Societal Collapse: They’re Now Jailing Bakers In This South American Country

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Societal Collapse: They’re Now Jailing Bakers In This South American Country

Operating a privately owned bakery at a profit is now a crime in one South American country. The nation’s government is seizing bakeries and jailing bakers who make anything but loaves of bread.

At least two bakeries in Venezuela have been seized and four people jailed as part of the “bread war” declared by President Nicolas Maduro, The Miami Herald reported. It is part of Maduro’s effort to end bread lines and shortages of baked goods in the country.

Maduro sent soldiers to more than 700 bakeries to enforce a rule that 90 percent of their production must be bread, not pastries or cakes, Reuters reported. A least one bakery will be run by the government for three months.

Bakeries in Venezuela can only produce French bread or white bread, with government supplied flour, under Maduro’s orders. They then must sell the bread at prices set by the government. It is also illegal to make items like brownies, sweet rolls and croissants.

Flour Shortage and Bread Shortage

The problem is that the government is not supplying the bakeries with any flour because it cannot pay for flour or wheat, said Juan Crespo of the Industrial Flour Union, a group that represents Venezuela’s bakers.

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“The government isn’t importing enough wheat,” Crespo said. “If you don’t have wheat, you don’t have flour, and if you don’t have flour, you don’t have bread.”

Around 80 percent of Venezuela’s bakeries are out of flour, Reuters reported.

“The bakeries are showing the authorities that they have no bread inventory,” Crespo said. “The government has to see the reality.”

Venezuela has to import 120 tons of wheat a month to supply demand, but that is not happening, Crespo said. Venezuela’s government has had trouble paying many of its bills. Some news reports indicate the country has not even been able to pay the company that prints its currency.

One result of the currency crunch is food lines in Venezuelan cities, where people stand in line for hours just to buy bread. Another is food rationing, food riots and empty supermarket shelves.

“Those behind the ‘bread war’ are going to pay, and don’t let them say later it is political persecution,” Maduro said in a statement.

Many of the bakeries will have to close if they are unable to sell pastries and other high priced products, Crespo said. That means the situation might soon get far worse because of Maduro’s “solution.”

What is your reaction? Do you think something like this every could happen in America? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Try making hardtack: A great, cheap addition to your survival gear

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Looking for a way to use up surplus flour, or make a cheap trail food or durable survival ration? One answer may be hardtack, a baked, unleavened wheat cracker. As a survival food, hardtack has a proven track record.

by Leon Pantenburg

Vicksburg, MS: My gray-clad brothers-in-arms and I  hunkered down to eat. In the morning, we would do battle with those “heathen Yankee horde” Civil War re-enactors at Champions Hill, between Jackson and Vicksburg,  Mississippi.

I was “under cover” on assignment for the Vicksburg Post to photograph the battle, one of the biggest re-enactments of the year. Except for the Nikon safely hidden  in my haversack, my gear, weapons and accouterments were authentic in every way.

Hardtack can have different ingredients to make it more flavorable.

Hardtack can have different ingredients to make it more flavorable.

Since I was working for the Post, I had to represent the home team and be a Confederate. (This probably caused a minor earth tremor in Ruthven, Iowa, as my great-great-grandfather, James Hallowell,  92th Illinois Infantry, rolled in his grave!)

My only excuse was that like most Confederate soldiers, I had been drafted, thought “The Cause” was illogical, had no choice about being there, and wanted to go home!

I ‘d learned a lot about being a Civil War infantryman in one short, sweltering afternoon: the food was absolutely awful; our wool uniforms were too hot, and felt like you were wearing a sweatsuit: the Kepi-style caps provided no sun protection and the canteens were too small.

The Sargent, sensing my discontent (because of  my constant whining and complaining) picked on me.  He proclaimed to all within hearing distance that I was a “slacker,” and called me a “baboon” when I dropped my canteen during drill. As darkness fell, the re-enactors would sleep under wool blankets, not to stay warm, but to fight off mosquitoes.

But the food was the worst. Dinner was a piece of hardtack, a fatty piece of bacon toasted on a bayonet over a campfire;  horrible boiled coffee brewed in my tin cup and a wormy-looking apple. After eating my meager meal, I was ready to either desert or form a raiding party to attack  the Yankees and get some real food!

A hardtack biscuit

A modern hardtack biscuit

Hardtack is one of the original trail and emergency foods, and it is worth considering if you are a prepper or are interested in wilderness or urban survival.

The advantage is that hardtack is easy to make, transports easily and will last a reasonably long time if stored in appropriate containers. The disadvantage is the bland taste, and traditional toughness.

Even after yeast was discovered by the Egyptians, there was a purpose for unleavened breads. It was easy to carry and durable, so it was standard fare for hunters and warriors.  Centuries later, Christopher Columbus took unleavened bread on his journeys.

Hardtack remained a staple in the New World. During the early settlement of North America, the exploration of the continent, the American Revolution, and on through the American

Hardtack was a durable, if bland-tasting, field ration.

Civil War, armies were kept alive with hardtack.  A basic concept in war is that the side that keeps its soldiers from going hungry will probably win.

Hardtack is also reasonably nutritious. Wheat flour is more than 10% protein and includes Vitamin B. During emergencies, people can live for quite a while on just bread and water.  Although raw flour is hard to digest, in the form of hard bread, it is edible.

