Twisty Campfire Bread – Just call me Bear Grylls

The sun is having one last break for freedom from behind the clouds and it’s the most beautiful day in Liverpool. From tomorrow, I have complete faith it will rain until next June but for now it’s a beautiful autumn day. This time of year, the colour of the leaves and the smell of log fires and fireworks makes me very wistful for bonfire night and campfires. I thought this recipe might be a great one to tuck away for bonfire night which isn’t far away!

A couple of weeks ago, my dear friend, Lee, who runs the amazing men’s fashion store ‘Weavers’ Door’ in Liverpool (http://www.weaversdoor.com), asked if I would be able to make him some “twisty campfire bread” for a photoshoot he was organising for the in-store journal (well worth a read!). I asked him to define the bread so he showed me a youtube video available here (http://vimeo.com/44654185) and I sort of made up the recipe based on what I had in the house at the time!

The very idea of a campfire bread, or damper if you’ve ever been a Brownie/Guide/Scout, is that the recipe is adaptable and most importantly easy. It’s to be made in a bowl at your fireside, moulded into shapes and cooked over an open fire. There are some recipes containing yeast but I felt this would be too far from the idea of something you threw together in the woods. The twisty part comes from wrapping the bread around a thick, clean, green stick. Ours measured about 1cm diameter and fitted the twists perfectly. I made a couple in the oven, as practice, on a spatula handle and this worked brilliantly if you wanted to make up a big batch before and then toast them at a later point. Most importantly, they’re supposed to be a bit gnarled and blackened around the edges. I got a little precious about appearance but lost in the real wilds, I imagine you’d be grateful for anything no matter how blackened. I have read recipes where people recommend stuffing the breads with jam or peanut butter, but goat’s cheese and caramelised red onion and some thyme leaves. I can actually hear the scoffing of adventurous outdoors type but I don’t like to suffer, even in the great outdoors.

The photoshoot turned out to be a great experience and I’ve included a couple of photos below from ‘behind the scenes’. It was shot at the brilliant every-venue Camp and Furnace (I visited here: https://thegirlwiththewoodenspoon.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/liverpool-art-fair-at-campandfurnace/) and they prepared a Sunday lunch for the shoot which was out of this world and which I will come back to at another time, but I will take this opportunity to recommend the lemon and poppyseed cake. It may well have been the coldest day of the year so far but the shots were great and Lee proved once again that he puts a great outfit together.

Without any further ado, Twisty Campfire Bread

  • 400g plain flour
  • 30ml natural sugar
  • 15ml sea salt
  • 20ml baking powder
  • 60ml very soft butter
  • 10ml warm water
  1. Mix all the dry ingredients by hand in a bowl.
  2. Pour in the water and bring together. It may feel dry, in which case add water drop by drop.
  3. Cut up the soft butter and mix into the mixture, knead until soft and glossy.
  4. Split into equal size balls, about the size of a golfball, and roll out between your hands into a snake shape.
  5. Wind the snake around the green sticks (these must be green wood so that they don’t burn easily).
  6. You can, at this point, egg wash the bread and then cook over a hot flame until golden.

You can top with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cheese…

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