ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking
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Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/14/2013 22:24:34 MDT Print View

While ESBIT is generally recognized as the lightest backpacking cooking option, it's not exactly known for flame control.

I've been testing an ESBIT stove, the Epicurean Ti, that not only can be used for simmering but also for low, steady heat applications like ultralight baking.


I've found the Epicurean Ti to be a really easy to use ESBIT stove that simmers well without any trouble.


If you're interested in having a few flame options other than just "high" or you find the idea of ultralight baking intriguing, check out the Epicurean Ti ESBIT stove.



HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Edited by hikin_jim on 04/14/2013 23:11:23 MDT.

Daniel Fish
(daniel@fishfamilypdx.com)

Locale: PDX
... on 04/14/2013 22:37:58 MDT Print View

...

Edited by daniel@fishfamilypdx.com on 06/09/2013 09:42:17 MDT.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Facinating Read! on 04/14/2013 23:10:39 MDT Print View

You're welcome, Daniel.

I've had a lot of fun with this one. It's great for special celebrations. Here's a cake I baked last Wednesday for a friend's birthday who is in a MeetUp group that I do hikes with:


Muffins are certainly a big hit with the younger members of my family. :)


HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
NICE! on 04/15/2013 00:49:51 MDT Print View

I have a Backpacker's Pantry fiberglass "yurt-shaped" pot cover stove & lid handle thermometer for canister or MSR Dragongly stoves but THIS is great since I'm an ESBIT fanboy.

Is there any way to bake (control the ESBIT flame) with the Calders Cone stove?

Michael B
(mbenvenuto) - F

Locale: Vermont
baking on 04/15/2013 05:47:10 MDT Print View

Do you put water in the bottom of the Ti pan? I would worry that would deform with the heat if baked dry. You are getting an awesome looking baked top to the muffin so it doesn't seem like water is boiling.

I long baked using a small cake pan like that, but always used water in the outside pan. I use a bushbuddy for baking since that allows unlimited time and fuel. But the esbit looks interesting too. Since I bake on canoe trips, I graduated to the outback oven, which works great and is much larger, for a lot more weight obviously.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: NICE! on 04/15/2013 10:06:26 MDT Print View

I have a Backpacker's Pantry fiberglass "yurt-shaped" pot cover stove & lid handle thermometer for canister or MSR Dragongly stoves but THIS is great since I'm an ESBIT fanboy.
Eric,

Yeah, the Bemco Backpacker's Oven and the Outback Oven (sounds like you have the Outback) are the two well known ones out there, but they're heavy. The only way I was willing to even consider bringing baking gear on a hike was that it had to be really light. The basic cook kit is about 8 oz (roughly 225g -- see my blog for exact weights) including the pot. The only additional gear I need for baking is the 3 oz aluminum baking pan (roughly 85g; see blog for exact weights). So really, I'm only carrying 3 oz over and above my regular cook kit -- in terms of base weight. Obviously I'll carry more weight depending on how many muffins, biscuits, etc. I intend to cook.

Speaking of biscuits, it does a pretty fair job on biscuits as well.


The honey-butter biscuit mix from Bisquick is my favorite so far. :)


Is there any way to bake (control the ESBIT flame) with the Calders Cone stove?
At this year's GGG at Henry Coe SP, I tried baking with my Ti-Tri using the same pot, a 1.3L Evernew UL Ti pot. It worked great. You need a controlled environment like the Bobcat system or the Caldera Cone/Ti-Tri and you need a low, steady heat like that of the Epicurean Ti stove. I know you can put the ESBIT under the gram cracker ESBIT stove from Trail Designs and only light one side and that you'll get sort of a simmer, but I don't know that it's low enough or consistent enough for baking. I suspect that it is not, but you'd have to experiment with it.

I've done some experiments with baking with alcohol stoves, with mixed results. Get it wrong and you wind up deforming your pot due to the high heat involved with dry baking. Get it right, and you've got yourself a good muffin. :) I guess a deformed Ti pot isn't the end of the world; it just looks funny. I mean it is Ti; it's not like you're going to melt it. I wouldn't try alcohol baking with an aluminum pot. I got really good results with a 12-10 stove from Trail Designs with a Ti simmer ring (also from Trail Designs).