No one has determined just when, or how, during the American Civil War, hard bread began to be referred to as hardtack. Apparently,  it was first called hardtack by the Union Army of the Potomac; although the name spread to other units, it was generally referred to as hard bread by the armies of the West.

Regardless of the time frame, if you’re a history buff, prepper or hard-core survivalist, you should consider including hardtack in your emergency food supplies or survival kit. A guaranteed conversation starter at any campfire, campout or outdoor event, hardtack can have a useful place  in today’s survival kit.

(It only takes a few additional ingredients to turbocharge  the nutritional value of hardtack. To each cup of flour in the recipe, add one tablespoon of soy flour, one teaspoon of wheat germ and one teaspoon of powdered milk. There is no difference in the taste, and these ingredients combine to make the bread a complete protein.)

There are many versions and varieties of hardtack recipes: Try some of these to start out.

Army Hardtack Recipe
  • 4 cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • Water (about 2 cups)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375° F
  • Makes about 10 pieces


After cutting the squares, press a pattern of four rows of four holes into each square, using a nail or other such object. Do not punch through the dough.  The appearance you want is similar to that of a modern saltine cracker.  Turn each square over and do the same thing to the other side.

Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake for another 30 minutes. The crackers should be slightly brown on both sides.

The fresh crackers are easily broken, but as they dry, they harden and assume the consistency of fired brick.

Swedish Hardtack

I cup water

3 tbsp. vegetable oil

3 tbsp. honey

3 cups rye flour (or 1 1/2 cups rye & 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)

1  1/2 tbsp. brewer’s yeast (optional)

1/4 tsp. salt

Mix liquids together.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Combine the mixtures, stirring to moisten throughout.  Form a ball.  On a floured surface, flatten the dough, and roll out thinly. Cut into squares and prick each cracker with the tines of a fork a couple of times.  Transfer to lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 425° F for around 8 minutes, checking to be sure not to over-brown.  It is best served warm.

Mix: two cups of all-purpose flour and a half teaspoon of salt.  Use more salt for authenticity. Mix by hand. Add a teaspoon of shortening and a half cup of water, stirred in a little at a time to form a very stiff dough.  Beat the dough to a half inch thickness with a clean top mallet or rifle butt.  Fold the sheet of dough into six layers. Continue to beat and to fold the dough a half dozen times until it is elastic. Roll the dough out to a half-inch thickness before cutting it with a floured biscuit cutter or bayonet. Bake for about a half hour in a 325° F oven.

The basic ingredients are flour, salt and water. General directions are also similar: Dissolve the salt in water and work it into flour using your hands.  The dough should be firm and pliable but not sticky or dry. Flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet to about 1/4 inch thick, and cut into squares 3 inches by 3 inches.  Pierce each square with 16 holes about ½ inch apart.  Bake in oven until edges are brown or dough is hard.

Preheat the oven to 400° F For each cup of flour add 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix salt and flour with just enough water to bind. Bake 20-25 minutes.  The longer you bake the hardtack, the more authentic it will appear.

A Sailor’s Diet

In a separate container, mix:

  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk.
  • 3 tablespoons honey.
  • 1/2 cup melted bacon drippings or shortening.

Combine the two sets of ingredients. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, roll it out on a floured board to a thickness of about a quarter inch.  Cut out circles of dough with a large drinking glass dipped in flour and put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 5 1/2 minutes at 450° F.

Let the hardtack cool on a wire rack before serving with jam or jelly.



The Foodie Show

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Pizza, Pickles, and Well Heck It’s The Foodie Show Karen Lynn “Lil Suburban Homestead” This week Karen Lynn is interviewing Teri from Homestead Honey to discuss her book. Also her upcoming e-learning cooking course. Teri has been on The Prepper Broadcasting Network before with Karen Lynn to discuss her off-grid tiny house living lifestyle (Listen Here) … Continue reading The Foodie Show

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How To Make Tiger Bread

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How To Make Tiger Bread My kids love tiger bread, which I’ve always bought at the supermarket when we visit our relatives, but I devised my own tiger bread recipe to make it myself because I can’t find it in my neck of the woods. Tiger bread is quite possibly the tastiest bread you will …

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16 Bread Baking Tips Your Grandma Forgot To Tell You

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16 Bread Baking Tips Your Grandma Forgot To Tell You If you have ever made bread you should know how wonderful it smells and tastes, there is nothing quite like it, in my opinion. These days you can get pre-made mixes that you just add water to and put into a bread machine but did …

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How To Make Flour, Bread And Even Coffee With Acorns

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How To Make Bread, Flour And Even Coffee With Acorns

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Did you know that there is a nutritious food source literally dropping from your trees each fall? In fact, unless you are a squirrel, you may even see this food as a nuisance.

Alas, the lowly acorn was not always seen this way. Historical sources suggest that some of the world’s earliest civilizations ate acorns. In fact, the word for “oak” in Tunisian translates to “meal-bearing tree.”

Although acorns, which contain healthy fats, protein and minerals, found their way into many Native American foods and are the main ingredient of a traditional Korean jelly recipe, most people today shy away from eating them. Why? Anyone who has ever sampled a raw acorn can tell you. They taste bitter.

