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UL Baking
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Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
UL Baking on 05/24/2007 10:13:58 MDT Print View

Have you ever wished you could have a hot biscuit or muffin in the morning? But not carry a ton of weight? Or a huge pot? You can!

I have been fascinated by the Bakepacker for a couple years, but the problem is this: even with the light version they sell, it won't fit my tiny pans. You need a pan that is at least 6" across (which would be around a 1.5 L pot). I use a MSR Titan Ti Kettle, which is .85 L and is not even 5" across the top. And truth be told, I am not about to start carrying heavier and larger pans for this purpose. So I started looking around on the internet and came across this site from a couple years ago, where a hiker described his version of making a UL baker. I thought to myself "could I make one that was smaller? Would it work?".

I wandered around the house looking for what I could use to make it, and noticed I had a brand new windscreen from AntiGravityGear I hadn't used. I smoothed it out, and layed my kettle on top. I traced the shape, then using scissors, cut it out. I then trimmed it down a bit so that it would fit in my pot. You want it so you can drop it in, maybe 1/4" smaller than your pot inside.

There are many materials you could use, one being my idea, another would be a disposable aluminum cookie tray from the grocery store.

Then, using a ruler, I traced a grid of 1/2" squares on it. I used a tiny phillips head screwdriver to do this. All I had to do was gently drag the screwdriver on the metal to leave a light line. You want one that is small, such as for jewelry work. A small punch would work as well.

Now, I found a scrap piece of wood. I set my circle on top of the wood. Using the screwdriver I punched a hole carefully at the corner of each square on the grid I had traced. I then went and punched a hole in the center of each grid.

I then cut another piece of the metal 14" long and 1" wide. It can be as long as you wish. This is what sits at the bottom of the pan, and is spiraled, to hold the circle up.

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The baker in the pot:

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When ready to get baking, put the spiral in the pan. Put water in till almost to the top of the spiral. Top with the circle. Next to the pot is my bag, ready with biscuit mix.

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Biscuit mix place in pan. You can prep the mix in the bag, then arrange the bag, so that opening is at the top. Do not seal. You can use freezer bags or small oven bags for this. I used a sandwich bag here, but I'd not recommend that as they are more fragile.

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I put the pan on my Primus canister stove and brought it to a boil. As soon it was boiling, I hit the timer for 15 minutes, and lowered my stove to where it was barely burning. With the low amount of water in the pan, it continues to gently simmer/boil and conserves fuel use. This would also work fine with an alcohol stove and 1 ounce of fuel. When the time was up, I turned the stove off and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Supposedly, they say on the Bakepacker website to not open the pan while cooking raised items (biscuits, cakes, etc) as the cold air can cause the items to fail and flop.

And did it work? Quite yes, it did! While it doesn't get browned, it was perfectly cooked thru. Moist and tender as well! Yum! It made enough for 1 person.

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For my trial recipe I used Bisquick mix. The Betty Crocker mixes for muffins
that call for just water work well also. Split the pouch in half, into two quart freezer bags.

I put:
1/4 cup + 2 Tbl Bisquick mix
2 Tbl water
In the bag and sealed it, then I mixed it by kneading the bag. I then opened up the bag and put it in the pot.

It is said that you can put paper muffin liners in the bags, and bake it that way, giving you a nice clean muffin/biscuit.

From now on, I will use a quart freezer bag, and double my biscuit recipe so there is enough for both Ford and I. Half a bag of BC muffin mixes would be perfect for 2 people.

Basically, if you can bake it in a Bakepacker, you can do it in this. Just cut your portions in half. 15 minutes seem perfect for cooking time, along with a 5 minute rest.

Have fun!

From my blog:

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: UL Baking on 05/24/2007 11:38:24 MDT Print View


Somewhere I saw a system where you use a titanium cup, inside your pot, standing on a layer of small pebbles. I'm going to try it out at home and hope to be baking on the Lost Coast in two weeks.

Chad Mason

Locale: Arizona
UL Baking on 05/24/2007 12:05:52 MDT Print View

Tinny over at minibulldesign has been doing a lot of backcountry baking using a Walmart greasepot and one of his stoves. It's pretty cool stuff. Here's a link:

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: UL Baking on 05/24/2007 13:05:52 MDT Print View

Denis, Mugs posted his findings on that a couple months ago. His came out pretty good looking!

Btw, I forgot to put the weight of my kit:
1/4 of an ounce :-D

Eric Noble
(ericnoble) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: UL Baking on 05/24/2007 14:26:20 MDT Print View

Sarah, great post! I really have to finally try this. I had to laugh at the contrast between the titanium kettle and the final presentation of the muffin on fine china, complete with gold rim :). Excellent!

