Do you always make your own bread at home? If so, having to buy additive-laden, fluffy-nothing bread when you’re camping is a bit of a shame. Can you bake bread and make cakes in a tent, a campervan or a caravan? Can you bake on the campfire or barbecue? These are the questions we’ve put to some baking experts…
Why would you want to bake when camping?
To be honest, if you’ve never made bread before or you make it just once in a while, a camping trip is probably not the time to start exploring the magic of yeast and sourdough. Instead, hunt out those great little bakeries where you’ll find proper bread that’s been allowed to rise in its own time and hasn’t been stuffed with flour improvers.
But, if you do want to have a go…it’s very possible and there are lots of options to make it easy and various cooking methods. It’s also a lot of fun to experiment.
Making a cake takes a certain amount of cussedness, but why not! Again, the easiest option is a ready mix and buns or cupcakes rather than a three-tier gateau. Otherwise, weigh out ingredients before you leave so that you need only add the egg or vegan alternative, plus liquid.
Bread is basically just flour, yeast, water and a little salt. You can also buy ready mixes so that you need only take one bag of ingredients with you. The tricky part when camping is a space to knead, a warm place for proving and a way of baking your loaf or rolls…but here are a couple of tips:
- You can take frozen dough and even frozen sourdough starter. A large silicone mat can turn a (sturdy) camping table or campervan worktop into a kneading surface.
- Try a no-knead recipe. Mix half your flour with your yeast, salt, sugar (if using) and liquid. Mix it well and leave covered till it goes frothy (about 15 minutes). Add the rest of the flour and knead five times in the bowl. Leave it to rise and knead another five times. Shape, put it in a tine and cook!
- Try a dough bag for mess-free kneading. I found it a bit frustrating, but I can see it has a place when camping. UPDATE: Just use fairly sturdy disposable gloves…a revelation for mess-free kneading hands. Make sure they’re food-safe and powder-free.
We make our bread by hand, but many of our friends use bread machines. Providing you have electric hook-up when you camp and enough space for a machine to work its magic, this is the easiest option. Chuck the ingredients in the machine, set it going and it’ll knead, prove and cook while you do something else. Two cautionary notes: check the wattage (see our article on electric cooking for more), and consider the noise of a machine – setting it going overnight for fresh bread in the morning may make too much noise for neighbours in a tent or rising roof campervan.