Teardrop Bread in a Dutch Oven
by: Marilyn McCray
Baking in camp can be tricky but Dutch Oven cooking can be one of the most rewarding parts of camping. The aromas fill the air. Everyone in camp awaits with great anticipation as the lid is lifted off the cast iron Dutch Oven to reveal the magic of fresh, warm toasty bread. Here’s a link to a chart to help select the best size Dutch Oven and the correct number of coals needed. It also covers how to adjust the temperature of your Dutch Oven. This is a no-knead, artisan bread.
Serves one large loaf
· 3 ¼ cups of bread flour
· 1 packet dry active yeast
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 ½ to 1 ¾ cups water
· ½ tablespoon olive oil
· Course cornmeal for dusting
Add shredded cheese, garlic or rosemary for a pungent, herb taste.
Add brown sugar and cinnamon for a tasty cinnamon bread.
Prepare before leaving home
· Measure dry ingredients, place in plastic bags – label
· Measure and place oil in a reusable container – label
· Pack a large bowl, whisk, spatula, cotton dish towel, lid lifter
· Refrigerate eggs, butter, buttermilk and fruit in ice chest or cooler
Start preparations the night before cooking – at least 12 to 18 hours before cooking. Make sure you have all the ingredients and equipment ready before beginning to cook. Wisk four, salt and yeast in large bowl. Mix 1 ½ cups of water, stir until thoroughly mixed. Add remaining water as needed to make a sticky mass of dough. Dough will be much wetter and not form a ball. Place in bowl, and cover with dish towel, or plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours until more than doubled in size. Dust cutting board with flour. Scrap dough on to board in one piece. Dough will be loose and sticky. Dust top of loaf lightly with a small amount of flour and cornmeal, but do not stir in more flour. Cover with clean cotton towel. Let rise for one to two hours.
On the campfire – Cast Iron Dutch Oven
Prepare the campfire in advance to produce hot coals. Oil Dutch Oven with ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Pre-heating the Dutch oven is critical. Place Dutch Oven with lid on the fire 30 minutes before cooking. Placing coals on the lid will provide an all-around, even heat. Use the correct number of coals for the bottom and lid of your Dutch Oven size for 475 degrees. Sprinkle about one teaspoon of cornmeal evenly on the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Place the dough in the Dutch Oven and cover. The Dutch Oven and lid should be rotated, a 1/4 turn every 15 minutes. Check the status of the coals. Add coals to the fire as needed. Bake for 20 minutes and check it. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Continue to check the loaf. Some Dutch Ovens may take the better part of 90 minutes. When crust is browned on top but not burned or the bread reaches 200 degrees as measured with a thermometer, it should be done. Remove from the fire.
Use a metal or wooden spatula to remove the loaf and transfer to a cooling rack. Let the loaf cool for 1 hour before slicing. Enjoy.
Marilyn McCray is a published author of a cookbook titled Canning, Pickling and Freezing with Irma Harding, the International Harvester’s fictional spokesperson. Marilyn and her partner, Jim Kerkhoff, travel in a beautiful teardrop to promote the book and she has graciously agreed to share some recipes with us in a regular column. Be sure to check out her book at teardroptrail.com/equipment-and-supplies/