Introduction: Making Campfire Twists

Picture of Making Campfire Twists

Twists are incredibly easy to make.  They are unleavened bread as they contain no yeast or sourdough culture.  It costs about 30p (60c? but we're in rip of Britain, so probably cheaper in the states) to make about 12 twists

500g Self raising flour
3 Tablespoons of sugar
300-500ml of water


Measuring Jug (though can be done less scientifically by guessing)
Mixing bowl - pretty much impossible to get away without.

Additional notes:

Twists can be made under a hot grill, but they're best over a proper 'cooking' fire which consists of embers, like in the picture below (glowing bits of wood).  They could work over a nice hot BBQ, but don't rest them on the grill grid, they'll stick.  Do it direct over the heat on a stick.

Step 1: Mixing the Ingredients

Picture of Mixing the Ingredients

Start by mixing both dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Once the sugar and flour are combined, add about 200-300ml of water and mix as well as you can.  It'll start to bind together.  Keep adding small amounts of water - about 50ml increments to get it to bind into one big lump.  It's almost a kneeding motion as you would use with normal bread (be rough with it)

When the dough becomes smooth as pictured in the last pic, you're done.

Step 2: Sticks

Picture of Sticks

You'll also need something to cook your twists on.  We teach our scouts to cut down a live branch, strip it of bark and leaves.  If you then lick it and it tastes bitter, discard it.  If it tastes sweet, it's probably OK.  We also teach them which trees aren't good for them, but in Britain, it's a fair rule to follow.  Make sure you know which trees you're licking if you're demonstrating this elsewhere.

Sticks work best the thicker they are.  My stick is very long and at the thickest end is about 1/4-1/2"

Step 3: Dough

Picture of Dough

You need surprisingly little dough as it will still swell when cooked.  My view is take a lump which will comfortable fit in your hand.

Roll it into a snake shape.  Do not be tempted to make it really thick - you want it about 1/4"-1/2" thick and 'twist' it on to the stick.

Thicker dough or dough that isn't twisted does two things: 1.) it doesn't cook all the way through and doesn't swell at all well. 2.) it falls off onto the floor.

This wisdom I empart to you, knowing full well any kids you teach this to will almost certainly ignore it.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Step 4: Cooking on Embers

Picture of Cooking on Embers

Cooking on embers is really important.  Embers are the glowing bits at the bottom of a fire.  You get embers when the rest of the wood has turned to carbon and is a bit like a BBQ.  Embers are really hot.

Flames on the other hand will put soot on your twist and it'll taste pretty horrible.  Not that it stops scouts from doing this or even eating them.

Think blackened raw dough like the first picture.

The second picture shows it being done properly.

Step 5: Jam!

Picture of Jam!

Mmmm, add jam (or a cooked sausage or something)




jjbucha (author)2017-07-13

Do they have canned dough (biscuits in the US) in the UK?

I bet your handmade dough tastes better but rolling these into "snakes" and wind them around a green stick with the bark removed is much quicker and easier. Roast over embers and enjoy. Well, enjoy as much as you can enjoy pre-made dough.

mkempe (author)jjbucha2017-08-15

No canned dough here in the UK as far as I know, and I've lived here for 20 years. I use this recipe with the addition of three heaped tablespoons of milk powder. Plus, if the dry ingredients were placed in a zip-lock bag at home, then all that's needed at the camp is to add the water, seal the bag and knead away from outside. This keeps the hands from getting all gummy.

tim_n (author)mkempe2017-08-15

Biscuit dough in america is more akin to scones in the UK being more savoury. Our equivalent is jus-rol (most supermarkets) or northern dough co. (waitrose).

Frankly, I've always seen premixed dough as a bit unnecessary as you've said mkempe - it's not a difficult mix.

mkempe (author)tim_n2017-08-15

I'm not familiar with the Northern Dough Co, but I always associated Jus-Roll with pastry/pie casings. Not difficult at all, and preferable in taste as an added bonus.

