Baking on Issuma

Sitka, AK
In the picture, I am mixing the meringue for a lemon-meringe pie. The lemon pie can be seen in the rectangular pan. The rectangular pan pretty much takes up the entire rack of the oven. I whittled down the end of a wooden spoon so it would fit into the chuck of the cordless drill to mix things like meringue with. The cordless-drill-with-wooden-spoon method worked better than trying to mix meringue by hand, however, when I got to Alaska, I found a hand-powered egg-beater for sale in a store, which does an even better job. Issuma has an old Plastimo gas oven. Surprisingly, both the burner and the chimney are at the back of the oven, so most of the heat produced went straight up the chimney. This meant the back of the oven got hot and burnt stuff and the front of the oven stayed cool and didn’t cook. I made a heat deflector for the oven which greatly improved things. Offshore, I tend to bake bread most days. In warm climates, I make yeast bread, using either regular yeast or sourdough yeast. I have not had much luck with getting yeast breads to rise in cold climates, as yeast is quite picky about temperature, and I don’t yet have a warm and secure place to leave the dough for several hours to rise. In cold climates, I just use baking powder or baking soda (with something acidic to act with the baking soda) for making the dough rise (resulting in much denser breads).

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