The secret to eating – and enjoying acorns – lies in removing the tannins. When you complete this process, you can produce a subtly flavored flour that works well in all kinds of baking recipes and even as a coffee-like beverage.

The first step to removing the tannins is to select only ripe, brown acorns. Avoid green, blackened or mildewed acorns. Then remove the caps and boil the acorns for about 10 minutes. You will need to strain out the brown water and boil the acorns again in fresh water. Repeat this process three to four times until the water looks clear and the acorns can be easily shelled.

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Another way to remove the tannins is to remove the caps and then place the acorns inside a mesh or cheese cloth bag. After securing the opening, place the bag under running water (say, a stream) for several hours. Native American used this flushing method by placing bags of acorns in running streams, rivers and even waterfalls.

Now that the tannins are removed, it is time to dry the acorns. Spread the acorns on a baking sheet and place them in a preheated 200-degree Fahrenheit oven. Leave the door slightly ajar so moisture can escape.

How To Make Bread, Flour And Even Coffee With Acorns

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Another option is to place the baking sheet outside in direct sunlight for several hours. Be sure to protect the nuts from wildlife while they are drying.

Acorns add a nutty, slightly sweet taste to recipes. You can use them as a substitute for chickpeas, peanuts or macadamia nuts. (Put them in banana nut bread or zucchini bread!) You also can use them to make acorn butter, which you can use instead of peanut butter or almond butter. You also can add them to salads, soups and stews for flavor and nutrition.

To make acorn flour, grind slightly moist leached acorns in a blender or food processor. Dry the resulting meal in a low temperature oven for a few minutes, or let the meal air dry for a few hours. Then grind the dry meal in the blender or food processor again.

You can substitute this acorn flour in any recipe that uses wheat flour, but keep in mind that acorn flour products will have a crumbly texture. If you prefer a spongy texture to your cookies or bread, you will need to mix in some wheat flour with your acorn flour.

Another option is make acorn coffee. Now, this drink will not perk you up in the morning since acorns do not contain caffeine, but it is a pleasant beverage, especially in cold weather.

Place pieces of leached acorns on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. When the pieces are dark brown in color and have a pleasant roasted (not burned) aroma, they are ready.

Add one tablespoon of roasted acorn pieces per eight ounces of boiling water. Let the mixture steep for five to 10 minutes. Reheat if needed. Then you can add your regular coffee condiments or drink the acorn coffee black.

Acorns are a rich source of carbohydrates, proteins, essential amino acids, trace minerals and Vitamins A and C. This nutritional value compares favorably with barley or wheat flour.  Although producing acorn flour does take some time, it is satisfying to put to use a food source that is free and readily available.

Just leave a few acorns for those squirrels.

Have you ever eaten acorns? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:

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3 ‘Survival Breads’ The Pioneers Made Without An Oven

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3 Simple ‘Survival Breads’ The Pioneers Made Without An Oven

Image source: Charles Marion Russell


Baking bread usually requires an oven. But what do you do when you’re a pioneer living in the 1800s — and you don’t have an oven? Simple. You use a frying pan, or twist the dough around a stick or make a version of cornbread on the metal side of a hoe or large axe. This is what our ancestors did for hundreds of years.

The first recipe we’ll explore is a frying pan bread often referred to as bannock bread. The recipe is fairly simple. The only trick is making sure you don’t burn the bannock.

Bannock Bread

3 Simple ‘Survival Breads’ The Pioneers Made Without An Oven

Bannock batter. Image source: Steve Nubie

Bannock bread ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of shortening
  • ½ cup of dry milk powder (optional)
  • Water

Bannock bread directions:

Before you add the water, you need to cut in the shortening using a couple of knives or a pastry cutter. After the texture appears crumbly, slowly add water until you get a putty-like consistency.

Oil a cast-iron frying pan. Mountain men would use bacon, salt pork or even bear fat. I’m OK with the bacon but I’ll pass on the bear fat. Pour the mixture into the pan. I used a small size 1 cast-iron pan. Place the pan over some coals or on the stovetop and brown for about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip the bread over in the pan and finish the other side.

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3 Simple ‘Survival Breads’ The Pioneers Made Without An Oven

Bannock bread over coals. Image source: Steve Nubie

You might want to flip a few times to cook the bread through and to prevent burning. When you think it’s done, poke a stick into the center of the bread. If it comes out clean and dry, then the bread is done. If not, then you can let it rest in the pan off the heat until it finishes.

Bread on a Stick

Another recipe was popular with sourdoughs and mountain men. It was bread on a stick. This was a surprisingly simple solution because all it involved was wrapping a long roll of dough around the end of a shave stick and setting over the fire. The stick was usually inserted in the ground at an angle to the fire and turned occasionally. If you dip your hand in water and spritz the dough while it bakes, then you’ll get a pretzel texture to the finished bread twist.

Bread on a stick ingredients:

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of yeast
  • Extra flour for dusting and rolling

Bread on a stick directions:

Combine and mix the dry ingredients and slowly add the water. You want to create a dough ball that you can roll out into a rope of dough. Use the reserved flour to keep the dough from sticking. Let it rest for about 10 minutes after kneading and then wrap it around the end of your cooking stick. The ideal dimension for your cooking stick is about an inch in diameter with a pointed end and about 3 feet long. I usually insert one end of the dough into the point at the end of the stick and then try to either overlap the dough as it’s wound or if I’m lucky, push it onto a small branch about 10 inches down the stick. Set the dough on the stick aside and let it rise a little more. I just push it in the ground away from the fire.

