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Old 03-02-2014, 02:49 PM   #309
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I normally use heavy-duty aluminum foil to line my DO's (I spray the inside of the foil after it's been placed in the DO to keep things from sticking). A couple of years ago I thought I'd give parchment paper a try and used it to line our DO for a Cherry Cobbler at the fire -- well, the heat was too intense and the paper burned and we weren't able to eat it. I'm certain it would work for those experienced in using it.

I've always wanted to try cooking greens, but knew eating cooked greens would require having access to a really great recipe -- both of the above sound wonderful! Thank you both so much for sharing; I plan to try them.

I have started using fresh kale in soups; greens are so good for you, and they taste great in soups.

Deb
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Old 03-02-2014, 03:14 PM   #310
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Hmmmm. I would suspect your heat was way too high, Deb.

If you were doing cobbler with coals from a wood fire, I have found those very, very difficult to regulate. I just don't try to use them other than for cooking bacon, sausage, etc.

No baking with coals from a wood fire for me. Maybe our ancestors did it, they also cooked with dried poop from buffalo and cattle, but I'll pass, thank you. I'll bet if they had access to manufactured charcoal briquettes.......

The outer, in-the-air, edges of the parchment paper get brown and burny-looking, but my breads and pies have done great. Such easy in-and-out.

I think the parchment paper actually protects the bottoms of items from burning, and nothing sticks to it so you can put bread dough in on the paper square and it is just so simple to deal with.

I like simple, and predictable.


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Old 03-03-2014, 09:51 AM   #311
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Maggie, I think you are right about all of the above. Just so I know, are you saying you don't have to spray the parchment paper even for bread dough?

Thanks.

Deb
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Old 03-03-2014, 10:13 AM   #312
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air Cruiser View Post
Maggie, I think you are right about all of the above. Just so I know, are you saying you don't have to spray the parchment paper even for bread dough?

Thanks.

Deb
No, you don't have to spray it!

My no knead bread dough, if you have been following that on the Alumalina thread, is a wet, sticky dough. Getting it neatly into the DO was difficult, til I read in another posted recipe about using a sheet of parchment paper.

Why didn't I think of that! I have not used parchment paper much in the past.

Works beeeyootifully. Set the entire bundle into the DO, the heat releases the dough from the paper....which sticks to nothing.

So clean and neat. I like.

For anyone who is interested, I am going to have Gary post that entire recipe, with instructions for DO with charcoal and in a conventional oven, on this thread.....after the rally. The bread recipes are on the thread now, just not charcoal instructions.


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Old 03-03-2014, 11:46 AM   #313
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Baking any kind of bread in a Dutch oven directly on the coals is a little advanced for my skills, anyhow.) We do use normal wood coals whenever possible, and hardwood charcoal (when we can find it) when wood is unavailable or there are bans on open fires.

Our system (and yours may vary) is to have a fairly sizeable wood fire going, and then let it burn way down to coals. You should be able to hold your hand 8 inches away from the coals for 8 seconds when you are ready to bake. If you have to pull your hand away before 8 seconds, it's too hot. Longer than that, and it's too cool. This heat level can be adjusted by raking away some of the coals to the side (an old-fashioned ash rake works well) or piling on more coals to your baking spot (which are already off to the side since you started with a biggish fire to begin with.)

Parchment paper is big a help if the fire is just right, but if the fire is too hot, it will burn, and the bread along with it. I would leave any sugar out of the recipe, as it will burn sooner than flour.

Bannock is one of the traditions of the Canadian bush, and one common way to make it is to put a donut-like hole in the centre of the bread so it bakes more evenly in the middle.

I suppose the Dutch oven originally would have been greased with bear fat or something, but bacon grease does give the bread a nice woodsy flavour for the unclogged at heart.

Most recipes call for flipping the bread over before it is done, but I have found that to be a great way to make the bread lose its loft. I think it comes out better if you (a) turn it after it is basically done, just to brown the top slightly; or else (b) put hot coals on the top of the lid. This second system makes the best bread-- if I can accurately judge when the interior of the bread is adequately baked, after the top has browned somewhat. It's easy to tell with the first method, harder with the second.

