While it may seem strange to think about baking pastry without an oven, there are many reasons to do so.
Maybe you don’t want to turn your entire oven on and heat up the whole house in the summertime. Maybe you want to bake as they did in the days before modern ovens. Or maybe you are just looking for a new method of cooking pastries.
Whatever your reasoning, it can be done! You can definitely bake pastries without an oven and here is how.
1 – Dutch Oven
If you have never heard of a Dutch oven, get ready to have your cooking world changed. Chances are, you already have a Dutch oven in your home and you may not even know it! All a Dutch oven is is a heavy metal or ceramic pot with a lid. That’s it! So how will this help when it comes to cooking pastry without an oven? Here’s how.
A Dutch oven can be used outside over an open fire or hot charcoals to create a kind of make shift oven. The lid is placed on the pot and the whole thing is set on top of a fire pit. You can place a wire rack over the fire with the Dutch oven on it or you can hang the Dutch oven over the fire.
With the lid on, heat will build inside the pot just as it would if you were to preheat an oven. Once the Dutch oven is nice and hot, you can put your pastry inside, close the lid again and you’re baking!
Dutch ovens are fantastic as they keep the heat fairly regular despite not having any electronic controls. This is perfect for baking pastries as you need a nice even temperature. So say goodbye to your oven and hello to the wonders of a Dutch oven!
2 – Stovetop
While a stovetop method of cooking still requires a stove, you don’t need to turn on your whole oven in order to use it (a perfect summertime solution to cooking pastry). For this method of cooking, all you need is a nice, heavy metal pot or pan. After that, there are actually two ways you can cook the pastry on the stovetop.
The first way to use the stovetop pastry cooking method is to use the pot to fry the pastry. While you don’t necessarily want to deep fry which involves completely submerging the pastry in oil, you only want to use a tiny amount of oil in the bottom of the pan.
Butter is the best option for the choice of grease as it complements the flavor of most pastries but vegetable oil or canola oil will work as well. Put a little bit of grease in the pan and heat it over medium high heat. Add the pastry and let it sizzle!
Flip the pastry over halfway through cooking and sear the other side. If you have never had a fried cookie or puff pastry before, you absolutely must try this!
The second way to use a stovetop cooking method is to create a heat box by putting a lid on the pan once the pastry is inside. Preheat the pan with no oil in order to get a nice dry heat. Place the pastry inside and cover the pan then let your pastry cook! Try not to open the lid too frequently as the heat built up inside will slip out.
However, you will have to flip the pastry over about halfway through the cooking process to ensure it is nicely browned on all sides. So, close the lid, set a timer and get ready for some delicious stovetop pastries.
3 – Earthen Oven
So an Earthen oven technically is an “oven” but it requires no electricity and is not what you think of when you hear the word oven. The most basic form of an earthen oven is a pit or hole in the ground where you light a fire. The heat, smoke and steam is trapped in the hole and food can be placed inside and baked.
While this primitive means of cooking pastry may seem a little farfetched, you can also buy or build a slightly more sophisticated earthen oven out of clay. The structure looks kind of like an igloo or a dome. A small fire is started inside and the heat is trapped creating (you guessed it) an oven!
Check out this video demonstrating how to build an Earthen oven:
These earthen ovens can get extremely hot so they can bake pastries quickly, just like a conventional oven. Place your pastry on a sheet tray and slide it onto a metal rack inside the earthen oven. You’ll be eating fresh baked pastry in no time!
4 – Tandoor Oven
A tandoor oven is similar to an earthen oven in that it is a clay structure that houses a fire. However, a tandoor oven is more like a straight vertical tube with an opening on top (an earthen oven has a closed, dome top and an opening on the side).
A fire is started in the bottom of the tandoor oven and the sides of the clay pot get very hot. The actual baking is done on the hot walls of the oven by sticking the pastry directly to the wall. Vertical baking may be the next big thing!
Most commonly, flat breads like naan are baked in this manner but you can definitely bake pastry as well. Stick a few pieces of puff pastry to the side of a hot tandoor oven and watch as it defies gravity as it bakes.
5 – Solar Oven
Again, a solar oven is technically an “oven” but not in the traditional sense. Solar ovens are set up outside and utilize solar panels to heat the metal oven box.
You will need a nice sunny day to bake pastries using one of these pieces of equipment but what you won’t need is electricity or to start a fire- let the sunshine do all the work!
Once pre heated, a solar oven works in the exact same way as an indoor oven. Many models even have heat controls so you can set the oven to be the exact baking temperature you need. Place your pastries on a baking sheet and bake as usual in your hot, outdoor solar oven!
When you think about baking pastry, most people automatically think of turning on the oven in your home but now you know that is not necessary.
You can bake pastries in so many different ways without an oven so save on that electric or gas bill and use one of these alternative methods to make your pastry today!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.