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mother of josh, richard, and mutt. lover of books, yarn, and the quiet places. spinner, knitter, kayaker, survivor, vandweller, warrior.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fry-Bake pans

i had long been looking for an alternative to my heavy cast-iron cookware that would allow me to bake, just as i did in my dutch ovens, yet was lightweight, versatile, and could withstand the rigors of camping and life on the road. last year i took the plunge, and bought a set of the Fry-Bake pans i had read so much about in backpacker magazine and at the NOLS site. i got the set....the alpine model (8" in diameter) and the expedition model (10 1/2") with the heavier lids. they have been my main cookpans at the farm and on the road. they are hard-anodized aluminum...no non-stick finish to wear off, and you can use metal utensils and scrub them with sand, if necessary, without harming the cook surface. i love them. up til now, i hadn't used them as an oven. i decided to try them out before i hit the road again. so as not to confuse the results with possible recipe errors, i decided to bake some pillsbury cinnamon rolls out of the can. above you see my coleman butane one-burner stove, a bottle of walnut oil, the rolls, the expedition pan, a can of butane, the alpine pan, and the scortch buster "riser bar" that i purchased separately.
the riser bar provides a space between the bottom of the pan and the flame to help prevent scorching.
you need to take extra care that the pan doesn't slip off, but my closest call came when i actually bumped the table.
i used the larger expedition pan (10 1/2 "). the recipe called for a 9" pan, so i could have used the smaller alpine, too.
the raw cinnamon rolls in the pan. this is the part where mutt got interested:-)

i built a little twig fire in the indentation on the top. you can use charcoal briquets or coals from your fire, also.
conflagration not necessary! the recipe called for 17 minutes of baking time. never one to take direction, i decided to make it 20 minutes, assuming that the fry-bake pan would be less efficient than an oven. wrong.
the rolls came out beautiful! the only thing wrong was the bottoms were a little too browned. if i had stayed with the 17 minutes baking time, they would have been perfect.
they were delicious anyway! i had them with spearmint tea.

this is the lid after baking. not a pan you would find in (mumble)artha's kitchen!
so i am pleased as all get-out with these pans. i have already made everything from eggs and bacon to porkchops to spaghetti and stews to oatmeal in them. although these nest compactly, i think i will take the larger expedition model on the road, and leave the alpine as the farmhouse pan.
i think they are worth every cent i spent. this cookware will outlive me, i'm sure.
my next experiment will be to do my homemade whole wheat pitas in them. i'll let you know how it goes.
here's a link to the website:

14 comments:

Paladin said...

Awesome! I wasn't too familiar with these, but they seem to be exacly what I've been looking for as a low weight camping alternative for baking. Lugging cast iron on foot sucks.

Thanks for posting this.. I'm going to look at them online right now.

Brian Many Wheels said...

Very cool Katie, I have the Outback oven but have not used it yet...I will take it on the next leg of my trip. Say, how do you suscribe to comments?

kate said...

hey, paladin, let me know if you get them and how you like them.

brian- in the right hand column next to the blog post there is a spot where you can subscribe to the blog or comments through an RSS feed. i prefer, though, when i am posting a comment, to click on the little box beneath where you are typing it that says "e-mail follow up comments" it's faster that way at my slow connection speeds.

let me know how you like the outback oven.....

Brian Many Wheels said...

Ok will do, I would be interested in what you have if I had not already bought the Outback...got a good deal on a new one on feebay. My friend uses his every day in his house...i have weird friends you know....
and loves it. Makes a breakfast pizza that is out of this world. Once I get the recipes he gave me down, I will post them....
Thanks on the feed thingy...

Suzanne said...

Ouch, ouch, sticker shock (I'm notoriously cheap!) But I love baking and will no doubt want to do some when I embark on full-time vandwelling in a couple of years. Thanks for sharing this; can't wait to hear how the pita bread turns out.

Peace and hugs to my role model,

Suzanne

kate said...

oh, suzanne, i know. i ate alot of ramen noodles to finance those pans! some stuff i just consider an investment, though. like my mukluks...they cost a couple hundred dollars, but they last for years.

i did buy the "seconds" on the pans....

role model? heh. wait'll ya meet me, then decide :-) hugs right back!

Mysturman said...

Hope you shared the rolls with Mutt!

kate said...

of course! he's my tester!

Suzanne said...

When we do meet, down the road somewhere, I'm sure I'll find you just as fun and inspiring as I do online. Vandreamer for now, dealing with urban caca like a smash and grab of my work laptop, watercooler flood at the office, fitting in a few days tent camping here and there to keep my sanity... Helps a lot to hear about folks living the life I plan for the future.


Suzanne

Tara said...

Hey! I could put those right in the woodstove! What a great idea...

Tara said...

Hey! I could put those right in the woodstove! What a great idea...

Anonymous said...
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The Traveling Stewart said...

Lived out of the expedition pan for 5 months in Patagonia. Love love love.

hoboknitter said...

Mine have been getting hauled all over the place and have held up so beautifully. I think mine wants to go to Patagonia too!