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: UL Baking on 05/24/2007 15:09:17 MDT Print View

What?? You don't have the new UL fine china with quality gold trim? ;-)
I swear if I had pack donkeys, I'd do that just to get peoples stares in camp. Hehheh!! Backpacking colonial British style!

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Fine China on 05/24/2007 17:42:43 MDT Print View

Yeah, I completely missed the muffin and saw only the gold leaf china. The incongruence of a titanium mug and china together in one picture may be obvious but the impact of the contrast, however, should not be left to inference and, in my opinion, would benefit from some description. Possibly it could be compared to seeing an elegantly dressed, beautiful woman in a smoke laden pool hall.

Jason Smith
(JasonS) - MLife

Locale: Northeast
Re: Re: Re: UL Baking on 05/24/2007 17:53:05 MDT Print View

I have been using the following system, and it is working pretty well. And the muffins get a light crust. I think its similar to the system Aaron of Brasslite sells. I get 1 large muffin on 1/2 ounce of fuel. I have also tried Tinnys system with similar results and his idea is even lighter, but I have more difficult time completely cleaning the aluminum pans.

1 Snowpeak bowl
1 Evernew titanium pot
1 Antigravity gear cozy
1 500 degree Acu-rite thermometer
3.5 ounces of muffin mix 1/2 you standard muffen package
1 Caldera cone
1 Caldera cone stove
1 Titanium Spork
1 Simmer ring made of titanium windscreen - covers the ports on the stove mostly

Step 1 Place mix in snowpeak bowl and add water
Step 2 Place bowl in evernew pot. It should rest on the ring and not touch the bottom.
Step 3 Place Themometer between Bowl and Pot, near spout
Step 4 Place Lid with top of Antigravity gear cozy on pot.
Step 5 Place simmer ring on stove with above all the ports so ports are still open. Add alcohol
Step 6 Place pot in caldera cone
Step 7 Light Stove
Step 8 Place caldera cone over stove.
Step 9 Wait for temp to climb to 225
Step 10 Take pot and caldera cone of stove
Step 11 Use spork to knock down simmer ring to cover ports, bringing stove to a simmer
Step 12. Place caldera cone over stove again
Step 13. Caldera cone will slowly climb going out around 400-425.
Step 14. Place stove in cozy when it drops down to 300.
*** Note. I think it would work better at higher temps but do not know how much heat reflectex can take. I'm gonna play later to see at what point it melts/catches fire.
Step 15. Wait till it reachers 125.
Step 16. Eat warm muffen

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: UL Baking and your quarter ounce system on 05/25/2007 08:48:28 MDT Print View

OK so my system doesn't qualify as UL. Some of my gear is stuff that will survive my hamhanded mistreatment. I'm not the gram weenie guy. More like the (mostly) ounce conscious type. My base pack weight is about 12lbs. at best.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Re: UL Baking and your quarter ounce system on 05/25/2007 09:13:14 MDT Print View

The Ti mug system would definitely take a beating and come out ok! I'll have to try it, I use a MSR Ti cup, which fits into my Titan kettle. Probably would work just fine.

I will admit though, that yes, I count every little partial ounce. I am bad at that.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: UL Baking on 05/25/2007 09:51:15 MDT Print View

I loved this post, Sarah, so thanks for it. I do a lot of steam baking. I use "Betty Crocker Warm Delights" which turn out GREAT.

They have a wide variety of treats and you just add water. I steam bake them right in the bowl they come with. I'll pack a few of the treats and then the bowl which I re-use. Then I put about 1" of water in the bottom of a pot and float the bowl on the water. Basically I don't use stones. Then I simmer for 15 minutes. The result is great.

The steam-baking is perfect for this because these sorts of dishes you don't want to brown... cakes, brownies, etc.

Biscuits, however, should be browned (my years at LSU are shining through!) :)

I have tried the technique with the WalMart grease pot as shown on the Minibull Designs web site and it works well. I tweaked the process to not require the springform pan (not a big deal). I did get biscuits that were good to eat however keeping then from burning on the bottom and still getting a through-cooked product remained a challenge... about two in three turned out great and the third was scorched on the bottom. Not a big deal (scrape off the burnt parts) but if perfection was my goal I didn't get there.

I am back to thinking of ways to bake without steam so as to get a browned product. Really, the process is the same as steam baking except that you need a way to regulate temprature (the water does this for you in steam baking) and I would be concerned about warping/damaging a pot.

I have never really had time to fool with this.

