Camping is a fun activity, and getting to eat freshly made food during the camping adds much more fun to it. When you are camping in the wild, all you care about is filling up your tummy. Not much attention is paid to the quality of food or the taste. If, in such conditions, you are presented with a freshly baked, warm, and a yummy loaf of bread, what else is better than that? I am quite sure that the smell of the baking of bread over the campfire is going to drive you nuts. It is a challenging task, but it is not something you cannot do.
How to Make Bread in a Dutch Oven Camping?
Making bread in a Dutch oven may seem hard at first, but it is a fairly easy one if you follow all the instructions properly. It does not require any complex ingredients or something like that. The recipe is simple and easy to execute away from the comfort of your kitchen. You need to carry the ingredients and the Dutch oven with you if you plan to do this later on during the trip. If you take my opinion on this, you must try it at least once. You will not regret this decision.
What is a Dutch Oven?
A Dutch oven is a thick-walled container that is made up of a strong and brittle, cast iron. The walls are thick, and the top of the oven is fitted with a lid. The whole system is airtight, it does not allow the air to escape during the baking process. It is just like the old brick ovens that were used in the past for baking purposes. A similar concept has been employed here as well. They are ideally used for cooking things that do not require direct flame and like to be made under constant heat. Slow-cooked things such as bread, biscuits, soup, stews, etc. are ideal for this oven. The Dutch oven is much suited for the baking of bread because the constant heat cooks it slowly and uniform heat from all sides results in a perfectly-made bread.
The walls of the oven need to be seasoned with some vegetable oil to ensure that the material won’t stick to it. Considering that it is made up of iron and has thick walls, it is not a lightweight thing. Only carry it alongside you if you can easily manage the weight.
Types of Bread
There are 2 major types of bread. Leavened and unleavened. The ones you usually find around you, for example at the supermarkets etc. are leavened. It means that they are soft and made to rise using some artificial agents such as yeast. The fluffiness and lightness in them are not achieved naturally. Unleavened, on the other hand, is not as light. They have a dense structure such as tortilla bread. They are flat and can be used to wrap something as well.
No-kneading Bread Recipe
Although there are a lot of recipes to choose from to make the bread, the simplest one, keeping in mind the camping situation, is the one that does not require any kind of kneading. Kneading is best performed on a flat surface and doing it without a good tabletop would basically ruin your bread.
No-kneading recipe is popular because it requires much less effort than its counterpart. All you need to do is measure the respective things, put them in a bowl, mix them thoroughly, and leave them aside for some time and your dough is ready to be baked. No extra effort is needed in this.
Using a Dutch oven will give the dough a slow rise which is ideal. The base of the bread comes out to be crispy, which is again highly preferable. Although you might want to raise your bread a bit from the bottom of the oven by placing some small sticks or stone. As the base of the oven is put directly on the fire, there is a chance that it will cause the crust to become hard or even get burnt. So, raising it will prevent this from happening.
It is recommended to carry the ingredients with you in airtight packets to avoid any kind of mishap. Some people might even try to mix all of them up and carry the dough with them in some container. But it depends on you. Choose the approach that is well suited for you as per the place and your convenience. The required ingredients and their quantities are listed below:
- 3 and a half cups of Flour: Do not get much into the brands. Your regular home use flour will do the job.
- 2 tbsp of Salt: Again, regular salt is sufficient for this.
- 1 tbsp of Yeast: Yeast is used to giving rise to the dough. Make sure it is dry and away from moisture. Yeast is ruined if it comes in contact with moisture before use. Instant yeast is not recommended.
- 2 cups of Water: Avoid too cold or too hot water. Only use it if the temperature is normal.
Aside from the usual ingredients, you also need some useful utensils with you. Some of them are as follows:
- Cups or glasses
- Good quality Oven mittens
- A bowl for mixing of the ingredients
- Coal for running the fire
- Igniting fuel
- A thermometer
- And most importantly “A Dutch oven.”
The Baking Process
Now the most important process starts after making sure all the ingredients are with you. First of all, measure out everything and place them aside in separate containers. After that, put all of these in a mixing bowl and start mixing with the help of a spatula or anything convenient. Ensure a thorough mixing process till the mixture become homogeneous. Incomplete mixing will give rise to an uneven tasted bread that is undesirable.
Now, as we are using active yeast instead of instant yeast, the dough will take its time to rise. The process is slow so you would need to wait a little bit. Cover it from the top to negate its contact with air. Leave it for 12-18 hours. Do keep an eye on it during the process as sometimes the rise happens quite fast.
When you feel like the bread is almost reaching the required raise, it is time to start preparing the oven for the baking process. Use the coal and the fuel to light up the fire. The flame needs to be established before you can start cooking on it. The ideal temperature for baking is around 250 degrees. You can either use a thermometer to measure it, or if you spend enough time in the kitchen, you will know it when it reaches there.
Seasoning of the Dutch oven is not much necessary for baking the bread. However, you can use stone or some other thing to raise the bread from the bottom to avoid the hardening of the crust. Preheat the oven when the fire of temperature is appropriate. Keep the lid on.
After this process, now it is time to shape the dough and place it inside. If the dough seems too hard to mold, sprinkle some flour on it. It will make it soft enough for a short interval of time, enough for you to mold it in your required shape. Take the lid off and put this shaped dough inside the oven. Do not forget to wear your oven mitts during this process as the fire hazard is not something you can ignore. Close the lid and let it cook.
You can smell the process in the air. It might take more than 30 minutes for the baking process to conclude, but that depends upon the flame. Ideally, after 30 minutes, your bread is almost ready. Remove the lid and let the air release. Further cooking should be done with the lid off. Overall, after 90 minutes of being constantly on the fire, your bread is ready. Remove the oven from the fire. If you used stone or anything to raise the bread from the base, you could easily pick up the bread now. Otherwise, you might need to wait till the oven is a little cooler to remove your bread. The process is done, and now you are left with this mouthwatering loaf of bread to consume 😉
There is nothing better than having freshly baked bread during your camping trip. All you need to do is get out of your comfort zone and make an effort. Believe me, it is not a tough nut to crack, and even if you haven’t done any cooking or baking in your life before, you can do it now just following the above guide. So, what are you waiting for? The end result is absolutely worth the effort!!