Historically, I have been a freeze-dried food hiker with a generous supplement of noodles, cheese, and salami for my menu. Reading between the lines, I’ve been too lazy to prepare in advance. On the other hand, I love good food and very few packaged freeze-dried offerings qualify as good in my book.
So recently I decided to expand my trail kitchen. In addition to improving the quality of food, I hope to prepackage a stockpile so it is easier to hit the trail when the feeling moves me. I’ve spent too many days before trips in a mad scramble drafting recipes, shopping, and repackaging. Invariably you forget something this way or settle for easy food rather than good food.
I’ve started experimenting with drying food, but that is for another article. For today I’ll talk about an old trail favorite, Logan Bread. Several recipes pop up on Google, but the recipe I tried today came from June Fleming’s excellent book, The Well-Fed Backpacker (Vintage Books, 1986). I highly recommend this book.
June lists Logan Bread as “Survival Rations” and certainly it can fit that bill. The problem is it is so tasty you’ll come up with all kinds of excuses to eat it. The longer you cook it, the dryer it gets, and the longer it keeps. This food is jam packed with nutrition and could keep you going for a while.
Here is June’s recipe:
4 lbs (14 1/3 cup) whole wheat flour 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup instant dry milk 1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1 cup chopped nuts
4 cups water 1 1/4 cups honey
1 1/2 cups blackstrap molasses 1 1/4 cups melted shortening
2 cups chopped dried fruit
Preheat oven to 300 F. To blended dry ingredients add water, then honey, molasses, shortening and fruit. Pour batter about an inch thick into greased pans and bake for 1 hour. Reduce oven to 200 F, leave door open slightly and continue to dry the bread for several hours.
It doesn’t get an simpler than that. The batter is thick, so unless you have an industrial mixer, you may just want to mix it with your hands. It’s messy that way, but fun!
I made 1/3 of the recipe as I was short of wheat flour. This made one 9×12″ pan of bread which I cut into 12 bars. Three or four of these bars will keep you going for a day or more. One of these days, I’ll try to research the caloric & nutritional value and will update this post. Various sites list it at 3-500 calories for a 2-3″ square. Next time I’ll tinker with the measurements a bit. I’d like a little more molasses and fruit. Walnuts would be good (all I had were almonds and sunflower seeds). I may also try adding a little applesauce, but that may make it too moist.
The bread was very good and I’ve been directed to make some for the household next time (don’t cook it as long if you are going to eat it at home so it will stay moist). Try it on the trail with cheese, fruit leathers, and jams.
If you haven’t tried making your own trail foods, this recipe is a great place to start.
August 2010 Update: I set aside a few pieces from this recipe to see how long it would last. Each 4″ square was individually wrapped in plastic wrap and then stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer. After thirteen months the logan bread is still quite good! It is a little drier but still tasty. My guess is this stuff would last for years in the freezer.
I also researched the nutritional value of this logan bread recipe and here is what I came up with:
Full Recipe Contains: 13,800 Calories, 2500 grams of Carbohydrates, 270 grams of Protein, and 340 grams of Fat.
Each Bar (1″x4″x4″) Contains: 385 Calories, 70 grams of Carbohydrates, 7.5 grams of Protein, and 9 grams of Fat.
As I expected, 3 or 4 bars a day will keep you going for a while. Note that the protein and fat provided will be well less than the daily recommended requirement, especially if you are active, but you won’t feel the effects of this shortfall for several days at least. You could certainly modify the recipe to adjust the balance. For instance, adding a cup of whey based protein powder would add another 400 calories and 100 grams of protein to the full recipe, boosting the protein in each bar to just over 15 grams.
Feel free to share your favorite recipes.
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About the Author: Tucson, AZ Realtor & Investor. My true passions however are hiking and whisky (although generally not at the same time). If you have a question about any of these just drop me a line!