Camping means eating hot dogs on a stick, cold sandwiches, and cold cereal and milk for breakfast. Maybe in your camp, but not on campouts of the old West, Scout troops, savvy families or even soldiers in the Revolutionary War. What can you cook in a Dutch oven? You can create an entire meal from appetizers to desserts, and cooking bread in a Dutch oven is fantastic.
Making bread is complicated, so how do you bake bread in a Dutch oven? It can take time, but with today’s roll and bread mixes, rolls in a tube or camping know-how anyone can bake bread and rolls in a Dutch oven. Clean up the Dutch oven sitting in your garage, pick up the ingredients, and take your Dutch oven camping. Once you are in the campground, light a campfire, and try out bread and roll recipes that will make your family, Scouts, other campers, or yourself drool.
In this camping blog, you can read a quick history of Dutch ovens, the best Dutch oven to bake in, seasoning a Dutch oven, cleaning your Dutch oven and some recipes that will make your Dutch oven cooking experience boundless in this blog. There are hundreds of bread and roll recipes on the Internet, from Dutch oven cookbooks, and in the minds of Dutch oven chefs who regularly use Dutch ovens on camping trips. Make sure you clean your Dutch oven properly so it can be used on subsequent campouts.
History of Dutch Ovens
You might not need a discussion of how Dutch ovens came to be, but it is fascinating to know when these cooking pots became so popular. Dutch ovens may have come to the US in the early 1700s from Holland. No one knows for sure, but what we do believe is that Paul Revere created the flanged lids and the final design of the Dutch oven. Reports that claim George Washington used Dutch ovens to feed his troops during the Revolutionary War.
As Americans migrated west, the Dutch oven became a valuable item for cooking and baking. Dutch ovens were one of the most valuable items for pioneers, homesteaders, miners, and ranchers. Lewis and Clark cooked wild game as well and baked bread during their trek to the west coast. During cattle drives, drive cooks fed beans and stews and even bread to cowboys during the long cattle drives. The 49ers in California used the Dutch oven to make sourdough bread. All very interesting, but where do you start when baking bread in a Dutch oven?
Best Dutch Ovens to Bake Break In
Ignore the aluminum dutch ovens that are found in camping stores. The most preferred oven for outdoor and campfire cooking is cast iron, with three short legs to allow the oven to be above the ground and for air to circulate around the coals. You will need an oven with a strong wire handle to remove the oven from the coals or fire. Most Dutch oven chefs recommend a cast iron oven with a flat lid and a lip of 1 to 2 inches. The lip allows you to place hot coals on top of the Dutch oven for baking.
Make sure your Dutch oven has a small loop handle on the lid so you can lift the lid off when you need to check your food. You can also use the lid as a griddle or fry pan. The rise of your Dutch oven can be anywhere from 5 to 22” in diameter. Depth is about 3,” but you can find some Dutch ovens as deep as 9 inches. Just remember the larger the Dutch oven, the heavier it will be when full of food. A 12” Dutch oven full of food can weight up to 25 pounds.
Seasoning your Dutch Oven for bread making
After you have resurrected your Dutch or purchased a new oven, inspect for defects. Note that when Dutch Ovens leave the factory, they are sprayed with a clear sealant to keep them from rusting while in storage. This sealant needs to be removed before trying to season or use the Dutch oven.
Wash your Dutch oven in warm soapy water. This will be the last time you will use water on your dutch oven. If you do find any rust on your Dutch oven, remove it with steel wool or a small wire brush.
Dry the Dutch oven thoroughly and place on a heat source. You can use fire, gas Bbq grill, charcoal briquettes or a 400-degree oven. Once the dutch oven is hot, remove it from the heat and wipe on a very thin coat of vegetable oil. Coat the entire oven and lid. Do this both inside and out the first time you season your Dutch oven.
Return your Dutch oven to the heat source, make sure it is upside down, and leave it there until it stops smoking. Next, remove from the heat and wipe on another thin coat of oil and let it cook. If you clean your Dutch oven properly after each use, it will turn jet black with the shiny surface typical of a well-cared for and seasoned Dutch ovens.
Cleaning our Dutch Oven before making bread
There are many different ways to clean a Dutch oven, but the following method has worked well for Dutch oven chefs for years.
- Clean your Dutch oven while it is warm – preferably right after a meal. That way all the oils and remnants of the food are not absorbed into the cast iron.
