Anyone dry bake or bake items when backpacking? Whats your set up etc..

1:48 p.m. on January 9, 2018 (EST)
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Hey all wanted to know who dry bakes or just bakes something..NO I wouldn't do this on a thru hike unless it was 400 miles or less...But I am interested to see your photos and how you do it etc..More info we share maybe someone will learn something new...I like to learn...

2:00 p.m. on January 9, 2018 (EST)
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Biscuit on a stick!

Take self rising biscuit dough (stored in Ziploc) mix with required amount or water, or for more taste use milk (Powdered milk, also in a Ziploc) , roll dough into a long log, wrap around a green stick that has had the bark removed and about as big around as your thumb, wrap around end (of course) and bake over a open flame, I use my stove or a campfire. Turn to bake evenly and then remove from stick, fill hole from stick with butter, jam/jelly or honey and  eat.

I also make pancake bread. Just mix the pancake mix as normal, fry in pan or on flat rock in coals, make as many as you want to eat in a day for sandwiches, let cool, package in a Ziploc bag. Makes round sandwich bread!

6:46 p.m. on January 9, 2018 (EST)
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I have a two muffin kit I use for family trips and a single muffin kit that is light enough to come along on distance trips. Basic set up is a silicone muffin mold and a metal cookie cutter with muffin and biscuit mix premeasured into small zip bags. Add water to mix and squish around in bag, then cut open a corner and squeeze it into the mold. Kettle/pot goes over fire, cookie cutter goes in the bottom, muffin mold rests on that, lid goes on top.

I get better browning in the shorter kettle than I do in the pot where the lid is farther above the mold. Patience is a virtue...leave the lid on as long as you can before peeking. Trapping the heat is key for getting a nice crispy top, but even failures are delicious when you've been out for a few days.

This one done in the kettle has some nice browning around the edges and across the top.

This one done in a taller pot has baked enough to pull away from the mold, but didn't brown. They are still tasty, but the texture is a bit more doughy this way.

Note I am doing this over an open fire in all of these pics. I have done some testing using canister stoves, but even with a heat shield it seemed dangerous to me in terms of heating up the can. Unless you're using a remote configuration I don't recommend baking on a canister stove. I have used the MSR Whisperlite with both remote canister and white gas, but given the time required it is fuel intensive, especially in the cold.

Let me know if you have any questions, but really, it is all about experimenting and figuring out what works to get you the results you want. The more you play with it the better the results I find. Well and camping in the middle of a blueberry patch doesn't hurt either :)

8:45 p.m. on January 9, 2018 (EST)
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For canoe trips, family camping or real short over nighters where weight isn't an issue this is what you need...

Pizza, fish, cookies! Mmmm cookies.

Definitely not for UL'ers and it doesn't pack down small but it opens up a lot more food choices.

11:23 p.m. on January 9, 2018 (EST)
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Banks fry bake. There is a 10 oz version for backpackers. NOLS has recipes for it... if there's going to be a campfire, it's easy to make any number of things with it.

11:38 a.m. on January 10, 2018 (EST)
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I threw my solo kit on the scale for comparison and the mold plus cookie cutter total up to .9oz/25g  Using the kettle/pot to bake in saves weight over using a dedicated stove. At under an ounce I consider it a luxury item worth carrying even on a distance hike. On longer trips the texture of fresh baked goods can really raise your spirits.

The mix adds up fast though, about an ounce for a muffin and around two ounces for a biscuit with a tube of jam. When packing for a distance trip I figure one or two bags of mix in a 5-7 day resupply to keep it reasonable.

2:48 p.m. on January 12, 2018 (EST)
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LS I thought it would weigh more..Makes sense do you steam bake also? thank you for the pictures and how to do it and avoiding the canister idea.

5:40 p.m. on January 12, 2018 (EST)
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It could be done much lighter Denis and I'm sure it has been. The cookie cutter weighs 6g which could be reduced by drilling holes in it. Assuming you have a pot or kettle with lid you are carrying, all you need is something to bake in and something to raise that up. There have to be lighter ways of doing the same thing, but this is good enough for me. Like I said, the mix for just one muffin weighs more than the kit heh.

I have tried steam baking when I was testing out using canister stoves with various heat shields. Didn't want to put my pots and kettles in real fire, but found heat shields scary and steam baking a bit rubbery. My preference is small twig fires or low coals, a few inches below the "oven" and dry baking because of that texture difference. The more bready and less doughy the product the better the return in happy brain chemicals. If you can get that brown crust on the edge and a well baked center it seems to make a hungry, tired body want to live again :p

6:55 a.m. on January 13, 2018 (EST)
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I am going to have to get a lower pot.My 900 trek is tall.So something lower to get what you have gotten for results...I am going to take that advise about a small twig fire and coals...But I am going to try this out soon and post how it turns out...Thank you for the help and yes have to agree sometimes I crave something warm or hot that's a nice change in camp from just backpacking meal....

