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As one of the oldest foods, bread is a staple in many diets that is important in a survival situation. Bread, either with or without yeast, is often the foundation of a meal. Bread is a great side dish to help boost caloric intake during an emergency, and it can stand alone as a meal if needed.
When the SHTF, it is highly likely that you won’t have power or access to the grid. So, how do you make this staple food without using electricity? We know that variations of bread have been made for centuries, so it definitely can be done without a modern power grid.
It is important to think outside the box when it comes to making food in a blackout. Really, a modern oven is just a fancy heated box, and you likely have other things you can use already. A blackout shouldn’t be a reason to let your family go hungry.
Here are some ways to make bread when the power is out.
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1. BBQ Grill
Since a grill is just a heated box that is outside, it lends itself well to creating the perfect environment for baking bread. Most BBQ grills use propane or charcoal as a heat source, so it is a good idea to stock both fuel types just in case.
The tricky part about baking bread on the grill is that grills often get much hotter than a modern oven. It is essential to keep an eye on the temperature and adjust the heat if needed so that you don’t burn the bread.
Flatbreads work well on the grill for those of us who have never tried grilling bread before. Their size and shape require less time in the heat. However, breads that need time to rise can still bake just as well on the grill with a little bit of practice.
2. Campfire Stone Oven
You can also build your own outdoor oven using natural supplies that you have around the house. Collect some large stones and dig a spot into the ground to build your own stone oven. The ground and stones are natural insulators, making them the perfect materials to create an oven no matter where you are.
To make a campfire stone oven, you build an oven using the stones, dirt, and surrounding materials. The fire is started inside the oven, and then the coals are used to help keep the oven warm. Place a hole in the top of the oven to release the smoke during the heating process, then use a large stone to cover the hole when you are ready to use the oven.
Another large stone should be placed in front of the oven to create a makeshift door. You will also need a large stone to act as a plate to put the bread into the oven.
3. Dutch Oven
You may have seen those heavy cast iron Dutch ovens at flea markets or at your local wilderness store. This incredibly useful tool allows you to create your own oven over a fire.
A Dutch oven is a round pot with a heavy lid and a handle. You can use the Dutch oven just like a modern oven for cooking and baking. The Dutch oven comes in a variety of sizes, ranging from small to extra large.
To make bread in a Dutch oven, you’ll need a good fire with a constant heat source. Many prefer to use charcoal briquettes to help focus the heat on both the top and bottom of the Dutch oven.
Oil the Dutch oven well, then use your favorite bread recipe to mix up a batch of dough. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the Dutch oven, so adjust to your needs.
4. Solar Oven
One of the best ways to make bread during a blackout is to bake using a solar sun oven. The sun is a natural heat source that we should all use more of when trying to become self-sufficient. Some solar sun ovens include a metal box with added shields to help direct the sun to the oven.
Solar sun ovens do cook at lower temperatures, so baking times will vary, and it will take a little longer to cook the bread through. However, using a solar sun oven is a great way to bake and cook food in a blackout situation as long as you have a bright and sunny day outside.
You may be a bit skeptical of this method, but skillet bread is a tried and true way to cook bread, especially if the power is out. To make skillet bread, you’ll need a heavy-duty skillet to use over a flame, either a propane-powered stovetop or a fire.
The skillet size will greatly determine the size and shape of your bread, so choose one that isn’t too large or small. You will also need a lid or some kind of cover for the pan, like a piece of foil.
To make skillet bread, the most important part includes the lid or cover for the pan to help keep the heat inside. Using the correct lid will also help keep in the humidity of the bread and ensure that the bread is cooked through.
Flipping the bread over is another key element to help brown the top part of the loaf that hasn’t had contact with the pan.
You don’t need a modern oven that connects to the power grid to bake bread. While it is the most convenient option, there are plenty of other ways to bake bread when the power is out. You can use a BBQ grill or propane-powered stovetop to make skillet bread.
Investing in a solar sun oven is another option, as well as making your own oven using stones and a campfire. Picking up a few sizes of Dutch ovens could also help in a survival situation when you want to create an oven that can be transported.
No matter what method choose, all of these options will help create fluffy and delicious bread for any meal.
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The first Thanksgiving I lived in the sticks with my late husband, the power went out just as I was getting ready to bake my oatmeal dinner rolls. He fired up the gas BBQ grill and we put the pans of rolls on an upper rack and baked them! They were perfect. He wouldn’t have called himself a prepper but he knew how to do many things that preppers value. I really miss him.