DO/ WILD BAKING
“When you spend time outside life is better. When you add great food, simply cooked and shared, it’s unforgettable. Tom has mastered this art and now you’ll feast in the wild too! Sharing food cooked over and in a re with Tom has been a highlight of my year.”
Al Humphreys, author and adventurer
Food, Fire & Good Times Tom Herbert
Photography by Jody Daunton
Fifty recipes and masses of practical advice for freshly baked bread and honest food cooked and eaten outdoors
“Staying in the house breeds a sort of insanity, always.”
Henry David Thoreau
There is an informality to eating outdoors. We feel at ease and conversation flows more naturally. When it comes to food, we veer towards honest, simple meals big on flavour and prepared with love. An epic view, sunset or the night sky take centre stage.
Do Wild Baking is the new book from Tom Herbert, a fifth generation baker and bestselling author. Tom is happiest cooking outdoors over an open fire for family and friends and in this book he shares his favourite recipes and gives plenty of tips and advice on how to create effortless, tasty meals outside the kitchen.
Divided into chapters for cooking across a variety of locations from beaches to forests, by the river or sea, or simply in your local park or nearby wood, the book includes recipes for:
- Dutch oven bonfire casseroles
- Dangerous sourdough doughnuts
- Cheddar and craft beer camp fire fondue
- Hole-in-the-ground popcorn
- BBQ’d banana and dark chocolate loaf cake
Chewy, delicious ash baked sourdough flatbreads serve as an entry point to the world of wild baking, and you’ll soon graduate to buried brisket worthy of any big family celebration, or showing off to the family popping popcorn between two metal sieves.
Tom is a true advocate for this way of life, and has observed how getting the family around the fire enables conversations that wouldn’t normally happen around the dinner table, how healthy it is to break the idea that cooking equates to routine, how an outdoor adventure mere miles from home can better any stag weekend abroad, and how freshly caught mackerel grilled on the beach can lead to 18 years of marriage.
The book contains full practical advice, and kit list, as well as information on different methods of cooking on the fire: on a stick, on embers, in the ash, on a hot stone, in a pot, under the ground or on a cooking rack. It’s small enough to carry with you on all of your adventures, and Tom provides hints on easy ways to measure and transport ingredients.
With an emphasis on big flavours, locally sourced or foraged ingredients, simple methods and basic equipment, Do Wild Baking will encourage you to get outdoors, get your hands dirty, have fun and, above all, make lasting good memories.
About the author
Tom Herbert is a fifth generation baker, formerly at Hobbs House Bakery. He lives in Gloucestershire. He the co-author of TV tie-in The Fabulous Baker Brothers and Glorious British Grub.
About the Do Books series
Do Wild Baking is one of 15 books that form a collection of inspirational pocket guides, available in print and digital formats. Designed to inspire action and positive change, these practical ‘how to’ guides focus on the ‘doing’ rather than the background theory. A royalty of 5% from the proceeds of each copy sold goes back into the Do Lectures — sharing ideas to inspire action: thedolectures.com
BEER BREAD the recipe
No knead. No rise. Super-quick. This cheeky li’l loaf is fast and flexible. With its non-perishable ingredients, this is the ideal bake for the end of a long wilderness trip when you’re in need of a homely, comforting bread and minimal washing-up
MAKES: 1 large loaf
TAKES: 45 minutes
FIRE: a good bed of hot coals
KIT: big mixing bowl, wooden spoon, chopping board, Dutch oven or large skillet with a lid, tongs (or hunting knife) for turning the bread over during baking, dough scraper, infrared thermometer
3½ cups flour, plus extra for dusting
Pinch (6g) of sea salt
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 × 330ml bottle beer (something crafty), plus 1 for yourself while the loaf is baking
2 glugs oil
First, set your pan or Dutch oven to gently heat above the fire.
Mix the dry ingredients together by hand in a large bowl.
In your bowl mix the beer into the dry ingredients until there are no dry lumps. The mixture should be very sticky and tacky but firm enough to stay in the bowl when turned upside-down. Think DIY crack filler.
Now dust the chopping board generously with the dusting flour. Plop all the dough out onto the floured board. Flour your hands and flip the dough so it is dusted top and bottom with flour. Then cup the damp dough and round it into a pleasing shape. Cut the dough through with a cross (in honour of the traditional Irish soda bread): it’ll also bake quicker and make 4 handy batched rolls. Carefully lift the dough into the hot pan or Dutch oven and put the lid on, adding some embers on top if you can (the pan should ideally be 210–230°C),
Bake for 15–20 minutes or until it has started to form a good golden crust that sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If black smoke wafts out (and you smell burnt toast), it is indeed starting to burn. If it has had less than 10 minutes, it’s too hot and you should raise the pan and flip the loaf over.
Check the beer bottle label for any hints to its flavour and pimp your bread with those things. So a beer with a zesty finish and a mellow honey flavour and fruity aroma could inspire you to add some lemon zest, diced apple, raisins and a spoon of honey. Some of these will make the dough much wetter so compensate by adding less beer.
- Up to 100g of any seeds, ideally toasted over the fire
- Old bits of cheese that need using up
- Handful of dried fruit, big pieces chopped
- Handful of granola or muesli
Try foraging for these seasonal edibles and then add them to your bake: wild garlic, elderberries, blackberries, cobnuts, fennel seeds, samphire, sea purslane.
MUSSELS BAKED IN EMBERS
love mussels. They’re the most carbon-positive form of protein. I’ve tried them every which way, and for me, hands down, this is the best. Seafood doesn’t get simpler than this.
MAKES: enough for 2
TAKES: 5 minutes
KIT: metal tongs
big handfuls of mussels, scrubbed
Chilled bottle of white wine
Once your campfire has burnt down to its embers, push a handful of mussels, one at a time, hinge side down, halfway into the embers. Within a minute or two the mussels will open and steam cook themselves with the sea brine within, and their own delicious juices. Deftly whip them out using your tongs, add a squeeze of lemon and eat them directly from the fire. Just accompany with chilled white wine. Bon appetit!
- Long metal tongs will help prevent you from getting burnt. It is harder though to get them in and out of the embers without losing precious juices.
- If a mussel stays open after you’ve given it a knock (before baking), then it was already dead and too risky to eat. Throw these ones back into the sea.
- If you bake the mussels for too long they become chewy and hard. Not long enough, and they’ll be slimy and cold. With a bit of practice you’ll get it just right.
Kenyan Jiko stove