When it’s time to bake or roast your bread on a stick, push a different sharpened stick into the ground at an angle to your fire. You could also support it with rocks. You don’t want a roaring fire. A nice bed of coals will do. Turn the stick from time to time, but be careful and wear gloves because the stick will get hot. You can also spritz the dough with water flicked from your fingers if you want a pretzel-like finish to the dough. You can toss some salt on the wet dough toward the end of cooking after your final spritz.

Tear a piece off and give it a try. If it needs more time you can slowly turn it over the coals.

Hoe Cake

3 Simple ‘Survival Breads’ The Pioneers Made Without An Oven

Hoe cake. Image source: Steve Nubie

Another pioneer bread is commonly referred to as “Hoe Cake.” This is a cornbread that was literally baked on the curved metal side of a hoe. The hoe was parked next to the fire and the hot iron cooked one side of the hoe cake while the heat from the fire cooked the other side. I don’t happen to have a hoe, but I have a large timber-squaring axe, which did the trick just fine.

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You can also finish your hoe cake in a cast iron skillet. It’s the same concept, although you have to flip if from time to time to finish both sides.

Hoe cake ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ cup of buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup plus one tablespoon of water
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil or bacon grease
  • oil for the pan or the hoe

Hoe cake directions:

If you want to do this the old-fashioned way on the side of a hoe (if you have one) or in my case, the side of a large axe – you’ll want a fairly thick batter that will stick to the side of the metal.  If you would rather do it in a pan, you’ll want a cast-iron pan. Oil the pan and drop the batter into the skillet after it’s hot. You’ll probably want to turn it once or twice to cook it through and prevent it from burning.

Final Thoughts

It’s fun to try these old world recipes and they’re easy to make. You might want to experiment a bit, but it’s a good skill to know if you find yourself in the woods or wilderness and have a craving for something as fundamental as bread.

What advice would you add? Have you ever a survival bread? Share your tips in the section below:

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The Long-Lasting, 3-Ingredient Survival Food The Pioneers Ate

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The Long-Lasting, 3-Ingredient Survival Food The Pioneers Ate

While working cattle at my in-laws’ ranch recently I caught myself dreaming about the past, running through a checklist of things I take for granted that George – the ranch’s founder who grew up in the 1930s — never had the chance to enjoy as a kid in his small house.

The one thing I kept circling back to was food. I thought about my refrigerator at home, packed with juices, meat, cheese, fruit and everything else the average fridge contains. I imagined how my diet would change if one day somebody disconnected the fridge for good. Not only would it cause some storage problems, but it would drastically alter what foods I actually ate.

These dilemmas were an everyday reality for people of George’s day. Folks today often cite canning as the way our ancestors preserved food. It is true the generations of the late 19th and entire 20th century put excess food away by canning. But canning has only been around for a little over 200 years. How did people preserve food prior to that?

The answer is through a variety of methods. Many foods were dehydrated or salted to extend their shelf life. One food that people, especially explorers, found especially useful was hardtack. It seemingly lasted forever.

The Long-Lasting, 3-Ingredient Survival Food The Pioneers Ate

Image source: Author

Hardtack refers to a type of biscuit or cracker that can last an extraordinary length of time. This bread is made with very little water, no yeast, and will keep in storage for years if kept dry. Hardtack’s ability to stay in storage for years without spoiling or molding was probably its greatest attribute. It is also lightweight, nearly indestructible, and contains an abundance of carbohydrates which makes it ideal for a person on the move.

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Hardtack is one of the oldest known foods we have. If you sit down and enjoy a piece, you’ll be sharing the same cuisine feasted on by Roman legionaries, Egyptian sailors and crusaders — just to name a few. Known around the world by different names, the title of “hardtack” became well-used by the early 1800s. Patriot fighters during the Revolutionary War, pioneers and frontiersmen such as Daniel Boone, and mountain men like Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith would have known the unyielding strength of a hardtack biscuit. In fact, the food was so common to the mountain men they simply referred to it as a “biscuit” rather than differentiating between it and the softer textured bread we know today. In the past, hardtack was generally enjoyed after dipping it in coffee or soup to moisten and soften the bread. In many circumstances I’m sure they were happy to have something to eat.

Making hardtack is extremely easy and only takes a few minutes. If you’ve ever thought about making hardtack, want to get a better feel for what table fare in the past would have been like, or are intrigued by foods that can last indefinitely, give this recipe a try.


This recipe is one I got my hands on after browsing the book Wildwood Wisdom by Ellsworth Jaeger. Jaeger was a very experienced woodsman who put the book together after a life spent learning skills we would dub today as bushcraft. His four ingredients are as follows:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Water
The Long-Lasting, 3-Ingredient Survival Food The Pioneers Ate

Image source: Author

In the book the entire recipe reads as such:

Mix the dry ingredients, and then add just enough water to make a stiff dough. Roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thickness and cut it into sections. Bake them in a greased pan until the hardtack is bone-dry.