7:44 a.m. on January 13, 2018 (EST)
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You don't necessarily have to change pots if you like what you are using. You just need something taller inside to raise your baking item to be closer to the lid. Hmm, maybe a small rack hanging from three chains with hooks on the end to hang from the top? Now I have to see what I can scrounge up to try that out in my pot :)

4:45 p.m. on January 13, 2018 (EST)
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We do steam baking and this is a method that is quite old for backpacking, back when they called it tramping or other terms before "backpacking" became the popular term. 

You will find various references throughout literature. I've seen it in Cache Lake Country, published in 1947 using a tin can and lager pot... and they have a good example in Simple Foods for the Pack, a Sierra Club cookbook and show how they make their setup.

We have two setups that work very well. When we bake it is not a little muffin. LOL we back Black Forest Cake. 

setup 1 is a Snow Peak 1400 pot and their Snow Peak Titanium bowl which nests up in top of the pot.

Setup 2 is a Snow Peak Cook'n Save 2L pot and an Evernew 1.3L pot that nests inside.

Mix up your cake and put it in the Ti bowl in the first setup or the 1.3 Ti Pot in the second. We cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom. Then you set it in the place in the applicable pan. I put about 16oz of water in the 1400 pot and 12 oz in the 1.3 evernew pot. Get the water up to a very low simmer with the lids on and cook for 35 to 40 minutes. Check with a toothpick. Then let the cake cool completely before taking it out, maybe and hour or more. We make our cake mixes from scratch, no store bought mixes for us. 

Setup no 1 looks like this

Setup no 2 and my favorite looks like this

Chopped nuts go good and this size will feed six people a nice slice of cake or two or three a huge piece of cake. I do it on a canister stove, either a Snow Peak Giga or Kovea Spider (my fav) and it is turned on so low that it does not use much fuel but I've used campfires too. 

As you say, not for a through hike but we have done this on two week backpacking trips a bunch of times. 


3:53 a.m. on January 16, 2018 (EST)
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Aluminum foil. 

I haven't baked dough items, but I have "baked" all sorts of protein items and stews. Regular foil is very adaptable to various BC cooking applications.  I have made "ovens" for rib roasts, turkeys, ducks, even pizza.   The oven consist of a "pot" bottom formed from foil, with a oversized dome shaped foil lid to cover.  The lid entraps most of the heat, while the overhanging eves of the dome directs wood smoke into the oven, giving the meats a wonderful flavor.  With a little practice a competent cook can get impressive results from this system.  Of course most of my "baking" can be done simply by roasting the entrée, but the foil oven requires less fuel, thus a smaller fire and pit.


2:19 p.m. on January 19, 2018 (EST)
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Ghostdawg thank you for the pics and your setup...I think I am going to play around with this and experiment Monday with both ways...

Ed I do that when camping and can build a fire and have a lot of time and not worrying about miles...

7:09 p.m. on January 19, 2018 (EST)
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Denis your bake time of course will change with altitude, outside temp and the volume of your baking item. We do it so the Snow Peak Ti bowl of around 600 mls is pretty full with the raw batter here. You can also see how the bowl's rim mates and nests with the 1400 pot's rim. Bake with the pots lid on. This is with the Snow Peak Giga stove, an old tried and true fave but I like the new Kovea remote canister stove a bit more now.

It will puff up as it bakes and makes a very moist and tender, almost creamy cake. 

We have found that the Emberlit stove is a very good way to cook or bake with the SP 1400 pot so if you like to use wood for fuel and don't want to spend a lot of time making a big white man fire, this is a good piece of kit. It allows very good control too so a low simmer is easy to get. Here it is doing some experimental cooking in the side yard. It has a 4 dogs titanium lid on it here that saves weight but is only good for boiling water. I found that it blows off when simmering longer cook meals and is not good for baking either. The original frypan lid is good for both though.

We have cooked on this stove a whole bunch of times. 

Another good method for dry baking is just use a good skillet with lid. The skillet has to have a thicker bottom than the usual backpacking fair though. I've found the Pathfinder skillet with lid to make a dynamite 8" wide, 1" thick buckwheat pancake that is evenly browned from side to side, and no darker where the stove flame hits it.

The more you practice at home, the better you will get and you will find a method and technique that works for you. You have to eat anyway so that is a good place to get ready for the trail. Have fun! The steam baking will work with many pots that nest to make a double boiler. 

10:19 p.m. on January 22, 2018 (EST)
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I steam-bake more than anything else...but technically I "slump" my thicker stews and soups or "dumpling" my brothy things with a bit of biscuit or bannock mix. It works really well with dehydrated foods...just let everything rehydrate for a while then drop little bits of the dough in and cook till their cooked through. If you want to make someone special really happy you can do a "cobbler" in the same way with some dehydrated fruit (cooked with a little sugar and lemon juice before dehydrating). If you do a dessert I recommend adding sugar and spices to the biscuit mix (if you add the spice to a made dough you get little "veins" for some visual appeal). I do sometimes steam-bake with a separate pan...but it is rare since I usually bring a pan specifically for dry-baking.

