Camping Bread: The Art of Baking Campfire Bread 4 Ways

November 18, 2022 8 min read

 Camping Bread

  

Baking delicious loaves of camp bread has played an integral role in the human diet and has been a hobby many have enjoyed for centuries. Over the years, recipes have gotten increasingly more delicious as ingredients and baking utensils have improved. 


But what happens if you lose access to an oven? Can you still bake bread? 


Of course, you can. Knowing how to make campfire bread is valuable, whether collecting survival food buckets and urban prepping, or preparing for a more primitive survival scenario.


Keep reading to learn about our four favorite ways to make delicious campfire bread with limited ingredients and resources.   

 

Four Ways to Make Campfire Bread

Contrary to popular belief, bread is not only baked in conventional ovens. Believe it or not, back in the good ole days, bread was baked in wood-fired makeshift ovens. Depending on the recipe, bread was sometimes even cooked directly over an open fire. 


Here are four ways (or tools) you can utilize to bake campfire bread. The method you choose will depend on the type of camp bread you want to make, your camping scenario, and the available tools.


We recommend experimenting with each method so you can fine-tune your process and improve your bakes. Then, you will be glad you practiced—whether camping for fun with the family, willingly living off-grid, or surviving the aftermath of a SHTF event. 


Our four ideas for baking campfire bread will go from the most “advanced” to the most “primitive.” 

 

 1. Campfire Dutch Oven Camp Bread

 

Campfire Dutch Oven Camp Bread

The cast-iron Dutch oven is the reigning king and queen of campfire bread baking. It is a highly versatile tool that can be used to cook various recipes over an open fire. Dutch ovens can be used for everything from baking camping bread to soups, stews, and dessert cobblers.


Here are some helpful tips for using a Dutch oven:
 

  • Refrain from placing your Dutch oven directly over the flames. Instead, put it in a bed of coals. 
  • Once you've placed the lid of the Dutch oven, cover the top with coals to add more heat. 
  • Cook low and slow—patience is critical. 

 2. Cast Iron Skillet Camping Breads

Cast Iron Skillet Camping Breads

 

A cast iron skillet is another good tool for baking bread. The iron composition of the skillet heats up quickly and remains hot for a long time, which is perfect for camping bread. 


However, since cast-iron skillets do not have lids, you are somewhat limited in the type of camp bread you can make. Without a lid, you cannot replicate a baking oven. Therefore, cast-iron skillets are ideal for making flatbreads and bannocks.


Here are some helpful tips for using a cast-iron skillet.
 

  • Use pot holders or oven mitts, because the handles on cast-iron skillets can become unbearably hot.
  • If you have a second cast-iron skillet, you can utilize it as a lid to create an improvised oven.

  3. Stainless Steel or Clay Pots Can Make Bread Ovens            

    You can also bake campfire bread in pots. Most of us have steel or aluminum pots in our normal camping gear.  Simply add a lid, and your pot will function like a miniature oven. And believe it or not, you can also make campfire bread in clay flower pots!


    Here are some helpful tips for baking with steel, aluminum, or clay pots. 


    • If you use a clay flower pot, remember to cover the drainage hole at the bottom.
    • Add a layer of coals on the pot's lid, like you would with a Dutch oven.
    • Even small stainless steel mugs or cups can be used to bake camp bread for one person.


        4. Campfire Bread on a Stick


    bread on sticks over campfire

     

    Executing a camping bread recipe is much easier when you have luxuries like Dutch ovens. However, even if you don't have pots or an oven, you can still make campfire bread. You can also make camp bread on a stick.


    Despite only making small amounts of bread, cooking bread on a stick is a viable way to make camp bread. We like this technique because it requires a more hands-on process. 


    Here are some helpful tips for making campfire bread on a stick: 


    • Use freshly cut green wood for your cooking sticks so they do not burn in the fire. 
    • Make sure your cooking sticks are long enough, so you can sit a comfortable distance from the fire. 
    • If you are using a knife to carve your stick, we recommend wearing gloves and carving away from the body.
    • Prop your stick up with rocks so you don’t have to hold it. 

    Camping Bread Recipes
     

    2 breads over campfire

    Bannock Bread

    Bannock bread is the quintessential North American campfire bread. Bannock bread is specifically attributed to the Cree and Nunavut Native American Tribes. Besides its rich cultural history, the second best part about Bannock is that you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry. 

    Ingredients for Bannock Bread

    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • ½ cup powdered milk
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • ¼ cup shortenings, such as butter, oil, or lard
    • 2 cups water

    Cooking Instructions for Bannock Bread

    1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. If you don’t have a bowl, mix the ingredients in a large ziplock bag by kneading with your hands. 
    2. Add the shortening to the mix and work it into the dough.
    3. Add half the water and continue mixing. 
    4. Keep adding water and mixing, careful not to thin the batter too much.
    5. Press the dough into ¾ inch patties and bake them in a Dutch oven, pot, or cast-iron skillet over the fire until both sides are golden brown. 

    Flatbread

    Flatbread is the perfect low-maintenance and flexible campfire bread. It’s the ideal type of bread if you do not have pots or a Dutch oven. Instead, it can be cooked on a skillet or directly over the fire with a grill.  

