Apple Box Oven
An Apple Box Oven is a great way to bake when an emergency situation exists. All you need is your oven, charcoal and matches and you will be able to bake anything that you could bake in a conventional oven. It is also economical as you are not using electricity and it actually uses almost half the charcoal as Dutch oven baking. You can bake bread, pies, casseroles, cookies....anything that you normally would bake in a conventional home oven, you can bake in an Apple Box Oven.
Constructing the Apple Box Oven:
You will need:
1 sturdy cardboard apple box (20 inch x 13 inch and 12½ inch high). Try to find one that does not have handle holes on the sides. If it does have handle holes, you will need extra cardboard to fill any handle holes.
(1) 80-inch length heavy duty aluminum foil
(1) 90-inch length heavy duty aluminum foil
Masking Tape & Metal Repair Tape (this tape was found in the duct- work department of our local hardware store. It looks like duct tape but is shiny - like metal.)
Optional for a window: (1) plastic oven bag & Metal Tape
If there are any holes, in your apple box cut extra cardboard to fill holes and cover patch with metal tape on both sides.
If an oven window is desired, cut a horizontal oven window (approx. 9x4 inches) in one of the long sides, centered and 2½ inches from the closed bottom of the box. Make sure that you measure and cut the hole in the correct spot so that it will view right over the rack level.
To Cover the Box:
You will need to completely cover the box inside and out with foil. Secure the foil to the cardboard box with masking tape curls. (Tape Curls are small lengths of masking tape, curled around to attach ends so that the sticky side of the tape is on the outside of curl. These are used to hold the foil into place until you can tape outsides seams and corners with metal tape.) Any exposed cardboard or tape will burn so overlap the foil.
The 80-inch length of foil will cover the box inside and outside ends and the outside only of the bottom.
Lay this foil shiny-side down. Position the box lengthwise and bottom down, centered on the foil strip. Fold one length of the foil up the end and inside of the box. This end of the foil should fold onto the inside bottom about 4 inches. Making sure the foil on the end just covered is snug, repeat the same procedure for the other end of the box. Fold the excess foil on the outside edges of the box onto the box sides and secure foil with hidden masking tape curls-both inside and outside the box.
The 90-inch length of foil will cover the inner and box outer sides and bottom.
Lay foil, shiny-side down. Position and center the box across the foil, so the foil will cover the bare sides. Begin on the side of the box without a window. Fold the very end of the foil strip over 1 in. Fold this end over the side of the box and position it into the inside crease where the bottom and side meet. Making sure the foil on the side just covered is snug, pull the foil around the bottom and up the side (covering the window), down the inside (covering the window) and across the bottom. Tuck the extra foil underneath the first edge with the 1-inch fold so it goes up the side. With hidden masking tape curls, secure the foil inside and outside the box. Using Metal Repair Tape, tape-up all seams. Do not leave any edges un-taped.
If you are making a window:
Using scissors, cut a horizontal slit in the middle of the window hole, stopping 2 inches from each side. Fold the outside flaps through the window to the inside of the box. Cut a plastic roasting oven bag ½ inch larger than the window in a rectangle shape. Using a double layer, secure the roasting bag edges with metal tape.
To Bake with Your Apple Box Oven:
You will need:
4 empty soda pop cans, filled part way with rocks & opening covered with metal tape. (The rocks make it so the cans will not tip over)
10 x 14 inch cookie cooling rack (We found ours at Walmart)
Ground Heavy Duty Foil (Make it longer than the apple box)
Place ground foil, shiny side up, on level ground.
Space pop cans on foil so as to support the cookie baking rack.
Position rack so that only the very corners are resting on the pop cans. Check to make sure the cans are not spaced too far apart to prevent the apple box from fitting over them.
You will regulate the temperature of your oven by the number of charcoals you put in it. One charcoal = approx. 35 deg. F. (Example...for 350 degrees use 10 charcoals.)
Using tongs, place hot charcoals on foil, spreading them out evenly between the cans and across the middle. Place baking rack on top of cans.
To pre-heat oven, place the apple box over coals and empty rack, resting one corner on a 1-inch rock. (This allows enough air in the box for the charcoal to stay lit.) Let stand for 5 min. Charcoal will become whiter as heat spreads.
Carefully lift apple box off coals taking care not to tilt and place it beside the ground foil. (This holds trapped heat in the box.)
Quickly place food on the rack that is on the pop cans and replace box over coals, resting one corner on the rock. (Make sure that the pan you are using fits on the center of the rack since the heat will not bake any food that is directly over the pop cans.)
The charcoal will burn for about 35-40 min. When longer cooking times are required, you can add more hot charcoals by slightly lifting the box and slipping them in with long tongs. We found that if a recipe calls for 45 min baking time and it is warm outside, no additional charcoals would be needed.
One charcoal = approx. 35 degrees F.
(Example...for 350 degrees use 10 charcoals.)
You will not want to use lighter fluid to start your charcoal since it may affect the taste of your food. We have found that if you use a charcoal starter, (we found it at a Cal-Ranch store...farming/camping/hunting supplies) your charcoals light faster and they are ready to use within 5 minutes time. They are ready to use when there are white spots on them the size of a dime. As the cooking time goes on, they will become whiter.