Backcountry Bakery

This week we say g’day to Matt McClelland*, who has kindly contributed this tasty guest post!

I love good food when walking.

Matt cooking up a treat in a classic Tassie Hut

Matt cooking up a treat in a classic Tassie Hut

Actually, I love good food anytime and fresh bread is my favourite. Years ago I used to carry one of those stove top oven things – they weigh a ton and use a loooooot of fuel – now a plastic bag does the trick. It all started with muffins. When I said, ‘I love good food’, perhaps I should say yummy food!

OK – so do you want a fresh bread roll on day 4 of your next walk? Here’s how…

Before you set off on your walk:

  1. Buy a packet mix of bread flour and yeast from the supermarket.
  2. Add a handful of the flour (30-50 grams) to a freezer bag
  3. Add a bit more yeast than suggest for the ratio (about 1/2 – 3/4 a teaspoon) to the bag.
  4. Squeeze the air out and tie a slip knot in the bag.

Straight out of the bag!

Straight out of the bag!

Once in camp:

  1. Add a splash of water and knead the dough for about 10 mins till it is a sticky but firm dough.
  2. Leave a bit of air in the bag and tie off with a slip knot and let it rise in your pocket or under your sleeping bag for about 20 mins (ie. a warm place).
  3. Knead it a bit more and then let it raise again (back in the warm place) for another 20 mins.
  4. Now the simple trick… Squeeze the air out of the bag (without squashing your roll) and tie another slip knot.
  5. Drop it in a pot of simmering water for about 25 mins leaving a lid on the pot.  Try turning the roll over about half way through the cooking.
  6. Take your roll out of the water and let it cool for a bit before taking it out of the bag.
  7. Enjoy the smell of fresh soft roll!
  8. If you want to add a crust, a few seconds over a flame will do the trick.

Hmmm, I can almost smell it from here!

Hmmm, I can almost smell it from here!

Now all you have to do is use the hot water to make up a tasty soup, add a smidge of butter for your bread, then sit back and enjoy the stars, pondering how great life can be.

A luxury smidge of butter

A luxury smidge of butter

The deal is – if you meet me in camp – you have to share :)

A few tips:

  • Bake your first one at home to get the hang of it. Getting the water and kneading right is a tad tricky.
  • Carry a small amount of extra flour in another bag in case you add too much water.
  • Make sure your freezer bags are okay for cooking in.
  • Try to use the hot water for part of your meal so as not to waste the fuel.
  • You can make longer thinner rolls – they cook faster, but can be a bit trickier in the pot.
  • I use a Jetboil stove which has that fancy wetsuit insulation and simmers really well, so it does not use a lot of fuel.
  • You can get by with just one raising – but I prefer two.
  • If cooking muffins or biscuits – use the same baking trick but you don’t need to let them rise (there is no yeast) – choc-chip muffins – yummmmmm!

*Matt McClelland got into bushwalking through Scouts and developed a love for walking and wild places during this time.  Matt lives on the north side of Sydney with his two young kids and one wife.  Matt runs Wildwalks.com and Bushwalk.com and is also the author of “Great North Walk”, “Best River and Alpine walks around Mt Kosciuszko”, “Best Bush and Coast walks on the Central Coast” and the upcoming book, “The Six Foot Track”.  

 

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Comments

  1. Bernadette says

    What a brilliant idea! I will be trying this at home first as suggested and will try on my next multi-day walk in October. My walking buddies will be envious………………maybe i will share this with them beforehand. Thanks for the great blog!

  2. says

    Brilliant Idea! I’ve cooked bread in foil on barbecues, but it is always a bit hit and miss.

    I shall try this at home today and then again at the weekend when I’m out with a bunch of DofE (http://www.dofe.org/) trainees.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Jell

  3. Eddy says

    How about the humble DEB instant mashed spud ? Having come into possession of two packets of the stuff on a walk, had no idea of what to do with it. Also had some dehydrated onion flakes at hand and a small fry pan together with some oil.
    Mixed the Deb with some onion flakes, made patties and dropped into hot oil in frypan, cooked until golden brown and crisp, sprinkle with a little salt and YUM ! You would not believe.

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