Baking Bread in the Bush

Because Dog Leg Crossing was so nice we decided to stay an extra night.  This meant a day of relaxing was in store and a chance to test out some bread making in the camp oven.

Fruit Loaf

First up was a fruit loaf.  I will halve the recipe for next time as it rose so much is started lifting the lid off the oven when baking!

This loaf was a version of one I make at home.  It is simple and does not need a huge amount of rising time.  It is a super dense loaf packed with fruit and nuts and I love it smothered in lashings of melted butter.

Here’s the recipe for those interested.  For the fruit portions I use the below as a guide and use whatever I have in stock.  The loaf I baked had a heap of mixed fruit and nuts but no figs or apricots.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 ¼  cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp dry yeast
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 1 ½  cups warm water
  • ½ cup dried dates
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots
  • ½ cup dried figs
  • 2 tsp of milk
  • 1 tbs cinnamon sugar

Steps

  1. Sift spice and 3 cups of flour. Stir in sugar and yeast.  Make a well in the centre.  Add water and mix to form a soft dough.  Turn out onto table and kneed for 10 minutes adding enough flour as needed until smooth and elastic.
  2. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl.  Cover with a tea towel and let rise for an hour in a warm place.  For us, under the trailer canopy was perfect. On other trips, when it has been cold, we’ve actually used the camp oven, slightly warmed.
  3. Punch the dough down and knead until smooth.  Add in fruit and nuts and knead them in.  Form into the shape of a prepared loaf pan and let rise for 15 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat oven to 200° (180° fan forced) or in our case build up a nice amount of coals in the fire and pre-heat camp oven.  I placed a trivet in the bottom to prevent burning the base of the loaf.
  5. Brush the top of the loaf with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar – or in our case don’t bother.

  1. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 170° (150° fan forced) and cook for another 30 minutes.  Or in our case pop some coals under the oven and on top and leave the coals to cool slowly for about 30 minutes.  Replace or reduce coals as needed.  We needed to take out the trivet in the oven as the dough had risen so much it was pushing the lid off.
  2. When ready leave it in the pan for 5 minutes to cool and then remove, slice and  enjoy with lashings of butter.

The top of our loaf was a little burnt due to it rising so much and the size of our camp oven but it still tasted delicious.

This is a great loaf and keeps well when traveling.

Farmhouse Loaf

The second was a mash up of a farmhouse loaf using what we had in our stock as far as grains went.

Here’s the recipe for those interested.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 2 tbs melted butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 2 ½ cups plain flour
  • ¾ cup wholemeal flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup each of cornmeal and bran
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds or millet
  • 1 tsp salt

Steps

  1. In a bowl dissolve sugar in water. Sprinkle with yeast and let stand for 10 minutes. Whisk in honey butter and egg.  With a wooden spoon stir in 2 cups of flour, oats and grains adding enough remaining flour until dough is sticky but smooth.  I only had plain flour but added more oats and some almond meal.  The recipe is pretty forgiving.
  2. Knead dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes or until elastic, adding as much flour as needed. Place in a greased bowl and turn dough so is greased all over.  Leave in a draft free place for 1 ½ hours.  I sat this loaf next to my other dough in the trailer canopy.
  3. Punch down and knead again pinching knead into a round loaf. It was at this point I decided to knead in some pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds I had in stock.  Cover and let stand for another 45-60 minutes to rise.
  4. Slash top to form a shallow grid and bake in 190° oven for 45 minutes until golden and brown. Or if cooking on coals pre-heat the camp oven and sit dough on trivet. Place coals under and over the oven and cook for about ½ hour. At this point I checked the bread and decided to brown it more on top by adding hot coals for another 10 minutes just on top of the oven. This worked a treat.

This loaf is delicious warm or cold with butter and jam.  It kept really well over the next few days.

Home baked bread really is delicious and something I enjoy making when time permits.  Bread cooked on a camp oven is even more delicious, especially when eaten in front of a fire while watching the birds in waterhole while the kids play. It was a nice break from stale supermarket bread or wraps.

 

 

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