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Home-made bread recipe (Crusty Loaf)

home made crusty bread - recipe & tips for caravan ovenBaking bread can at first seem like a monumental faff and you’d be forgiven for thinking that surely it’s just not possible at home let alone in a caravan - then we know otherwise!

Some years ago Ryan bought us a bread maker and we managed to get a few good loaves out of it, but to be honest I find it easy enough to make bread by hand and since it’s quite a bulky bit of kit so has no place on board Waki (it has since found a new home where it is much more appreciated). Of course it was nice to simply throw the ingredients in and then leave the house, allowing the machine to work its mysterious baking magic, but that’s not what The Waki Way is all about now is it? 

Read on to discover how to make a real loaf of bread, by hand - it’s extremely empowering! :)

 

There’s nothing fancy or unique about this recipe, we certainly didn't invent it - in fact it’s straight off of the back of a yeast packet! You can buy dried yeast and bread flour at pretty much every supermarket these days or even online here... Of course we recommend opting for Organic bread flour if you can stretch to it. (see why we went Organic)

 

TIP! As with any dough recipe make sure that your hands and rolling/kneading surface are squeaky clean and that any wedding rings etc have been stashed safely away (jewellery can harbour germs, plus it’s fiddly business to have to scrub dried dough out from around any stones or cut patterns!).

I also make sure to have a bowl of warm soapy water ready to clean my hands up afterwards. 

 

Ingredients:

650g strong white / wholemeal bread flour

2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

15g butter/oil

7g dried yeast

400ml warm water (body temp or slightly warmer) + 50ml extra for wholemeal

+ optional nuts and seeds

 

Method:

1. Mix flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large bowl. Rub in the butter or stir in oil. Add any nuts and seeds you want in the mix now.

2. Add water and knead for 10 mins on a well floured work surface (or in the bowl on your lap if you've not got a surface to use...). Push the dough away from you with the heel of your hand before gathering it back up, turning and repeating until elastic.

3. Shape into a round (or rolls if you're going that way) and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 mins or until doubled in size. To shape bread; place your left hand on the side of the dough ball whilst using your right to gently try to turn it towards you. Allow your right hand to pass under the dough slightly as you pull it towards you. Reposition your left hand and repeat until the dough is smoothed into a neat round. Lift carefully with floured hands to avoid it sticking and pulling out of shape.

4. Set on a lightly oiled baking tray or in loaf tins being careful not to knock too much air out of the dough, and slice into the top with a sharp knife to allow for expansion. Bake at a high heat until golden brown, turning if necessary for even cooking. The loaf/rolls should sound hollow when tapped. For adaptation in a Dutch Oven cook the bread over embers only, with more embers scooped onto the lid for an even heat.

5. Cool on a wire rack for as long as you can bear before slicing and devouring!

Home made bread steps

I’m a massive fan of the super-flaky bakery rolls, you know the type you need to hold a plate under whilst eating else you’ll be wearing it all! Unfortunately it requires an extremely hot oven plus steam to get them like that but you can get close with a combination of the following tricks: have your oven as hot as you can get it, put a tray with water in at the bottom of the oven to create a steamy environment and spray them with water a couple of times during the cooking process. Also brushing with egg whites tends to crisp things up. If you still can’t get the bread super crusty don’t worry, it tastes delicious either way! 

 

Also, in my own take on ‘best of both’ bread I substitute some of the white flour for wholemeal, it has lots more flavour and substance to it. Why not throw in some nuts, herbs or seeds to make it even more delicious if you like too?

 

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For our favourite UK Organic product suppliers see our list here.

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Sarah is an artist and writer with a lifetime interest in camping and survival techniques.

Living the #vanlife since before it was a hashtag and touring on two wheels with her husband Ryan, they have a wealth of camping and motorcycling knowledge to share, and know a thing or two about packing light! read more


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