Steamed breads are so versatile. We love the outdoors and are always looking for
interesting and different foods that we can cook while camping and steamed breads can
be cooked as you lounge around the campfire. They make wonderful treats at home.
And they make great emergency fare since you don't need an oven or even a range to
cook these breads.
Many heritage cookbooks have recipes for steamed bread but you can experiment with
quick bread recipes. Many will work steamed as well as baked. Steamed breads tend
to be moister and denser than most quick bread recipes.
We put the following recipe together for a trip into the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming
with a group of Varsity Scouts. We assembled the ingredients in plastic bags before
leaving home. At the camp site, we started it cooking next to the morning fire and by the
time breakfast was over and the dishes were done, the bread was ready. It was a little
rich for morning food--more like a cake than a bread--but these backpackers didn't seem
to mind and it certainly turned out good enough to be a great treat at home.
Apricot-Date Nut Bread with Caramel Sauce
cups all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking soda
cup apricot nectar
cups chopped dates
cup chopped Brazil nuts
cup packed brown sugar
cup dry milk
In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients. (If you are taking this camping, combine these ingredients in a plastic bag before leaving.) Stir in the juice until just combined. (An individual serving-sized can of apricot nectar is just about the right size.) Stir in the dates and nuts. (If you prefer, you can substitute raisins, dried apricots, or cranberries for the dates. Of course, you can use your favorite nuts.) www.preparedpantry.com 12 Pack the dough into a well-greased large can or other cooking container. Cover the top with heavy foil and tie it securely with string. The objective is to capture steam inside the container to cook the bread. Place the can on a rack in a large pan or kettle. (At camp, a few clean pebbles work as well as a rack.) Fill the pan with water and set it to simmer. Let the pan simmer for two hours, adding water as necessary. When done, invert the bread onto a plate and slice to serve. For the caramel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the sugar and cornstarch and stir. Then stir the water and dry milk together and add to the pan. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly, about five minutes at low heat. Add the vanilla. Serve hot or cold over the nut bread. (For camping, put the dry ingredients in a plastic bag adding the vanilla to the brown sugar. Melt the butter; add the dry ingredients and then the water.)