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Leon's Blog

How to make healthy Hudson Bay Bread for outdoor energy

How to make healthy Hudson Bay Bread for outdoor energy

Need energy on the trail? Here is a time-tested favorite from the  Boundary Waters in Northern Minnesota! Not only does it supply energy, but also tastes great!

Sunset somewhere in the Boundary Waters (All photos by Bob Patterson)

by Leon Pantenburg

The only item on the lunch menu the first day was a three-inch square of Hudson Bay Bread gobbed with about two tablespoons of peanut butter. I’d worked up quite an appetite paddling and portaging that morning, and privately wondered where I’d get the energy to last the rest of the day.

My oldest son, Dan, and I, along with seven other members of Boy Scout Troop 18 of Bend, Oregon, had just started on a nine-day canoe trip through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in northern Minnesota. We left from the Boy Scouts Northern Tier High Adventure base at Ely, Minn., and all the food, cooking gear and a guide were supplied.

To my surprise, the Hudson Bay bread was so rich, filling and full of calories that I could barely finish it. I had ample energy to paddle, portage and hike until that evening. That was lunch for several days, and Hudson Bay Bread fueled many rigorous miles of paddling and portaging! There’s no question that the folks at the High Adventure base know how to fuel hungry paddlers!

Since that canoe journey in 2004, Hudson Bay bread has been put on my short list for high-energy, low-weight outdoor activity fuel. But being a freelance food writer, as well as somewhat of a health nut, I tweaked the recipe to make it a healthier food item.

The Boundary Waters: You must earn this beauty, and food is fuel. But it can also taste good!

Regardless of the recipe, one way to use the bread is to cut it into three-inch squares and put it into individual sandwich bags. For convenience, get peanut butter in one-ounce packets or fruit jam, and use that as a topping.

I assume the bread would last for several months, but don’t really know since it gets eaten too soon to find out!

Here’s the recipe for the bread given out by the High Adventure base at Ely. My suggestions for substitutions may change the flavor somewhat, but you’ll still get the nutritional punch needed for hiking, biking or any activity that burns a lot of calories.


1-1/2 lbs. margarine or butter (Butter, always!)

4 cups of sugar (substitute raw, unrefined evaporated cane sugar)

2/3 cup Karo syrup (use maple syrup or blackstrap molasses. Get rid of the empty calorie refined corn syrup and add extra iron with molasses.)

2/3 cup honey

2 tsp. maple flavoring (If you use pure maple syrup, you don’t need this artificial additive.)

Cream together the above ingredients.

Add while mixing:

1-1/2 cups of ground nuts (Almonds can supply additional potassium)

19 cups of oatmeal (use steel cut or the kind you have to cook. The less refined the grain, the more nutrition).

Spread in a large sheet pan. Press it down into the pan. Bake at 325 degrees in a wind (or convection) oven for 15-18 minutes. As soon as the bread has been taken from the oven, use a spatula to press it down again. This presses the bread together to keep it from crumbling.

Cut it while still warm. For home-size preparation, cut this recipe at least in half. A conventional oven requires a longer baking time.

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View Comments (10)


  1. Leon

    07/26/2015 at 11:41

    Well, I don’t know what’s going on. Have you tried defining the text, then copying it to a word document? This re-print issue seems to be a common problem.

  2. Dave Sullivan

    07/24/2015 at 06:00

    Leon Please unsubscribe me from your letters. Every time it try to print something off I get only junk printing. I tried to print off your healthy granola bars, and the Hudson Bay Bread and got nothing. I’m tired of people giving out information and not being able to print it off

  3. Leon

    07/16/2015 at 06:08

    Yeah, that is a lot of oatmeal, but that is correct.

  4. Leon

    07/16/2015 at 06:06

    I’ll see what I can do. I imagine there is a plug-in that can be added to the site.

  5. Alan Hastings

    07/11/2015 at 13:17

    Could you please add a program to where all of your postings can be converted to pdf files while on the page. That way We can both download and print them out.
    As it is unless we use pen and paper to copy what you post they are nothing but worthless use of hard-drive space that if hit with emp attack or a computer virus all is lost.
    I love almost every post you have made and really wish that you would do like some other sights and add a doc to pdf Icon to your pages. Many others have gone this and it really is of great value to your readers.
    Thank you for all the great information.
    One of your faithful readers
    Alan Hastings

  6. Frank

    07/10/2015 at 20:04

    19 cups of oatmeal? Seems like a misprint. An awful lot of oatmeal considering the remainder ingredients.

  7. Leon

    07/10/2015 at 17:10

    i don’t know – it should work.

  8. Leon

    07/10/2015 at 17:10


  9. Karen

    07/10/2015 at 13:38

    Do you use cooked oatmeal or uncooked oats? I’m not clear on this.

  10. Dave Sullivan

    07/10/2015 at 10:18

    How is it that every time I try to print off an article published by you it will never print. You publish a lot of very good material and advice but if I can’t print it, its useless

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Leon's Blog

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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