That is the entire recipe for making hardtack. Jaeger doesn’t divulge cooking time in his recipe, but I can attest it will take around 1 hour and 10 minutes to cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have your oven preheated, it will help. Simply put the rolled and cut dough into the oven for 35 minutes. After 35 minutes, you can flip the pieces for another 35 minutes. When you pull it out of the oven, you’ll likely be surprised how incredibly hard this stuff is. If you choose to use this recipe, there is one thing to note. The sugar in the recipe should be considered an optional ingredient. By adding sugar to the mix, you decrease the shelf life of the product, since sugar does not store as well. If you leave out the sugar, then you are left with three ingredients:

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Water

I’m not entirely sure why Jaeger included sugar in this recipe, other than it was probably a recipe he had personally used before. Anyone looking to preserve their hardtack for an extremely long time should avoid using sugar.

Hardtack is a food everyone interested in history, camping or survival should know how to make. It is extremely simple and only takes a few minutes of preparation. Once you have made a batch, it can keep for years at a time and provide you with the energy you need to keep moving forward. It also can offer a glimpse into the lives of those shadowy figures who came before us and struggled to build the world we know today. I’d encourage you to take a few minutes to prepare yourself some of the indestructible camp bread known as hardtack.

Have you ever made hardtack? What advice would you add? Share it in the section below:


Jaeger, E. (1945). Wildwood Wisdom. Bolina, California: Shelter Publications. (2014, July 11). Hard to Swallow – A Brief History of Hardtack and Ship’s Biscuit. Retrieved July 26, 2016, from Military History No:

Wier, S. (2014, July 1). Biscuits, Hard Tack, and Cracker in Early America. Boulder, Colorado, US.

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Make Your Own Yeast

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make your own yeast

If you’ve been prepping for any length of time, you undoubtedly have several pounds of wheat berries stored away.  You may also have experimented with making your own wonderfully delicious breads.  The downside of long-term prepping and bread making is keeping active yeast on hand.  The average “best by” date on yeast is 2 years.  Once opened, it must be kept cool and dry. In a refrigerator, yeast can remain good for up to 4 months; in the freezer for 6 months.

Occasionally there are people who have had success with older yeast, but the bottom line is that store bought yeast is for short-term. If you have store-bought yeast, stored longer than the above mentioned time frames, follow this simple test to see if it’s still active. A container of yeast that isn’t active anymore should be thrown out.

How to proof yeast

Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in 1/2 C warm water from the tap. Between 110°F-115°F is most effective. The only way to really be sure about the temperature is to use a thermometer. When it doubt, the water from your faucet should be warm but NOT hot to the touch.

Stir in your dry yeast, either one 1/4 oz. packet (7g) or 2 1/4 tablespoons of granulated yeast. Most people say that the yeast should be brought to room temperature first, but I have always had good luck when using it straight from the freezer.

It only takes three or four minutes for the yeast to “wake up” and start to rise. After ten minutes, the surface of your yeast-water mixture should have a foamy top. If so, then congratulations! You have active yeast! It should be used immediately. Most recipes take into account the liquid needed to proof yeast. If yours does not, deduct 1/2 cup of liquid from your recipe if you proof yeast with this method.

A good way to tell if your yeast has risen sufficiently is to use a 1 C measuring cup. If the yeast foam reaches the top, you’re good to go. If your yeast has an insufficient rise, it will not be any good for baking. Best to throw out the entire container.

Learn how to make your own yeast

If you can’t get to a grocery store for Fleischman’s, what’s the alternative?  Try growing your own yeast!  Here are a few methods that should fit most needs and skill levels.  Depending on the availability of the items listed below, choose one that best fits you, your region, and your personal stockpile.

Raisin / Fruit Yeast


  • Clean Glass jar.  (24oz. or larger) Sterilize in hot water and allow it to dry.
  • Water. Clean, filtered, or bottled is good.  Tap water can be used, depending on your local conditions. Warning:  Too much chlorine in your water, or water that is too basic, can kill the yeast.
  • Raisins or other fruit. Most fruits have traces of yeast on their skins. Note that you may not get as good of a result with fruit that has been washed and waxed.


  1. Place three to four tablespoons of raisins in your jar.  Adding a few tablespoons of honey or sugar will facilitate the fermentation process.
  2. Fill the jar ¾ full with water.  Place the lid on the jar lightly.  Do NOT tighten the lid – you will want to allow some air to escape.
  3. Place jar at a constant room temperature.  Do not allow the jar to get cold.  This will kill off the yeast and stop the process.
  4. Stir at least once a day for three to four days.
  5. When bubbles form on the top and you smell a wine-like fermentation you have yeast.  The raisins, or fruit, should be floating.
  6. Place your new yeast in the refrigerator.

Yeast from Grain/ Sourdough Starter

Yeast is already present on grain.  All you need to do is to cultivate it in a manner similar to the above instructions. Here is a basic recipe for sourdough starter.


  • 1 1/4 C unbleached all purpose flour or milled wheat berries
  • 1 C clean warm water
  • 1 sterile jar with cheesecloth or lid


  1. Mix the flour and warm water, and keep at room temperature.
  2. After several days, the mixture will start to bubble and will begin to rise.
  3. Keep your starter in the refrigerator when not in use. Use as you would any sourdough starter.

