“Potbrood” for dummies – like me!

todayFebruary 12, 2024 34

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I enjoy camping, and have been getting back into it recently after about two decades of no camping at all. The reasons behind that is a long story (which I am currently just marginally not drunk enough to relate to you), but the net effect is that I’m getting out there about one weekend a month with my dependable (and mildly terrifying camping buddy – who I am still convinced has some bodies buried somewhere!). And, being a male (oops, can I still say that?) of sane mind I also enjoy braai’ing. But there was one item missing from my camping and braai’ing menu…I’ve never made “potbrood” (literally “bread in a pot” for you Souties), and the reason is simple – I’ve never owned the correct piece of kit. And that piece of kit is an Australian camp oven, made by OZtrail…apparently the Aussies waaaay back saw these pots (generally known as “Dutch ovens”) being used by Dutch explorers, and decided to use them to cook on in the Outback…and in case you protest “but Australia was a British colony, where would the Aussies come into contact with the Dutch?” – let me remind you that Tasmania is named after Abel Tasman, who was Dutch (just sayin’). Anyhoo – I never made “potbrood” but when “serial killer camping buddy” revealed that she own an OZtrail camping oven, I knew the time has come. And just as an aside, I scrubbed it REAL well before we used it – you know, given her reputation and the fact that no body parts have been found…eeeeeuw!  The great thing about these camp ovens is that they have a raised rim on the lid, so you can put coals on it to bake and cook something from above and below simultaneously.

So on our last camp which was at Claratal, literally 30 k’s out of Windhoek on the Kupferberg road – I mean, it is 2 km after “Borde”, which is the set of traffic signs at the top of Kupferberg Pass which is even now being tarred – so literally 30 k’s, we decided to try the “potbrood”. Being lazy, I opted for the pre-prepared dough you buy in a bag at any of the big stores, like Woermann, Brock (W Fresh – that’s where we got our dough, and the salt content was perfect!). After proving for a couple of hours (it just about doubled in volume) I put it straight into the camp oven – nothing is added at all. You simply have to knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes, shape the dough so it does not touch the lid or the sides, and let it rest inside the pot next to the fire to warm up slightly. After about 10 minutes of warming, turning the pot about 45 degrees every couple of minutes so it warms evenly, we put the camp oven on a three-legged stand over medium coals, and then covered the top (lid) with coals too. We checked it once after about 15 minutes, and total cooking time was about 25 minutes. And it was roaring success! Crispy, hollow-sounding perfection! I’m not normally that “lucky” that it works perfectly first time (I was convinced it was just a fluke!) so the next night we tried again with the rest of the dough – and it worked again! This method can, on the basis of two successes out of two attempts officially be dubbed “idiot-proof”. And it tasted great – in fact, if we hadn’t braaied “skaap ribbetjie” at the same time, I might have settled for “potbrood” and Lyle’s golden syrup for supper… Simple and tastes great. What a great piece of kit – next camp I’m thinking a goulash in the camp oven, or maybe a mutton curry…(OK OK we’ll braai the second night – I haven’t completely taken leave of my senses!) Here are some very basic pics…we’ll update you after the next one.


Written by: Deon v Rensburg

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