One of my favorite things about being an old RV prospector and Sourdough is maintaining and using the live, active sourdough for all types of cooking and baking. The culture of flour, natural yeasts, and beneficial bacteria make bread dough rise and result in a fragrant, delicious camp staple with an origin story going back to the 14th century.
Prospectors and sourdough starters
The prospectors of the Klondike Gold Rush back in 1902 carried a sourdough starter for leavening their biscuits, bread, and hardtack, which they baked over an open fire. During the grueling hike over Alaska’s Chilkoot Pass, they slept with their starters to prevent them from freezing. (They needn’t have—sourdough does just fine after being frozen.) My own sourdough starter originated in 1902 from the gold seekers who traveled the Chilkoot Trail bound for the Klondike.
To add sourdough baking to your RV travel culinary repertoire, the first thing you’ll need is a “starter,” a small quantity of sourdough kept for getting the dough going in preparation for baking. There are a lot of sources of sourdough starters, like this one and another one here. Or, if you are not concerned about the ancient heritage of your starter, you can make one from scratch.
Once you have your working starter, you can start creating delicious and probiotic foods, like these camp biscuits:
Sourdough Camp Biscuits
- 2 cups unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup active sourdough starter
- ½ cup milk or buttermilk
- If you are using your oven, preheat to 450°.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Grate butter and stir or cut into dry ingredients with a pastry cutter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sourdough starter and buttermilk. Add to the flour mixture and stir using a rubber spatula until a soft dough forms.
- Knead the dough 2-3 times on a floured board. Roll the dough out to about 1½-inch thickness. Cut out 8-10 rounds using a biscuit cutter. (An empty tuna can works great.)
- For oven baking, place biscuits onto a baking sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown. If you are baking over the fire, arrange cut biscuits into a cast iron skillet and place uncovered over the fire until the bottoms turn brown but not burnt, then tilt the pan toward the fire until the tops are golden brown.
Welcome to the Sourdough Club!