Ever been out backpacking or camping and had an overwhelming desire for food fresh out of an oven? Well I have, and I know I can’t be the only one. It’s always interesting thinking about the stuff we miss most when we leave home for a while. There’s a lot we take advantage of every day. Thankfully, there are all kinds of products we can substitute for the real thing when needed.
A long time ago, some skillful individual invented the first portable camp stove so we could cook outdoors without having to start a fire. I had no idea that now there’s a contraption that acts as a portable oven, too: the Omnia Oven from Lunatec. I’ve never been much of a cook, but I love baking. My thoughts of baking cakes, biscuits, and casseroles outdoors got the better of me: I just had to try it out!
What it looks like:
The Omnia Oven looks nothing like a traditional oven. In fact, it looks strikingly similar to a bundt pan in size and shape. It consists of three components which allow for baking on a gas stove, alcohol stove, electric stove, or electric hotplate. Included are the steel base plate, and the aluminum baking pan and lid. The whole thing weighs only one pound, and even comes with its own storage bag: a major plus for backpackers or anyone wanting to pack light.
How it works:
Whatever stove you use heats the steel base plate directly. Then, as you may know, heat rises. The air trapped between the base plate and the baking pan becomes very hot. The heat also travels up through the space in the middle of the baking pan. It’s then contained by the lid, and distributed to the top of the food. With all that heat surrounding the food, it acts as a perfect oven. There’s even a few air holes in the lid for steam to escape. This ensures that the food gets baked and not steamed.
What to make in it:
Almost anything you would bake in a traditional oven can be baked with the Omnia. For some good recipes specifically for the Omnia Oven, be sure to check out the Omnia cookbook.
How to use it:
Prepare your recipe like normal. Grease the baking pan well, and then place the food inside. If you’re cooking on an electric stove, first place only the base plate in the center of the stove, and turn the heat on high for 3-5 minutes until the plate is well heated.
Now you can reduce the heat to medium or low and add the baking pan with lid on top of the base plate. Cooking time will be about the same as in a standard oven.
For cooking over an open flame, you must light the stove and then reduce the heat to just above low. Place all three pieces on the stove and cook for the required amount of time. It’s recommended to check the food frequently. Cooking times will vary depending on the heat source, and could take longer than on the stove or in the oven.
Does it work?
The first thing I tried with the Omnia Oven was a simple pre-mixed chocolate cake. I cooked it first on my electric stove-top at home so I could get a feel for the product. It was so simple to use, and the cake came out moist and delicious. Now I can even bake cookies and brownies on camping trips!
Next, I used my Coleman dual burner camp stove to make some refrigerated biscuits for breakfast.
For a quick camp dinner I used the oven to make an easy casserole that I make at home. These are the ingredients:
After about an hour it was ready to eat.
Who should use this product:
This is a great device for campers, backpackers, people traveling in RVs, and even boaters. It could also come in handy if you’re at home with a broken oven or there’s a power outage. It’s portable, lightweight, compact, easy to clean, requires no installation or setup, and can be used to cook or bake almost anything that can be made in a standard oven.