I typically dry bake using my windscreen as a reflector and a small aluminum baking pan if necessary...but I do dry-bake using the pot and pan method like LS and others when there is no fire. My windscreens are made of the tooling foil you can get at art supply stores (and Amazon of course). For less than $10 the extra stiffness and thickness of the tooling foil makes for a more stable windscreen and a better oven...but you probably need to be a bit nerdy about this to appreciate it. Also...for good dry-baking with the pot and pan method you want to minimize the loss of heat through the don't open it more than necessary (as LS mentioned)...but you should also insulate the top of the lid. My Flatcat stove came with a piece of welding blanket...but I have used a bandana folded to the size of the lid (the more the better) many times.

11:30 a.m. on January 24, 2018 (EST)
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Bannock is a great idea. I used to bake some stuff with pie plates years ago.  Now I do longer trips by by raft and canoe  and use a cast iron Dutch Oven for serious baking.  I am spoiled by how well they work and usually only backpack on shorter trips of 2-4 days. 

6:56 a.m. on January 25, 2018 (EST)
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Joesph thanks for putting that idea in my head.Bisquit mix is cheap..Thats a great idea to stews and soups....Ghostdawg thanks again...Man I just need a day off to play around with this...Anybody tried doing this on an alcohol Stove also?

7:50 p.m. on January 26, 2018 (EST)
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denis daly said:

...Anybody tried doing this on an alcohol Stove also?

 I have two alcohol stoves that burn too hot, a White Box stove and a Caldera Cone tri-ti so no, not personally. But I did see pictures from a guy who did bake on a Caldera Cone. He was experimenting with a simmer ring and his stuff turned out very good from the description and images. I see that Trail Designs sells two versions of simmer rings for their alcohol stoves now. That might be a place to look but the whole setup is not inexpensive. 

While my White Box stove is one of my favorites, used for 1700 boils so far, well, 1701 including yesterday in the wilderness, it is only good for boiling water as is. It burns hot and will bring water to boil far quicker than my Caldera Cone will. It is bomb proof. I bet a simmer ring could be made for it though and that stove will hold enough fuel to do pretty much anything you want. 

12:05 p.m. on January 27, 2018 (EST)
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I don't use alcohol anymore for a myriad of reasons...but one of the reasons is baking and simmering can be tricky with alcohol...the "cat stoves" typically run too want something like a Trangia...or a "cat stove" without the holes...but these require a pot stand.

12:38 p.m. on January 27, 2018 (EST)
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I've seen folks resolve the too hot issue of alcohol by using a pot cozy and a series of intermittent burns for dry baking. Lots of fiddling and attention to timing required, but workable.

12:46 p.m. on January 27, 2018 (EST)
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The rare time I "bake" on an alcohol stove is if I want some bannock on a cold morning - raising the Caldera Cone supports to the wood stove (highest) setting on my Ti-Tri works well enough with a little care.  I flip my Reflectix pot cozy upside down over the top and it cooks the bannock in about 10 minutes.  Would not recommend this for regular use but it can be done.

7:07 p.m. on January 28, 2018 (EST)
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Wow, quite a lot of responces to this one! I am commonly referred to as the "Muffin Man" because I love making me some muffins in the backcountry.

I mainly steam bake because I don't like doing harm to my pots by heating them dry/empty. However, I will also often bake stuff in foil directly in the fire. I steam bake probably 90% of the time, but I do make bannock or Hudson river bread etc on occasion.

My basic set up is a Mors bush pot, and a 700...750ml? snowpeak cup/pot. I line the snowpeak with foil, put a couple rocks in the bottom of the mors, add water to the mors to come up over the rocks by a 1/2in or so and then put the snowpeak pot in. Get it to a boil and let it go about 15-25 mins depending on conditions. The only downside to steam baking is it doesn't get crispy, but unless your going it wrong it shouldn't be "soggy", "doughy" etc. It gets fully cooked it just doesn't have that dry heat to get crispy.

Sometimes I will just fashion a foil mold from my 700 cup and use that so that I can still use my cup for coffee while I wait on the muffins to cook. I generally steam bake directly in a fire, but not always. I have done it on a stove countless times. I especially love my Zelph stoveworks venom wood stove companion stove for this purpose as its a really good simmering stove and can easily go for 30+ minutes. I even baked a birthday cake once(a small one)!

My go to muffin mix is the betty crocker just add water mixes. Can't beat the simplicity for backpacking. Bacon bannock is also wonderful.

September 16, 2019
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