Today I decided to give baking some muffins a try in my kitchen, rather than experiment with something like this in the field.
To cook the muffins, I used my FeatherFire alcohol stove (45g), a homemade windscreen (15g) and heat reflector (2g) and an older HAA pot. That's 62g or 2.2oz of stove equipment plus the pot.
I filled the FeatherFire with 43g of methanol (nearly 2 fluid ounces). I then grabbed a fairly flat rock which just happened to fit nicely into my pot. The rock surface was fairly level.
I used some banana muffin mix, the kind that requires only water. I mixed up a bit and put it in a aluminum tart cup. The aluminum cup only weighed 1.5g (or 0.05oz).
Here's everything all set up:
Having never done this before. My primary concern was burning the bottoms of the muffins long before they were cooked inside. Accordingly, I lit my stove and set it very low. I opened just 1 full turn (max is 5 full turns). So that's about 20% throttle.
I checked on the muffins after 10 minutes. Things seemed to be going well, but the muffins were in danger of spilling over the rim because they weren't totally level. I spent a few minutes getting them more level with some tiny pebbles.
After 15 minutes they looked like this:
After 20 minutes they looked like this:
They were starting to look good, but a toothpick revealed they were still gooey inside, which the top of the muffin also indicated.
I gave them another 10 minutes (30min total) and they seemed to be done. A toothpick came out clean so I shut the stove off and took them out of the pot.
They were looking pretty good, but I was still nervous they would be hard to get out of the tins and/or burnt on the bottom. To my joy, the muffins came out easily and looked perfect. Check out this culinary perfection:
I let them cool for a few minutes and then took a deep bite to see what they looked like in the middle. Honestly, the muffins are as good as I could ever do at home. They were moist, fluffy and cooked all the way through. Hugely delicious.
With the muffin devoured (and the other saved for my wife), I weighed my stove again to see how much fuel I had used. The result: 28.4g of methanol was used to cook these muffins for 30 minutes.
Going forward, I'm definitely going to try this on the trail. Since the bottom of the muffin wasn't burnt in the slightest, I will likely use a bit more throttle next time with a goal of cooking them in 20 min instead of 30 min. That's still a lot of time though so these aren't exactly suited for adventure racers.
One area for improvement is the qty/size of the muffins. It would be nice (and more efficient) to make more at once. I could almost fit 3 muffins into my pot but not quite. Having just one muffin of these size is really just a teaser. If I ate both it would have been a decent contribution to a meal. Perhaps in the future I could mix up the dough a bit thicker and thus fill the tins a bit fuller. Ideally, it would be nice to find deeper cups. I wonder how well a large meat pie tin would work. It might be hard to cook to the middle, but it would give you a lot more end product.
BTW, The FeatherFire stove rocks. 30 minutes of cooking on one ounce of fuel (or 1.3 fl oz). If I filled this stove up with 2 fl oz I could bake or simmer for over 45 min. I wonder if could do lasagna?