Here we experiment with the most basic rocket stove, the four brick stove.
Let’s start this out by saying that I did not have a budget for experimenting with rocket stoves. That doesn’t mean I had an unlimited budget, it means I had no budget. Most of what I do is done with bricks and cinder blocks (concrete blocks) I had around the house.
The most basic design can be built using 4 concrete blocks. It is a basic design that requires either an “H” block or, as I did, knock one end off of one of the blocks.
I have been experimenting with Rocket Stoves in an effort to build a rocket stove BBQ grill. Well actually, I want to use it for a bunch of different types of outdoor cooking. This post will be the first in a series of posts that walk you through my experimenting with the rocket stove.
A rocket stove is an efficient cooking stove using small diameter wood fuel which is burned in a simple high-temperature combustion chamber containing a vertical chimney, which ensures almost complete combustion prior to the flames reaching the cooking surface. Wikipedia
My ultimate goal is to build a permanent installation with a rocket stove as the heat source, but with a number of different options for cooking. These options could include a BBQ grill, indirect heat grill, rotisserie, burner, and maybe even a pizza or bread oven. To do this, I am going to have to start small and build my personal knowledge. I have done a lot of research along the way, and looked at a lot of other people’s designs. If you are interested, the Design Principles at rocketstove.org is a good place to begin. I begin with a 4 brick stove that I will discuss in this article, and end up with a relatively flexible system that allows me to adjust bricks to customize the way I use the heat. Along the way, I will have a handful of articles where I will share what I have done and learned. I hope you enjoy.
This is the easy part, just roll out your dough, put it in the pans, add the sauce and the toppings and cook it.
I generally set my oven between 450 and 500, but if you are going to do a deep dish you will need a lower temperature. The top shelf is going to be hotter on the top and cooler on the bottom, the bottom shelf is going to be hotter on the bottom and cooler on the top. Ideally you would only cook one pie at a time in a standard oven, but who has time for that. You just need to learn to work with your oven.
There are many ways and types of pizza dough. This is the one that my mom taught me, and that I have adapted to use whole wheat flour. Pizza dough isn’t hard, it just needs time and attention to the temperatures.
In my post on starting your yeast culture, I go into the details about how to get your yeast right so that your dough has the best opportunity to turn out right. That is the first step. The second step is the dough, I cover that in the video below.
Ingredients are simple:
Yeast – about 1/2 TBS
Sugar – Just a pinch to get the yeast growing
Water – 2 cups at between 105 and 115 degrees
Olive Oil – about 1/3 cup more or less
Preheat your oven for 1 minute to make it warm, then turn off the heat. You do not want the oven hot, but you want it warm so the dough can rise.
After you have the yeast growing, then you put it in a Mixer Bowl and add:
2 Cups whole Wheat Flour and mix with the dough hook until mixed well
About 4 cups of unbleached all purpose or bread flour – the actual amount will depend upon the way the dough mixes.
Warm a large bowl with hot water, then dry and coat with olive oil or spray.
Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth (not wet, just damp), and place it in the warm oven. Let it sit for an hour or hour and a half until the dough has risen to twice the original size.
Take dough out and divide. This can be used for two large pizzas with a thicker dough, two deep crust pizzas, or three thin crust pizzas.
Roll the dough out so that it will fit your pans. Then, if you want thin crust, add toppings. If you want thicker crust pan pizza, put it in the oven and let it rise again. You will need to watch it to see when it has risen to the level you want.
Preheat oven to 450
Add Pizza Sauce and toppings.
Put pizza(s) in oven for 20 minutes (start checking after 15 min. just in case). Watch the cheese, and the color of the crust to tell when it is done. The crust will start turning brown when it is getting done. You can put a fork under the crust to get an idea of how crispy it is. Everyone has different preferences, so the amount of time you spend is a trial and error approach.