ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 20:02:46 MDT Print View

Justin, what kind of temperatures can you get inside the pot?

--B.G.--

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 20:07:08 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.
Cornbread! Now that's sounding pretty good. :)

I've mainly tried biscuit, muffin, and cookie mixes, particularly those that are of the "just add water" variety of which there plenty to choose from.

I like the Krusteaz mix best of those I've tried so far.




I've been very pleased with how things like biscuits turn out.


Some of the cookie dough mixes call for oil, which isn't too much trouble to bring, but an extra dash of water seems to work reasonably well.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F - M

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 20:12:53 MDT Print View

Ken, the baking pan sits directly on the bottom of the pot. I have experimented with adding a little water (1 tsp) to create a faster rise but it is not required. The Epicurean Titanium stoves are designed to work with titanium pots. The output of the stove is designed to put out about 100 watts of power. That is about 1/4 the power of a normal alcohol stove. The bottom of the pot will get to a temperature of around 350 to 450 F which is safe for titanium pans. If you remove the baking pan WHILE the Esbit is burning AND leave the pot on, the pot will overheat.

Best regards - Jon

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F - M

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Re: Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 20:18:50 MDT Print View

--B.G.--,

Your comments are spot on. When I dry bake, I reduce the amount of water to get a better bake. Jon

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 20:23:01 MDT Print View

"When I dry bake, I reduce the amount of water to get a better bake."

I believe that it applies to steam baking as well.

We used to bake stuff inside a plastic bag over a steamer.

--B.G.--

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 20:43:22 MDT Print View

Hi Bob,

Re: temps-- I'm not sure as i haven't put a thermometer in there yet. But, here are a couple of links which talk about this specfic design.

The first link is about the general concept, why it was designed, etc.

http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Funnel_cooker

This 2nd link goes over some testing done.

http://solarcooking.org/plans/funneltests01.htm

Obviously there are a lot of potential variables involved. To give an idea and reference from my own experience, i used a large, 1.75L pot and filled it about 75% of the way with heavy, dense, fibrous dough and it fully cooked in about an hour (a little over). It was late spring in Afton VA with outside ambient air temp around 80 degrees F. If i had baked this same amount in an oven, i would guesstimate that it would have taken about 45 minutes to cook at around 350 degrees.

This, btw, was done with the cardboard and glued aluminum foil set up with the pot inside a glass casserole dish with small glass salsa jar on the bottom for a pot stand.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/15/2013 22:29:54 MDT Print View

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 assume you mean 4 cups boiled per 14g ESBIT cube? That's pretty good.

I have not run head to head tests of the Gram Cracker vs. the Epicurean Ti. That would be interesting. My gut feel is that the Epicurean Ti in high mode wouldn't be dramatically different than the gram cracker. In simmer mode, I think the Epicurean Ti would be more efficient than the gram cracker used with the ESBIT under the gram cracker. The Epicurean Ti would almost certainly be more efficient if one were using round hexamine fuel (Stansport brand, Coghlans brand, etc.). All of this would need to be confirmed by testing.

I recently bought the Esbitmizer and got the same results....it can simmer too.
Interesting. I've only seen the Esbitmizer on the internet, so I can't comment too much, but if it can keep a low, steady flame, it might well be suitable for baking.

Also, have you tried using Weber BBQ fire starter cubes as a subsitute for Esbit?
Generally speaking, fire starter cubes are designed to produce higher heat in a shorter amount of time so as to get a wood or charcoal fire going. Typically, they're less efficient than hexamine (i.e. ESBIT) for cooking. However, I've only used the Weber cubes as a fire starter. I haven't tried them with an ESBIT stove. I have some, so I'll have to try them for ESBIT type cooking.

Photo from this past weekend:


Great article and always learning from you.
Always trying something new. Glad that it's interesting. :)

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/16/2013 03:48:16 MDT Print View

Jon....Are you still using the "Hiram" metal grate (trivet) you used in your bread making portion of "Dry Baking - Using the Epicurean Stove," "Making a backpacking Pizza Bread," and "What's Cooking: Risotto and Polenta" YouTube videos?

