Breads cooked over the coals of a campfire on a stick or in a skillet are a welcome treat after hiking or just being outside in the cool air all day. Have you ever cooked bread without an oven? These recipes are some old ones that could easily have been baked at the end of a day around the evening fire.
Bannock Bread – Originating from the Scots, bannock is a thick, flat cake, made of oatmeal or barley and cooked on a griddle. Traditionally an unleavened bread, today’s recipes add baking powder. Current recipes encourage cooking them in a greased, cast-iron skillet nestled in hot coals. A bannock usually requires about 10 minutes cooking time per side. Served warm they resemble a scone in texture.
- 3 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. baking powder
- ½ cup powdered milk
- 1 tsp. sugar
- ¼ cup shortening (lard, bacon grease, melted butter, canola oil)
- 2 cups water (approximately)
- Additional oil if you’ll be frying in a skillet or Dutch Oven
- Mix dry ingredients well in large bowl or zipper close plastic bag.
- Add shortening; work it into dry ingredients until you get an even meal consistency.
- Add about half of the water and start to stir and mix with a fork.
- Keep adding water and mixing until you get a good kneadable dough consistency. DO NOT make it a thin batter.
- Turn out the dough onto a floured flat surface (another plastic bag or waxed paper) and knead for a minute or two.
- Press into paddies about ¾-inch thick for frying or a general loaf shape for baking.
- Cook until a deep golden brown on both sides, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Bread on a Stick – Wrap this dough around a green stick acquired while hiking. For a pleasant surprise, thread a hot dog on the stick first.
- 1 cup self-rising flour (if using all purpose flour add 1 tsp baking powder)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 – 1 cup milk
- pinch of salt
- Rub the butter through the flour until it is all crumbly.
- Mix the salt, sugar and a little milk at a time until it forms a dough.
- Divide into two pieces and roll into a snake shape. Wind around a clean, dry stick. Hold over the campfire coals to cook for about 10 minutes.
- Patience is the word here, turning gradually so bread cooks through and doesn’t burn on the outside.
Hoe Cake – Cornbread made minimalist, these thin, unleavened rounds are made from the simplest batter (cornmeal, water and salt). They can be cooked in oil in a cast-iron skillet or by the side of hot coals in a campfire on the curved metal side of a hoe. There have been mixed stories about the origin of the name of this cornmeal treat, some crediting it to the ingenuity of African-American cooks, but earlier historical references suggest that it was an English corruption of an Indian word, “hokeg.” The word “hoe” was a colloquial term for griddle dating back to the 1600’s in parts of England, where baking on boards or griddles was commonplace.
Yield: Two 6-inch cakes (2 to 3 servings)
Time: About 1 hour, partially unattended
- 1 cup fine-ground white or yellow cornmeal
- Scant ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons peanut oil
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Put the cornmeal and salt in a large bowl, and whisk in 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the boiling water. Let rest about 10 minutes.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon of the peanut oil. The mixture should be just pourable, but thick enough that you’ll need to use a spoon or spatula to help spread it out once it’s in the pan. If it seems too thick, add another tablespoon or two of hot water.
- Put the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in an 8- to 12-inch skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, spoon in about half of the cornmeal mixture, and, using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread it into a round about 6 inches in diameter. Cook until the hoecake is golden around the edges and looks set throughout, about 10 minutes, then begin to loosen the edges with a spatula. When you’ve fully released the hoecake from the pan, gently flip it. Cook another 8 to 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining cornmeal mixture. Serve warm.
Survival Bread – Designed to last indefinitely, this bread contains stable, non-perishable ingredients. Store it in your Bug-Out-Bag in an airtight container. Something about the Jello ingredient leads me to believe that this is not a pioneer recipe.
- 2 cups oats
- 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 Tbs honey
- 3 Tbs water
- 1 pkg. lemon or orange Jell-O (3oz)
- Combine oats, powdered milk and sugar.
- In a medium pan, mix water, Jell-O and honey. Bring to a boil.
- Add dry ingredients. Mix well. (If the dough is too dry, add a small amount of water a teaspoon at a time.)
- Shape dough into a loaf. (About the size of a brick.)
- Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cool.
- Wrap in aluminum foil to store. This bread will keep indefinitely and each loaf is the daily nutrients for one adult.
Billie Nicholson, Editor