aking on a camping stove: The pot-within-pot method. (Pic Heavy)

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I thought I would show a baking technique through some photos I took about 8 years ago that demonstrate how to use a regular camping stove.

When canoe tripping my wife and I have baked breads, muffins, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, cakes, even panzerotti. There's no need to buy a special-purpose Outback Oven or reflector oven for baking, and no need to settle for bannock, when you're in the mood for fresh bread after a week in the bush. All you need is an ordinary camping stove and two differently-sized pots as shown in the photos below. My wife and I have been baking this way in the bush for years and years. So far we've only had good results; every bit as good as what one can make with an Outback Oven and better than with a typical reflector oven. You CAN have your cake and eat it too.

Here's how we do it using our Trangia stove kit plus one large aluminium pot and a bit of tin foil, but this can be done with any camping stove. For those who are wondering where I got the aluminum pot shown in my photos, it's just the cheapo large pot that comes in World Famous' camping mess kit. The one in the photos is one I've used since I was a boy.

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And here are a few photos of some things baked using the pot-within-pot technique.

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I will be uploading a video to my YouTube channel soon showing this baking technique. http://www.youtube.com/user/PineMartyn

Hope this helps,
- Martin
 
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So, you eat off the good china when you camp! Classy. :)
You obviously have experience doing this but I would think there is a chance of melting or damaging the big pot. I am no cook, in fact dangerous with anything beyond boiling water, but I have been told repeatedly that a pot on a flame with nothing in it will screw up the pot. Perhaps the rocks absorb heat to protect the pot bottom.
Thanks for this. I'll have to try it. All I have to do is figure out how to make the lump of stuff you start with.
 
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The basic bread recipe we use when camping

The basic bread recipe we use when camping

So, you eat off the good china when you camp! Classy. :)

Haha...no, those dishes were just a tad heavy for camping. We took those photos in our kitchen when we were home-testing these dishes for the first time.

You obviously have experience doing this but I would think there is a chance of melting or damaging the big pot. I am no cook, in fact dangerous with anything beyond boiling water, but I have been told repeatedly that a pot on a flame with nothing in it will screw up the pot. Perhaps the rocks absorb heat to protect the pot bottom.

This is a very old camp cooking technique, not something we devised, and while it's hard on a pot, it's not bad as you'd imagine. We've been using that same cheap large aluminum pot for years and we've baked with it as described more times than I could count. Is the pot bottom warped? You bet. But the pot's got innumerable dents from decades of use anyway. The bottom is nowhere near being burned out yet.

Thanks for this. I'll have to try it. All I have to do is figure out how to make the lump of stuff you start with.

You're very welcome Dave. The lump of dough was made as follows:

Basic Bread Dough

Ingredients:
-1 cup warm water
-1 package active yeast
-1 teaspoon of sugar
-1 teaspoon salt
-3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions:
Combine the water, yeast, sugar, and salt into a medium bowl and let rest for 20 minutes, or until the yeast becomes active and frothy.
Place the flour into a large bowl, mound up the flour and make an indentation in the center. Pour the water and yeast mixture into the indentation and stir the flour into the liquid with a stiff spoon or carved stick. Continue to stir until it is thick enough to handle.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface, such as a canoe paddle, which you have lightly floured, and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. The dough should become smooth and supple. If it is sticky, knead in a small amount of flour.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover it with a cloth bandana.
Set the bowl, covered with a bandana, in a warm area and allow the dough to double in size, this should take between 45-60 minutes.
After the dough has risen, push the air out of the dough. At this point, the dough may be utilized as the base for any sort of bread or pizza.
Bake using the pot-within-pot method, a reflector oven, or with an Outback Oven.

Hope this helps,
-Martin
 
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So, you eat off the good china when you camp! Classy. :)
You obviously have experience doing this but I would think there is a chance of melting or damaging the big pot. I am no cook, in fact dangerous with anything beyond boiling water, but I have been told repeatedly that a pot on a flame with nothing in it will screw up the pot. Perhaps the rocks absorb heat to protect the pot bottom.
Thanks for this. I'll have to try it. All I have to do is figure out how to make the lump of stuff you start with.
For years I have done something very similar. There is a way to completely avoid melting the pot, and that is to use water as a steamer. Start the same way, only this time make "stone soup". No stones available? Make stick soup. The food in the inner pot then gets steam cooked. It doesn't brown, but cakes and the like turn out firm and moist. Forty-five minutes, no peeking before then. Just be sure there is enough water slowly simmering to make steam, and the bottom of the inner pot is above the water level.
 
