Some back-to-basics baking this week with two simple bread recipes for making on a camping stove. Follow these on your next holiday under canvas and you can’t go wrong.
We’ve had a great day today at the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show at the ExCeL Centre in London. The last time I was at the ExCeL Centre I was demoing at the Cake & Bake Show in October, so today was considerably more khaki and far less pink! Today I was demonstrating how to make bread over a camping stove on the A Squadron stand. In addition to the Outdoor Show, also taking place were the London Bike Show, Triathlon Show London, and the London International Dive Show, so there was so much to see and do and the kids (and we) really loved it.
Just after we finished filming the Great British Bake Off and before the series went on air, we hired a camper van (one of the two pictured above) and travelled all over Scotland, from seeing the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow to dropping in on my good friend Norman in Buckie. It was a really special experience for us as a family and the kids still talk about it now. Our daughters were really taken with the camper vans at the show today and spent half the day climbing in and out of the Spaceships vans. I think this year’s holidays will end up including both tents and camper vans, and today has given us loads of ideas for the spring and summer when the weather starts to improve.
I really love camping and have done ever since I was in the Cubs and Scouts. I’ve camped in Alaska, India, Peru – I’d probably live in a tent if I could. But as I’m a bricklayer by trade, it might make people question my building skills if I opted for a life under canvas instead of bricks and mortar! Last year, we camped with the kids in a tent for the first time at both Jimmy’s Farm and The Big Feastival. We had a fantastic time at both festivals, but when a bacon breakfast roll costs around £6, it did make me think next time I’ll go more prepared. That’s how I’ve come up with these great bread recipes and I’m really chuffed they work so well. The first is for a soda bread that will take you under 40 minutes to make from start to finish. But if you have more time on your hands, the second recipe is for a traditional white loaf, based on the one in my recipe book, B.I.Y. Bake It Yourself.
Camping Stove Caraway Soda Bread
- 2 cups plain flour (you’re unlikely to bring weighing scales on a camping trip so I’ve gone for the American system and used cups for these recipes. My cup is the one from this set and each cup is roughly equivalent to about 150g)
- Just under 1 cup of water
- 2 tbsp powdered milk (I used this one, and I think the powdered milk gave it a better flavour. However, if you have access to fresh milk, use just under 1 cup of fresh milk instead of the water and powdered milk)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1 tbsp vinegar (I used white wine vinegar but if you can pinch a few malt vinegar sachets from a take away, they would be suitable too)
- 1 tbsp caraway seeds (these give it a great flavour, but substitute for any herbs you have to hand or leave the bread plain if you prefer)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil (this is not usually needed when you’re making soda bread in an oven, but does help brown-up the crust when cooked on a stove)
- Camping stove (this is my one – it’s small, very portable and easy to use. It doesn’t come with the gas so I buy that separately from here. Feel free to have a crack at baking this over an open fire, and let me know how it goes)
- Pots (I have this set, which does the job. You need a big pot that will fit a smaller pot inside, a lid, and something else to mix the dough in. I use the medium pot in this set for mixing)
- Three similarly-sized stones (I used my whisky stones, and when I did the demo with them, there were more questions about these than the bread!)
- Mixing spoon
- Add all the dry ingredients into a bowl, or the medium pot if you’re using a set like the one above, and mix well with a spoon to distribute the salt and the bicarbonate of soda.
- Add the oil, vinegar and water and mix gently with a spoon until the dough comes together.
- Flour your hands and flour the inside of the smallest pot. Transfer the dough to the smallest pot. Press a cross in the top of the dough with a pen knife (if you have one).
- Place the large pot onto the camping stove and put three stones in the base of the pot.
- Sit the small pot onto the stones and put the lid on the large pot so that both pots are covered.
- Heat on a high heat for the first couple of minutes then reduce (this is not an exact science) to a medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Lift the lid and when the bread is dried out and golden brown, it’s finished. The bread in the picture above was the one I made during my demonstration. It’s not the prettiest bread but it’s delicious and perfect for bacon sandwiches or dipping in a stew.
Camping Stove White Loaf
- 2 cups strong white bread flour (as mentioned above, I used my cup from this set and each cup is roughly equivalent to about 150g)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp yeast (I use this one)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Just under 1 cup of warm water
- Exactly the same as listed above
- Add all dry ingredients to mixing bowl or pot. Make sure you put the salt and the yeast onto opposite sides of the pot. Add the wet ingredients and mix together with a spoon at first to combine.
- Take the dough and knead it together between your hands by twisting and folding, as I’m demonstrating in the picture above. This is a slightly trickier method than kneading on a flat surface, but with a little bit of practice, you can achieve good results.
- Once the dough becomes smooth and noticeably stretchy, place into the smallest pot (with the base floured), cover with the lid and leave to prove until it has at least doubled in size. Depending on the weather while you’re camping, this could take between 45 minutes and 2 hours.
- Take the dough, knock it back by gently folding it on itself a few times. Shape into a loaf and put back into a floured pot.
- Leave to rise for about an hour, then flour the top of the loaf and score a deep cross in the top with a pen knife (if you have one).
- Cook as above – place the large pot onto the stove, add three stones to the base of the pot, rest the smallest pot on top of these and cover with a lid.
- Cook on a high heat for a couple of minutes then reduce to a medium heat and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- The bread will have a paler crust than usual but should look like the bread at the top of this blog post.
If you give either of these breads a go, let me know how they turn out. And if you end up setting up your own bacon sandwich stall at your next festival, remember where you got the idea!