Incidentally, the campfire twist dough can be used to make ash-cakes (no, not hash-cakes :'D) by simply burying "pattie" shapes in your embers for 5 minutes or so before exhuming them, dusting the ashes and occasional ember off, and drowned in molten butter. It's worth it, I promise.

Lucy Redwood (author)2017-07-06

I plan to make these on an outdoor challenge day n a couple of weeks with my beavers so these instructions are really helpful! Thanks. I have noticed in the photos that your scouts are wearing our group neckers - could you have been a previous scout leader in my group at some point?

tim_n (author)Lucy Redwood2017-07-06

Only if you're in Rochford, Essex!

Lucy Redwood (author)tim_n2017-07-06

nope - 17th Barrow, Cumbria! if that were so it would have been bizarrely random! fab necker choice, by the way! ;)

ravenpatrol (author)2015-12-10

Was there any other word used back in 1952 to describe this campfire bread other than twists or dampers?

tim_n (author)ravenpatrol2015-12-10

I think people call them all sorts of things with regional variations. Campfire twists, camp sticks, camp bread, camp rolls etc. May be a word used your way everyone else will go "you wot mate?" or they would in Essex, which is where I am.

icey.hood (author)2015-08-12

can i add an egg to the mixture to get a fluffy textxure?

CaptainNemo (author)2014-08-22

Could be interesting to imbed with marshmallow and chocolate for a S'more on a stick. Hmmm. Sounds like a good instrucable idea. Thanks for the post we will be trying this.

animal lover (author)2013-05-19

Can you make the dough at home, then lock it into a plastic baggie and take it with you?

Also, could you put a hot dog on the stick and wrap the dough around the hot dog?

ps. can i add a bit of baking powder to it because i dont have any self-rising flour?

Jegster (author)2013-03-24

Used to do this when I was in the Scouts 30 years ago. Will def be doing it when I go camping with my kids this year. Thanks for the reminder.

DonnaSue973 (author)2012-07-12

Always looking for fun things to eat while camping with the kids. thanks Tim.

webman3802 (author)2010-06-18

For added convenience, I've also heard of this being done with pre-packaged dough, like the cans from Pilsbury, cut into strips. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.

Purocuyu (author)webman38022012-06-21

I've tried the pilsbury dough, and it is a bit too sticky/wet to get on the stick and not right back on the fingers that were applying it. This dough looks less sticky, but I will be testing this recipe this weekend in Ensenada, Mex. and know for sure if it was just me who couldn't properly put dough on a stick.

tim_n (author)webman38022010-06-20

Mmm, cinnamon (& sultanas?)

maximus276 (author)2012-04-12

I will definately concider this for my scouts

amalam (author)2011-09-14

I remember making twist in my back yard with my older brothers 50 years ago in England...oh my did I say 50 years! how time has daughter 22 y.o. wants to make twist in our fire pit in the back yard here in Canada. Have eaten Bannock and its tastes a little similar but not quite the same. As I recall we never used sugar only salt...but I could be mistaken after all 50 years does a lot to the


SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-08-21

OH MY WORD!!!!!!

These are like to die for!! LOL They are very delicious, and very fun to make.
This was well written, an enjoyable read, & these things are so delicious that they should be illegal!!!(it's an American saying from years gone by)

Thank you for sharing mate!!

Gunnar120 (author)2011-02-06

anyway to cook without a fire (inside) ? We have a wood furnace outside (HOT), but the thing is... our house is inefficient as it is, and a lot of heat escapes, so... leaving our one heat source letting all the heat into the air doesn't work... and... there is a snowstorm that I don't want to be out in, 40 below with windchill, Minnesota sucks some times etc., anyway... yeah... how can I do this inside?

tim_n (author)Gunnar1202011-04-15

under a hot grill would be fine.