Yeast from Potatoes

The starch in potatoes make it another prime candidate for yeast production.


  • 1 unpeeled medium-sized potato
  • 4 C warm water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 quart jar


  1. Rinse your potato to remove dirt, but don’t scrub it too much.
  2. Cut it into pieces to facilitate cooking, then boil until cooked through.
  3. Drain, and save the water.
  4. Mash the potato and add sugar and salt.
  5. Allow mixture to cool until it is at room temperature.
  6. Add water to the potato mash until whole mixture equals 1 quart.
  7. Cover and let sit in a warm place and allow it to ferment for several days.

SPI 728x90

Feeding the Starter

Once you have created your own yeast, you need to “feed” it regularly.   This means adding 1 cup flour and 1 cup water to the mix so that the yeast can keep growing. You will need to feed the starter daily if it is at room temperature, or weekly if it is in the fridge. If you don’t bake bread that day, you will also need to toss out one cup of the starter after feeding so that the ratios stay the same. This is an important step, and can be a great motivator to bake regularly so that none of your hard work goes to waste! Yeast starters are one thing you will not want to throw in the compost pile, as the bacteria can grow out of control and give you a very unpleasant result.

No matter which method you choose, making your own yeast is a skill that dates back thousands of years.  Continue researching the sources provided to find other ideas, methods, and tips.  Begin practicing and post your results.  Feel free to add your own ideas and advice in the comment section below.

WANT MORE “FROM-SCRATCH” RECIPES? Download Survival Mom’s free ebook, “Switch From Store-Bought to Homemade.”

This article, written by Right Wing Mom, was originally published in 2011. It has been updated and revised.

make your own yeast

Our Favorite Super Easy Banana Applesauce Bread Recipe

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Super easy banana applesauce bread recipe! Slice for toast, this stuff is perfect!My kids love bananas.  Until they don’t.  And they never tell me when the banana consumption will spontaneously shut off, so occasionally, I’m left with a bunch of over ripe bananas.  When there are 4-5 of them, we make this amazing super simple banana applesauce bread.  It does help rotate some of your food storage items, but the recipe itself is not food storage friendly without some substitutions.  I’ll cover those at the end so you can make this out of food storage if you want to!

This bread is dense, moist, and can be cut and toasted without falling apart.  It’s the perfect way to use up those bananas.

Super Easy Banana Applesauce Bread Recipe

Makes 2 loaves

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (about 4-5 bananas)
  • 1 can or pint jar applesauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, eggs, bananas, and applesauce.  Stir banana mixture into flour mixture just enough to moisten.  Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 60-65 minutes.  Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

For some bonus preparedness fun, bake your banana bread in a solar oven!

Slice and enjoy!

Baked loaves can be frozen if you can keep the kids away from them long enough to justify saving one for later!

To make this recipe food storage friendly:

Substitute 1 cup oil for the butter

Substitute whole egg powder for eggs (4 TB powder + 8 TB water = 4 eggs, or follow mixing directions on your egg powder)

Substitute 2 1/3 cup freeze dried bananas.  To use freeze dried bananas for banana puree:  Measure 2 1/3 cups dry bananas, loosely packed in the cups. Crush or puree them dry into a powder.  Add enough liquid to get back to 2 1/3 cups and let sit 10 minutes to fully hydrate.

Keep preparing!


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7 Survival Foods The Pioneers Ate That You Wouldn’t Recognize

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7 Things The Pioneers Ate That You Wouldn't Recognize

Food has long been a focus of society. While our modern way of life includes regular trips to the grocery store, where there is more variety than we know what to do with, our ancestors didn’t have it quite that easy. We are literally only a few generations away from a time in which people hoarded their food, both on the westward trail and in their root cellars, just to make sure they would make it through winter.

Other than the last century or so, the need to stockpile food has been the main effort of people the world over. With harvest times coming only once a year, the size of the harvest and how well it was preserved determined whether the next year would be one of lack or plenty. When drought occurred, it would be a serious enough event to destroy villages, major cities and even entire cultures.

The Quickest And Easiest Way To Store A Month’s Worth Of Emergency Food!

Going west, a Conestoga wagon or a converted farm wagon made into a prairie schooner was mostly filled with food, as well as other necessities. While some families started out with expensive furniture in their wagons, that was soon left by the wayside, lightening the load, so they could keep their all-important food. A typical load of food would consist of the following for each adult in the family. Similar provisions for children would be brought along, with the quantities adjusted for their size.

  • 200 pounds of flour (could be any type of flour, not just wheat flour)
  • 30 pounds of pilot bread (otherwise known as hardtack)
  • 2 pounds of saleratus (baking soda)
  • 10 pounds of salt
  • Half a bushel of corn meal
  • Half a bushel of parched and ground corn
  • 25 pounds of sugar
  • 10 pounds of rice
  • 75 pounds of bacon
  • 5 pounds of coffee
  • 2 pounds of tea
  • Half a bushel of dried beans
  • 1 bushel of dried fruit
  • A small keg of vinegar

Once leaving Independence, Missouri, there would be little chance of resupply. That food would have to last them, augmented by whatever they could hunt and any berries they could find. While there were a few military posts with Sutler’s stores (general stores that provided the military), they were few and far between.

