The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baking Bread In Pans Over Open Fire Or In Fireplace?

RachelJ's picture
RachelJ

Baking Bread In Pans Over Open Fire Or In Fireplace?

Hola! It's me again... I have a couple more things to ask.


Has anyone ever made bread in a fireplace? Like in pans? Or maybe they did it over an open fire?


I've still no oven, no grill, and no toaster oven either. :( I'm outta luck here, people, and I'm stuck with flatbreads, so if anyone has anything, PLEASE let me know! :)

ryen's picture
ryen

For a few months I had only a wood fire in a fire pit as a cooking source. I baked sourdough on it in a Dutch oven pot. It was a little bit tricky and unpredictable, but always turned out mostly edible.


The method I settled on went something like:


-preheat upturned pot and lid over fire


-around the time the dough is done rising, remove the pot and place about an inch of fine gravel in the bottom. Cover this with a couple of layers of banana leaves (this was in the tropics :) ) and circle the edges of the pot with them as well.


-Carefully lower the dough into the pot. Cover with lid and prop above a hot flame using logs. Scoop some red hot coals onto the lid.


The banana leaves created steam in the pot and protected the sides from burning somewhat. After 15-20 minutes I'd check on it and from then on rotate and move around the pot to attemt to get even heating.

RachelJ's picture
RachelJ

I figured you could. :) But.. only problem is, I don't have a cast iron dutch oven or any dutch oven for that matter. Could I maybe use stone loaf pans? :)

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

With a camp style dutch oven you can bake breads in a fireplace. Thants the kind that has a loop handle and uses a tripod to hang over a fire. Coals can also be placed on top with it's special shaped lid.


You should be able to find some methods demontrated on youtube videos. Certain Alton Brown has at least one show about it : Good Eats- Going Dutch.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld20FX3q_Mk&feature=PlayList&p=D4A76EAC372FAFCA&playnext=1&index=39

RachelJ's picture
RachelJ

Thanks a bunch. :) I actually don't have any dutch oven at all. :*( so... I suppose I'm stuck? drat.

mrfrost's picture
mrfrost

English muffins? They're great.


If you can make flatbreads, you surely can do them.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Got some extra bricks around from the fireplace?  Or some rocks that you could place outside the pit and slowly move into the heat until they're good and hot?  The rocks will retain heat and you can then build a little pit of hot rocks off to the side or in the ashes, cover the dough with some kind of support for head room and then hot rocks on top.  Cover everything up with some kind of insulating material... green leaves and/or dry sand and let it bake.


Did you try using the site search machine?  Lots of innovative Campfire loaves there...  If you have some wet sticks, wrap dough around them and hold them near the fire.


Got any local clay deposits or access to medium size large mouth clay pots or clay bowls?  a large enough pot with a lid might make a great dutch oven!


Mini

jlewis30's picture
jlewis30

I'm with the English muffins, I make them a couple times a week rather than heat the oven in the summer sometimes.

Franchiello's picture
Franchiello

As a Girl Scout using a reflector type of oven to bake biscuits while earning my Camping badge.  It's an odd contraption that basically consists of two shiny panels held together at an angle with a shelf in between that you put close to the campfire and aim directly at the fire.  The reflected heat bakes your goods.  It's the same principle as the solar oven, but with fire!!

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Franchiello is dead on: a reflector oven is best given you inability to used the preferred cast iron dutch oven.  The reflector oven is very light, can fold flate, and reflects the heat from the fire, coals rather than flame being fine too.  Google and you will see how easy they are to use.


You can make a reflector oven out of aluminum foil or aluminum foil throw away baking pans too. 


Another less preferred option: When I was in boy scouts, you could make the dough, wrap it in a spiral abound a clean dead and dry piece of wood (no bark on it, bone dry, we called it squaw wood-burned very hot in fire).  We would prop the stick agains a rock and positioned about 15" over the coals of a fire after it had quite burned down.  Rotate periodically and you will get bread. 


Good luck

Nickisafoodie's picture
Nickisafoodie

Franchiello is dead on: a reflector oven is best given you inability to used the preferred cast iron dutch oven.  The reflector oven is very light, can fold flate, and reflects the heat from the fire, coals rather than flame being fine too.  Google and you will see how easy they are to use.


You can make a reflector oven out of aluminum foil or aluminum foil throw away baking pans too. 


Another less preferred option: When I was in boy scouts, you could make the dough, wrap it in a spiral abound a clean dead and dry piece of wood (no bark on it, bone dry, we called it squaw wood-burned very hot in fire).  We would prop the stick agains a rock and positioned about 15" over the coals of a fire after it had quite burned down.  Rotate periodically and you will get bread. 


Good luck

foodslut's picture
foodslut

....cooked in fireplaces by spreading the dough out on a baking tray, placing the tray above embers, putting another baking tray on top, and adding embers on top of that.  Damned fine flatbread (and a touch smoky, too).

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

You have internet connection but no oven?  Where are you that you only have fire to cook?  I'm having a bit of a giggle as I type this, but I do feel sorry for you - seriously.  Not a fun situation for you, but admire your grit that you're going to bake a loaf - come hell or high water.


My grandmother used to bake all the time in a wood fired oven, but she controlled her fire in the oven and the temperature.  Back in those days wood burning stoves and  ovens were all they had.  I don't think baking bread in a fire will work very well without tending it carefully and using the heat source as an oven.


Good luck

alabubba's picture
alabubba

Re read OP, here goes


You should be able to bake in a pan hearth-side. You will need to turn them and watch them Very closely. It might even be better if you could form a circle of embers and place you pan in the center. The trick is going to be to get even cooking. It can be done but will require lots of attention. Good luck.


allan

BellesAZ's picture
BellesAZ

 and I bet that bread will taste good.. and a bit smoky.  We baked Aussie damper bread in a fire when camping in Australia.  It can be done, just requires the right embers and heat. 

rockfish42's picture
rockfish42

Make an earth oven? Without a dutch oven you're going to have a heck of a time getting anything but flatbreads to turn out reliably.

Franko's picture
Franko

 


When I read your post the first thing that came to mind was bannock, a North American native bread recipe. It's classed as a quick bread since it uses a chemical leavener rather than yeast for the rise. I've had bannock several ways, cooked in a cast iron pan over a campfire, wrapped around a stick of green alder and roasted much the same way you would do a marshmallow, but the best way I've had it was fried in bacon fat. Actually it was deep fried, as the fat was about 4 or 5 inches deep in the pot. I know it may sound absolutely disgusting to some , particularly anyone who's vegetarian, but disregarding the fact it's not exactly 'health food'  it's pretty tasty stuff. Both the recipes in the links below calls for lard as the shortening but you could use vegetable shortening if you opt for a non fried version. Otherwise it's sort of pointless.


Franko


 


http://www.artnapoleon.com/docs/Bannock%20Recipe.pdf