Baking your buns in the backcountry might seem like a euphemism for a day with a heavy pack and 10,000 feet of elevation gain, however in this story, we indicate it actually: you ought to be baking your buns in the backcountry.

Right now, you’’ re thinking, OK, however that seems like a great deal of work.

Yeah, it is more work than consuming Slim Jims for 14 straight days, however it’’ s worth it.


“ For me, remaining in the backcountry has to do with living out there and enjoying it, so you’’ re not on day 3, daydreaming about returning and having great food once again,” ” states Al Kesselheim , who is based in Bozeman, Montana, and is the author of Let Them Paddle and numerous other outdoors-themed books. For Kesselheim, cooking time, when you and your experience mates relax and drink coffee as your bread bakes, is among the most pleasurable parts of the day. ““ That downtime is a huge part of the outside experience,” ” he states.


And the odor of newly baked bread after you’’ ve torched 13,000 calories treking? Definitely absolutely nothing beats that, states Casey Pikla, who has actually been a NOLS trainer for almost 10 years. Pikla matured baking, and because signing up with NOLS, he’’ s been dealing with his backcountry bread baking, consisting of the periodic naturally leavened sourdough loaf.

Basic bread takes just 4 components: flour, yeast, salt, and water. Sure, flour isn’’ t ultralight, however a pound goes a long method calorie-wise. Yeast—– small bacteria that leaven your bread—– live, so you do need to treat them with care, however Pikla states they’’ re much heartier than you believe. He’’ s taken them on journeys where temperature levels dropped to 30 listed below, and they in some way endured.

The only other things you require are time, a method to bake your loaf, and a little bit of knowledge. Truly that 3rd thing is flexible. You can fudge rather a lot, states Pikla. ““ Bread is in fact very flexible,” ” he states, including that as long as you have more flour in your bag and more water in your Nalgene, you can repair a dough that’’ s too dry or too damp; it ’ s simply a matter of including more of either till it “ feels. ” And even bad fresh bread tastes much better than anything that’’ s remained in your pack for a week. We’’ ve assembled 3 various choices for the backcountry baker, beginning with a simple dish and going up to a more intricate one.

.Start Here: Easy Backcountry Bannocks.

The bannock is Kesselheim’’ s go-to carbohydrate when he ’ s on the relocation. It ’ s basically a tasty flatbread prepared in a pan. ““ You simply make the dough in the field, toss it in a frying pan or frying pan, brown it on both sides, and when you’’ re done, you have something that looks type of like an English muffin,” ” he states. Since it utilizes baking soda and not yeast, there’’ s no increasetime.


Kesselheim makes bags of preportioned bannock mix in your home. In the backcountry, he formulate a batch in the evening to opt for his supper and function as his sandwich bread for lunch the following day. It takes simply minutes to blend and fry, so there’’ s truly no reason not to include these to your nighttime regimen on the path.

.Components.1 cup flour.1 teaspoon baking powder.1/2 teaspoon salt.2 to 3 tablespoons powdered milk.Cooking oil.Directions.

Mix all of these active ingredients—– other than for the oil—– in a bag or a bowl. A bowl is somewhat much easier however produces another meal to clean. Include simply sufficient water to turn the dough into a thick batter. Start gradually with the water, due to the fact that you can constantly include more. Stir till whatever is integrated and there are no swellings.

Drizzle a percentage of oil on a hot pan or a frying pan over a campfire. Spoon 4 rounds onto the hot pan (or simply 2 at a time if you just have a little pan). Prepare for a minute or 2 up until the bottom looks golden brown, then prepare and turn up until the opposite is golden, too.

.Level Up: Pizza Dough.

Yeasted pizzas and calzones are backcountry bread variation 2.0. While a leavened loaf takes a couple of hours to increase, pizza dough requires simply an hour or two, states Ricardo Davis, a previous NOLS trainer who now operates in Denver as a pediatric-oncology nurse. When Davis was leading courses, he’’d begin the dough as quickly as his group got to camp, then let it increase as everybody was establishing camping tents and getting settled. By the time he was prepared to prepare, the dough was prepared to roll.

