• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


How to make healthy Hudson Bay Bread for outdoor energy

533 400 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

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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  • Leon

    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.

  • Dave Sullivan

    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

  • Alan Hastings

    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

  • Frank

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

  • Dave Sullivan

    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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