Camp Bread #1:
A Spent Sourdough Rye and Multigrain Bread Baked in a Dutch Oven
We've just returned from camping, and during our stay in Restoule Provincial Park (it is a family tradition that we all go there), I made a few attempts to make some bread in my Dutch Oven, over a wood fire.
All of the attempts had very similar results; it was a struggle to regulate the heat.
My first attempt used a dough with Lahey-like hydration:
- 2 c Multigrain Bread Flour
- 1 c Rye Flour
- The usual salt, yeast, hydration that Lahey advises.
I had no measuring spoons, so I just eyeballed it, "Camp Style".
I was aiming for 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp yeast, and 1 1/3 c water.
- Plus a glob of sourdough, unrefreshed for some time.
At the time of folding it, I started a fire (0900).
At 1030, I set the kettle in the coals, and placed some coals on the lid.
This I left to preheat for 30 minutes.
At 1100 I put the dough into the Dutch Oven.
At 1125 I took off the lid and noticed it was burning a bit on the bottom.
The top was already done (and leaving the lid off would not have baked the top crust any further, like it would in a home oven).
At this point, I took it out and left it to cool on a grill. It sure was black on the bottom.
But the crumb wasn't too bad, and if you cut off the worst of the charcoal, you had an edible bread.
Notes to Myself
- This was far too hot a Dutch Oven, or too long a time. The middle was well baked, the top was perfection, the bottom, however, was pure carbon for 1/4" from the outer crust. After I took that crust off, the bread was fine. Therefore, don't leave it right on the hot coals for 25 minutes.
- Try preheating it and then removing it for baking. (You can keep a few coals under it (perhaps not touching it), and over it, but everyone else has these grandiose ideas of digging pits and covering the thing with sand, and I don't think that this is going to be required.)
- This loaf's taste is ultra sour. Make the next loaf without the (old) sourdough.
- Perfect the loaf before adding olives, walnuts, cheese, etc.