My first attempt at making Pan de Campo produced a lighter, thinner more crispy version of the camp bread. This recipe from Dishes From the Wild Horse Desert by Melissa Guerra is more substantial and a lot like a flaky biscuit bread. This time around I preheated my 12 inch dutch oven with 12 coals around the bottom of the oven and the lid completely covered with briquettes. I used a pastry cutter to blend the shortening and oil with the flour. After kneading the dough I let it rest for 15 minutes while I waited for my coals to light. I rolled the dough on a piece of parchment paper, laid it in my hot, preheated oven, then pierced it with a fork to allow the steam to escape. In a blazing hot oven it took between 20 and 25 minutes to bake. When the steam was pouring out of my oven I knew it was ready. The more I research this cowboy bread the more I realize there are endless combinations of ways to make it. If you take a look at this video you will see the bread being baked in dutch ovens over hot mesquite coals. They do turn the bread to prevent it from burning but if you bake it with a ring of coals around the base of your oven I don't really think it's necessary. Also, I used a little over a cup and a half of buttermilk for this recipe, the dough should be on the wet side but not too sticky. A connection to the past, whether fried in a cast iron skillet over an open fire or baked in a dutch with coals, this warm and filling bread will keep you riding in the saddle all day.
Pan de Campo
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
4 Tblsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 Tblsp salt
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 cup vegetable oil
About 2 cups of milk.
Lightly oil or spray 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
Stir in the shortening and oil, work the dough with your hands until it resembles coarse meal.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the milk, and stir; the dough should be sticky but workable.
If the dough is too stiff, add more milk; if the dough is too thin, add more flour.
Turn the dough out onto a counter dusted with flour and knead it hard for 1 minute, but don't overwork it.
Pat it out or gently roll into a 10-inch circle that is 1/2 inch thick on parchment paper.
Preheat dutch oven to 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
Transfer dough to heated dutch oven; prick with fork to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until bread is golden brown.
Makes 4-6 servings.
|Roll out your dough on parchment paper|