When I first began RVing full-time, one of the first things that I realized was that I no longer had my trusty gas oven. My RV, being quite small, had a cook top but no oven. What to do for baking essential biscuits and bread? I frantically started shopping for camp ovens. I found them expensive, but I seriously considered going that route until I realized I had an oven—a Dutch oven.
Baking over the campfire
I started experimenting with recipes and techniques that would work over the campfire instead of in the range oven.
Here is about the most straightforward recipe possible for Camp Sourdough Bread:
Camp Sourdough Bread
- 1 cup ripe sourdough starter
- 5 cups unbleached white soft wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water
You could add (optional):
- 2 teaspoons diastatic malt powder for golden color and more robust rise
- Measure out the sourdough starter, flour and salt into a bowl. Combine the ingredients, then slowly add warm water.
- Mix everything together by hand until a dough starts to form.
- When you have a thoroughly mixed elastic dough, turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead for 10-12 minutes.
- Clean the mixing bowl, dry it, and grease lightly with oil. Place dough in the bowl to rise. It will take an hour for the dough to rise and roughly double in size.
- Your campfire should be dying down to coals and not open flame.
- Preheat your lightly greased Dutch oven in the embers.
- Line the inside of the Dutch oven with parchment paper. (This, too, is optional—I’ve done it with and without parchment paper. There is a risk of a darker bottom crust on the bread if not using parchment.) Turn the loaf into the Dutch oven. Make a few knife cuts on the top of the loaf so the bread will breathe and expand as it bakes.
- Put the lid on the Dutch oven and set it on the coals. Make sure campfire coals are arranged evenly, and use tongs to place some hot coals on the lid.
- Let the bread bake for 1 – 1 ½ hours. Check it every fifteen minutes or so.
- Rotate the bread inside the Dutch oven every 15 minutes. Add more coals from the fire onto the lid, if needed.
- When your bread is cooked through remove it from the fire and allow to cool with the lid off.
When you first start baking this way, you might wish to check the bread loaf interior temperature with a baking thermometer. You want it to reach an internal temp of about 200 degrees F.
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