Last week we went camping in N20130815_183235_1ew Mexico.  I love camping and finding ways to eat well with the limited space and equipment that camping requires.  This year I decided to try baking bread.

I did an internet search as preliminary research, and found that people had mixed results with baking sourdough bread while camping.  I decided to take enough for two batches, in case the first didn’t turn out.

It was a short trip, though, only two and a half days, so I realized I couldn’t make two risen loaves, just due to the time constraints.  I settled on making one batch of pita bread for the first night’s supper, and one loaf of bread for the second night.

I used my sourdough pita bread recipe from the Sourdough Surprises challenge.  As soon as we got to the campsite the first day, around two in the afternoon, I mixed the starter, flour, and water together for the sponge.

I didn’t have a measuring 20130815_175517_1cup in the camping stuff, so I used a melamine mug that looked like it held approximately one cup, and a regular spoon to measure the salt.

The starter had been in the cooler, and was chilled, and the water I used was cool, though not cold.  I didn’t want to light a campfire or the propane camp stove in the middle of the afternoon just to heat a little water.

It was a pretty warm afternoon, I’d say high eighties.  After a little bit I decided that the bowl with the sponge, which had been sitting in a sunny spot, needed moved to the shade.

I left the sponge to get bubbly for about four hours or so, before mixing up the dough while my dad got the fire started.  The fire starting didn’t go entirely smoothly, so instead of resting 20 minutes as the recipe instructs, it rested at least 30 minutes.

I rolled out the first couple, but soon realized that I couldn’t watch the pitas cooking and roll them out at the same time because the difference between done and burned was just a few seconds, so my daughter took over rolling out the pita dough.

I cooked the pitas on a cast iron griddle.  There was a period of adjustment to this method of cooking as opposed to using the oven.  I badly scorched the first two or three pitas.  But the20130815_183249n, I burn a couple of tortillas at first every time I make those, too.

For awhile I tried putting a cast iron skillet over the cooking pitas to increase the chances that they would puff up, but it didn’t work and made it more likely that they would overcook because I couldn’t see what was going on under there, so I abandoned that idea.

None of the pitas puffed up to give a “pocket”, but they did rise and get light and fluffy, much more so than I expected.  We ate them with spaghetti, so the pocket wasn’t important.

Everyone enjoyed them, and I consider Part 1 of the campfire baking experiment a big success.20130815_183159