There is nothing like the warm comforting smell of freshly baked bread. The flaky, crunchy, chewy crust that everyone fights over when fresh – I don’t know about you but nothing puts me in a happy place quite like freshly made bread – Yum Yum.
It wasn’t until we were discussing where we were likely to be staying, the duration of stay and the closest town for re-supplies that I could see we were going to have a problem with stocking enough groceries with the storage we have available to see us thought to re-supply on some occasions.
Its the same problem reaching as far back as the explorers….. so I decided to take a leaf out of their book and go old school – to use a limited pantry to see what I could cook.. It helped growing up with a mixture of homemade and shop brought items over the years so I wasn’t too daunted by the task.
Before I even cracked open a cookbook or looked online for recipes, I was thinking about ovens – shape, size, weight, heat sources and of cause – price.
In the end there was only one – The Coleman Portable Oven for $70 from Tentworld.
I really didn’t know if it would get up to the temperatures needed as there’s more holes in it than Swiss cheese! The oven didn’t sit on my stove top correctly (as it is designed to be used with a Coleman Gas Stove Top) but I thought I’d give it ago – for me there really was no other option.
Some of you might be thinking why not get caste iron camp ovens – after all isn’t this why they were created…. I’m not saying that camp ovens wouldn’t do the job but for me they didn’t suit…. I have had them in the past and while they are good they have there limitations.
- I wanted to cook a loaf of bread – not a cob or rolls or damper.
- The caste iron is heavy and to get one to fit a loaf tin takes up too much room and weights a tonne.
- The spun steel ones don’t hold the heat as evenly as caste iron but I was considering buying these if the Coleman Portable Oven didn’t work.
- Both can get covered in carbon, soot or ash
- They are round – a hard shape to pack.
- They can be a pain to clean every day or after use
- You are guessing at the internal temperature
All I really wanted is something that is lightweight, Collapsible, Has a reliable temperature gauge, and can fit a full size Bread Tin – Oh and could be used on both a gas stove top and a wood burning stove – if possible. At no stage did I want something that needed heat beads or coals from an open fire to cook with.
So armed with my new oven the next hurdle was to make sure I could actually make an eatable loaf of bread. I practiced and practiced making fill sized homemade bread by hand in my suburban kitchen and eventually I got the methodology down pat giving me consistent results that Hubbie and I liked….I’m not going to lie there were many failures but we had fun while experimenting.
I started off my bread making by buying all the ingredients separately – bread flour, yeast, bread improver, etc…. and yes I even tried different methods, different proportions of ingredients etc. In the end and lots of bread later the Bread Mix is the only one I use because it is so easy and versatile. All you need is the bread mix, yeast and water – just remember this is a high protein, high gluten flour which is why it is great for bread.
I’m no expert in bread – this is just what I’ve found out and has worked for me…. I will continue learning as I go. Please let me know if you find a better more consistent product. I also don’t make all our bread – I only make it when I have too as the professional do a great job….and its easier to buy a loaf of bread than make one.
The following is some pictures of other sweets and goodies I have make with my Coleman Portable Oven.
- Roast Pork, Roast Lamb & Roast Vegetables
- Bread, Scones, Jam Tarts
- Lamingtons & Vanilla Slice
- Apple Pie & Apple Slice
- Ginger Snap Biscuits
I am planning on cooking a lot more so I’ll keep you posted on what works and what doesn’t. I will also be posting recipes that only cater for two people with little or no leftovers.
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