Flat breads are one of the easiest breads to make, indoors or outdoors. Indeed, flat breads exist in the cuisine of many cultures around the world. Once you have flour, you can make flat breads. Once you have a fire, you can make campfire flatbreads.
Here I’d like to share how we make flat breads outside, on courses and on trips.
As well as the ingredients being simple, this type of bread is also quick to make and quick to cook – ideal if you are either short of time or very hungry, or both.
At their most basic, all you need to make flat breads is some flour, a small amount of fat and some clean water.
In terms of cooking equipment, life is equally simple in flat-bread land. All you need is a hot flatt(ish) surface.
The basic ingredients for flat breads are very few and ones you will often have in camp or on a trip:
- Oil or butter
Start with plain white flour, as it’s simplest to get good results. You can then try self-raising or wholemeal, before experimenting further if you wish.
Personally I like to use olive oil for very simple flatbreads as it gives a flavour I enjoy. Melted butter also works well.
Basic Flatbread Method
- Take a couple of handfuls of flour and put them into a bowl, mug or billy can.
- Lift your fingers through the flour a few times to aerate it.
- Add a tablespoon (approximately) of oil or melted butter to the flour and mix.
- You need surprisingly little water. Add a small dribble of water to start with and mix.
- Keep adding a little dribble, then mixing until you start to get a dough.
- If you add too much water, resulting in a sloppy dough, add a little more flour to soak up excess.
- Once you have a dough, keep working it for several minutes, after which the dough should start to feel somewhat bouncy and resistant to pressure from your fingers.
- Small breads cook quickest, so start with breaking off a dough ball then begin to flatten it out in the palm of your hand, before stretching it out with your fingers.
- Once you have your small, thin piece of dough, you can place it onto a hot pan or skillet.
- One or two minutes on each side is all you need for the bread to cook.
Additional Flatbread Flavours
The above flat bread recipe is surprisingly tasty but you can make many further enjoyable flavour varieties with the addition of one or two extras. Again these may be in your cook kit already. Mix any dry ingredients with the flour before adding oil and water. Below are some suggestions…
- Garam Masala
- Mixed herbs (dried)
- Oregano (dried)
- Basil (dried)
- Rosemary (chopped finely)
- Garlic powder
- Garlic clove (chopped finely)
- Garlic butter (in place of oil or butter)
- Foraged wild garlic leaves or flowers (finely chopped)
These are just a few suggestions to get your imagination going. What else do you think would make a tasty addition? Let me and other readers know in the comments section below what you’d like to try or what you have tried…
Improvised Flatbread Ovens
While a skillet or flat frying pan makes a good flat surface on which to cook flat breads, there are also other options. You may not be carrying any sort of flat pan or frying pan. You can still cook flat breads, though, if you have a billy can or a metal mug.
Rake out some embers from your fire to create an even bed of hot coals. Place your billy can or metal mug on its side on top of the coals and allow it to heat up. Then add your flat bread(s) to cook inside. As well as the direct heat coming up through the metal, you also gain something of an oven effect with the semi-enclosed space holding hot air.
Flexible Flatbreads and Accompaniments
Flatbreads are quick, easy and tasty. They are good for a quick campfire snack or to stave off hunger before cooking a
After a day of hiking or canoeing, I like to get the fire or stove on and make a warm drink to help with hydration. This type of simple flatbread is great accompaniment to get some calories into your system at the same time, to provide a little extra energy for finishing setting up camp or cooking the evening meal.
If you have a small fire at lunch – even in a fire box – flat breads can easily be made too. They are delicious with ham or dry cured meats.
If you have a little time, another of our favourite lunchtime accompaniments is to cook off some slice Halloumi cheese along with some cherry tomatoes, then top cooked flatbreads with some of the mix.
I’m sure there are many other tasty combinations. Let us know your suggestions in the comments below…
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