So, what did our ancestors do with this and what did they really eat? Well, a lot of it would seem rather normal to us, but there was also a lot that was not normal. Some things that we wouldn’t even recognize. However, it all had one thing in common: Food that the pioneers ate had to be non-perishable, as they had no way of refrigerating it.

1. Buffalo, bear, cougar and squirrel

7 Things The Pioneers Ate That You Wouldn't RecognizeOne of the easiest ways for pioneers to restock or stretch their food supplies was to hunt. Hunting provided them with fresh meat, something they had no chance of bringing with them. But that meant they ate whatever they could find. Crossing the Great Plains, buffalo were common, so they were eaten. When they got into the mountains of Colorado, Wyoming and points west, the buffalo were replaced by bear, cougar and deer. They would even eat squirrels, if they couldn’t find anything else.

Jim Bridger, the mountain man, claimed that cougar meat was the best there was. While cougars weren’t anywhere near as common as deer, when one came along, it was often eat or be eaten. You’d better be quick with your rifle, or you just might end up as dinner.

Shooting a squirrel was difficult, as the size of the bullet would destroy much of the usable meat. They didn’t have .22 caliber rifles back then. So instead of shooting the squirrel, they’d “bark it” by shooting the bark of the tree, just beneath it. This would knock the squirrel off the tree, unconscious, saving the meat.

2. The insides of the animals, too

They couldn’t afford to let anything go to waste. So, it wasn’t unusual for pioneers to eat parts of the animal which we would turn our noses up at. Brain, heart, tongue, liver and even intestines were eaten, often cut up and put in something.

This practice is still common in much of the world today. While we don’t eat much other than the muscles of the animals, in Mexico they eat the tongue, cheek meat, heart, liver, intestines and stomach. Some of these are used for special recipes, which are considered near delicacies by the Mexicans.

3. Frying pan bread

Baking bread on the trail was nearly impossible, so instead, they made frying pan bread. This was basically biscuits, cooked in a frying pan, rather than in an oven. Biscuits and bacon were one of the staples of the trail.

While you might think that breads are breads, breads were much different back then. You might not recognize them for what they were. First of all, most flour was whole grain, not our white pastry flour. While white flour did exist, it wasn’t common, except in the larger cities.

The World’s Healthiest Survival Food — And It Stores For YEARS and YEARS!

They also didn’t have the same types of leaven that we have today. Most women “made” their own yeast, by leaving a container of “sourdough starter” open for bacteria to invade it. This would then be saved, allowing them to make bread every day.

But these breads were much heavier and heartier than the breads we know today. A loaf of bread on the frontier probably weighed two to three pounds, even though it was smaller than our common one pound loaf. But that bread stuck with you longer, providing more nutrition and calories than our modern breads do.

4. Salt pork

7 Things The Pioneers Ate That You Wouldn't RecognizeWhile bacon was the most common preserved meat they’d eat, those in the military usually had to make do with salt pork. This is much like bacon, but without as much meat. Essentially, a piece of salt pork is a chunk of fat, with a little pork meat running through it. Soldiers would be issued salt pork as their version of combat rations, whenever they were on the move. They’d slice it and fry it, eating it with pan bread.

5. Yucca root

The root of the yucca plant is something like a potato. As the southwest was settled, this became a staple for many of the people, as the land was already littered with yucca plants. Tougher than our potato, and more fibrous, it was nevertheless a good source of carbohydrates. Cut up and boiled in water, it would soften up and make a great filler for soups and stews.

6. Pine nuts

The pine cone we know so well really isn’t the seed of the pine tree, but rather the husk for that seed. Hidden deep within its many scales are pine nuts, which are the seeds. These can be removed by simply banging the pine cone upside-down on a hard surface.

Pine nuts can be eaten raw, or toasted, much like many other nuts. They have a distinct, but pleasant flavor. Like many nuts, they are an excellent source of fats, which they needed. Little of what they ate had much in the way of fats in it. Wild animals don’t grow anywhere near the amount of fat that our domesticated animals do, and they couldn’t go to the store for a bottle of cooking oil.

7. Acorn bread

Acorns, the seeds of the oak tree, are plentiful in some parts of the country. A seed, they are much like many other nuts. Gathered, they can be roasted to dry them and then ground, making flour out of it. Like the flour of any other grain, this can then be turned into bread. For some pioneers who didn’t have access to resupplies of wheat flour, acorn bread and cornbread were the only breads they had available.

What would you add to our list? Share your knowledge in the section below:

Discover The Secret To Saving Thousands At The Grocery Store. Read More Here.