Bannock can be made with baking powder biscuit dough, Irish soda bread, commercial yeast, or sourdough recipes.

Dumplings are a lot easier for me, because they don't come into direct contact with the bottom of the Dutch oven.

Jeanne
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Old 03-03-2014, 12:54 PM   #314
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Jeanne, sounds like the instructions for baking in the old wood cookstoves! Love it

Some recipes would be nice.


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Old 03-04-2014, 09:40 AM   #315
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Wow, thanks Maggie and Jeanne!

I love recipes, actually I collect them; I guess you could say I am a hoarder of recipes. I especially love cooking outdoors, the grill's okay, but using the fire pit is my favorite. My DH put us in a little over sized fire pit at home, with a nice shelf which we can swing out of the way if not needed. Also, our daughter/son-in-law gave me a really nice tripod to hang pots over the fire for Christmas one year.

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Old 03-04-2014, 12:57 PM   #316
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Gosh, don't get me started!

Two great cookbooks are Darina Allen's Forgotten Skills of Cooking, and Traditional Irish Cooking, because traditional Irish cooking was done over an open hearth.

A lot of Dutch oven recipes today call for a briquette fire, and the authors have the number down to an exact science. We live in an area where campfire firewood is plentiful, although national parks are very restrictive, as are summer open fire bans. Then we prefer hardwood charcoal, which doesn't come in standard briquette sizes. Real wood does makes the food taste better!

I can't comment on cake baking or a trivet/inner pan system, but just simple bread.

90% of Dutch oven bread baking over wood fires is temperature management. No flames, just the embers. Create more coals than you think you need so that you can supplement your cooking spot if needed; but to do the actual baking on a spot where you can hold your hand 8 inches away for 8 seconds. Add or remove the coals accordingly.

The seasoned Dutch oven should either be well-greased with oil or melted fat (not butter, which burns easily) or lined with a few thicknesses of parchment paper. A lot of grease makes a thick crunchy bottom crust. Have some water and a towel handy, as your hands will pick up some of the dough.

Many standard cookbook recipes can be modified for Dutch ovens, but leave out the sugar, which burns easily. (Just slather on jam afterwards.) Stiffer doughs are easier to handle than stickier ones. If you make a donut-hole in the center of the round loaf it will cook more evenly in the middle, but this isn't essential. Flipping the bread midway is advised if the bottom crust is liable to burn, but otherwise not, it makes the bread will fall somewhat.

You can preheat the Dutch oven or not (minus paper): preheating the lid is a great idea for more even baking. Baking times are hard to gage, but a small loaf of biscuits will be done in perhaps 10-12 minutes. Stay close by and use your nose as a guide!

A good way to perfect your basic baking skills pre-camping is with a cast iron pan on the stove top! After a few trials, you've got the hang of it.

Irish soda bread
2 cups flour (white, whole wheat, spelt, &c. You could use part cornmeal.)
1/2 tsp. baking soda (no more)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 cup buttermilk (approximately, or sour milk)

Combine the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk slowly, just enough to absorb the flour but not make the dough too loose and sticky. Knead for just a few turns in the bowl, shape into a round loaf, place in the Dutch oven, and cut a cross across the top, and cover. If you wish, place some coals on top of the lid.

Biscuits
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 to 6 Tblsp. cold butter or bacon grease (or 2-3 Tblsp oil)
2/3 cup milk or water (approximately)

Combine the dry ingredients. Cut in the butter. Slowly add the milk, till the dough just holds together. Knead just briefly to incorporate. For camping, drop biscuits are probably easier than rolled biscuits. Proceed as above.

Sourdough bread
This would probably be for a layabout day. You can travel with sourdough starter in a glass container in the fridge. For this recipe, the sourdough starter would be made from equal parts of flour and water.

