I can make bread due to a previous enjoyed "Thing", but I cant make a small loaf for one on an open fire. Or at least I couldn't until today.
Every couple of years I get to hang out with two of the most interesting people I know, and at some point each time, we try to make bread on a camp fire.
It almost works a bit.
But not quite.
They tend toward atemptedbread made with chocolate, marshmallows, and M&Ms.
I tend toward trying to talk them out of it.
Sadly, and most enjoyably, neither approach seems to work better than the other.
In fact, I think the only loaf to have worked so far was an M&M/marshmallow concoction that tasted a bit like a bee rolled in flour might.
With this in mind I thought I should try a stack of different approaches to try to make a functional camp loaf for one.
I think I succeeded, and found a half decent way to make a reliable mini-loaf that can be easily made over an open fire.
Salt is really, really important. You really cant make bread without it. If you try, what you get is glue.
I'm making a small loaf so I'm using a small amount of salt.
Exactly one small amount.
I also added a small amount of sugar. Perhaps a 1/4 of a teaspoon.
Around a third of a cup.
Next time I do this I will try a half a cup, because the loaf didn't quite fill my container.
Also around a third of a cup.
Basically I gripped the spoon in my fist, and forced the dough around a small bowl in a circular manner until it seemed a bit like dough.
I went with a very wet dough that I would only mix with a stick (in this case a spoon handle) rather than needing to knead. Kneading is way too tricky in a world without kitchen benches, and everything made in a camp kitchen, needs to be made in a single bowl to be practical.
Stir it like crazy, and it will work a treat.
"Doubled in size" is a thing you hear a lot when your'e learning to make bread.
It's a very difficult thing to gauge. In my experence most people (me included) tend to wait far too long, and end up having their loaf rise way too much. The best way to get the hang of this doubling business, is to leave the dough to rise in a tall thin container. Perhaps something like a spaghetti jar, or a measuring jug. In a tall thin container, the only way for the dough to go is up, and as a result, it's very easy to see when a loaf has doubled in size.
Trying to determine when a loaf has doubled in size in a normal bowl is very hit and miss.
I quite like hit and miss, but if you want a good loaf, use a tall thin container to check the loaf has risen to double it's volume before you move to the next step.
This tiny bit is really double it's original volume.
A cup 1cm wider than a different cup has a MUCH greater volume.
Doubled in volume looks like "a bit wider, and a bit taller"
If you can notice the dough is bigger, it's probably doubled.
This cooking ... thing is something that's been in my family since I was a toddler.
I don't know what it's called, but I'm guessing the world knows it as a "waffle iron" or something like that.
It's normal use is to cook stuff between two slices of bread, buttered on the outside to stop sticking and burning. Filling's include stuff with cheese, cheese, and more cheese.
It's always just lurking there bleeding heat out into the universe.
There always seem to be a lot of wires in the proximity of wireless things. And there always seems to be a lot of wasted heat as well.
Bread rising heat.
Most of the visual doubling is due to my moving the camera closer, but really, this has risen a lot.
Although It's possible I got the photo's around the wrong way.
Just remember that doubling in volume doesn't look like much has happened.
If it looks like a lot has happened, it's probably too much.
So now it's time to cook the thing.
It sounded hollow when it was tapped, so I figured it was probably cooked.
A totally successful method of creating a mini loaf for one on an open fire.
The openness of my un-open fire is obviously something I'll need to deal with, but with a bit of practice, this system will definitely work in the real world on a real open fire.
I'm calling this a total success, and over the next few months, I'll be perfecting this method to the point where I can rely on my ability to make a perfect(ish) fresh mini-loaf of bread every day with only minimal effort.
Next time we make camp bread, we might actually get to eat some.
Perhaps now, the haunting, ethereal voice I heard at the last camp, wafting over the bread/chocolate/marshmallow smoke filled site, and endlessly in my nightmares, ...
"Dont pay attention to [Bullwinkle]"
"He knows nothing"
"He doesn't care"
Can finally be put to rest.
The next time I share a camp-site with these young bakers will see real M&M, marshmallow, and chocolate bread, baked in the waffle irons they forced their parents to buy.
It will be a truly great day for bee flavoured bread.
120 Things in 20 years - Reinventing ancient technology again and again in spite