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That's great information. If I don't use an alcohol stove, baking it until it runs out of fuel, approximately how long do I bake the breaad? Thanks for posting this!

Pringles
 
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That's great information. If I don't use an alcohol stove, baking it until it runs out of fuel, approximately how long do I bake the breaad? Thanks for posting this!
Pringles

You're welcome Pringles. Our Trangia burner with the reducing ring in place in the wide-open position burns for about 45 minutes. As with any baking, there's no rushing it. You can't make it happen faster by turning up the heat without overcooking the outside to a hardshell, leaving the inside undercooked. So, if you're using a stove that uses a more caloric fuel (and so burns hotter), you will need to practice with it to get it down to the correct heat.

I think part of the concern that people have with melting or burning through the outer pot stems from the high heat that one normally trains on the bottom of one's camping pots when cooking or boiling but when baking, you don't apply a lot of heat. It's all about a very modest amount of heat over a long period to get the temperature in the oven hot enough to bake, but not so hot you burn your dough or batter. Alcohol (methyl hydrate or methylated spirits) has just about the lowest caloric content of any camping fuel you can buy. Propane, white gas, etc, these are all much higher their caloric content, and so you will really want to use a low flame with such fuels.

The best thing to do, obviously, is home-test it. Go out and get an instant cake mix (the sort that doesn't require adding fresh eggs, unless you'd bring them into the bush), try it out. It's an inexpensive way determine how high your flame has to be set using your particular stove and fuel.

I should also mention that yknpdlr was exactly right about not peaking. Don't lift the lid or foil to look inside, as that will cause the heat in the oven to rush out. Your cake or bread could fall, and, at at minimum, you'll retard the baking process.

I don't agree, however, that one needs to add water to the outer pot. An oven for baking should be a dry heat or else you risk getting a rather soggy product, unless you're just adding a little, which will boil off long before 45 minutes has elapsed anyway. As I mentioned, my wife and I have been baking this way with the same cheap aluminum pot for years and years now, and we've never melted or burned through the pot. That same pot also serves as a our kitchen sink for dishes, our laundry basin, our wash tub for bathing ourselves when the lake water's too cold, and for plain ol' boiling up big pots of water.

Hope this helps,
- Martin
 
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I don't agree, however, that one needs to add water to the outer pot. An oven for baking should be a dry heat or else you risk getting a rather soggy product, unless you're just adding a little, which will boil off long before 45 minutes has elapsed anyway. As I mentioned, my wife and I have been baking this way with the same cheap aluminum pot for years and years now, and we've never melted or burned through the pot. That same pot also serves as a our kitchen sink for dishes, our laundry basin, our wash tub for bathing ourselves when the lake water's too cold, and for plain ol' boiling up big pots of water.
Martin, I don't disagree that you get wonderful dry heat baking results. But you are very wrong about the steam method. The water steam method works very well, and unless you have too much water boiling too rapidly up the sides of the inner pot, you will NOT end up with a soggy result. It is an old commonly used steam method of making cakes and breads. It has roots in how "English pudding" is made, which is really a rich cake. I have been steam baking for years, as has my grandmother in her kitchen, and you can easily control the cooking process, even on a camping stove, so that a inch of water will easily last 45 minutes. It will NOT boil off long before 45 minutes, as you apparently think. I've done it on various types of camp stoves that have simmer capability, including my favorite Trangias that I have used for the past more than 20 years outdoors. You should just try it before discounting it to others.
 
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Thanks yknpdlr, I will absolutely give it a try in the spring in my backyard. If adding water doesn't adversely affect the baking process, and it can prevent a pot from being damaged, it's definitely the better way to go.

Cheers,
- Martin
 
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Great thread, folks.