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 10:48:17 MDT Print View

HJ.......Do you put water in the bottom of the Evernew 1.3 L Ti pan AND if YES how much. The picture in your write up above give that indication.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Baking with alcohol? on 04/15/2013 11:07:48 MDT Print View

First, the options that use water are not baking in my opinion. I am not really interested in those.

I find that if once my Pepsi can stove is going good I can take away the pot stand and set the pot right on the stove. That seems to throttle it down to the point that an ounce or so of alcohol lasts somewhere in the 20+ minute range and it just barely maintains a low boil. Do you think that is low enough heat to not warp a 1.3 liter REI ti pot with a baking cup inside and no water? I might try it if there is a very good chance that it will not warp the pot.

Then again I am not sure if the burner will throttle back as well with an empty pot on top. I guess I could destroy a cheapie aluminum pot to get an idea of how hot an empty pot gets in that mode. If I can manage to use an aluminum pot without melting it I am pretty sure the ti pot would be just OK.

Opinions on that?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: baking on 04/15/2013 11:16:45 MDT Print View

Do you put water in the bottom of the Ti pan? I would worry that would deform with the heat if baked dry. You are getting an awesome looking baked top to the muffin so it doesn't seem like water is boiling.
I've never had a problem with pot deformation when using ESBIT with the Epicurean Ti stove. The Epicurean stove really works well in terms of keeping the flame under control. It's extremely consistent, even in wind.

When experimenting with alcohol stoves and baking, I've warped the heck out of my Ti pot. Make sure you have a really good simmering stove if you're going to experiment with a pot that you don't want warped -- and the stove needs to be good in the context that you'll use it (i.e. in a high heat, low oxygen environment like that of the Bobcat System).

So, strictly speaking, water is not absolutely necessary, but I sometimes put a teaspoon or two of water into the outer pot. The water turns to steam and helps the baking process. Too much water and the top of the muffin/cake/biscuit gets soggy.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 11:26:29 MDT Print View

HJ.......Do you put water in the bottom of the Evernew 1.3 L Ti pan AND if YES how much. The picture in your write up above give that indication.
Sometimes a teaspoon or two, but often no water at all (except what's in the mix). This is really dry baking. It works really well.

Speaking of the mix, I find that "starving" it a little on water works better. If the mix recommend 4 fluid ounces of water, I often will put in 3.8 fl oz. In other words, just slightly less than the recommended amount.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 11:43:57 MDT Print View

Pretty cool Jim, lighweight, backcountry, quick baking. I didn't think it was possible till now. I've experimented a bit with Solar oven designs, but these aren't ideal for serious backpacking for their bulk and length of time, and limited period of use. They can be quite light, and relatively "quick" though and so can be decent for car camping. The inverted cone design one is quite fast under good conditions. I baked a large loaf of sprouted and sour doughed Kamut and Spelt bread in about an hour. Came out awesome.











Ok, my obligatory non serious and joking comment, (nothing worse than eating wet muffins, UNLESS you're talking about [kids, cover your eyes now]... oh nevermind).

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 12:36:23 MDT Print View

Back in the old days when I led a lot of group backpacking trips, I did some kind of baking, especially if the group size was large enough to carry the extra weight.

You can use all sorts of doughs and mixes for baking. However, I found the ones that worked best were the commercial snack bread mixes. I found it best to use only about 2/3 or 3/4 of the liquid that was called for, and then it got baked for a little longer.

You can eat warm breads like this anytime, but I always found breakfast to work best. There is nothing quite like a warm piece of cornbread to go with your morning coffee.

--B.G.--

Tony Wong
(Valshar) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 13:06:52 MDT Print View

Jim,

Do you know if the simmering ring can give you more boils per esbit cube than a gram cracker?

I am interested in getting more efficiency out of my stove so I carry less fuel per trip to save weight.

I can get 4 cups of tap water to boil (2 cups at a time) in my MSR Titan with the Caldera Cone with the Gram Cracker.

I recently bought the Esbitmizer and got the same results....it can simmer too.

Also, have you tried using Weber BBQ fire starter cubes as a subsitute for Esbit?

Great article and always learning from you.

