Heat Beads BBQ Briquetts

G'day there!

I'm going on an outback trip in a few weeks and some areas will have little to no firewood.

I'll have gas but although I've done it before, it's not the best for baking bread in the camp oven.

So I've got a bag of Heat Beads BBQ Briquetts, hoping they'll do the job for me. Trouble is, the directions on the packet don't really fit my situation.

I want to get about 10 beads burning nicely, put say half on top of the camp oven and put the camp oven on top of the rest.

How does that sound? Will I be eating doughy bread or worse still black bread?

I normally drag some coals out of the fire to put the camp oven on and half a small shovel of coals on top.

It looks like I should be able to get the beads burning with a couple of firelighters and maybe a few sticks.

How does that sound? Will I be eating doughy bread or worse still black bread?


Bread baked on the gas at Coongee Lakes

Thanks,
Laurie.
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Reply By: Member - shane r1 - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 11:45

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 11:45
Gas bread looks good, maybe have a practice in the back yard with briquettes, I'm sure they'll work ,just need to work out how many needed.
Cheers
AnswerID: 552054

Reply By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 12:22

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 12:22
Google camp oven cooking using heat beads and you will get lots of results.

Here is one that gives the number of beads required.
AnswerID: 552056

Reply By: Member - William B (The Shire) - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 12:25

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 12:25
Hi laurie,
I cant answer your question directly, but why dont you have a few trial runs at home?
A bit of trial and error before your trip. (over a refreshing glass of something)
I know from personal experience whenever I get a new BBQ or whatever I use heat beads on, it takes a few goes to get it close to right.
William
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Reply By: Bega Photographer - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 14:06

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 14:06
OK, thanks Fellas!

Yes, I've Googled and got a bit of info. Seems at least 20 heat beads for a large camp oven, maybe less for a small one.

I see most people use a special starter to get the heat beads burning well. Getting them started is what I'm most unsure of.

Maybe if I put some small stones over the ground with the heat beads and firelighters on them it will get enough draft to get going.

I'll give it go down the back yard when the drizzle takes up.
AnswerID: 552062

Reply By: Stephen_L - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 18:05

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 18:05
I've been using heat beads with my camp oven for quite a few years with great success.

It takes surprisingly few, I use the self lighting ones or have a few fire starters to make things easy.

One thing I did notice is that the ones underneath oven can sometimes get smothered so I sit my camp oven on some tent pegs that I hammer into the ground to lift the oven off the heat beads a fraction.

I use the guide on this web site.
http://www.aussiecampovencook.com/heatbeadsbbqbriquettes.htm

At the bottom is a link to a PDF that I have printed laminated and goes with me. I stick to the guide and it works a treat usually only have to adjust a little bit for weather conditions.

Have done roasts, damper, cakes, pizza, nachos, the list goes on

Cheers
Stephen


AnswerID: 552068

Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 21:08

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 21:08
Thanks Stephen! Great info!

"One thing I did notice is that the ones underneath oven can sometimes get smothered so I sit my camp oven on some tent pegs that I hammer into the ground to lift the oven off the heat beads a fraction."

I think what I'll do is put a small grate on some stones to keep it up off the ground and put the heat beads on that. This should help with the air flow. Then put the camp oven straight on top of the heat beads for good heat conductivity. Any thoughts?

The chart is great, thanks!
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Follow Up By: Stephen_L - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 07:38

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 07:38
I found that when I had the camp oven sitting directly on the heat beads they tended to go out. However if they have an air flow from underneath as you suggest that may do the trick definitely worth a try.

Also found a wind break helped keep the temperature even and when getting my heat beads started I use the heat from the flames to pre heat the oven.

Cheers


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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 09:33

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 09:33
Thanks Stephen!

Preheating the oven:

I usually do the second rise for bread in the camp oven, not too close but near the fire, so the oven get's a bit of preheat, but only enough to take the chill off the cast iron.

It will be a whole new world for me with heat beads.

One place I'll be camping with the ute is near Pernatty Lagoon, not all that far from Woomera in SA. Good firewood there and plenty of flat rocks.

There's a small, dry salt lake that I want to photograph about 10km away, but 20km via the tracks that meander from one dam to the next.

Looking at Google Earth there, looks to be an old stockmen's hut a couple of km further on. If that's the case, I'll take enough stuff on the quadbike to camp so that I can photograph at and after sunset and the equivalent in the morning. Not a tree for miles by the look of things. Heat beads and one small pot to cook in will be great.

I reckon I'll take half a dozen bags of heat beads on the trip.
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Follow Up By: Stephen_L - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 12:01

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 12:01
Sounds like a great trip.

Half dozen bags is heaps of heat beads, one thing you will notice is that they last a really long time so we often do a roast for dinner then have enough heat to cook a self saucing pudding for dessert or some sweet scones or some other treat.

Sometimes when wood is really scarce I use the engine bay (if I have been driving recently) as a nice warm spot for my bread to rise.