I cook primarily on a liquid fuel stove but also carry small remote canister propane stove for use inside the tent in the event of extended foul weather. I'll have to do some experimenting and see if it will run a low enough flame to bake in the manner discussed. That would certainly be a nice addition to the backcountry menu.

One of the main reasons I'm getting away from the sea kayaks and back to canoes for tripping is the ability to carry a nicer kitchen and pantry. I'm gettin' old and weary of eating everything out of a pouch :)
 
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Thanks yknpdlr, I will absolutely give it a try in the spring in my backyard. If adding water doesn't adversely affect the baking process, and it can prevent a pot from being damaged, it's definitely the better way to go.

Cheers,
- Martin

The BakePacker http://www.bakepacker.com/ has been around for years. The sole problem is that any baked good has no crust. I prefer my breads with a crust;eg cornbread especially.

The BakePacker is a steamer and you encase the dough in a bag so that it does not all fall apart.

Having an OO too, I haven't seen any problem with heat applied directly to the baking pot. And I have one of those old warped pots extra in the garage too.
 
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Thanks for the added information. I bet that method would make a pretty good pizza!

I have a bakepacker, and a couple of recipe books for it. I didn't like the lack of browning, but I bet some of those recipes will work well with this method. I think there was even a recipe for a mock version of those biscuits they have at Red Lobster. I should go look for that...

Pringles
 
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Now you guys got me thinking. That old alu pot has the Bakepacker grid jammed in it. I think my main gripe about Bakepacker was the good always had a faint plastic bag taste.

Sooo..next time I will take that pot with the stuck grid( the pot obviously is warped..thats OK) and put my baking dough in a small pot above, and experiment with both water and no water in the bottom pot. The stuck grid substitutes for rocks and sticks.

Good thoughts to inspire mental light bulb lighting. I love those Red Lobster biscuits. But living in Maine, there are no Red Lobsters around. (plenty of red and green lobsters, but they don't come with biscuits).. now have to find that recipe somewhere.

Google came up with this copycat recipe: Would seem to me to work well for a pot

2 cups Bisquick baking mix
1/2 cup cold water
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
Directions:

1
Heat oven to 450.
2
Combine baking mix, water and grated cheese in a bowl.
3
Roll out on a lightly floured surface, until 1 inch thick.
4
Cut biscuits, and place on an ungreased pan.
5
Melt butter and spices together.
6
Brush the biscuits with the butter and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.


Remember this site might disappear..so if something is of interest to you , copy and save to a document on your computer.
 
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Martin, Thanks for the great write up on baking! Up till now I've just been making some kind of flat bread in the skillet. I believe I'll give your ideas a try.

About the whole idea of damage to the bottom of pots or not:
With my old kerosene stove I'm just a little worried about reducing the rate of burning down to where the stove might not develop enough heat to vaporize the kerosene, (kind of a hypothermia for a stove). So to be able to simmer things that require it I made a heat diffuser. I went to the local thrift stove and got a aluminum teflon skillet. Of course the teflon was all scratched up and shot but that didn't matter. On my band saw when a blade gets just about too dull to work I put it aside and use it up on projects like this. I slowly sawed out the flat part on the bottom on the fry pan and with a little dressing with a file I have a dandy heat deffuser. If the remaining teflon makes the pots slippery on top of your stove, you might need to sand it off down to the bare aluminum. Maybe such a deffuser could be used where the folks are worried about the bottom of their pans. I do understand that your old aluminum pot hasn't been hurt but I might be twitchy about my dandy Zebra pots which I much admire.
Best Wishes, Rob
 
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Thanks for the great dry bake method Martin; I'll also try the steam method Yknpdlr, thanks. My "favourite son #2" gave me a new pot set for Christmas, so my 30 yr old alum pots may be repurposed?! Another reason for my wife to stash her portage rock collection in my pack when I'm unawares. I saw a bake method somewhere, using a bundt cake pan (big frilly donut shaped pan) and tin pie plate; my greatest fear is being seen in canoe country with a bundt pan!? Betty Crocker in the bush I'm not. Your ideas give me hope, as I'm "kitchen challenged". Thanks, Brad.
 
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