For the first several years of the modern tiny house movement (2007 – 2012, or so) it was a commonly held misconception that you couldn’t really bake in a tiny house. It seems this idea had been passed down by full-time RVers, people who lived in smaller, mobile homes, and even tiny housers themselves. It was a discouraging thought. As autumn begins everyone thinks of warm apple pies, the occasional pumpkin pie, and of course, that sweet, pecan pie at the Thanksgiving table.
Photos of miniature tiny house kitchens with barely a hot plate had circulated and the notion of baking seemed a pointless one. Most tiny houses didn’t have an oven. They didn’t even have countertop space or windowsill space to properly cool a pie or cobbler. This doesn’t even take into account where you would put the 3 dozen oatmeal chocolates once finished! Thankfully that time of ill-equipped and small kitchens was just a step in the tiny house on wheels evolution and the thought of not being able to bake, a passing one. With proper kitchen design and space appropriation, cooking and baking is more than possible in the tiny house kitchen.
ASSESS YOUR NEEDS
Perhaps you aren’t a baker at all and only want your tiny house kitchen to provide you with ample stove space. Or maybe like the Homestead Honey you are more apt to bake a delicious fruit dessert with a stovetop “slump” method. (essentially this means to make a stewed fruit dessert, in which a biscuit topping is put on top of the fruit filling) When baking with this method the topping steam-cooks rather than technically baking. This is a wonderful method for an October apple crisp.
If you decide baking on the stovetop is a do-able method in your home then making sure your kitchen is properly equipped is paramount. A hot plate or induction cooktop is not enough. Cheaper models don’t get hot enough and they also require specific cookware. Instead, consider something more like a slide-in three-burner Suburban RV Cooktop. Powered by propane, units like these typically feature 9,000-BTUH (BTUH stands for British thermal units per hour and is a measurement of heat energy) high-output front burners as well as two 6,500-BTUH rear burners. They allow cooking from a gentle simmer to high heat for faster cooking.
CHOOSE AN OVEN
With your countertop properly equipped, there is both a fuel source in place (propane, typically) and room for some sort of oven. Because the conversation is about tiny houses there probably isn’t enough room for a large Viking wall oven. Instead, attention should be focused on one of two items: the countertop oven or the RV range. Granted the RV range is the stove and oven in one, it should still be analyzed with regards to baking as the act has more stringent requirements.
Countertop ovens have come a long way in just the last few years. What was once reserved almost entirely for making cheese toast or warming up takeout leftovers, countertop ovens now feature air fry options, steam options, and even rotisserie abilities. Two of the best on the market though are the Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven Broiler and the Breville Smart Oven® Air. Small units like these pack a mighty punch, allowing baking, roasting, crisping, and even air frying! They can fit entire chickens, up to 12-inch pizzas, six slices of bread, and more! They are controlled by electronic dials and LED buttons for simple and specific operation. The Breville even features 13 Pre-programmed settings including Toast, Bagel, Broil, Bake, Roast, Warm, Pizza, Proof, Airfry, Reheat, Cookies, Slow Cook, and Dehydrate.
THE WILD CARD
The NuWave Oven Elite first came to the attention of the tiny house world around 2013 thanks to late night shopping channels and “As Seen On TV” ads. In its current version it bakes, broils, roasts, grills, steams, dehydrates, BBQs and even air frys, without heating up your small space or leaving cooking odors in the air. It plugs into a standard 120V outlet and uses only 0.1 kilowatts per hour to operate!
The key to successful baking in your tiny house on wheels is to understand the equipment you are using and to not be afraid to use it. Yes, it is smaller than a more traditional oven. Yes, it is gas rather than the more traditional electric unit. But by learning the temperature ranges, the cooking nuances, and the timing of your oven, you’ll be cooking like a pro on wheels in no time! A few gentle tips are:
- Measure the inside of your oven and make sure your baking pans fit ahead of time!
- Use an oven-safe thermometer inside the oven to monitor temperature.
- Pre-heat! Pre-heat! Pre-heat!
- Rotate your food if it involves a crust or breading.
So what do you think about baking in a tiny house? Are you ready to take advantage of this autumns pumpkin harvest by baking a few homemade pies? Do you have any small space tips to share regarding baking? Let us know in the comments below. Follow us on Facebook for more discussion.