The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Help wanted - Outdoor baking for the masses

Breadandwine's picture

Help wanted - Outdoor baking for the masses

Hi folks

I’d appreciate your collective advice… 

I’m part of a group organising a walk ‘back into history’ over the Quantocks here in Somerset to celebrate 3.7 billion years of life on earth

We are expecting roughly 150 walkers to end up at Kilve beach, and, unfortunately, our catering company (Posh Nosh) has pulled out. At such short notice we’ve only been able to engage a company which specialises in venison and has nothing for vegetarians and vegans. 

I’ve offered to cook something on my chiminea for this group.

I’d like to be able to cook pizzas, etc, on demand, but I have no confidence in my ability to do this in the timescale required. So I thought I would offer wraps (I call them sizzlers):

with various fillings: Cheese and tomato or mushrooms or onions or peppers.

Or cheese and onion slices:

Both of these can be turned upside down and cooked on both sides, which would speed up the process.

For vegans I would use combinations of mushroom pate, houmous, nutritional yeast (nooch), etc, along with the veggies mentioned above.

Keeping it simple, I thought that rather than setting a price on the above, I would just ask for a donation. I'll be asking for 50p each for the sizzlers and £1 for the slices - or whatever people can afford. It's not my intention to make a profit - anything over and above my expenses will go to the Ancestor's Trail.


I need to be sure I’ve covered all the bases, so here’s what I’ve considered, so far.

With 150 expected, I’m figuring that 10% of them would be veggie or vegan – so, 15 people. However, it may be that there are people who haven’t booked and who just turn up on the day – lovely weather, bank holiday weekend, etc. So there may well be up to 200 attracted to the occasion – which would mean about 20 veg/ans.

But also, since there is a strong ecological emphasis to the event (we’re promoting ‘The Year of the Butterfly’ this year), it may well be that there are a higher proportion of veg/ans coming along (15%?). So perhaps I should be looking to cater for 30 or so walkers. ATM, that’s what I’m figuring on.

These are all going to be hungry people – some of whom will have walked about 13 miles, arriving at Kilve at around 6 in the evening. 4 of my sizzlers (or the equivalent) would fill most folks up so I’m going to reckon on this many. (And there will be children as well, who won’t eat as much). So 30 x 4 = 120.

Each batch of 4 sizzlers would need:

200g of flour – (6kg, or 4 bags) – plus more for rolling out

50g grated Cheddar (1.5kg)

2 mushrooms or tomatoes or equivalent 

Black pepper, dried herbs 

So I’ll need to make 6 batches of dough (using 1kg of flour at a time), each producing enough for 5 batches of sizzlers (20 individual sizzlers). 

Assuming 5 minutes in the oven, 8 sizzlers at a time, that’s an hour and 15 minutes (with fire going at full blast).

The evening entertainment is due to commence at 7.30, at a venue 4 miles away, so, at the most, there’s a window of 90 minutes. (But the hungry hordes will want feeding long before that! I know I would.) 

So, ATM, I’m thinking I shall start my preparations at around 4.00pm, and hope to have the first batch in at 4.30. 

This is what I think I shall need in the way of equipment:

All my chiminea-tending gear, plus lots of charcoal, firewood, kindling, etc.

Large table, chopping board, knives, rolling pins, napkins, spatula

Oven trays, gloves, baking parchment

Supply of warm water (tricky, since I’m doing this on a fairly remote beach!)

Washing facilities (bowl of soapy water)

Hand towels, dish cloths 

I shall also be giving away copies of the recipes of the breads I’m making, so I’ll need about 30 or so of these. 

Thank you for reading this far, and if you have any advice for me, I would love to hear from you! 

Cheers, Paul


jlewis30's picture

Sounds like fun, at a glance doing a home made dough thing on that scale in rustic conditions sounds really ambitious. I would be tempted to use purchased wrappers and then heat the wraps on a camp skillet til melty and delicious. That way they can practically be done to order. But that is ME lol, I love camp cooking and I love taking it over the top, but man. 150 is a lot of freash dough to manage out in the wild for individual servings (you could still make bread, just as a side rather than the main deal, then the bread would be a star rather than a wrapper)

HeidiH's picture

Based on your description, though, I'd want to get lots of sleep in the days running up to it and have plenty of helpers on hand to mass produce your sandwiches.  LOL  Although definitely an omnivore, I'd probably be in your line rather than the venison!

You could pre-assemble them at home and then retard their rise in the fridge/cooler.   That way you'd only be worrying about the cooking step at the shindig.  If you precooked the filling before putting it in the wrap you'd really only have to worry about getting the bread part cooked.

Breadandwine's picture

Thanks, folks!

I've decided to go the whole hog and cook all (well, most of it) today, and reheat in the chiminea tomorrow on demand. All the advice I've had on other forums is to anticipate more people than I expect (if that makes sense!).

So I'm just going to bake all day and see what happens on the morrow.

I'm planning to blog what I do, with pics, here:

Whatever happens, I shall enjoy myself hugely!

Cheers, Paul

Breadandwine's picture

Well, all went to plan in the end.

I kept all the vegetarians and vegans happy - and made some money for the cause!

I've put the full story on my blog.

Cheers, Paul