Emergency Bread: Can you Bake Bread Without an Oven?

What would you eat if you were stranded without power? It could happen; it does happen. A natural disaster, a breakdown in the delivery system as the Northeast experienced recently, or a terrorist strike against the infrastructure could leave you without power. Don't despair. You probably have a source of heat-a camp stove, a barbeque grill, a fireplace, or a place to build a fire to cook with. (Never use a grill or camp stove in an enclosed room.) In most cases, you can find a way to eat your daily bread--even without an oven.

Fry it. Those indulgent raised, glazed donuts are fried. You can do the same with any dough. Serve them hot with a little butter and syrup or honey and you will have a treat that the kids will clamor for-even without an emergency. Simply mix the bread as instructed and let the dough rise. Instead of forming loaves, roll or pat the dough on a counter until it is about 1/2-inch thick. Slice the dough into wedges, separate the pieces, and let them rise again until twice as thick. Heat a pan of oil until hot and slip the dough pieces two or three at a time into the hot oil. When one side is browned, turn the dough over. If the oil is hot enough, the dough should absorb little oil. When done, drain the fried bread on paper towels.

Boil it. Bagels are boiled. Actually, they are boiled and then baked. You can form your dough into a bagel shape, let it rise, and then gently slip it into a large pan of rapidly boiling water. Once the bread is firm, remove it with a slotted spoon, let dry, and then fry each side in a lightly greased skillet to create a crust and finish the cooking. The advantage in this technique is that you can use much less oil (and oil may be limited in an emergency) than deep frying.

Bake it. That's right-even without an oven you can bake bread. It's easy to do on most outdoor grills. (Be prepared. Always have extra propane or charcoal on hand but never use an outdoor grill indoors.) Baking requires heat from both above and below. If your grill doesn't have a cover, use a bucket or tub to capture the heat and direct it down onto the bread. (You want as much heat coming from above as below.) If the bread is too close to the heat-as it likely is-stick something under the bread pan to raise it-a couple empty tuna cans, an old brick-almost anything will work as long as it doesn't insulate the bread from the heat.

You can use a Dutch oven to bake bread. Line the Dutch oven with aluminum foil and place the dough on the foil or lay the bread pan in the Dutch oven. Stack hot coals on the lid.

You can bake bread over an open fire with two pans. Two pie tins will work for biscuits. To form a makeshift oven, put a large heavy pan on warm coals, a lid or baking sheet over the top, and stack on hot coals. Remember, you are trying to get as much heat from above as below. (The tendency is to have too much heat at the bottom.)

A good place to practice these techniques is on your next camping trip. You can become a real pro at making unconventional bread while enjoying the treat of fresh bread while camping. We guarantee that fresh bread over an open fire will make you the envy of the campground.

With a little imagination, you can bake almost any bread without an oven. If you want to try frying bread, most white or wheat bread recipes are nearly foolproof. Even without the emergency, it won't go to waste.

We can hope that disaster never strikes but it's nice to know that those bread fixin's in the pantry can be used in an emergency.

See the Emergency Bread printable version and photo

This is an excerpt from The Prepared Pantry's Emergency and Outdoor Bread Manual which is available free for download.

2004, The Prepared Pantry

In The News:


pen paper and inkwell


cat break through


Two for One Dinners: Beef

If you find leftovers boring, uninviting or downright "yuck," then... Read More

Dutch Oven Cooking Basics

Pioneer CookingWhen you think of a cast iron Dutch oven,... Read More

Cooking Lobster at Home

Lobster has always be one of those extravagant meals which... Read More

Is Cooked Food Really All That Good For Us?

In nature all animals eat living foods as yielded up... Read More

10 Critical Ways To A Perfectly Food-Safe Kitchen

Food poisoning is related to unsafe food, a dirty kitchen,... Read More

Roasting Meat - Temperatures and Times

Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary, I still see... Read More

Eat your Veggies! Simple Cooking Methods

Vegetables add colour, taste, texture and bulk to our daily... Read More

Keeping and Wasps and Flies Away from your Barbecue

It is one of life's oddities that we take a... Read More

Troubleshooting Machine Bread

Bread machines-wonderful inventions that they are-don't think very well. You... Read More

Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven

Dutch ovens were made for baking. In the hands of... Read More

Cake Pans

Cake pans?.the secret behind every successful cake. My husband tells... Read More

Caring For Your Wooden Cutting Board

Researchers have found that bacteria have a tougher time surviving... Read More

Better Breakfasts Ideas

Nutritionists tell us that breakfast is the most important meal... Read More

Peppercorns & Ways To Use Them

New and exciting varieties of peppercorns are becoming available to... Read More

Vegetarian Cooking - Three Basics

For any of the many reasons people choose to eat... Read More

Make It With Mint

It wouldn't be summer without fresh mint in pots on... Read More

Cooking Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is French, of course, with filet meaning "thick... Read More

Understanding Baking: How Yeast Works

Did you ever wonder why flour tastes like sawdust but... Read More

How to cut a cake

Have you ever wondered how to cut a cake? I... Read More

Unique Cake Decorating With Flowers

Flowers as a Cake Decoration, unique and easy to place... Read More

Cooking -- What You Need To Know

From ancient times till the nineteenth century cooking was basically... Read More

Buying, Storing, and Preparing Apples

When buying apples, look for those that are firm and... Read More

Pyrex Mixing Bowls ? A Kitchen Favorite

Pyrex mixing bowls typically come in sets of 3 with... Read More

Why do We Need to Knead?

Bread dough needs to be elastic in order to capture... Read More

How to Cook Rice Right

The easiest way to make rice well every time is... Read More

The Perfect Omelet(te), How to Cook It

Omelet(te)sThey're easy to cook, right?We'll see.The first thing to remember... Read More

Must Haves for Any At-Home Chef

With the holidays on their way soon, many people will... Read More

Making Homemade Pasta for Dinner Tonight

Homemade pasta cooked al dente (to the teeth), is a... Read More

How to Bake: Bread on the Grill

One of the slickest tricks we know is baking bread... Read More

Barbecue Success With The Rule Of Thirds

Ever been to a barbecue party where the 'chef' placed... Read More

How to Peel Almost Anything

The great English cook Prue Leith once famously remarked "life's... Read More

Make-up or Mixing Methods for Muffins

When muffins aren't perfect, the first reaction is to change... Read More

Don?t Poke the Chicken at Your Backyard Barbecue

You might be planning a home remodeling project and it... Read More