Monday, April 11, 2011
My money-saving wonder appliance!
There are definite detriments to cooking everything from scratch and expecting to live in your non air-conditioned home. By Saturday afternoon, we were in need of bread, but firing up the oven to bake a couple loaves was out of the question when it was already 92 degrees in the kitchen. My plan was to wait until after the kids had gone to bed and bake at night, hoping that the heat would be gone by morning. But, who wants to be up until 1:00 am baking bread, not I. Hmmmm, and here lies the problem.
Luckily for me, I remembered my roaster oven. I had used it a few times last summer when it got too hot to use the oven. It worked pretty well with quick breads and I think I roasted a chicken in there. I dug it out Sunday afternoon and plugged it in, down in the basement. My basement, which is at least 10-15 degrees cooler, was an awesome place to set the roaster oven. Not only do we not hang out down there (so if it gets warmer, no big deal), but it completely eliminated the added heat from the upstairs. Of course it helped that a cold front had moved in and it was a mild 86 degrees.
So far, I've baked applesauce bread, whole wheat bread, cinnamon bread, cinnamon rolls and a meatloaf in my roaster oven. I was concerned at the beginning that the lid might collect condensation and that it would cause problems with the bread, but it doesn't and it didn't. Right now, I have the roaster sitting on the corner of the daycare kids' eating table and I pushed it up into the corner when it was on, so they couldn't get close to it (I don't think the outside would burn them, but I've got a couple curious guys that might try to life the lid and peek in if I wasn't looking.). I'm not sure how much electricity it uses, but I figure it has to be less than the oven (smaller space to heat). It takes the same time to bake as it does in the oven, so no added power there, plus my air conditioning remains off. It's a win, win, win. The only problem that I have with using the roaster is the space inside limits what dishes I can use. It's too narrow for my muffin pans, so I'll be making mini loaves for the time being. It will hold my cake pan, but not a jelly roll pan, which I use frequently. There will be a learning curve, but hopefully it won't be too bad and maybe we'll be able to make it all the way to the end of June with no AC.