Thanks!

-Tony

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Baking with alcohol? on 04/15/2013 16:59:56 MDT Print View

First, the options that use water are not baking in my opinion. I am not really interested in those.
Pete, this is definitely dry baking not steam baking. Sometimes I put in a teaspoon or so of water, but it's not essential.

I find that if once my Pepsi can stove is going good I can take away the pot stand and set the pot right on the stove. That seems to throttle it down to the point that an ounce or so of alcohol lasts somewhere in the 20+ minute range and it just barely maintains a low boil. Do you think that is low enough heat to not warp a 1.3 liter REI ti pot with a baking cup inside and no water? I might try it if there is a very good chance that it will not warp the pot.

Then again I am not sure if the burner will throttle back as well with an empty pot on top. I guess I could destroy a cheapie aluminum pot to get an idea of how hot an empty pot gets in that mode. If I can manage to use an aluminum pot without melting it I am pretty sure the ti pot would be just OK.

Opinions on that?
Hmm. Well, only experimentation will tell for sure, but you've identified the correct problem domain: A pot used as an oven for baking will get a lot hotter than a pot filled with water. Yes, the baking pan and baking mix will take some of the heat, but the outer pot will get appreciably hotter than boiling water.

You could cut the alcohol with some water which will result in a cooler burn. You could then, by trial and error, adjust the water until you got the results you needed. Or you could just go out and buy a stove that someone has already done the tuning on.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 17:15:08 MDT Print View

Jon at Flat Cat suggested to use Carbon-Felt, OR "Hiram" metal grate between the two pots to get a more uniform heating when baking.
Have you tried either of these approaches and what are your feeling concerning the procedure since you use a small amount of water?

Edited by KENLARSON on 04/15/2013 17:49:29 MDT.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
thanks on 04/15/2013 17:24:14 MDT Print View

Jim, Thanks for the response. I guess I could just make a lower heat burner.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 18:29:58 MDT Print View

Pretty cool Jim, lighweight, backcountry, quick baking. I didn't think it was possible till now.
It's actually pretty practical stuff. The base cook kit is 7.3 ounces/208g (including pot, windscreen, heat reflector, and stove). To add baking capability is an additional 3.1 ounces/89g (for a 4"/10.2cm baking pan). That's about 10.5oz/300g total for the base cook kit and the baking capability. To me, that's a reasonable weight. Maybe I wouldn't do it for a hard core trip (Sierra High Route), :) but for a lot of more relaxed trips, I think it would be practical in terms of weight and bulk.

This set up isn't super fast, about 45 minutes bake time, but it's within reason. You can speed it up, but then you start running into the bottom of the muffin getting burnt. With the low and slow approach of this set up with the Epicurean Ti, I'm not getting a burnt bottom. In fact, I've generally got it so that the muffin lifts out pretty cleanly (I do grease the pan with olive oil).


The baked on stuff you see on the sides isn't hard baked. I can scrape it off with the handle on my spoon and a little bit of cold water. Now, that's heat control.

I've experimented a bit with Solar oven designs, but these aren't ideal for serious backpacking for their bulk and length of time, and limited period of use. They can be quite light, and relatively "quick" though and so can be decent for car camping. The inverted cone design one is quite fast under good conditions. I baked a large loaf of sprouted and sour doughed Kamut and Spelt bread in about an hour. Came out awesome.
Solar!? Pretty cool. :) Got pics?

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 18:57:44 MDT Print View

Yeah, seems pretty reasonable weight and practical set up Jim.

I do sort of have some pics. I don't have pics of my original cardboard with aluminum foil glued on conical Solar set up that i experimented most with, but i do have some pics of a replica of same using a foam pad that i taped part of a space blanket on.

I will go find them. What's not shown in the pics though, is the turkey oven bag that you put the black pot in. Also, you have to raise the pot up a bit--i would use 3 small rocks, or something like that.

It all sits in a small cardboard box, and on the bottom below the rocks, is also a piece of aluminum foil. It doesn't work very well if it's windy out since it gets blown over fairly easy. There are ways to stabilize it, but hard to do very well for the whole set up.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 19:00:26 MDT Print View

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just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 19:02:41 MDT Print View

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