The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Simple sourdough procedure for camping?

  • Pin It
Charleen2027's picture

Simple sourdough procedure for camping?

I've been making bread while camping for quite a while -- flour, water, salt, commercial yeast, proof, rise a couple times, shape and bake. It's dependable and fun. But I want to expand the flavor - and challenge - and start making sourdough bread. Commercial bakers, and ambitious home bakers have evolves pretty complex multistage processes which require careful temperature control pretty much all along the way, so the limited tools and lack of temperature control while camping present extra challenges.

Here are the tools I have: a very good starter given to me by a friend, which is quite stable and active and can develop quite a sour tang under the right conditions; our refrigerator is set to about 40F which I can use for retarding; various containers for proofing; a diet scales; and a portable gas-fired barbecue with an 8-inch pizza stone in it. This barbecue can easily get to 450F. I have no way to control temperature for bulk fermentation. And no electricity. I do whatever I can to reduce cleanup by mixing and kneading my dough in a gallon Ziplock.

So -- if these were the tools you had, how would you go about making a boule of white flour sourdough bread? Daytime temps can be anywhere between 70F to 90F, nighttime temps mid 50's to upper 60's.

Charleen2027's picture

Since I posted my initial inquiry I had a chance to work on this little project on a couple of camping trips. I came up with a procedure that is giving good results. I hope this URL works:

KipperCat's picture

Charleen, I'm glad you got a working method. Your bread looked great, and I imagine it tasted all the better for being eaten in the great outdoors. It almost makes me want to go camping again. :)

xixstar's picture

thanks for this post -- I'm an avid camper and always interested in pushing the boundaries of "camping food" - might give this a try come october when we're off camping again. the enviromenment would make it all the more yummy.

Darkstar's picture

I haven't done the sourdough camping yet but I have done NT Times no-knead and it turned out great in a cast iron dutch oven over red coals with some coals on top of the lid as well.

This summer I plan on trying the same type of recipe with sourdough starter in place of the yeast.  At least it will sit happily in a Ziplock until I'm ready to fold a few times, shape, and bake.  Seeing as how it's 15 degrees F with a 0 degree wind chill today in the Chicago area my mind is not thinking about sleeping in a tent just yet.


Xixstar - I agree, the open air and stary sky, and nice crackly crusted bread make for a wonderful camping experience.

Charleen2027's picture

While waiting for better camping weather I've been using the "Almost No Knead" bread recipe from the Jan/Fed issue of Cooks Illustrated. As written, it makes a very nice loaf, just lacking a smidge or so of taste. With a week or so of fermentation in the refrigerator, the bread is excellent. Long fermentation without refrigeration while camping is problematic, though.