Recently, a team of scientists isolated 4500-year-old yeast from Egyptian clay pots and used it to bake bread. Aside from the fact that this seems like a great way to accidentally create a pandemic by reviving a long-dead disease, the bread was apparently delicious. But how did the Egyptians and other cultures bake bread without an oven? And, more importantly, can we do it too?
If the SHTF and we’re left without electricity and other modern conveniences long-term, figuring out how to feed ourselves is going to be a major problem. Most people won’t be able to fend for themselves in that kind of scenario, and being able to bake bread without an oven will be a seriously valuable skill.
The Dutch Oven Loaf
There are two basic options for baking without a traditional oven. The first is to use a Dutch oven that you can suspend over a fire or on top of a wood-burning stove. Bread baked in a Dutch oven has a chewy texture and a crunchy crust that’s so tasty you might find you prefer it to regular store-bought bread.
Rustic loaves like this have been made for centuries on the hearths of humble cottages or the campfires of traveling groups. It’s not Wonderbread, but with a little flour, yeast, water, salt, and fat, you can make a decent loaf that pairs well with stew for a hearty meal.
Flatbreads from Around the World
The other option for baking without a stove is inspired by the flatbreads of various cultures. You can cook naan or tortillas on a hot griddle placed directly over the coals, since this bread needs a high temperature and short cook time.
Of course, just about every culture has some kind of flatbread or griddlecake. English muffins are made using a similar process, as are tortillas, roti, pita, and frybreads.
Start Practicing Now
It’s a really smart idea to start experimenting with traditional baking techniques now, rather than waiting until you’re forced to figure things out. Experiment with different types of breads and different cooking methods until you find a few that taste good and consistently turn out well.
If things go bad, you don’t want to waste your precious stock of flour and yeast on ruined, inedible bread. Luckily, people were making low-tech bread without machines or mixers since the dawn of agriculture. Why not learn how to bake bread without an oven today?