2 cups flour (I use whole spelt flour.)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup lively sourdough starter* at room temperature, approximately (If you need more, you can add either more starter or some other liquid)
1 Tblsp oil (optional)

Combine the dry ingredients. Add the oil and sourdough starter a little at a time, just till the flour is absorbed and the dough holds together. Let the dough rest for 5- to 20 minutes. Knead just until the dough is elastic. (A small ball of dough should stretch without tearing.) Let the dough rise till doubled in bulk once in a covered bowl in an undisturbed warmish place, and once in the (non-heated covered) Dutch oven. You can get by with just the latter rising. The dough is ready to bake when the dough doesn't bounce back when a finger is lightly pressed into the surface.) Proceed as above.

*There are many directions on the Internet for making a starter , or maybe you can get some from a friend.

Although these recipes take well to embellishments when baked in a conventional oven, one would have to restrict additions to ingredients that wouldn't burn on the bottom of the bread.

Above all, don't be discouraged by early failures! The bread is easy to burn, but after several trials, your experience will be your guide.
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Old 03-04-2014, 01:22 PM   #317
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Thanks, Jeanne! May try that Irish soda bread recipe very soon.

The very first thing I baked in a DO years ago was a round of sourdough bread.

On the patio at home, with the DO and briquettes all in the Weber grill. Could hardly believe my eyes when it baked right up as if it were not even being done outdoors nor in a pan in a traditional oven.

I love sourdough, and we carried a small amount of starter in the Interstate the first year or two that we traveled. Once or twice a week i would bake a biscuit-bread-for-two from it, in a lidded skillet on the stove.

The problem with sourdough, of course, is that you must feed it, use it or refrigerate it...space issues, too much bread for two issues, all that. The starter now resides at home in the freezer. I pull it out every once in awhile, feed it good, use it a couple of times and put it back in the freezer.

I have some recipes for camp bread, where you bake pieces of dough, flattened to rounds, on a griddle or in a skillet...turning it over once or twice. Haven't tried it....maybe at this rally coming up.

So fun!


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Old 08-03-2014, 10:25 PM   #318
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Inspired by Maggie's bread post's earlier this year we cooked/baked our first bread in the Dutch Oven.

We used the basic Artisan Recipe without any add ins for our 1st attempt. It had been raining off and on so the ground was quite wet and we cooked on a large flat rock. 6 coals underneath and 14 on top. 30 minutes covered and 15 uncovered. It turned out very well and went nicely with our chicken stew.

Photo doesn't quite do it justice but a successful first baking. Thanks Maggie
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Old 08-04-2014, 05:08 AM   #319
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It looks lovely!

Let me add one bit of feedback, tho.

Baking outside, with charcoal, you should leave the lid on the entire time, but adjust the charcoal to the outer edges and tilt the lid slightly to let steam escape. It will help the bread brown, while still baking it through.

Your DO looks deeper than mine. You may not need to move the charcoal to the edges to keep the center from burning,

Looks like it rose beautifully....rainy days are great days to bake bread.

Thanks for sharing.


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Old 08-04-2014, 07:18 AM   #320
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I've been wanting to try that...

Hittenstiehl,

Your bread looks wonderful, which has encouraged me to try that.

Thanks for your post,
Chris
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Old 08-04-2014, 07:43 AM   #321
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Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post

Baking outside, with charcoal, you should leave the lid on the entire time, but adjust the charcoal to the outer edges and tilt the lid slightly to let steam escape.


Maggie
Let me correct my own post......we tilt the lid slightly the last 10-15 minutes or so of baking.....you want the lid on tightly that first 30 minutes.

We found the crust crisper if some of the steam gets out toward the end, while the charcoal on the lid still provides enough heat to bake/brown.


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Old 08-04-2014, 08:16 AM   #322
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Thanks all for the inspiring posts. I've always enjoyed DO cooking over both natural wood coal and briquettes. Our 10 inch and 6 inch (great for intimate desserts) DOs are permanent equipment in the trailer. I typically used Bisquick mix for biscuits and such, so the recipes are greatly appreciated and I'm looking forward to giving them a try.

Please keep the posts coming,

Roy
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