Was the "Hiram" metal grate (trivet) or placing a distance between the two pots any benefit in the baking end product OR after using it awhile finding the raised distance really is not needed in the cooking or baking as you explained previously with the addition of 1 tsp of water?

Thanks

Edited by KENLARSON on 04/16/2013 06:41:44 MDT.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/16/2013 09:55:24 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?
Ken, don't get real hung up on the water. I'm using a teaspoon or two at most, and sometimes I don't use it at all.

I'm not getting uneven heating, so I haven't tried a grate or carbon felt between my baking pan and my pot. If I were getting a burnt bottom on my baked goods, then I would want to try something like that.

Take a look at these photos:
Here's a 4"/10.2cm baking pan right after I've pulled a muffin out. No burnt on batter.


Now here's the muffin (banana nut -- yum!) :) Looks reasonably well done to me, but what about the sides?


No evidence of burning or uneven heat.


And the inside? Nicely done.


You do have to pull the item your baking out at the appropriate time. If I left it in the "oven" for too long, it would burn. I find that about 45 min with a standard ESBIT cube is about right. If I use Coghlans brand hexamine, I use two tablets, and they'll burn for longer. In that case I have to be conscious about not allowing the baking to go on for too long or the item will get burnt on the bottom.



But the problem with that burnt bottom is with the baker not the gear set up. The Epicurean Ti is steady. You just have to experiment and learn when to pull the baked good out or you'll over do it. Again about 45 min, maybe 50, but no more than that.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Edited by hikin_jim on 04/16/2013 09:56:55 MDT.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
ESBIT: Simmering and Ultralight Baking on 04/16/2013 11:04:25 MDT Print View

This "Dry Baking" is new to me as in my past baking I have used the Wet baking Method, Reflector Oven and Dutch oven procedures when and where needed. I am going to have my granddaughters (14, 14, 12, and 11) do the baking this year on our 11 day trip (something new and exciting they have not done relating to food) and I need to have the technique down properly with POSITIVE results so they will want to continue when the time is right for them to give it a try. I will do a little practicing before hand to insure the variables fall into place and the product is POSITIVE.
Thanks for your support via information and experience.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: thanks on 04/16/2013 11:37:44 MDT Print View

Jim, Thanks for the response. I guess I could just make a lower heat burner.
Yep. Low and slow is the name of the game.

I've been able to get some good results with alcohol stoves and a simmer ring.


You just have to have a set up that you're really confident in. If you do get the heat too high and your pot warps a bit, it's not the end of the world. Ti is pretty strong stuff and it's going to take more than a little tweak to screw it up.


HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
HUH?? on 04/16/2013 12:42:45 MDT Print View

I just don't "grasp the concept" of how either the Epicurian or ESBITMISER can control the ESBIT flame and lower it.

Jim, could you shoe some photos of a low ESBIT flame with the Epicurian?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Low ESBIT Flame on 04/16/2013 12:56:30 MDT Print View

I just don't "grasp the concept" of how either the Epicurian or ESBITMISER can control the ESBIT flame and lower it.

Jim, could you shoe some photos of a low ESBIT flame with the Epicurian?
Well, usually I have the windscreen in place, but here's one:


If you've seen a full flame of ESBIT, it's much larger.

