In this post we're going to walk you through how to make one of our favourite pot bread recipes.
Pot bread is basically any bread that has been baked in a cast iron pot - usually in a wood fired oven, or over coals, like we're going to do today.
Pot bread is also known as potbrood in Afrikaans, or sometimes Dutch Oven Bread and is a great addition to any braai, barbeque or campfire dinner.
Now one quick disclaimer, I am not a cook or a baker or anything like that. I'm just a guy who loves to eat delicious pot bread and this is one recipe I know how to do well. So, if you've got a better way of doing this, then share what you know down below - and with that, let's jump on in.
What you need:
1. Cast iron bread pot.
Now, these come in all shapes and sizes from different brands, but the main thing you're looking for in a pot is a lid with a lip. The reason for that is, we're going to be putting hot coals on the top of the pot, so we'll need that lip to make sure they stay up there.
One other quick note on bread pots is that you'll want to be sure to store them in a dry place. Moisture is the enemy of these pots as they are prone to rust.
Another thing you can do when storing your pot is to keep some oil in it. This will prevent moisture from contacting the metal and causing rust on the inside of the pot.
2. Fire fuel
For this, you want coals that are going to last as long as possible so that means a densely packed briquette or a hard-wood charcoal. This, soft, papery charcoal that burns quickly and easily is no good.
3. Other items
- Oven gloves / cloth for touching the pot handle.
- Cutting board.
- Cutting knife.
- Mixing bowl.
Pot bread ingredients:
500g cake flour + 6 teaspoons of Baking Powder
You could substitute this out for self-raising bread flour, but we can't get that too easily out here in Taiwan, so the cake flour and baking powder combo works nicely for us.
1 tablespoon of brown onion soup powder.
This will give the bread some taste so you can choose whatever flavour you like. We usually go for brown onion or creamy mushroom soup powder. If you don't want to use any soup powder, then a bit of salt will do too.
1 can of creamed corn.
Regular canned corn will work too, however you'll just have to balance that out by adding some more of the beer.
1 can of beer.
Any kind will do.
- Cooking oil.
Pot bread baking instructions:
1. Prepare the fire:
The first thing we need to do is get the fire going so that the coals can get hot while we're preparing the bread dough.
You'll want to designate 2 areas within your fireplace. One for cooking and one for keeping the fire going. Once you get started, the bread will bake in the cooking area, and you can use the fire area to keep hot coals coming to replace the ones that are burning out.
So, once you've got your fire lit, and the coals are getting going, you can start mixing the bread dough.
2. Mix the pot bread ingredients:
Start by adding 500 grams of cake flour into a mixing bowl.
Add 6 teaspoons of baking powder and a sachet of soup powder to the mix.
Mix it all together until everything has spread evenly.
Make a well in the middle of the mix and start adding the wet ingredients little by little.
Keep mixing as you go.
You want to end up with a very goopy dough. If it's too runny, then add some more flour until it gets nice and thick.
3. Prepare the pot:
Next, you need to prepare the pot by cleaning out the old storage oil and adding some new cooking oil. Add enough to fill the bottom and cover all sides when you swivel the pot around.
Put the dough into the pot and let it stand for 10-15 minutes.
By this time, your coals should be good to go.
4. Bake the pot bread:
Place the pot on in the cooking area of the fireplace and surround the base with coals.
Try not to let the coals touch the pot directly, but have them just off the surface to prevent any ultra hotspots that will burn the bread inside.
Finally, add some coals to the lid to get some heat going from above.
Leave the bread to bake for around 50-60 minutes.
Keep checking the coals as you go, and replace ones that are burning out with new ones from the fire.
After about 50 minutes, check to see if the bread is baked. Pull the pot off the fire, remove the coals from the lid and open up. Poke the bread with a knife and check to see if there is any gooey dough sticking to it. If so, it needs more time, if not, then you're good to go.
4. Serve up hot, steamy pot bread:
Pop the bread out onto a cutting board - slice it up and you're ready to serve.
We usually smear ours in butter or honey - but you can go with whatever you prefer.
And that's it for our pot bread recipe. Give it a try and let us know how it was in the comments below.
For more on how we do our campfire cooking check out this post: A complete guide to campfire cooking