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Baking Jim Lahey's bread on a camping trip

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Jim Lahey's bread recipe is great! It gave me the idea that you could bake this bread outdoors in a camp dutch oven (the kind with feet on the bottom and a lid with a lip. Because you don't have to knead this bread, there's little mess to deal with--a big deal while camping.
Here's the formula I used:
9 briquets on the bottom, 14-16 briquets on the lid.
Some tips: Place the briquets along the rim of the lid in a circle; I found that if I put briquets on the center of the lid, the bread could burn on top.
Use a good quality brand of briquets like Kingsford; don't use the matchstick kind--they burn too quickly!
Use a chimney to light the briquets; it's easier and safer.
Protect the dutch oven from wind; the wind can make the briquets burn down too fast.
If the outside temp is very cold, use 16 briquets on the lid, use less if the temp is higher.

The bread bakes in about 45 - 60 min. The crust isn't as crusty as when you bake this in an oven, but you will still impress your fellow campers!

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  1. What size dutch oven?

    I've been meaning to try this, once weather got a bit warmer. I have baked a recipe of this bread in my 10" aluminum DO (GSI brand) in the regular oven, but the bread touched the lid, so I may need to make a somewhat reduced recipe with that one.

    paulj

    1 Reply
    1. re: paulj

      Mine is a Lodge 10-inch cast iron dutch oven. Sometimes the bread rises and touches the top--that's why it's a good idea not to put briquets on the center of the lid (I've had the top burn before!). Even if the bread touches the lid, it still turns out well.

    2. I have to assume that you are somewhere a little warmer than I am (Eastern MD) since it is way too cold to go camping at the moment...but once it warms up, any suggestions on a good place for rising while camping? My usual spot (my turned off oven on cold days or just sitting on top of the range on warms days) isn't really a choice out in the woods.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wawajb

        Yep, I'm in California. Probably warmer than where you are but it's still too cold here to go camping; I've actually been baking the bread outside in a camp dutch oven as a demonstration for my girl scouts. It was about 45 degrees outside that day when we did this. About rising, I'm pretty sure that this dough is not too picky about temperature; I let mine rise at room temp and at night my house's temp is 55 deg.

      2. I've never tried making bread on a camping trip, but I think that if you can park your car in a sunny spot, you should be able to raise the dough in the car (though not in direct sunlight). Depending on the season and the outside temperature, you might have to leave the windows open a little so the car doesn't get too hot.