- Wipe out the Dutch oven with a paper towel, including the underside of the lid.
- Place into the bottom of the Dutch oven, ¼ cup of white vinegar and a ¼ cup of good cooking oil.
- Use a steel wool scouring pad and start scrubbing on the edges, sides, top of the rim and inside of the Dutch oven. Make sure you clean the underside of the lid with the oil and vinegar. Scrub hard and make sure you have scrapped away all particles of food.
- Use strong paper towels that will hold up as you wipe out the inside of the Dutch oven.
- Wipe out everything in the Dutch oven, the lid, and the brim of the lid.
- As you are scrubbing the dutch oven, check the outside of the oven to make sure nothing has spilled out and run down the sides. If foods and liquids have spilled out, clean it off.
- Once you have wiped out the Dutch oven, everything should look clean.
- Once everything has been cleaned out, and the Dutch oven is still a bit warm, apply a coating of cooking oil. The oil will be absorbed into the cast iron, which makes it seasoned for the next meal. Make sure you also season or oil the bottom of the lid.
- Some chefs like to wipe down the sides and the outside of the lid. Everything should be lightly oiled up.
- Place a clean paper towel in the Dutch oven. Make sure the paper towels goes from side to side. The purpose for this is to allow a small amount of air to come into the Dutch oven to keep it from rusting.
- Place the lid back on the Dutch oven, put it on the shelf or wherever you store it. It will be clean and ready for your next camp cookout.
You can also use salt as a scouring agent by dumping salt in the oven and scrubbing with a paper towel. Be sure to clean out your Dutch oven when you are finished. After cleaning, put a thin coat of oil on your Dutch oven.
Most Dutch oven chefs suggest you avoid using soap and water. Any remnant of moisture left in the dutch oven may cause rust.
Bread Recipes for the Dutch Oven
So here it is, our collection of Dutch Oven bread recipes for your enjoyment. Feel free to comment about these recipes or send us some of your own in the comments section at the end of this article.
Cornbread just speaks, “Dutch oven.” Cornbread is perfect for eating with anything made in a Dutch oven.
1 1/3 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup self-rising flour
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cooking oil
2 Tbsp sugar
Mix dry ingredients. Add egg and enough milk to make the batter the consistency of cake batter. Pour into a 12” reheated Dutch oven that has a little hot oil in the bottom.
Cook until the cornbread is golden brown or about 30 minutes. Keep enough heat on the bottom to cook evenly.
*Using a 12” Dutch oven, place 10-12 coals on the bottom cine the cornbread will cook from the bottom up. Place 8-9 coals on the lid. Check the cornbread at least once into the cooking to make sure it is not burning.
Dutch Oven Campfire Bread Video
Shepherd’s Bread is the yummiest bread you will ever eat. Keep plenty of creamy butter and honey available to spread on the bread when it is done.
½ cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp salt
5 cups flour
3 cups of tap water
1 ½ Tbsp yeast
Combine sugar, oil, and water in a bowl. Add yeast and leave until dissolved. Add 2 cups flour and the salt. Mix. Add more flour, enough to make a soft but not sticky dough.
Spray your Dutch oven with cooking spray and put the dough in. Let the dough rise until it is about a ½ inch from the top of the Dutch oven.
Put about 10-12 coals (if using a 12-inch Dutch oven) on the bottom. Cover and place 14-16 coals on the top. Cook until golden brown or about 45 minutes. Make sure you check the bread to ensure it is not burning. Remember that baking bread in a Dutch oven is a time tested method to bake bread!
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Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread
Sourdough bread is made by the fermentation of dough using naturally occurring lactobacilli and yeast. Sourdough bread has a sour taste, and the starter needs to be “fed” by periodic additions of flour and water. As long as you “feed” your starter, it will remain active.
Making and baking sourdough bread is an involved process, but it is the best tasting bread you will ever eat. Use sourdough starter that you can purchase from bakeries or delis. If you are lucky, someone will give you a sourdough starter. Keep it alive for as long as you can. (This recipe yields 2 loaves).
2 tablespoons sourdough started
1 cup cool water
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 cups lukewarm water
5 cups bread flour
4 tsp salt
1 cup rice flour (leave out if you want)
Make the pre-ferment the night before baking. Make it in a large bowl. Mix the ingredient really well and let sit at room temperature or covered overnight. It should smell sour in the morning.
Add all the dough ingredients and mix with your hands as well as you can. Cover and let sit for about 30 minutes.
Knead the dough by first dipping your hand in a bowl of water, grabbing a corner of the dough and pull and stretch it upward. Squish it back down. Turn the bowl and do this again and again. Let the dough sit covered for about 30 minutes.
Follow this procedure three more times or every half hour.
Let the dough sit until it increases in size by half. This takes about -4 hours.
Dump the dough out on a floured board and break it in half. Shape each half to fit into your dutch oven.
Lay out 2 dish towels and sprinkle each with rice flour. Place each loaf into a towel, seam side up, and let it sit for 3-4 hours. Cover with another wet dish town until the dough is about 1.5 times the original size.
Get your Dutch oven heated. Use the correct amount of coals to get the dutch oven up to 475 degrees.
When the Dutch oven is preheated, remove the dutch oven lid and carefully roll one part of the dough into the dutch oven. Make sure it is seam side down. With a sharp knife, slice a slit across the top and cover.
Bake for 20 minutes. Take the lid off and check out your bread. Bake for another 15-20minuts until is dark brown on top. Keep the coals hot! Remove, set aside, and bake the other loaf the same way.
Set the loaves on a board, cover, and cook. Have plenty of honey butter to spread on the bread slices. Eat and relish the taste of yesteryear.
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Easy Rich and Sweet Cinnamon Rolls
Cinnamon rolls are the bread you have been waiting to bake and eat. Yes, we do cheat a little by using packaged dough rather than making them from scratch. You could make them from start to finish by scratch if you wanted to, but this recipe is faster and easier.
1 package store brought bake & serve rolls (Like Rhodes)
1/ cup melted butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1 jar maraschino cherries
Powdered sugar frosting
If you are using a 12-inch Dutch oven, use 12 rolls. Kneed rolls together and roll out to about a ¼” thickness. Spread butter evenly over the dough and sprinkle cinnamon on top. Next, sprinkle chocolate chips and cherries on the dough. Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and pour a little maraschino cherry juice on top of it all (or add more butter). Roll up and cut slices about 1/1/2” thick. Arrange in the bottom of your Dutch oven.
Use 10-12 coal on the bottom of the Dutch oven and 112-14 coals on the lid. Cook your dough until browned about 30 to 35 minutes. Frost while still warm.
Eat and enjoy.
Homemade Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls
If you would rather have homemade Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls, follow this recipe, but you will need to do the prep ahead of time.
¾ cup milk
¼ cup butter
3/14 cup all-purpose flour
1 package instant yeast
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ cup butter softened
- Make Ahead Preparation
Stir together the milk and butter in a saucepan. Cook until the butter melts and the milk is warm. Set aside and let the mixture cool to a “touchable” temperature.
In a large bowl, mix 2 cups of flour with the years, sugar and salt.
Add the water and egg to the flour mixture and mix well. Add the remaining 1/1/4 cups flour a little at a time stirring after each addition until the dough comes together
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes Let the dough rest for 10 minutes
While the dough is resting make the filling by stirring together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle. Spread the softened butter all over the dough rectangle. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture all over the dough.
Start on one of the short sides, roll up the dough into a log. Press the seal of the dough to hold it in place. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the cooler until ready to use.
Remove the dough from your cooler and allow it to thaw before baking. In the meantime, start building your fire and allow it to burn down to good coals.
Slice the dough into 8-12 equal parts. Place the rolls in the bottom of a buttered cast iron Dutch oven and replace the lid.
Place the Dutch oven over the burning coals and place more burning coals on the lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Check your rolls. They should be almost fully cooked by the 15-minute mark.
Remove the Dutch oven from the fire. Place the rolls on a plate. Let cool, then spread frosting on top of the rolls.
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Cinnamon Roll Frosting Recipe
2 Tbsp butter softened
4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar
Stir the butter, cream cheese, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar together until creamy. Set aside to spread over the cinnamon rolls.
Dutch Oven Pancakes
Makes 1 huge pancake you can share around with your camping buddies.
1 cup flour
½ cup butter
1 cup milk
Mix flour and milk in a mixing bowl until blended. Stir in eggs and salt. Melt butter in a Dutch oven and pour the batter over the melted butter.
Tightly place the lid on your Dutch oven. Set about 10-12 coals on the top and 8-10 coals on the bottom. Cook until golden brown and done or about 3-5 minutes. Serve with powdered sugar or syrup.
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