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Preparedness Nuggets

A Cyberbook of Practical Wisdom for Daily Living

Part the First

Beer Sourdough for Bread

Bread and Flour

Dutch Oven Baking

Outdoor Brick Ovens

Several Guys Shopping Lists in Several Categories

Solar Cooker



From: <>

Date: Wed, 5 Aug 1998 16:01:21 EDT

<< Another issue to address is the amount of time it takes to cook dried beans. A LONG time! >>

A great solution is a solar cooker. I have just put the finishing touches on mine, made completely from things I had on hand...cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, newspaper and a piece of glass I got from an old picture frame. Needs no fuel, except a sunny day, and will work summer and winter.

At first I was disbelieving that it would work, but I was reminded of how you can start a fire with a magnifying glass and the sun's rays. The sun is amazing!! This particular cooker is supposed to be able to even bake bread, which is at about 450 degrees. Beans will take 3-4 hours, depending on the sun.

Missionaries have developed these little wonders so that people in third world countries don't destroy their greatest economic asset (their forests) for cooking fuel. There is also the added benefit of no smoke/ashes/exhaust to deal with.

Tomorrow is the test drive...we are having "solar day" at the office. I will be cooking pot roast in the solar oven, which we will position down in the parking lot. After an impressive demonstration :-) people may be jazzed about making one for themselves. Looking forward to a "solar cooker" party, where we can all make them together...B.Y.O.C.B. (bring your own cardboard boxes.)

I think I saw a link to a solar cooking site once, but if anyone wants these plans, I will be happy to post them.

The one we made and use is The "Minimum" Solar BoxCooker. You can also check out these Solar cooking links A very simple, inexpensive and effective design for solar ovens can be found in both the Brownie and Junior Girl Scout handbooks.

If you can locate both current, and older handbooks for both Girl Scouting and Boy Scouting, you'll be pleasantly surprised at the resources contained in them that will be useful to anyone looking to become self-sufficient.

Here are some solar cooker sites:



Sam's Club sells 25 lb. containers of baker's flour in heavy paper bags for about $4.50. This amounts to 18 cents a pound or 18 cents a loaf for the flour. Shelf life is shorter under these packaging conditions though.

You can store white flour in a galvanized garbage can with bay leaves in it to discourage the 6-legged brethren 'n sistren. <g> You may also want to consider adding some soy flour to your bread and instant nonfat dried milk. By doing this you are providing a protein/carbo complete meal! Especially with little kids this is so important. I've begun baking this "Cornell" Bread and we are eating this exclusively for two weeks now. I have six kids (2-15) and they all love it. The aroma is incredible. French toast is yummy!! I also am adding wheat germ or a proportion of whole wheat flour.

Here is the recipe.

Place in a large mixing bowl and let stand:

3 cups of warm water

2 pkges or 2 Tbs. of active dry yeast

2 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. oil

3 tsp. sea salt

In separate container ( I use a big Tupperware, measure then shake!)

6 cups unbleached flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup full-fat soy flour

1 cup non-fat dry milk

Stir the liquids and add 1/2 to 3/4 of flour mixture. Beat vigorously. Add remaining flour. Work with hands till its ready to knead. Knead for 5 minutes or so. Place in an oiled bowl and rub little oil on top. Let rise in a warm place till double in size (1-3 hours - test by seeing if fingerprint remains in dough). Punch down, fold over edges, turn upside down to rise for another 20-30 min. (test again). Turn onto board, divide into 3 portions. Let rest 10 minutes. Make 3 loaves. Place in oiled pans. (81/2 x 41/2 x 21/2). Let rise till double (45 min). Bake at 350 for 45-60 minutes. Check doneness by tapping bottom of loaf - if it sounds hollow its done.

Now....about the Dutch Oven baking . [top]

This recipe will work in two 12" ovens. Just form into two round loaves and place in greased oven for final rising. When it "ALMOST" doubles its time to bake. Bake with both top and bottom heat for 2/3's of the time and finish with only top heat. So for 350 degrees that's 17 coals on the top and 8 on the bottom. Since it takes about 45 minutes, after 30 minute take oven off bottom heat and continue with only top heat. Rotate oven every 15 min 1/4 turn for that first 30 minutes and for the final 15 minutes check to see if bread is evenly browning. Adjust coal position accordingly.

For more detailed info and recipes there are two books I'm using for help.

The Cornell Bread Book (I got this from Lehmans) by Clive M. McCay and JeanetteB. McCay

Lovin' Dutch Ovens by Joan Larsen. I got this book from Chuckwagon Supply (along with my ovens)

For the outdoor brick oven plans see:

Also The Bread Book by Thom Leonard

Both The Bread Book and The Cornell Bread Book can be gotten from Lehmans. Lehmans 330-857-5757.



Mix one can of beer with one cup of flour. Stir and cover lightly and let sit on the counter for few days till its got that great sour smell. Stir it a few times a day while its sitting. Then refrigerate and use in any recipe.



[I combined several lists here, so there's a lot of duplication. Never mind: it's still useful to scan through and make sure you didn't completely forget something important.]


