Making Campfire Twists

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About: 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 I discuss my allotment and projects!

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

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

Optional:
Jam!

Equipment:
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

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

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

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

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!

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

Eat.

Fin.

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    64 Discussions

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    jjbucha

    1 year ago

    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.

    biscuits[1].jpg
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    mkempejjbucha

    Reply 1 year ago

    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.

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    tim_nmkempe

    Reply 1 year ago

    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.

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    mkempetim_n

    Reply 1 year ago

    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.

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    Lucy Redwood

    1 year ago

    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?

    2 replies
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    Lucy Redwoodtim_n

    Reply 1 year ago

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

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    ravenpatrol

    2 years ago

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

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    tim_nravenpatrol

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.

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    icey.hood

    3 years ago on Introduction

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

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    CaptainNemo

    4 years ago on Step 5

    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.

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    Jegster

    5 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    DonnaSue973

    6 years ago on Step 5

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

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    webman3802

    8 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    Purocuyuwebman3802

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    maximus276

    6 years ago on Step 5

    I will definately concider this for my scouts