Huntman00 (author)2010-06-19

hey man i need to know if i can use regular flour and i need an answer asap please

tim_n (author)Huntman002010-06-20

No, you need selfraising but you can add 2tsp of baking powder to plain flour and that makes it self raising

Huntman00 (author)tim_n2010-06-24

i googled it... but thx o and ur suppose to add a little bit of salt to ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ that

mcaliber.50 (author)Huntman002011-04-04

but how much salt?

tim_n (author)mcaliber.502011-04-15

just a pinch

mcaliber.50 (author)tim_n2011-04-04

THANKS FOR THE TIP!!! it reaally helped. first time i tried this, i used regular flour, and it failed epicly.

Biggsy (author)2011-04-12

I'm cooking this with my scouts tonight hehehe, :D

limpport (author)2010-10-02

I made a dumb sounding comment before, but to make up for it, here's the recipe for folks on this side of the pond!

4.5 cups flour
3 Tablespoons of sugar (2.9 Tablespoons converting UK to US, but since we seem to have a sugar-y diet anyways, 3 tablespoons is close enough!)
1.25 - 2 cups water

mcaliber.50 (author)limpport2011-04-04


pyrobryan (author)2011-02-18

My friends and I call this "biscuit on a stick", but we use store-bought biscuits. A delicious, but hard to cook just right over a camping fire, treat.

Musicman41 (author)2010-06-17

I am going to try wrapping a hot dog with this, then cooking. Instant pigs in a blanket!

tim_n (author)Musicman412010-06-17

takes a few minutes to cook a twist, probably not long enough for a hot dog, but go for it. Let me know what the results are.

you could cook the sausage for a while first and then wrap the dough around it

dmehling (author)tim_n2010-08-10

Probably not long enough to really cook a dog, but most dogs I see are at least pre-cooked, so there's no harm in eating them a little raw.

Clayton H. (author)Musicman412010-06-17


scarecreaux (author)2010-08-27

When I was young, we made something like this using "whop" biscuits (the kind in the cardboard tube you have to peel and whop on the edge of the counter to open) Anyway, you mold the biscut around a green stick with the bark removed and roast over coals. We always kept jelly in a picnic style condiment squirt bottle. When the biscuit is done slide it off the stick, cover one hole with your finger and use condiment bottle to squirt full of jelly. I like the idea of adding cinimon or powdered sugar and will use it when showing my kids how to make these. Great instructable. Thanks.

cory.smith (author)2010-07-13

"It may look a bit dodgy like something you'd scoop off the floor in a park after a naughty animal has 'been', but I can assure you it's very tasty."

Hilarious! =D

mattbomb (author)2010-06-29

mmmmm those look good (my mouths watering) it would probably take like a sugar twist with more suger. and maybe some maple syrup

guydie5 (author)2010-06-25


RobFS1 (author)2010-06-17

Very nice, and very similar to bannock. They can't be considered "unleavened" though, because there are chemical leaveners in the self-rising flower...

tim_n (author)RobFS12010-06-17

They can because there is no yeast or sourdough starter, however in the strictest sense you are correct.

Ace_Of_All_Trades (author)tim_n2010-06-24

Actually, not in the strictest sense or anything, he is correct. If it has yeast it is a yeast bread, if it has sourdough it is a sourdough. If it has baking soda it is chemically leavened or also known as a quick bread. This has baking soda, or baking powder one, added to it already. If it even had extra air whipped or beat into into it would be air or steam leavened. To be called unleavened bread or dough it needs nothing done to it or added to it at all to make it at all lighter or fluffier.

tim_n (author)Ace_Of_All_Trades2010-06-24

OK! I've learnt something then :)

Huntman00 (author)2010-06-24

ok new question ... and again i need an answer asap ... my dough still looks like tohe one in the first pic on step 1 and i have added all my water what should i do??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

tim_n (author)Huntman002010-06-24

Just keep mixing well, add 50ml water at a time, mix, then add another 50 till you've got the right consistency!

ERCBIENG (author)2010-06-23

This would be super amazing with pretzel dough

About This Instructable




Bio: Hi, I'm Tim. I work on the railways during the day, run a scout troop and have a blog (see above website link) where ... More »
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