Outdoor Skills: Ash Cakes / ‘Stick Bread’ Recipe

Ash Cakes cooking on a camp fireThis super simple recipe is the Traditional “Mountain-man” breakfast food, no utensils, pots or pans required. Ash Cakes consist of equally simple ingredients… make sure you use ‘Baking Powder’ though (rather than Baking Soda). You can also jazz them up by adding toppings or fillings of other things you have handy that are in abundance, see ideas below.

You will also want to use hardwoods any time you cook directly in or on a fire. Hardwoods do not contain resin like your softwoods do, such as pine. Softwoods can impart their resinous flavor into food, which may not be desirable.

You will need:

  • 3 TBSP. Flour, from any type of wheat or grain
  • 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt (optional)


  1. Mix all ingredients together, then kneed into a smooth dough.
  2. Tip: add a touch more water if the dough is too dry, or add a touch more flour if the dough is too sticky.
  3. Press the dough into a flat pancake, the thinner the better!
  4. Place the dough pancake on ‘hot’ white ashes in your fire, see additional cooking tip
  5. In about 30 seconds flip over the pancake to cook the other side.
  6. The Ash Cake is done when both sides are golden brown.

Yield: 1 Ash Cake

Amounts: Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe if more Ash Cakes are desired.

Cooking Tip: If you have the time and prefer a less burnt Ash Cake try using a flat thin rock that has a fire built on it is also a great cooking platform. The rock will hold heat for a long time, which is great if you’re cooking a quantity of Ash Cakes. First, build a good sized fire, not a bonfire though! Find a clean flat rock, one that is ‘dry’ – NOT from a stream! Wet rocks can explode when exposed to high heat. Set your (dry) rock on the fire. Place more hardwood on the top of your cooking rock. As the wood placed on top burns it will heat the rock further. After the added wood burns, brush the coals to the side, so a clean area is exposed in center of rock and place bread dough on rock.

Ash Cake Topping and Filling Suggestions:

  • Jelly or Jam
  • Fresh Berries
  • Butter
  • Sugar and Cinnamon
  • Hummus
  • Cultivated or Wild Edibles
  • Domestic Meat/Poultry, or Wild Game, thin slices
  • Olive Oil for dipping, optional: add some herbs to this for added flavor

Ash Cake Variation:

You can ‘roll’ the dough into a long snake and wrap the dough snake around a stick to make ‘Stick Bread’.

To Your Emergency Preparedness Kit Add:

  • Flour – Know that flour, already ground, will turn rancid within a year. Keeping ‘Wheat Berries’ in your kit will last much longer but you will need a means by which to grind them to make them into flour. Try grinding some yourself to see if you’re up to doing the work… or, if you prefer to rotate your stash of flour every 6 months.
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
Other recipes on wild edible foods;

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