Dried beans, peas, and lentils

6 cases Power Bars/Survival Bars

Rice, Pasta

Peanut Butter

Powdered Juices, Gatorade, Iced Tea, Milk, Cocoa

Powdered/condensed milk, cheese

Canned/Dehydrated Fruit, Vegetables, Meats, Tuna


Vegetable Oil/Lard

Spices, Salt, Pepper

Whole Grains (Corn, Barley, Millet)


Multi-vitamin/minerals - you can buy now with expiration dates of 01.

Seeds for Gardening:

Eggplant, Tomato, Green Pepper, Squash, Spinach, Lettuce, Green Beans,


Herbs to grow indoors in a sunny window:

Basil, Parsley, Oregano


Soap, Shampoo, Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, Fluoride Rinse, Deodorant,

Disposable Razors, Combs, Hair Brush, Sanitary Pads (good as pressure

bandages), OTC pain relievers and medications you use now.

Warm, Waterproof, Windproof clothing. Think wool, Gore-Tex, Thinsulate,

Polarfleece. Spare pairs of shoes/boots, gloves, hats, socks,

underwear. Lots of that stuff is on sale now that it's summer time. If

the power goes out in January lots of people will be cold.


Some type of water filtration/purification and storage system. I'm

using a Katadyne(tm) water filter/purifier.

Can Opener

Food-Grade Airtight Containers

Camp stove and Coleman Fuel (White Gas)

Meat Grinder

HD Aluminum Foil, Oven Roasting Bags, Dutch Oven

Solar Oven, Solar Water Still

Hammer, Roofing Nails, Wood Screws

Hacksaw, Blades, Wood Saw

Hatchet, Chisel/Wedge

3' Crow Bar, 10" Wire Cutters

Good sledge hammer (short handle)

Tow Chain/Straps

24" or 30" Bolt Cutters

CO Detector, Smoke Detector, ABC Fire Extinguisher (2)

Duct/100 MPH Tape

Thick, clear plastic to repair/insulate windows

Sewing materials (needles, thread, patches, fabric)

Solar Lights

Paper, Pens, Pencils

Medical/First Aid Kit

Candles, Matches



Toilet Paper


Dinner Plates


Plastic knives, forks, spoons

Reynolds Wrap Foil

Ziploc Bags - Sandwich

Ziploc Bags - Storage

Rubber dish gloves

Latex disposable gloves

Paper cups


Soap Bars

Liquid Hand Soap

Liquid Hair Shampoo (Adult)

Liquid Hair Shampoo (Child)

Toothbrushes - Adult - Child


Dental Floss

Deodorant - Mens - Womens

Shaving Blades - Womens - Mens

Shaving Cream




First Aid book

First Aid Kit

Cough Drops

Aspirin: Adult - Children's

Pepto Bismol

Cold & Allergy

Feminine supplies




Prescription Drug supply


Coleman metal dinner plates (to hold cheap paper plates)

Dutch Oven

Grain Mill (non electric)

Dish soap

Hot pad holders

Clothes soap

Various food spices

Scrub pads

Thermos (wide mouth type for cooking food)



Gas Cans

Rubber Mallet



2 cycle oil (if you have a chainsaw)

Stabil gas treatment


Wood saws

Work gloves

Wood Axes - Large - Small

Pry Bars - Large - Small


Heavy duty bolt cutters (just in case)


Propane Tanks

Coleman lantern

Coleman stove or backyard BBQ

Coleman lantern mantles

Butane lighters

Flashlights w/batteries

Flashlight bulbs

Candles - 7 day type

Matches - Stick type

Sterno cooking fuel cans

Bags of charcoal

Charcoal Starter tube

Lamps - Aladdin kerosene type



Generator (if you want to use this)

Newspapers for starting fire


Wind up or solar type radio

Water buckets

Clothes washing buckets - 15 gallon galvanized type

Metal bucket - for charcoals/ashes


Washboard - for clothes

Clothes Wringer (hand crank)


Bicycle tube repair kit

Bicycle tube (spare)

Bicycle tube hand air pump

Bike rack for carrying supplies

Tire pressure gauge



Watering can - (for do-it-yourself shower)

5 gallon paint bucket w/lid - emergency toilet

Trash bags - 33 gallon size

Trash bags - 13 gallon size (for toilet bucket)

Toilet seat

Ant spray concentrate

Sprayer/Pumper - 2 gallon size

Portable push vacuum

Fire extinguishers)


Bleach - 1 gallon (5.25%) - to purify water (4 drops/qt. - 2

teaspoons/10 gal - =BC cup/55)

Children's pool - rigid wall type - 6 ft. diameter =3D 200 gallons (for


Pool water testing kit

Water chlorinating granules (for pool)

Pool tarp - 11 x 16 ft.

Water can - 5 gallon size

Water bag (collapsible) - 5 gallon size

Water/gas funnels

Water Filter

55 gallon water drums (for drinking)

Water pump for drums (hand type)


Go to Access to Catholic Social Justice Teachings

Better Times Cookbook V | Justpeace | Better Times | |Access to Energy Conservation | On Pilgrimage in Oklahoma City | Bookstore | Better Times II | Bulgar Bugle | Mutual Aid (Grassroots home and community scale disaster preparations)

For much greater detail about my plans for adapting my "urban homestead" to meet the looming challenges of peak oil, climate instability, and economic irrationality, see Gatewood Urban Homestead, the permaculture design for my home.