Cheers
Stephen
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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 13:01

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 13:01
Sounds good. I should be able to cook a small roast meal, chop and veggies, while the bread rises, then bake the bread for the next day.

Another thing I want to do is build a bread oven of square cut rocks and bake straight on the hearth.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 20:20

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 20:20
Can't help you with the heat bead side of things, Laurier, but when I worked in the Kimberley, I had some of the best camp oven bread cooks, as camp cooks. Won't go into their less desirable traits though. :-)

When using larger Bedourie ovens, they always had a tin, usually an old pea or bean tin, in the centre of the dough. This allowed the heat to get into the middle of the mix, and I rarely, if ever, saw a failure from their efforts.

Bob

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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 20:21

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 20:21
Forgot to add, the sample in your photo looks perfect!

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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 21:16

Monday, Apr 06, 2015 at 21:16
Thanks Bob!

I find bread is pretty forgiving and have very few flops, even when I started out baking. That's sounds like a good idea about the tin in the middle. I imagine it would speed up baking too.

Yes, the bread at Coongee Lakes turned out surprisingly well. I made two small loaves and the four of us devoured the first one while the second one baked.

I put the dough in an aluminium pie dish on a trivet in the camp oven.
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Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 12:32

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 12:32
Bit OT, as you were enquiring about heat beads, but if you're ever cooking/baking in many parts of the outback, one of the better woods to use is that of the Bauhinia, or Bean Tree(Lysiphyllum cunninghamii)

Produces excellent coals, that are perhaps a little less ferocious, than some of the Acacias, like gidgea, and mulga.



Good fresh bread is certainly one of the delights of life! One time in the Kimberley, our camp Cook was taken ill, and we had fend for ourselves for a day or two. No dramas in that, and proceeded to knock up a feed the first evening. Probably steak 'n veges? Had to have a slice of bread or two with the meal, and we couldn't get enough of this fresh bread..........ended up devouring a full loaf, made in a 12" cast iron oven.

Turns out Johnny the cook, used to feed us bread that was a day or two old, so we didn't eat too much!!!

Good luck with the heat beads.......hope the grandsons enjoy the fresh from the oven bread.

Bob

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Reply By: Sand Man (SA) - Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 19:14

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2015 at 19:14
Hi Laurie,

As a general rule of thumb use the diameter of your camp oven as a guide.
For a 12" diameter oven, add two more to the top (14) and two less on the bottom (10)

When using heat beads with my camp oven (a lot of the time) I place an old cast iron frypan on the bottom, add the heat beads, then a "pot stand" or trivet and sit the camp oven on this. this gives an air gap between the heatbeads and the base of the oven so the beads are not smothered. Always works for me.

I love baking bread in the camp oven. Actually, I love cooking anything in the camp oven.
I have a 12" Hillbilly Bush King camp oven with some additional accessories to enhance the flexibility of the oven, including veggie ring, pot stand, folding wind shield and a gas ring, (which I use on rare occasions), as I prefer the heatbeads to cook with. All this fits into a canvas carry bag.

I also have a heatbead starter, a tin with handle and with holes in the side and base to allow good airflow. This speeds up the process of igniting a bunch of heatbeads.

I have more success with heatbeads than using coals from the campfire, as the heat required is easier to control and burn for longer than coals, which you need to keep replacing.

One tip I can offer is to ensure you have dry heatbeads. A bag that has been opened for moths, tends to absorb moisture, thus making the burning process harder, if not impossible.
Heatbeads "easy-lite" product and while these are easier to light initially to speed up the ignition process, suffer considerably from moisture degradation if a previously opened bag is used some months later.

Another product I have and use in place of, or in conjunction with my camp oven, is a Cobb Cooker. these are absolutely brilliant when cooking for one or two people and only require 6 to 7 beads to cook a great roast with veggies at the same time.
A bit small for my bread making tin though. I have used it to bake a bread "cobb" rather than a bread "loaf".
I prefer a loaf as left over bread toasts up extremely well the next morning for a scrumptious bacon and egg on toast brekkie.

Enjoy your next camping trip and just keep experimenting until you are happy with your cooking prowess:-)

Bill


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Follow Up By: Bega Photographer - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 11:15

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 11:15
Thanks Bill! Great ideas appreciated!

It's raining nicely here in Bega and looks set to continue for a couple of days. When it takes up I'll have a practice down the back yard.

I'll have my twin 7 yo grandsons here in the next couple of weeks so that should prove a great experience for them. Poor little fellas have likely never been allowed to so much as strike a match, let alone light a fire.

Regards,
Laurie.
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Follow Up By: Sand Man (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 11:47

Wednesday, Apr 08, 2015 at 11:47
Good on ya Grandad,

Show them a little of life's experiences and when they taste that fresh warm bread, they'll think you are SO clever and the sunshine emanates from you.
Bill


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