Cooking With Alt-Power

- Bread -


Back in 2007, I purchased a Breadman TR2500BC Ultimate Plus 2-Pound Stainless-Steel Convection Breadmaker.  Has some nice features over other models.  It has a delayed start feature, automatic restart if the power drops out, hopper to automatically add nuts, raisins, etc.  The current price on Amazon for this product is $99.

A coworker shared some tips regarding making bread.  Make sure you measure the ingredients very accurately.  Use warm water, not cold.  Use King Arthur bread flour, and turbinado sugar.  Use sea salt with no iodine added.   After following her tips, the loaves are a lot more consistent.  Fresh bread is a hit at family dinners.

This machine takes the effort out of making bread.  Put in the wet ingredients, then the dry, with the yeast pack dumped on top of the pile.  You can start it immediately, or use the delayed start to have it ready for dinner that night, or breakfast the next morning.

This is another 120VAC appliance that can easily be run from an 1800 Watt inverter.  Most of the time is spent waiting for the various dough rise cycles, so little power is used until it starts the baking cycle near the last 30 minutes.


For this test, I put the bread maker on a B&D Workmate table in the garage.  I used an extension cord to connect the Kill-A-Watt meter to the inverter.

The mixing cycle draws well under 50 Watts.  No power is measured during the rise cycle.  During the last half hour or so, the baking starts, and the meter shows in the mid 500 Watt range.

During the test, I monitored the battery bank state of charge, voltage, and the number of Amps (at 12V) being drawn.


Total power used for this 2lb loaf of bread, 0.26KWH, or 260WH.

Total cook time was 3 hours, 22 minutes.  Took me 2 minutes to get to it after it beeped.  I was busy baking Ziti in the kitchen.

Now you can see it really was in the garage!  The inverter is mounted on the wall in the background.

This is the best the garage has ever smelled.

Ready to slice & serve.

In about 1/2 hour from the time the bread finished baking, I checked on the battery bank.  Already fully recharged.

Using a Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer, all the dry ingredients were put into a small Ziploc bag, then placed into a Foodsaver bag.  The yeast pack was then placed between the two bags, with the date facing out.  Sealed, labeled with a Sharpie marker, good to go.

While the flour and powdered milk have a long shelf life, the yeast does not.  Pay close attention to the expiration date when buying it at the grocery store.  They often have newer boxes behind the ones they want you to grab.  Oh, these pictures were taken a while back... the bread was made/eaten long before the expiration date you see above!


Using a Kill-A-Watt meter, it measured 564 Watts during bake cycle.  Run time 3 hours, 20 min.  Total Wattage 0.26 KWH (only bakes a brief portion of the total time).  260 WH / 12 V = 21.6 AH.  A little less power than it takes to cook 2 cups of rice, per my previous test.

Bread is a great emergency food to cook when the grid is down.  The smell is awesome, the taste is fantastic, is doesn't take a lot of resources to make, and can really improve moral.

During Tropical Storm Fay, we had high winds and rain for 3 days.  Much of the neighborhood flooded.  Our house is on a little higher elevation, but we did watch as the water kept moving closer.  Not much I could do about the rain...  so I baked bread while mother nature did her thing.

By having the dry goods pre-measured, pre-packaged, making bread becomes very quick and easy.  Open the lid, put in the required water & oil, dump in the dry goods, push the start button.  Walk away.  It'll beep when done.  The packages also make it easy to inventory how much emergency food you have on hand.

I usually make a 1 lb loaf for just the two of us, or a more dense 2 lb loaf when having dinner with family.  Here's my favorite basic white/wheat recipe.  

The owner's manual, which not only has the operating instructions, but also a number of recipes, is at this link.


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Last updated 04/18/11    All rights reserved.