If you don't believe the flame, believe the muffin: ;)


HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Edited by hikin_jim on 04/16/2013 13:09:44 MDT.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Solar Stoves on 04/16/2013 13:57:37 MDT Print View




Wow. Talk about the ultimate LNT/low impact cooking set up. High cool factor. Might be a good one for Southern Arizona and the like.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F - M

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Re: HUH?? on 04/16/2013 14:55:31 MDT Print View

Eric, The Epicurean Titanium Stove cuts the power output of Esbit by limiting the airflow to the tablet. I have several videos of this on my YouTube channel at FlatCatGear. There is also a playlist about the stove. In simmer mode, the Epicurean Titanium cuts the power output by 75% and the cube will burn for 50 to 60 minutes. 4 times longer at 1/4th the power. Best regards - Jon

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: HUH?? on 04/16/2013 15:27:23 MDT Print View

This "Dry Baking" is new to me as in my past baking I have used the Wet baking Method, Reflector Oven and Dutch oven procedures when and where needed. I am going to have my granddaughters (14, 14, 12, and 11) do the baking this year on our 11 day trip (something new and exciting they have not done relating to food) and I need to have the technique down properly with POSITIVE results so they will want to continue when the time is right for them to give it a try. I will do a little practicing before hand to insure the variables fall into place and the product is POSITIVE.
Thanks for your support via information and experience.
Ken,

I think you're smart to want to practice it. It took me a few tries before I got it down. I had to find out the hard way to not let things bake too long or to try to short cut the process and speed things up. You can speed things up -- but then you wind up with a burnt bottom on your muffin, biscuit, or what-have-you.

For a group your size, I'd definitely recommend the 5"/12.7cm baking pan.

My tips (such as they are) :)
-Add a little less water than the recipe calls for.
-About 45 minutes bake time seems to be about right.
-"Just add water mixes" are super easy. Krusteaz muffin mix is the best I've tried for muffins. Bisquick for biscuits. Betty Crocker for cookies. The cookie mixes call for oil, which you can bring, but substituting water works OK.
-Olive oil works for both cooking oil and to grease the pan.
-The Flat Cat Hat, a carbon felt insulator, is worth the extra few $$'s and few extra grams.
-Be sure to remove any "mounding" left over after an ESBIT has burned otherwise your next burn may be too hot. Doesn't have to be spotless, but don't let build up occur.
-A lot of the standard muffin and biscuit mixes are 6oz or 8oz size (in the US). About half of an 8oz size works with the 4"/10.2cm baking pan. All 8oz works with the 5"/12.7cm baking pan.
-If you have problems with sticking, you can line the bottom of the baking pan with parchment paper. I usually haven't found this necessary, but it helps if you want to make a nice presentation.

I've been doing this for a while (over a year, but only maybe 9 months with the Epicurean Ti). Hopefully it hasn't become so routine to me that I've left out some detail. It's not bad. The grand kids will love it if they're anything like my daughter. It's a "keeper" technique.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Solar Stoves on 04/16/2013 15:29:53 MDT Print View

Hi Jim,

If you check out that 2nd link i gave earlier, the one about testing, you will read that they boiled water in a similar set up in Winter in Utah. Not bad eh.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Solar Stoves on 04/18/2013 20:56:19 MDT Print View

Yeah, but what really grabbed my attention was this:


;)

That solar cooking is very cool stuff. I can't quite see it for backpacking, but for a someone like a horse packer, it could be useful. Might be useful for snow melting in a base camp situation. NO fuel needed and would work at high altitude.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Edited by hikin_jim on 04/18/2013 20:57:26 MDT.

just Justin Whitson
(ArcturusBear)
Re: Re: Re: Solar Stoves on 04/19/2013 10:52:28 MDT Print View

Well that's all Greek to me. Actually it's worse than Greek, because i know a little Greek having went to Greece last summer(rapidly forgetting it all though).

Yeah, i like your ESBIT idea for baking and backpacking better. For me though, the Solar stuff is going into my long term survival in the wilds/collaspe gear bag. Along with a small wood stove, and a larger titanium tent stove.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
ESBIT Flame Sizes Compared (Hi vs. Lo) on 04/22/2013 11:11:31 MDT Print View

Some people were asking about how much difference the "high" setting made vs. the low. I got Sunday off this week (thank you, God), :) so I hit the trail.

Here's the Epicurean in high mode:


And now in low mode:


It makes quite a difference.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving