View Full Version : Baking and frying breads?

08-03-2004, 22:08
I have been experimenting with baking muffin mixes in an aluminum pot on a cat stove with simmer ring and plate over the burner (Sgt. Rock version). Muffins tend to cook thoroughly but burn on the bottom even with a long simmer burn rate of 15-20 minutes on 2 soda caps of fuel. I tried putting a piece of .040 aluminum in the bottom of the pot to make it thicker and that helps but my pot is very experienced so the bottom is not smooth and the heat transfer is too slow to bake the top, plus the extra piece isn't handy for anything else.

Bakers: What pot/stove combo works for you? Anything special or do I just need to keep fiddling with the stove to perfect the simmer?

Fryers: What frying pan works as a good compromise between weight and not scorching too quickly? We need some ultra light cast iron or tri-ply. I gave up on pancakes a long time ago because of the burn/cleanup issue but would like to try again.

08-03-2004, 22:32
Fryers: What frying pan works as a good compromise between weight and not scorching too quickly? We need some ultra light cast iron or tri-ply. I gave up on pancakes a long time ago because of the burn/cleanup issue but would like to try again.

I use an MSR aluminum non-stick fry pan this one


it's the cheaper one...i was going to try the TI frying pan but what happens with these non stick coatings is they get beat up and scratched up out on the trail and you need to replace it..you can get a lot of use out of one though...I have had mine 2 years and between my son and I it probably has 1500 miles on it and it is showing some wear...but I use it a LOT. you need to get a small lexan type spatula to use with it...I got my spatuala at mt rogers outfitter in damscus...only place I have ever seen one.

controlling the cooking temp is the "secret' to not burning and scorching..you need a stove that you can adjust the heat easily.

Lone Wolf carries a frying pan too, but i think he uses his to fry up hamburgers and bacon and eggs and such....

08-04-2004, 00:38
I don't have the time right now to find it again, but Carol "Brawny" Wellman has a site about her alcohol-stove baking setup. Along with recipes, etc. If you cannot google it up, I will see if I can retrace my electronic steps and get the location for you. Bill

Texas Dreamer
08-04-2004, 10:28
Backpacking pots with "fry pan" lids can be used Dutch oven style occasionally with good results. For this you need to wait until there is a campfire which has burned to the point of producing small but good coals. With a real (heavy, cast iron) dutch oven the mistake most people make in the beginning is to use too much heat on the bottom. This is an even bigger problem with the thinner alum. or TI pots. To prevent this, put a few coals on the ground in an area a little bigger than the bottom of your pot, and put a little dirt over them. put batter or dough in greased pot on top of this coal bed, put other pan skillet side up on top with coals in it (foil makes for easier cleanup). You want more coals on top than on bottom. This takes some practice to get the technique right, and to get a feel for how different woods burn hotter or longer, but it is worth the experimentation.

I have been teaching folks "victorian" cooking techniques for years, including dutch ovens and woodburning cookstoves, and have been very surprized to find backpackers using cumbersome backpacking "ovens" instead of this technique. I will admit that it takes a little practice to bake this way in such thin pans, but it is well worth it to have cornbread or biscuit and fresh butter for supper after all the noodles.

Let me know if ya'll want to know how to get fresh butter on the trail for those bicuits.

08-05-2004, 15:43
Has anybody tried the Bakepacker?


08-05-2004, 16:22
SmtnSteve: What stove you using? I've tried various gas stoves including my old Optimus 8r, a dual fuel Coleman, MSR internationale, and now the alcohol.
I have always found it difficult if not nearly impossible to regulate the flame consistently low enough to do a good job frying with a thin pan. Also, your pancakes sound great. Do you put powdered egg in your mix? I have found that eggless batters tend to be stickier and harder to clean up than ones containing real eggs. Real eggs won't go in my backpack and I got grossed out on powdered eggs 30 years ago and haven't had the nerve to try them again-but might.

Texas Dreamer: You are talking my language with the dutch ovens, etc. I can do cast iron cooking outdoors all rainy weekend and never come out from under the tarp except to hit the thunderbox and retrieve water. I have a Waterford Stanley cookstove, too, the only civilized way to cook in a house except when it is too hot outside. The skimpy pots we use for backpacking are a real challenge to use for anything other than boiling. I haven't tried the backpacking pots/pans on a fire because I seldom do a fire in the backcountry. You are certainly right about improvising with pots and pans. I've made biscuits, upside down cakes and all sorts of stuff in a covered fry pan over a wood fire, but its always been cast iron.

Alalskaman: Brawny's site is what got me moving in this direction. The recipes sound great and easy to do if I can just regulate the heat.
The url is http://www.trailquest.net/baking.html

Veteran: I haven't tried the bakepacker. Sounds good but I am hoping to use the kiss system and make do with what I have or at least only replace items with similar pans better suited to the job.

08-05-2004, 16:44
I've cooked pancakes over an old (15+yrs) Coleman Peak 1, a Trangia, and now a MSR simmerlite. I have had a non-stick fry pan for several years now, along with a foldable spatula from the MSR kitchen kit. All stoves simmered just fine, even the Trangia (used the simmer ring).

Texas Dreamer, a couple of questions if you would:
1. What's an easy way to get the coals into the fry pan (top) for baking?
2. Will the hot coals ruin nonstick coating, that is, should we use foil liner?
3. What do you use for greasing the pan, oil?
4. Do you clarify the butter (ghee)?

08-05-2004, 22:51
Alligator, a sierra cup works well to scoop coals but it can be hot on your knuckles if you have a hot fire going. A bandana wrapped as a glove is a pretty handy accessory for this method.

I have been playing with my gear some more and have come to the conclusion that the biggest problem I have with scorch is that my pans are too light. My old aluminum 2 quart pot (no lid) weighs an ounce less than the 1.3 L Evernew titanium. That is telling me that metal is awfully thin. I use an ancient Boy Scout mess kit bowl for a bowl/pot lid/pan and it weighs in at 2oz
compared to the slightly larger fryingpans at around 5oz each. So now the question is if I bake/fry, how much heavier will my kitchen be in order to get good results and is the extra weight worth it to me? If anything I thought my old pots were probably heavier than equivalent titanium. Tradeoffs, tradeoffs.

I'd still be interested in hearing what specific pots and pans have worked well for people doing more than boiling.

08-05-2004, 23:30
SmtnSteve: What stove you using?

this one..while not the lightest stove you can buy, the flame is very adjustable for low temps and simmering and if you learn to cut back your flame when possible this stove is a real fuel miser.


Also, your pancakes sound great.

:sun I use two kinds of mixes both from Arrowhead Mills...thier organic buttermilk pancakes...and the multi-grain pancake mix. both are complete mixes just add h2o and canola oil, or you can use milk but h2o works fine. you can always add a little soy milk powder if you like.

the buttermilk mix is a little "lighter" and goes better with fresh berries.

while the multi grain is a heavier pancake and makes a great cranberry (dried) scone sort of thing.

08-06-2004, 01:53
I didn't mention this before, since this is an AT and thruhiker-oriented site, you-alls might think the weight is excessive, but on group hiking trips and canoe trips, I take Outback Oven (20 oz) and my Coleman Exponent Xtreme canister stove ( 11 1/2 oz) The stove simmers great, is more fuel-efficient than most. The oven setup also doubles as a frypan, so the only other utensil I take is an Evernew 1.3 l titanium pot. Still too heavy for some of you, I'm sure, but it bakes PERFECTLY, biscuits, scones, muffins, pizza, gingerbreads, whatever. Just use the "jiffy" cheap supermarket mixes, not the highpriced campstore ones. Mix in the powdered egg at home. Have also made enchiladas - tortillas keep well, and cheese within limits although I don't travel in real hot weather. You can dehydrate red or green sauce, don't take the cans. As I said, this is heavier than a pepsican stove and a walmart pot, but you have no idea how popular you will be with friends if you can lay out some fresh brownies for them. Bill

08-06-2004, 09:11
Thanks Bob, I have a sierra cup too...:o . Should have thought of that. I am going to try this, but won't have a fire handy for a little bit. I will be using a GSI Bugaboo pot and fry lid (solo kit). Not the lightest, but cost, size, fry lid, and nonstick status make it my cook kit of choice. I'll let everyone know how it turns out. I will probably use foil in the fry pan just to be careful.

I would also like to get the outback oven myself for canoe trips.

08-06-2004, 18:47
I'm gonna revisit my cookware and try some of those pancake mixes Steve. Some of your food posts make me drool.

I just checked the usgs gages to determine which river to hit this weekend. We are getting an awesome respite from the summer heat so its out to the swamps along the Lumber River in extremely flat southeastern NC. Weekend paddling I don't mind the extra weight and might try the heavier cookware or oven. Tomorrow night is chile with cornbread ala Brawny's recipe. I can handle the steamed things in my skimpy pot, will try the baking again after upgrading my frying pan and /or pot then decide what makes it into the backpack.

Texas Dreamer
08-10-2004, 09:28
Just like was mentioned, metal cup is great for moving coals.
I don't know about the non-stick, mine isn't. lining with foil goes in the category of: you don't really have to, but it sure is nice.

about butter--on the first day of shorter trip, or supply day of longer trip, buy a small carton of whipping cream. Open just enough to slip in a marble, close securely with a little duct tape, insert in baggie (just in case of leaks), and carry in outside pocket of pack. At each break, check progress. First you'll see a whipped cream texture, which will get grainier, then form a lump of butter in buttermilk. Pour off buttermilk into a container. Put lump of butter in sierra cup to wash: pour in a little cold water, mash around with the back of spoon, pour out white water, repeat until water is clear, then mash with spoon while tilting cup to get ALL of excess water out. Now you can make something yummy with the buttermilk, and the first night you can have fresh butter. after that--yes clarify the butter and it will save for several days even in the heat.
The acidity in the buttermilk will react nicely with the baking soda you might be carrying for tooth brushing and freshening, to make a good leavening. Not as good as baking powder, but a little more utilitarian.

The trick to baking in the thin pot is dirt, put down your bed of coals then cover with a layer of dirt before you put your pot on to prevent scorching.

08-10-2004, 10:30
That's a neat trick to make the butter. I'll have to look up some buttermilk recipes, biscuits come to mind. Thanks for the info TD.

Texas Dreamer
08-10-2004, 11:13
most biscuit recipes are based on baking powder as a leavening. To use baking soda instead, you have to use something slightly acidic with it. Experiment along these lines with biscuits, soda-bread, and cornbread in your own kitchen for a while. I'd give you recipes, but I just use instinct and technique and never really write down recipes. Also, sourdough works great on the trail, but double (or even triple!) bagging is recommended. This is better for a shorter, well planned trip. Having sourdough getting overworked because you didn't have time for a long, drawn out, supper stop can cause a big mess.

01-23-2005, 13:33
>>Having sourdough getting overworked because you didn't have time for a long, drawn out, supper stop can cause a big mess<<

Well that answers one burning question I had, thanks.:o

02-10-2005, 00:05
Has anybody tried the Bakepacker?

I was intrigued by the website so I went by REI and bought one. Tried it this morning to make biscuits and it worked perfectly. Thanks!

02-11-2005, 11:36
Boy, I am *so* close to getting one of those Bakepackers to try! The thought of muffins or th elike on the trail after a long day or veen for breakfast... YUM! Sound slike alot of ppl use them to cook regular meals as well?

Any other opinions on these? The price isn't too bad really! Nor is the weight, seeing as there are two of us and we get to share alot... I wonder if the smaller one that says feeds 1-2 would be big enough tho? Just looks fun and not just something that would go by the wayside after awhile...

02-11-2005, 13:57
Snowpeak gigapower BF and an outback oven. They absolutely positively work, the learning curve is pretty short, and nothing makes a crisp autumn morning sweeter than the smell of hot cinnamon buns. The cookset is very versatile, you can fry, boil, simmer and keep things warm. You do need a stove with a remote fuel supply because there is a real risk of overheating the cannister and blowing it up. You'll be surprised how fuel efficient a good stove can be when set on a very low flame. I haven't tried the lighter weight version but with 2 people splitting the load, it makes sense if you enjoy real food.

I didn't read alaskaman's post before I went nuts with mine, but obviously I heartily concur with him.:clap

max patch
02-11-2005, 14:21
Has anybody tried the Bakepacker?


I have a bakepacker. Works as advertised; I've even used it at home to make Irish Sodabread. I use it on overnights or canoe camping; wouldn't consider taking it on a thru or long distance hike.

02-11-2005, 15:54
This topic came up somewhere a few weeks ago. I have always wanted to try this. I have used a BakePacker for about 12 years. This method gives you a "crust" type baked item. My tests turned out really great. I have posted a bunch of pictures of the set-up I used and what I baked.

Caution - pictures may cause hunger pains and possible follow on weight gain.


02-12-2005, 00:00
Hmmmm... crumb cake.

I have a little personal tradition. I carry a really good dessert to eat my last night out. That sounds like a good one.