The kids and I have been preparing food to pack with us on an upcoming hiking/camping trip we hope to be taking the next few days. Tonight we made a variation of Logan Bread, from “The Well-Fed Backpacker” by June Flemming. My dad used to make this when I was a kid. Now my kids and I make it. We’ve owned several copies of this book between the two of us, over the years! Logan Bread makes the perfect trail food. It’s tasty, nutrient dense, and has a fairly long shelf life. It is firm enough that it travels very well and is easy to eat on the go. This bread is sort of like a homemade energy bar.
The recipe gets it’s name from a Mount Logan, where it was taken along on expeditions. There are stories that this mountain is the one both in Alaska and the one in Canada.
In Flemming’s book, the recipe comes under the category “Survival” Rations, along with Pemmican.
This makes a huge batch of sixty 2-inch squares, high in protein, vitamins, iron and calcium. Keeps weeks on the trail, longer in the refrigerator, indefinitely in the freezer.
4 pounds (12 ⅓ cups) whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ 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 ¼ cups honey
1 ½ cups blackstrap molasses
1 ¼ cups melted shortening
2 cups chopped dried fruit
Preheat oven to 300° F. To blend 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. The drier it is, the longer it will keep.
We modify the recipe a bit when we make it. First of all, calling for 4 pounds of flour, it certainly does make a huge batch! We made half a recipe. Secondly, this book was first published the year I was born, 1976. The ideas of health conscious ingredients for cooking with have changed over the last 40 years. You may choose to modify the ingredients further to align with your own dietary preferences.
We use whole wheat pastry flour (soft white wheat) from Bob’s Red Mill. It has less gluten than bread flour (hard red wheat) and lends itself perfectly to quick breads with whole wheat that are less dense. The guideline we follow is that if a recipe uses baking powder or baking soda for the leavening agent, we use w. w. pastry flour. If yeast is used, then we use w. w. bread flour, or a mixture of both. Since I started using pastry flour, I quit combining whole wheat flour with white flour all together.
We put a cup of sunflower seeds and a cup of walnuts in the batter, which is four times the proportion of nuts called for. The dried fruit we used includes raisins, papayas, pineapples, cranberries, and golden raisins.
We also used evaporated cane sugar instead of brown sugar and brown rice syrup instead of honey, only because those are the ingredients I had on hand. We used coconut oil instead of shortening, which might lessen the shelf life, but that’s fine with me. I don’t expect this batch to stick around for a very long time, anyway!