The sad tale of sourdough baking while camping
I had great plans to bake sourdough bread while we were camping. I bought a little baking tin that fitted inside the camp oven (which is basically just a big cast iron pot with a lid), and I packed a container of sourdough starter into the camping fridge. For the first two weeks of our trip it either rained or we camped in places that did not allow a camp fire. So the starter languished. I must admit that I totally neglected it and did not even bother to feed it. Then finally we were in a spot that was going to work. I fed the starter and coaxed it back into life. The problem with SD baking in this sort of environment is that you can’t predict the weather or even our location two days in advance. But I was not going to be deterred. The starter got two feeds and it was looking good to go. I did a very odd sort of ‘kneading’ in a big tupperware container – basically just grabbing handfuls and stretching. Looked a sorry mess but I had faith. What I didn’t have was time – enough time for it to have the required bulk proving and then slow rising. I had about three hours after kneading and decided that I would give it a go anyway. I didn’t think Andrew would be too willing to light another fire for me the next morning, and rain clouds were gathering making the whole next morning thing doubtful. Never mind. I managed to shape the loaf and get it into the hot camp oven. Put a few too many coals on the lid as you can see from the burnt top. To my delight it rose beautifully, and was not burnt in the slightest on the bottom. Since it was well and truly bed time by the time I got it out, I decided to wrap it in a tea towel and put it in this zip up part of the trailer that swings out to form part of the kitchen. I figured that would keep it safe from the ducks and other birds that were coming around in the morning trying to get into the garbage and scrounge for food scraps. It ended up being right below my head and the aroma of freshly baked bread wafted up as I tried to go to sleep. You can see where this is going now can’t you?
A few hours later I was woken up with sounds of an animal scrabbling around below me. I kicked Andrew out of bed and insisted that he go and check and try to save my bread. There was a huge marsupial (probably a bush rat) trying to eat my bread!! I cannot tell you how cross I was. All that effort and I didn’t even get to have a slice out of it. Andrew chucked it in the car for the rest of the night and the next day even though we could not see bite marks, the thought of a “rat” was enough to put us off even risking it. Straight to the bin.
Never mind, I consoled myself. At least I know that it can work. The next loaf will be perfect….
And then Andrew decided to clean out the camping fridge. In true Andrew style which involves throwing out something precious to me, usually something I have just bought at some fancy food market….he threw out my starter. He thought it smelled like something that was off. So no more sourdough baking on this trip. How sad is that?!