There’s nothing quite like having fresh baked goods in camp. A certain magical wonder happens with fresh baked cookies or a loaf of banana bread straight from the oven in your RV. But what if you don’t have an oven or toaster oven in your RV? Incredible things can still happen with a dutch oven, a campfire, and a little courage.
For those unfamiliar, a dutch oven is a large cast-iron pot with a matching lid. This cookware can be hung over, set off to one side, or placed directly in the coals of a campfire. Temperature control can be a little challenging, but most baking recipes can be adapted using some general rules. If you have an oven thermometer, these work great for an accurate reading of temperature inside your dutch oven. Otherwise, once the dutch oven has been raised to heat, dust some flour onto it. If it burns quickly, your oven is about 250-300 ºC. If it browns slowly, your oven is about 200-250 ºC. If the flour turns only slightly golden over a minute or two, your oven is about 150-200 ºC.
Next, simply adjust your recipe for baking utensils. A piece of parchment paper in the bottom is perfect for about 6 cookies, to bake just as they would in your oven at home. A small square baking pan or loaf pan can be used for sweat breads, biscuits, brownies, rolls, and cakes. If you are extra brave and attempting yeast bread or sourdough, a boule can be formed by hand and baked directly on the inside surface of the dutch oven or over a small rack placed in the bottom.
Baking time should be roughly the same as what you would use at home. Be sure to check inside of your dutch oven, but not so frequently that heat is lost and baking is slowed. Once baked, items will need to be removed from the dutch oven quickly and cooled on a rack. If items are “near done” but need a little bit more time, the dutch oven can be removed from the fire and allowed to continue baking while the oven cools.