It was Christmas Eve and we ran out of propane at Forto’s Fort in Alaska. It has been -20 degrees or worse for more than a month and we frankly forgot to wade through deep snow to check the level on the propane tank. We let it run out. Our fault.
A delivery was made on Christmas Eve and the propane guy said he had to come inside to re-light the pilot lights. Protocol, he said. Our 15 year old daughter, Nicole was home and she let him in. He left in minutes and we thought we were good to go.
Later that night we soon found out that stove wasn’t working AND also found out that there is no pilot light on the stove, but it has an electric ignitor and a gas regulator valve. The dumb-a** from the propane company broke that off!
At least it broke off closed. What does that mean? No stove for the foreseeable future, but what’s worse? No stove for Christmas dinner! No Christmas cookies, Grandma’s fudge or baked potatoes and nasty yams!
I decided among all else; we are having Banana Bread, come hell or high water.
After some searching online I found a recipe on YouTube for Dutch Oven Banana Bread over a campfire.
I had a roaring fire in the wood stove. It was minus twenty degrees outside. Why not go all Grizzly Adams style and cook on that puppy.
Michele and Nicole whipped up the batter and I threw three lumps of coal in the fire to heat them up nice and red.
Within minutes the bread was on the stove in Michele’s brand new Dutch Oven.
How did we do it?
We poured the batter in a bread pan
Next we made a ring out of aluminum foil and placed that on the bottom of the Dutch Oven, placing the bread pan on top of that. You do this so that the bottom of your bread does not burn from being directly in contact with the hot wood stove top.
We then placed the lid on the dutch oven and made another ring using foil on the lid so that our coals would not slide off.
I fetched the three coals from the fire and placed them on top of the Dutch Oven. This is a crucial step. If you do not have coals on top of the Dutch Oven your bread will not cook evenly and may not rise.
I covered the coals with a layer of foil to hold in the heat.
We sat back and waited 45 minutes before checking it.
At 45 minutes our bread was still a bit raw in the middle so we let it cook another 15 minutes.
At exactly one hour our bread was done!
We removed the bread pan from the dutch oven and placed the bread on a rack to cool.
Our bread did burn just a little bit on the bottom and we fixed it by shaving off a small slice.
Otherwise our Banana Bread turned out EXCELLENT and our little bit of improvisation turning into a Christmas memory that we will soon not forget!