Third-world problems in a first-world … world

I’ve needed to bake bread for the past couple of days, but to do that you really need a few more-or-less guaranteed uninterrupted hours, preferably with the sky at full-sun, and yesterday and Wednesday that wasn’t going to happen so I planned all week for this to be baking day. Alas, it really looked like the sun was going to let me down.

Why does the sun matter? Lemme ‘splain. No, there is too much. Lemme sum up. (and DAMN IT I needed the clip but Youtube let me down…)

I once had an (antique, I think, certainly ‘vintage’) gas oven that had the virtue of not needing any house current to operate. I didn’t realize until I replaced it how much it was holding me back as a baker, but there it was. Anyway, a little over a year ago the gas valve’s thermocouple failed and there was no replacement. Big Brother subsidized the purchase of a new oven: I did what I thought was sufficient research to make sure it would fit the space and my needs but I didn’t realize that in the well over 20 years since I last bought a kitchen appliance, oven pilot lights had gone the way of the Bill Cosby album.

In terms of gas wastage this is a good thing: I buy my kitchen propane ten gallons at a time. In terms of how well the new one was going to get along with a very small off-grid solar power system it … required behavioral adjustment on my part. The pilot light has been replaced with a big honkin’ electric heating unit that pulls juice out of lead/acid batteries at an appalling rate and really only doesn’t get scary on a sunny mid-day.

Damn howdy, though, does that thing bake a pretty loaf of bread.

Alas, the day was not shaping up to be very sunny.

Still, I’ve seen worse. (cue another Princess Bride clip: I may have to sit down and watch that movie when I’m done here.) So at about 10am I set to work. And happily, the day ignored the weather forecast: By the time the dough had risen, the clouds were all gone.

I’ve baked on very overcast days when the indicated battery voltage fell to 11.8something (the inverter shuts right off at 11.7) but this morning was never very overcast and with the clouds gone the batteries behaved themselves nicely indeed for mid-winter.

And you gotta love the results…

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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9 Responses to Third-world problems in a first-world … world

  1. Mark Matis says:

    Will that bread now be located out of Tobie’s reach? Or will he get another free snack???

  2. Eric says:

    I’m kinda curious about what you did with the old stove?

  3. Paul B says:

    Good looking loaf of bread.

  4. Understanding that money is always an issue, have you considered adding to your solar array?

  5. Mike says:

    Have you tried baking bread in a dutch oven on the wood stove?

  6. B says:

    What the Freeholder said.
    Or add to the battery bank ….if you can collect more photons than you can charge with with when the sun is out….
    Might be that some of us might help towards a solution…..

  7. Mark Matis says:

    B speaks the truth. As you surely know by now.

  8. Joel says:

    Any Jeep news?

    Nothing good, no.

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