Campfire bread baking

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Suwarrow

Member
Jul 7, 2016
40
0
London
Afternoon,

I recently tried to bake some bread in my Tatonka kettles (pots) with limited success and some unfortunate consequences.

I rolled up some aluminum foil and put it in the bottom of a 1.6L kettle to create an air gap. I then placed the smaller 1L kettle inside the 1.6L (on top of this rolled foil). I put some bake-o-glide non-stick paper inside the 1L and put the dough inside this.

I tried it at home on the stove top with great success (though it was slow to cook).

I then tried it on some embers in a camp fire a couple of days ago and completely misjudged the temperature.

The aluminum foil melted and appears to have partially fused to the stainless steel. It also looks like I'm getting some light rust on parts of the stainless steel... (As a side note the bread was good once I'd hacked of the thick black burnt crust).

So my question is:
- When I cook in the future using these pans, do you think traces of aluminum may leach into the food. Should I persist in trying to remove the aluminum, buy new pans or just not worry about it?

- I've tried everything, including wet-and-dry sand paper to remove the aluminum traces with no real success. Any suggestions how to remove them?

- I now understand it's a bad idea to cook with empty pans. Some suggest using rocks as a heat store of sorts. If I try again what suggestions do you have to create an appropriate air gap and prevent damage to the pans?

I've learnt my lesson and will cook on a more gentle heat. Feel a bit foolish but learning through trial and error.

Advice and thoughts much appreciated.




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Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,781
1,863
S. Lanarkshire
Himself (Science teacher) says that aluminium foil burns quite well, and that caustic soda dissolves it…..I know that if I want to clean silver cutlery then I put aluminium foil in the bottom of a basin add some washing soda dissolved in warm water and put the cutlery into the water. The aluminium foil ends up fragile and almost lacy. Himself says though to use caustic soda for your pots.

Usually I put a handful of wee stones in the bottom of the bottom pot when using an inner one to bake.

atb,
M
 

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
270
70
SE Wales
The single best discovery I made about baking bread at camp is to get used to handling dough that you make up much wetter than you normally would, and when you get your feel for the right heat from your fire, bake the first half of the cooking time with the inner chamber lidded and the second half with the inner lid removed. That way you can to some extent replicate 'oven spring', where the steam from the high hydration dough will give you the rise you need and then the second period, open oven so to speak, finishes the baking and allows the extra moisture to leave your loaf.

Sounds a bit complimicated, but it's not really; made a huge difference to the bread I can get outdoors, very nearly as good as in the kitchen. This was baked in the garden this morning.

DSC_5091.jpg
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,781
1,863
S. Lanarkshire
I've just finished dinner, but that's looking very tasty Mr Macaroon :D

I'll mind your advice and do that next time I bake bread on a fire too.
Thank you :D

M
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,584
1,567
McBride, BC
Thank you Macaroon. I'm just an amateur baker and I understand exactly what you have advised and why.
I use a squirt bottle of water along the walls of my preheated kitchen oven for a a little steam.
I have watched "oven spring" happen = marvelous.
 

Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,476
5
Europe
I did the same with the same combo of pots as you. I used a couple of green twigs (Hornbeam I think),

Rather than using the 1L pot, I ended up using the lid from the 1L pot inside the 1.6L pot.

Made a successful loaf tho:





Good luck.

J
 

Suwarrow

Member
Jul 7, 2016
40
0
London
This is great advice. Thank you. I'd be interested to know if anyone else has any tips or different methods.

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Quixoticgeek

Full Member
Aug 4, 2013
2,476
5
Europe
There's a lot of art in controlling the temperature of the fire. I found it helpful to have a pot hanger that allows you to move the pot in all 3 dimensions so you can control where the heat comes from. Also keep an eye on the wind, easy for one side of the pot to be cooler due to the wind.

Good luck, share your spoils.

(Oh, and a great way to pass the time while the dough rises is to carve yourself a butter knife)



Next trip I think I need to make me a butter dish...
J
 

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,115
270
70
SE Wales
There's a lot of art in controlling the temperature of the fire. I found it helpful to have a pot hanger that allows you to move the pot in all 3 dimensions so you can control where the heat comes from. Also keep an eye on the wind, easy for one side of the pot to be cooler due to the wind.
J
Excellent advice, very important points in baking. There's a huge satisfaction in being able to quickly and consistently bake a loaf such as J has, as opposed to something that you can just about get down yer crop!