    Ingredients for Flatbread

    • 1 cup flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup water
    • Oil for frying
    • Optional spices: caraway seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, cumin powder

    Cooking Instructions for Flatbread

    1. Mix all the ingredients, adding only half of the water, until the dough is crumbly. 
    2. Add the rest of the water and continue mixing until your dough forms. 
    3. Form the dough into small balls and flatten them into rounds. 
    4. Heat a cast-iron skillet over the fire and add frying oil. 
    5. Add a round of flatbread to the pan with oil and cook each side for 2-3 minutes. 

    Damper Bread

    Damper bread, also known as bush bread or seed cake, is a type of bread traditionally made by Australian Aborigines. It became known as damper bread because of its ability to “dampen” a person’s appetite. Traditionally, damper bread is made by crushing a variety of seeds, nuts, and roots mixed with water to make a dough. The dough is then buried and cooked in the coals of a fire. 


    Since then, damper bread recipes have been simplified. In fact, damper bread can be made with only three dry ingredients. However, if you want to add more flavor and nutritional value, we recommend adding sunflower seeds or almonds.  

    Ingredients for Damper Bread

    • 2 cups self-rising flour
    • 2 cups plain flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 ¾ cups water

    Cooking Instructions for Damper Bread

    1. Mix all the dry ingredients with water. Dust the dough with more flour and shape it into an oval.
    2. Place the dough inside your cooking vessel (i.e., Dutch oven or tin foil), and place directly in the coals.
    3. Cook for 15 minutes and then flip or rotate the bread. 
    4. Cook for another 15 minutes.
    5. To check for doneness, tap the bottom of the loaf. If it sounds hollow, it’s ready. Remove the bread and allow it to cool before enjoying it with butter, jam, or jelly. 

    Traditional Bread for Camping

    Thus far, we’ve only talked about quick cooking types of camp bread. However, you can also bake a traditional loaf of bread that will rise over the fire. For the best results with this type of loaf, we recommend using a dutch oven or something similar.  

    Ingredients for a Traditional Bread Loaf

    • 6 ½ cups bread flour
    • 2 packages of active dry yeast
    • 2 tablespoons sugar 
    • 2 ½ cups water 
    • 3 tablespoons softened shortener, such as lard 
    • 1 tablespoon salt 

    Cooking Instructions for a Traditional Bread Loaf

    1. Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water. 
    2. Stir in 2 cups of flour, shortener, and salt.
    3. Stir the remaining flour, mixing well. When the dough begins to come together, knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. 
    4. Leave the dough aside and allow it to rise for about one hour.
    5. After the dough has risen, lightly oil your Dutch oven and bake your bread over the fire. Bake until the loaf is golden brown, about 30 minutes.   

    Tips for Baking Campfire Bread

    Camping Bread

    We love campfire bread because it’s easy to make. Between the readily available ingredients and the simple process, anyone can pull it off. Here are some more tips to help.   

    Build a Good Fire

    The type of fire you build and how you build it is a personal decision. However, you are striving for a hot fire, at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit, with a well-established bed of coals.


    To get the right temperature and duration of the fire, we recommend using hardwood, such as oak or ash wood. However, in a survival situation, you may not have the luxury of choosing.


    After you've successfully lit the fire, avoid continuing to split logs. Small, split logs will burn too quickly and not get hot enough. Instead, use full-size logs, because they burn hotter and hold more heat.


    Lastly, we recommend building a fire pit big enough that you can burn wood in one area and cook in another. That way, as your logs burn into coals, you can move them over to the cooking area to continue baking your bread while stacking the fire with fresh wood. 

    Pre-mix Your Dry Bread Ingredients

    One of the best ways to make campfire bread is to pre-mix your dry ingredients. This strategy works well if you plan to bake bread while spending the weekend camping or if you are bugging out and want to bring the necessary ingredients to bake bread. 


    You can easily mix flour, salt, baking powder, and other dry ingredients and store them in ziplock bags. Then, when it’s time to make bread, you are one step closer to freshly baked bread.   

    Add Some Fruit to Your Campfire Bread

    One of the significant advantages of campfire bread is its simplicity. However, if you’re like us, you enjoy customizing your recipes and adding extra flavor. 


    Adding fruit to your campfire bread is a simple way to sweeten the recipe and add nutrition and a pop of color. Dried fruits are typically the best because they are affordable, lightweight, and nutritious. Here are some of our favorites:


    • Apples
    • Raisins
    • Cranberries
    • Blueberries
    • Bananas  

    Sweeten Up Your Bread

    Who doesn’t love a little sugar? Sugar, and other sweeteners, are one of the best prepper foods. Sweeteners have a long shelf life and are the perfect addition to bland campfire bread recipes. 


    • Honey
    • Maple syrup 
    • Jam
    • Jelly
    • Agave syrup

    Get Started Ahead of Time

    Cooking anything over the fire takes time, especially baking bread. Therefore, we recommend starting to build and light your fire at least one hour before you plan to eat. 


    As the fire is heating up, you can spend time gathering your materials and prepping your ingredients. Then, your fire will be hot enough and ready for cooking when that task is done.   


    Final Thoughts on Campfire Bread

    bread over campfire

     

    You do not need a conventional oven and expensive ingredients to bake bread for camping. Instead, you can bake delicious bread right over the campfire in the backyard or on your annual camping trip. 


    All you need is flour, salt, baking powder, and water for the most straightforward recipes. Then add jam, jelly, or honey, and you’ve got a perfect addition to breakfast or dinner. 


    For more helpful articles like this one, visit our Practical Prepper Blog. Or, to speak with one of our product experts about freeze-dried meat or any of our other nutritious products, you can schedule a meeting. We are happy to help.