.When making a yeasted dough is not to include all your flour at as soon as, #ppppp> The essential thing. Constantly hold some back in case your dough winds up too damp. The majority of us can filter more water if required, however discovering more flour might be difficult.

.Active ingredients.3 to 4 cups flour.1 teaspoon yeast.1 teaspoon sugar.1 to 2 teaspoons salt.2 cups water.Directions.

That’’ s enough flour for 2 to 3 individuals, and you’’ ll desire additional simply in case. You can eyeball the salt and the yeast—– this is the backcountry. Sugar assists the yeast work rapidly, however you can avoid it if you desire.

If you have additional time, in a bowl, liquify your yeast with the teaspoon of sugar and a tablespoon or more of flour in a little bit of water. Let this mix evidence (the term for triggering the yeast) for a couple of minutes. If you’’ re pushed for time, avoid this action. Pikla states it’’ s no big deal, and your dough will end up fine.

Add your flour to the bowl, making certain to reserve a minimum of half a cup. include the salt and gradually start including the water. Mix the dough with each addition of water. Begin working the dough initially with a spoon, then change to your hands as it begins to come together. If it’’ s very sticky, include more flour. If it’’ s crumbly, include more water. Invest about 5 minutes or two offering the bread an excellent knead. When it stops staying with your hands or to the bowl, and it recovers perfectly when you poke it, it’’ s all set.


Find a method to cover the bowl (a plate works), and let it increase for an hour. Temperature level impacts increase time. If it’’ s cold, you ’ re going to require to let the dough increase in a warm location, like your coat pocket. Your body will offer a quite perfect increasing environment, states Pikla.

You desire your dough to double in size. You understand, this is the backcountry, so wear’’ t sweat it if it doesn ’ t get that huge. Roll it out as finest you can. Davis discovered that a therm-a-rest pad and a complete nalgene topped with a plastic bag work well for this job. Clothing your pizza as you please, then slip it onto a hot pan. You’’ ll most likely wish to cover the pan with a cover to get your cheese to melt and your garnishes warm. Or you can utilize your dough for a calzone and turn it in half midway through cooking.

.Level Up Even More: The Leavened Loaf.

Try this on a down day or when you’’ re positioned in one area for a couple of nights and simply doing day walkings, states Pikla.

Step one might be the most vital action: ““ Adjust your expectations. It’’ s most likely difficult to make a lovely, backcountry, San Francisco–– design pastry shop loaf,” ” he states. Still, you can do quite darn well.

Make your dough in the early morning. Once again, Pikla is a huge fan of winging it, however here’’ s a dish.

.Components. 2 to 3 cups flour.1 teaspoon yeast.1 to 2 teaspoons salt.Water.Directions.

Combine the components, including adequate water to form a company dough, and work the dough for 5 to 10 minutes up until it bounces back when you poke it. Discover a warm area for the dough to increase for 3 to 4 hours. If it’’ s hot, it might increase in less time. If it’’ s cold, it might take all the time. Simply be versatile and look at it once in a while. Once it has actually doubled in size, offer it another fast knead (a couple of great squeezes must do it), and form it into a little loaf. Let it chill while you established your baking operation.

Pikla (and everybody at NOLS) likes to bake in a Fry-Bake pan. These lidded pans prepare fairly equally, even when you just have heat originating from listed below, like with a range. You’’ ll still most likely requirement to turn your bread midway through (something you’’d never ever do at house), or you’’ ll requirement to construct a ““ twiggy fire ” on top of the pan to prepare the loaf uniformly. (You can view Pikla make such a fire in this video .)

When the loaf is golden brown on each side and sounds hollow when you offer it an excellent knock, it’’ s all set to come out. Bread snobs will inform you to let the loaf cool prior to consuming it, however there’’ s no space for snobbery in the backcountry. Dive on in.


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