Comments on cooking bread and other things in a wonderbox cooker:
Steamed bread in a wonderbox — turned out fabulous. We left it in the hot water to rise then boiled it for ten minutes and kept it in the wonderbox for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Here is some detail about the wonderbox bread…
I put the whole wheat bread dough in a oiled cereal bag (the waxed-
paper-like inner lining bag in boxes of cereal). Then I twisted up the
end and closed it with a twist tie. I then placed this bag inside a
Reynolds oven bag and twisted up the end of that bag. Rather than
putting the twist tie on at that point, I folded over the twisted end,
making a loop and then secured it with a twist tie, creating a double
reinforcement and less probability of water leaking in. I have heard
it being done in a Zip-loc bag as well, but I was pleased with the
cereal bag and oven bag. When picking a bag, you are concerned with
its ability to withstand the heat of boiling and ability to get a tight
seal when closing as water seeping into the bread will ruin it.
Then I put the dough in a pan of hot water to rise. After it had
risen, I boiled it for ten minutes and then placed the pan with the
dough in it and with the lid on in the Wonder Box. I left it there for
1 hour and 45 minutes. It was perfect. The bread comes out round and
is not browned, but very moist and light. You will not get overdone,
dry bread this way.
4 cups whole wheat, brown or white flour, or mixed as you wish
1tsp each yeast and sugar mixed, added to ¼ cup warm water
1 cup warm water with 1 tsp salt added
Mix and knead the dough (or add ¼ cup warm water and merely stir it well). Roll the dough in dry flour and place it in an ordinary (crisp, cereal) plastic bag which has had a little oil rubbed around inside.
To reduce time needed for this it can be left submerged in warm water in the wonder box.
When it has doubled its size, it should be brought to boil in the water and boiled for about 10 minutes. Transfer the bread in the pot of water to a wonder box for an hour to finish cooking when it should have a soft “crust”.
I have fielded numerous requests from readers who are making their own wonder boxes, and wanting to know what type of material would be best for the cushions.
Cushions have to be of a soft material that will squish firmly around the top, bottom and sides of your wonder box. Another idea is to use the inners of old, flat pillows.
Another example of making bread in a wonderbox
I have been baking bread in a wonderbox for awhile now. My recipe is for 2 loaves (whole wheat). I put one in the wonderbox and one in the oven. I raise the bread by putting it in a cereal bag that has been sprayed with cooking spray. I put a twistertie on that and then put that in an oven bag, twist it up and then double the twisted part over and put on the twister tie. That part looks like a loop. Anyway I put the bagged dough in a pot of warm water to rise. When it has doubled, I bring the whole thing to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Then put the whole thing in the wonderbox and go away. Once it was in there for over 8 hours and the bread was still warm. I think the least amount of time has been one hour.
The bread does not have a crust and is usually oval, but it is moist and delicious. In fact when I have people try a bit from the oven baked and the wonderbox, they prefer the wonderbox bread hands down.
So do I.
I have reused the cereal bag. I make my own cereal so I don’t have those kind regularly. I’ve tried ziploc bags for the outside and sometimes they pop open from the rising bread. If it gets under water, the bread is ruined.
I made bean soup. I soaked the beans over night, then boiled them 20 minutes, and after a couple of hours in the wonderbox, I took them out to put some bean flour in to thicken it and reheated it for another 20 minutes before putting it back in. All together it was probably 6-7 hours in there, but no burning or sticking, and I left it that long because that was when I was using the soup…
BTW, I was using the ice box cooler for the thermal outer container which I placed the bean pot inside. I first wrapped the bean pot in a wool blanket and then put a pillow on top of the pot and blanket before closing the cooler lid. I have also been using a half of a mylar space blanket in the wonderbox and the ice box cooker both to retain heat, but also to keep the wonderbox clean and dry and to keep the wool blanket dry. I think that really helps.