A Recipe and a Rant: Rocket Stove Whole-Wheat Non-(bloody)GM Brown Bread

Note: This rocket-stove bread-baking method does not rise as much as with the ‘regular’ oven method – the loaf is more the height of ciabata bread, with the texture of whole-wheat brown bread. Very yummy…


  • 15 g dried yeast
  • 400 ml hand-hot water
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 700 g granary flour (non-GM)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 25 g coconut or olive oil


  • Dissolve yeast in the a cupful of the measured water; add ½ teaspoon sugar and leave for 10-15 minutes until frothed up.
  • Put flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl; add coconut or olive oil, then pour in yeast liquid and remaining water and mix to a dough.
  • Knead for 5–10 minutes, put back in bowl, cover with a packet or drying-up cloth; leave until doubled in bulk (generally 1 hour in a warm place).
  • Knock back, knead lightly, shape into a rectangle or a circle.
  • Place on baking tray (you can cut a deep cross into the top of the dough at this stage).
  • Cover and leave in a warm place for 30 minutes until well risen.
  • If using rocket stove, place the bread-pot on very low flames on the rocket stove (read more below regarding the finer details to prevent burning); bake for about an hour.
  • If using a regular oven, bake for 30 – 45 minutes.
  • Cool on a rack.




The Story

We’ve had a difficult time finding bread in the shops that does not contain genetically modified soya or starch in it. Some brands explicitly state on their breads’ ingredients-lists that some of its contents are ‘modified’ – well done to these brands for at very least being honest… but they are still evil for using anything GM. Other brands do not provide any information on whether or not they use any GM ingredients, so you can bet that they are, and these brands are guilty of actively withholding information about food that people should have a right to have access to.

Sure, go ahead and eat ‘food’ with GMOs in it if you like, but some of us realise the ethical atrocities associated with GMOs and do not want to be complicit in their existence. The least we are asking for is clear labelling so that we can identify GM foods and avoid them; better would be their eradication from the food supply, but the corporate-consumer grip is currently too strong in general and people seem unlikely to participate actively to secure sovereignty in various important areas of their lives, food sovereignty being just one of these.

So we decided to make our own bread. My issue with the idea was with the concern raised by others – ‘you need an oven to bake bread’. Well, tough, because we don’t have one nor will we be getting one unless ever forced back into a house that has one and using it is an unavoidable option. We do have a charcoal ‘powered’ kettle-oven – we call it ‘a weber’ in South Africa – and this seemed at least like a potential device to replace the ‘need’ for an oven.

I was still reluctant to use it though. I have fairly strict rules regarding the use of fuel (in this case, charcoal) that must be sought and bought, when alternative options have not yet fully been explored. I believed that an alternative option for baking bread did exist because we were given an old cast-iron bread-pot by my gran a year or so ago. It’s been on a shelf ever since; it remained unused because we hardly ever make a braai (think barbecue) – the rocket stove always suffices for our cooking needs, and we have plenty of free wood off-cuts from a local saw-mill, so why find, pay for, and burn excessive quantities of wood?

The obvious solution seemed to me to use the bread-pot on the rocket stove to bake the bread, but I was told again and again that this would not be an option because an even-spread of coals is ‘absolutely necessary’ below and on top of the pot for an even-spread of heat in the pot; this, I was told, can be done with a traditional braai, but not on a rocket stove.

I disagreed that coals needed to be placed on top of the pot – it is a sealed unit when the lid is on, so heat will just distribute evenly by design. And I could just place the ‘weber’ lid on top of the pot to try and keep circulating over the pot a little-bit more.

However, I could see why people thought that heavy rocket-stove flames would burn the bottom of the bread while being baked if it were simply sitting on the bottom surface of the pot, so I placed a small spiral strip of off-cut metal I found lying around on the bottom of the pot and placed a stainless steal plate we used to use for camping on top of the strip of metal. This created am air-gap right under the plate in which heat can disperse, and the bread theoretically should not burn on the bottom.

The first attempt was a failure, as I loaded the rocket-stove as usual with quite a lot of off-cut wood – way too much heat, and the bread not only had a burnt bottom 1cm, but also tasted very charred. The second attempt was a success because I only used two index-finger sized pieces of wood to make small flames at the bottom of the rocket-stove – no flames licked the bottom of the bread-pot. Third attempt tasted fine but did not rise because I had not put enough yeast in the mix, and it was too dry a mix anyway, The fourth take – pictured – came out just fine and dandy.

So to all the naysayers – na na! To the corporate powers-that-be that create, control and distribute GM products – screw you evil bastards. And to anyone who believes that GMOs are good, do a little bit of friggin independent research (here’s a quick find from a quick google search – http://www.gmoevidence.com/) – the situation in this regard (and in many others, for that matter) is truly shocking. Take an ethical stance for once – the food supply is now largely in the hands of profit-mongers who long ago declared a war on nature, freedom, and the flourishing of human consciousness.