am anonymous us I don't know what a URL is. Thank you for your trouble.

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  14. No problem! I contacted my friend Angie (who makes the Wonder Ovens) for you. She said that she has been swamped with Christmas orders but she will definitely get yours. If you want to contact her through her website (http://ecowonderoven.com/) you can mention that you talked to me (Sherida) on my blog so she will know who you are. :)

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  15. Thank you, it is good she is swamped. Like to see business that are busy. We really appreciate your website. Phil & Dee

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  16. Sure would like your bread recipe, I don't have one and there are so many different ones, that I just don't know what will work best in the wonder oven.

    Thanks, for sharing all your hard work with us.

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  17. You can find my favorite bread recipe here: http://eatingfoodstoragerecipes.blogspot.com/2010/01/perfect-wheat-bread.html

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  18. You can use a simple cardboard box and pillows to make your own inexpensive wonder oven. A pillow on the bottom, your hot pot, and pillows all around the sides. One on top and you're set. Works just as well and no sewing! I've done it a kazillion times.

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  19. I am loving the wonder oven!!! But I can't figure out how to make brownies. Do you have any insights? I've tried a few times but to no avail.
    Also, I hope it's okay to post this here but since I'm loving the wonder oven so much, I'm open to making them and selling them for people that don't want to make the pattern and sew it themselves. I can be contacted at brittle91@gmail.com.
    Thank you!

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  20. Would you be willing to try a bread recipe in your cooker? We are a gluten free family of 7 and I am looking for ways to make camping food easier. We are gone for several weeks at a time and it is challenging to feed my family on the road. I wondered if one of these wonder boxes would help me? I am particular interested to know if it would make a buckwheat and flax bread. My email is ourextrainbox@gmail.com
    Thanks. Lisa

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