Nothing beats freshly baked bread and there's no reason why you shouldn't emjoy it while camping either! This is a simple recipe (only 4 ingredients) for baking bread in a dutch oven that has worked for me consistently over the years. The key is having a whole lot of really, really hot coals to work with, so get your campfire cranking well before you want to start baking. In order to have time to 'prove' or rise properly, this bread needs some time left to do its' thing as dough, but that means there's plenty of time for you to get that fire burning nicely. If you're fire has plenty of hot embers to cook on, this bread should only take around 30 minutes to bake. Once you've nailed this a couple of times, feel free to get creative and add in some parmesan, herbs, olives - whatever you like!
Equipment you will need:
I'm all about keeping things simple and that's why I love this campfire bread recipe so much. Make sure you've got yourself a cast iron dutch oven that is seasoned and ready to use. (If your camp oven is new, you'll need to season it first. You can check out my other article about how to season a dutch oven).
I also suggest having a pair of heat proof gloves, so you can safely lift the lid off your camp oven and remove it from the firepit when necessary.
Obviously, you will need a firepit of some description. Make sure you're using seasoned, dry hardwood and your fire gets really hot, producing a lovely amount of red hot embers to work with once you're ready to get baking.
You'll also need tongs or a suitable camping shovel for scooping hot coals our of the firepit for cooking with. You don't want to put your oven right in the middle of the flames or you will burn your bread!
Ingredients you will need:
This basic campfire bread recipe only calls for FOUR ingredients, but I'm going to insist on a fifth one, which is good quality butter to slather on at the end! To make the bread, you will need:
1. Yeast (I sachet of dry yeast should suffice)
2. Flour. I suggest using proper bread flour (sometimes referred to as type 00) for this recipe. 3- 4 cups sounds about right, assuming you haven't brought measuring cups along with you!
3. Salt. (About a teaspoon)
4. Water. 1 and a half cups should do it.
IMPORTANT: You want your water warm, but not boiling, so that it activates the yeast.
How to make campfire bread in a dutch oven:
OK, you've got your equipment your ingredients and your hot coals ready to cook on. Here we go!
1. In a bowl (or pot - whatever you have available!) mix the dry ingredients together until combined.
2. Slowly pour in your warm water while mixing everything together with your hands. (This is ALOT easier with someone else doing the pouring for you, but I'm sure you'll figure it out!) Keep mixing with your hands until you have formed a dough. You want it to be slightly stretchy, so add a little more water if it's too dry or a little more flour if its's too sticky. Keep going until you have a good, slightly stretchy consistency.
3. Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface (chopping board, esky lid, table etc), then use that floured surface to knead your dough. Continue kneading for around 10 minutes and get into a nice shape for your camp oven.
4. Clean out the bowl you used for mixing, dry it and give a light coating of cooking oil so nothing will stick. Place your ball of dough in the mixing bowl and cover it with something. Leave for at least an hour and you'll notice your dough has risen to a much bigger size. This is a good time to make sure you'll have plenty of hot coals to cook on in your fire and to preheat your dutch oven by placing in among the hot embers and even scooping up some hot coals for on top of the lid if your have a lid with sides.
5. Times up! Give the inside of your oven a little coating of oil so your bread doesn't stick and pop your dough inside the oven. Score the top of your bread with a knife to allow it to expand as it bakes. You will be baking your bread with the lid on. (I actually prefer to use a bit of non-stick baking paper on the inside of the oven if its available, but work with what you've got!)
6. Make sure your dutch oven is surrounded by hot coals and put some on the lid if you can to ensure it gets heat from all sides.
7. Rotate your bread inside the oven every 15 minutes or so until it's golden brown and sounds a little hollow when you tap it. If you have a meat thermometer, you can insert that into your bread and want it to be about 200F when it's ready to come out.
8. Remove your bread to cool until you're ready to eat and then enjoy!