Tag Archives | campfire cooking

Bread baking at the Bushcraft Show 2016

It was great to be providing bread baking workshops at the Bushcraft Show again this year. Places filled very quickly, early on the Sunday morning, while the baking area was set up in front of the main stage.

Bread baking workshops at The Bushcraft Show

Bread baking workshops at The Bushcraft Show – Thanks to John Potts of The Funky Studio for photo

The huge teepees of the main stage provided a nice back-drop and meant lots of people could learn about bread baking on campfires, whilst watching some of the teams make and kneed their dough, make bannock while waiting for the dough to prove, before finally baking their bread.

Bread baking in Petromax Dutch ovens

Bread baking in Petromax Dutch ovens

We baked bread using Petromax Dutch ovens (the FT6 model, one with and one without legs). Whilst you can bake good bread using mugs, pots and pans, a cast iron oven distributes the heat of the fire more evenly and as a result creates a more even bake. You can see a few green sticks in the bottom of the ovens – these raise the small tiffin tins up to allow convection to distribute the heat around the loaf. Alternatively you could use a few pebbles or stones or even use a purpose made trivet!

Team photo - proud of the bread they baked

Team photo – proud of the bread they baked

It was a shame there wasn’t enough room for everyone to bake bread – but it was lovely to see perfect strangers with a hunger to learn, happy to work together to form baking teams.

Bushcraft show visitors baking bread and bannock

Bushcraft show visitors baking bread and bannock

The baking teams produced some lovely loaves with patterns created so each team could recognise their loaf – The recipes used are all available – details below.

Some of the freshly baked loaves of bread

Some of the freshly baked loaves of bread

It was wonderful to chat with old friends and make new ones and a big thank you to Olivia Beardsmore and her fabulous team for putting on such a wonderful event. It was great to be back at the Bushcraft Show again this year.

If you’d like a copy of the bread baking recipes used in the workshops then just subscribe! No, you don’t to have been participating, just have an interest in baking bread over a campfire. I’m hoping the budding bakers will do their homework and bake some bread by the end of June! By all means share pictures of your bread baking over on the Bushcraft with David Willis Facebook page I’m looking forward to seeing the results!
Find out more and book a place on Campfire Bread Baking!

Lovely nettle tea

Spring has arrived and so have those lovely nettles – oh yes they are lovely! We have been conditioned as children to avoid their painful sting, but nettles offer so much and this is why they protect themselves from animals, including us that will forage and consume these wonderful plants.

Why should you see nettles in a new light? Well for one they are really good for you, nettles are nutritious and even better than spinach! Nettles are a source of protein, have traces of fat, contain more vitamin C than oranges, have quantities of vitamin B, calcium, potassium, iron and more.

Nettles springing up in the woodlands

Nettles springing up in the woodlands

It is possible to pick nettles with your bare hands without suffering the sting, but using gloves will probably be a more satisfactory experience. If you fancy trying, just follow this verse by the 17th century writer Aaron Hill – “tender-handed stroke a nettle, and it stings you for your pains, grasp it like a man of mettle, and it soft as silk remains”. Firmly grasping the nettle really does work, however there is every chance that you stroke one of the nettles next to it, so be warned!

When out foraging for nettles, it’s best to pick the nettle tops; pinch or snip off the top 4-6 leaves. You can safely harvest nettles throughout the year, but choose young nettles shoots in shady, ideally damp spots. Later in the year, it will be best to look for new growth, perhaps where earlier tall nettle stalks have been cut back. Obviously, as you would with any foraging, please avoid areas that may have been polluted or fouled, be that by dogs being walked, farm run-offs or similar.

How do you avoid the sting when eating? Just applying heat will ‘kill’ the sting and produce leaves that are safe to consume.

For your first experience of nettles, why not try a cup of nettle tea? Pick a few nettle tops (3 or 4 should be fine) and place them in a mug. Then add boiling water, leave for a few minutes to steep. I usually leave them for 10 minutes to get a deeper flavour and enjoy a cup of refreshing, slightly earthy nettle tea. You may wish to wash the nettles first, but I am happy to just add the boiling water to make it safe to drink.

A lovely mug of nettle tea

A lovely mug of nettle tea

What else can you do with nettles? I love to fold them into a risotto or use them as a vegetable, rather like spinach with a knob of butter or to make a gazpacho. Later in the year, I use the fibres from the long stems to make string or rope, there are many other uses for this ever so versatile plant.

Next time you’re out for a walk, consider picking a few nettles to make a cup of tea, pan fry them with a little butter or fold into a risotto – if you do, it would be great to hear your experiences and / or perhaps share your pictures!

Bread baking at The Bushcraft Show

David will be running bread baking workshops at The Bushcraft Show. They’ll be bannock cooked over a campfire, loaves of bread baked in a Dutch oven, dough twists cooked on a stick and bread baking using improvise ovens.

Bread baking workshop at The Bushcraft Show

Bread baking workshop at The Bushcraft Show

The Bushcraft Show attracts thousands of people. With expert speakers from across the globe, exciting activities, demonstrations, specialist instruction, things for youngsters to do, entertainment, trade stands and lots more. All of this makes The Bushcraft Show an interesting, exciting and fun event.

David will be running workshops throughout the weekend. If you are going to the show, do join in one of the baking workshops. David is looking forward to meeting folks at the show and getting more people baking!

Scout Leaders enjoy a weekend in the woods

A few more Scout Leaders enjoyed a weekend in the woods learning Bushcraft; introduction to knife skills and safety, making candle sticks, splitting wood without an axe, lots of different methods of fire-lighting, building shelters, setting up tarps and hammocks, and cooking all their meals on a campfire.

Knife skills; camp gadgets candle sticks

Knife skills; camp gadgets candle sticks

For more details of what is included – click here!

Lovely feedback…

Thank you again for an educational, fun, really enjoyable weekend. As a leader just starting out I have come away with more helpful knowledge to hopefully pass down to the younger generation. As long as I see one scout with a smile on their face after showing them something that you have taught me then the mission is a success

Buckinghamshire Scouts – Back to Bushcraft

Everyone wants to be doing Bushcraft; an opportunity to learn new Bushcraft skills, sharpen up on old ones and put them all into practice.

Scout leaders relax in their natural shelter

Scout leaders relax in their natural shelter

Starting on a Saturday morning, you will be learning knife skills, fire-by-friction and other methods for lighting fires, building natural and man-made shelters.

In the evening we’ll be back country cooking and sleeping out, experiencing our new shelters. The sleepover will finish after breakfast on Sunday morning.

Real confidence booster for being a new leader


  • Knife skills; the law, safe and practical use
  • Folding saw; techniques for safe use
  • You’ll be making a craft item using these skills
  • Building successful fires; tinder, kindling and fire lays
  • Fire by friction; using a bow drill to create fire
  • Other methods for fire lighting
  • Building shelters from natural materials
  • Putting up tarps and hammocks
  • Back country cooking

Fantastic experience, learning the basics, sleeping outdoors without tents, cooking on open fires and not relying on gas

Includes: teas and coffees, a light lunch, dinner and breakfast! Just as at camp, everyone will be expected to help with meal preparations, etc. To ensure everyone gets the most from this event, numbers are limited to 10 Leaders

Super location, animated and expert instruction, very useful refresher course for all Scout Leaders