Oh, and the "tube" biscuits don't work well... at least not for me... in the steam baking setup. I think they have too much oil/fat in them. I thought this was odd because at an Asian quickie food place I used to eat at they made these dumplings that were absolutely delicious and clearly all they were was tube biscuit dough that had been steam baked... I guess that's the point... they come out like dumplings and not biscuits. The same applies to tube cinnamon rolls... they just didn't work well for me steam baking.

I really do need to do more cooking on the trail and posts like this remind me of my passion for this topic and that I need to spend more time playing around. Thanks Sarah!

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: UL Baking on 05/25/2007 11:51:00 MDT Print View

Minibulldesign's most recent baking efforts involve a foil liner (cut and shaped to fit inside a pot from a large foil baking pan) filled with batter and dropped into the pot lined with rocks. No water in the pot! According to his video of the process, the Baked Thing also appears to brown. I like Sarah's idea of using a loosely coiled strip of stiff foil in the pot instead of rocks. On my last backpack trip, in the snow, the only visible rocks were of the two-ton variety.

twig .
(bretthartwig) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Re: Re: Re: UL Baking on 05/25/2007 16:09:03 MDT Print View

I had difficulty getting the cooked muffin out of my snowpeak mug without burning my fingers on the mug/steam, so I varied the setup by bending a strip of aluminium flashing into a u-shape and suspending it off the cup rim. I found a really light silicone cup cake mould by "Wiltshire Bend-n-Bake" which fits perfectly in the mug- it also doubles as a pot grapper. I use Betty Crocker "Just Add Milk" muffin mix, a smear of oil in the mould, bury a square of chocolate in the muffin and cook for 8 minutes, Amazing!!!!

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
Re: Re: Re: UL Baking and your quarter ounce system on 06/11/2007 10:13:02 MDT Print View


We just completed a week on the Lost Coast and baked a biscuit, with bacon, every morning. I used Betty Crocker buiscuit mix, a tablespoon (splash) of water and two strips of precooked bacon, folded into the mix. I collected small pebbles from the beach to support my Evernew Titanium cup above an inch of water in my Firelite SUL 1100 pot. When the water boiled I turned my Snow Peak cannister stove down to a low simmer for 8 minutes, then turned off the stove and let the pot stand for 5 minutes before taking off the lid. The ti cup had cooled enough by then so I could turn it upside down and out fell a warm chunk of heaven.

Edited by redleader on 06/11/2007 10:14:35 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: UL Baking and your quarter ounce system on 06/11/2007 12:35:35 MDT Print View

I have been thinking, that on an upcoming trip on the PCT I am taking biscuits with me for every day. The thought of a hot biscuit with a honey packet.....and your bacon idea? (wiping drool) My kid would love that!

Denis Hazlewood
(redleader) - MLife

Locale: Luxury-Light Luke on the Llano Azul
UL Baking with Betty on 06/13/2007 08:32:14 MDT Print View


Betty Crocker has a "Honey Biscuit" mix. Haven't tried it yet. Might save the weight/mess of honey packets. I have been splitting the BC bag into individual baggies of one biscuit each. I also add a teaspoon of powered buttermilk and some butter buds to the baggie. The buttermilk was suggested by a baker friend to get better texture with steam.

Wished I had one right now.

Joshua Mitchell
(jdmitch) - F

Locale: Kansas
Warm Delights Baking - Question for Mr Pitts... on 06/22/2007 12:55:30 MDT Print View

James... you don't by any chance your your Jetboil GCS do you? If so, does the bowl fit without modifications?

Sam .
(samurai) - F

Locale: NEPA
New Bag? on 06/29/2007 20:21:25 MDT Print View

Baked in these yet? Look promising, and they have a deal right now. I love a deal!

Edited by samurai on 06/29/2007 20:22:20 MDT.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: New Bag? on 06/29/2007 20:51:33 MDT Print View

sam, I hadn't seen those yet!! My only worry is they are porous? If so, that could be an issue. But when I see them, I will get a box and try them out.
They are bringing the flat bottomed bags back as well. I cannot wait till those come back in stock locally. They were my favorite style of freezer bags.

Sam .
(samurai) - F

Locale: NEPA
Re: New Bag on 06/30/2007 09:09:26 MDT Print View

>sam, I hadn't seen those yet!! My only worry is they are porous?

I don't know if they are porous or not, they just say they're vented. I guess it depends on how they're vented. The recipes are using liquids like olive oil and butter. I guess I assumed they were vented near the seal.

I'll grab some and check them out. Bakepacker's been getting a workout!

I saw that the expandable bottom bags were back too. They also carry a dry bag at Wilderness Dining that isn't on the Ziploc website. These things come and go so quickly.

BTW... every time I see your avatar I get antsy. George is building a blue one for me right now! Ohhh the anticipation! Any day now...

Edited by samurai on 06/30/2007 09:15:42 MDT.