How To Make Easy Emergency Bread

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How To Make Easy Emergency Bread There’s nothing quite as satisfying as bread when you’re really hungry. Whether it’s French bread, sourdough bread, or regular old sandwich bread, it can fill you up and give you plenty of energy. But during a long-term disaster, store-bought bread probably won’t be available. So unless you have a …

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The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make – Peasant Bread

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The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make – Peasant Bread Peasant bread is a no knead bread, I know some people hate no knead bread but this is not your typical no knead bread. It bakes in well-buttered pyrex bowls — there is no pre-heating of the baking vessels in this recipe. It emerges golden and …

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The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make: Artisan Bread

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The Easiest Bread You Will Ever Make: Artisan Bread I love homemade bread.  Who doesn’t?  The relationship never goes stale.  I tried the recipe from linked below and found it to be very tasty and easy to make.  No kneading or bread machine and only four ingredients required! This would be a great bread recipe …

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How To Make Bannock Bread

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Bannock bread, one staple recipe no self respecting outdoorsman/survivalist/prepper can live without. I hate to call this a recipe post, as the bannock recipes are as numerous as flame wars over the best rifle for TEOTWAWKI. Basically, bannock is a quick bread – it can be applied to any flat roundish food made out of […]

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How To Make Garlic Pan Bread On A Campfire

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Pan breads are quick and easy to make, adding a great element to your camping menus. The are delicious, punching above their weight in terms of flavour. They are also both filling and calorific, providing not just…

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How to Make Hardtack: An Inexpensive and Long-Lasting Survival Food

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How to Make Hardtack Recipe

Hardtack the History

Hardtack, or “hard tack” is a simple biscuit or cracker made from flour and water, and when salt was available to the makers it was added as well in years past. The recipe has been used for thousands of years. The Romans made hardtack as well as the Egyptians, and usually the flour and water cracker was issued to soldiers. 

The biscuit, or cracker if you prefer, was and still is, used today for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods. The name hardtack is derived, according to historians, from British sailor’s slang for food, which is “tack”, and of course, because it is very hard it is referred to as hardtack.

Hardtack as we know it today has been called pilot bread, ship’s biscuit, sea biscuit, cabin bread, and sea bread. Hardtack became a staple for soldiers fighting in the American Civil War (Colleary, 2013).

Union Troops were rationed nine to 10 biscuits a day and often times they were used as plates for other foods and then consumed as they marched. The biscuit was usually baked twice and this was done up to six months before being issued to troops to ensure it was dried out properly.

Because of blockades in place, flour was in short supply in the Southern States, but when available, flour and water was made into hardtack for the Southern troops as well.

The bread for sea voyages was baked up to four times to ensure it lasted the long trips across the seas, and once cured the cracker lasted for years if it was kept dry. In fact, it was so hard it usually had to be soaked in liquid before eating. Pickle brine, coffee, and even water were used to soften it enough to eat.

There are actual hardtack rations that were issued to troops on display in some Civil War museums that are over 150 years old and still stable by all accounts.

Making Hardtack

Hardtack is an ideal survival ration, just flour, water, and salt if available. The recipe can be tweaked of course, but you have to keep in mind that the reason the cracker can last for years is lack of moisture.

The moisture is literally baked out of the biscuit. Typically it is baked twice, and again, you can adapt this to suit the situation. You may not need the hardtack to last 150 years, so you can add honey or mix some additional grains or spices in with the flour, again keeping moisture levels in mind.

The entire premise was to create a food that did not spoil and, could be carried by anyone under any circumstance and eaten as is, even months or years after the ration was issued.

To make, all you do is add water, a little at a time to flour, (start with 2 cups flour) and add just enough water to create dough, of course if you do add too much water just add more flour. You are not making bread so you would not knead the mixture. It just needs to be pliable enough to press out and cut into squares or circles or frankly whatever shape you want. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough, roll to about 1/4 inch thickness. Preheat your oven to 250° F.

Cut all pieces to the same size so they cook evenly. The biscuits once done are not typically browned like bread or buttermilk biscuits. They should look more like a Saltine Cracker, for example. 

Use a wooden rule as a guide for cutting by laying it across the dough as you cut into squares or use a biscuit cutter or a water glass to cut into a traditional biscuit shape. The typical ration size was a 3 inch x 3 inch square.

Once cut “dock” the pieces. Docking is putting holes in the squares to help them cook evenly and so they do not rise while baking. Use a fork, nail, chopsticks or any pointed object. A 3×3 ration square would have had 16 holes according to original recipes used during the Civil war.

Bake initially for four hours at 250° F. Turn the biscuit over after the first two hours for even baking, and once done cool on a rack. Because the biscuits are made from grain they can become infested with weevils so store in sealed pest proof containers.

Hardtack is still made today and it is the ideal survival food. It may lack taste, but it will keep you alive. The problem is that the biscuits will draw all the moisture from your mouth, so having an ample supply of water is important. You may very well have to soak the cracker in liquid or add pieces of it to stews or gravies to thicken or to add texture to other recipes.

They are very hard and difficult to chew. Break off a piece and let sit in your mouth until softened enough to chew and swallow, or dip/soak in coffee or water to soften.

Soldiers during the Civil War would fry salt pork and save the fat to fry hardtack in, which had been soaked in water.

Colleary, E. (2013). Retrieved 2015, from


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Survival Bread In a Dutch Oven (Video & Transcript)

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Video By Backwoods Gourmet  
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Transcription provided by American Preppers Network

Number of speakers: 1 (Backwoods Gourmet)
Duration: 11 min 36 sec

Survival Bread In a Dutch Oven

Survival Bread: getting startedHey folks, Backwoods Gourmet here, ready to show you another survival recipe. You can do it on an open fire, we’re probably going to do it on some all natural charcoal here today threatening rain it’s summertime Florid, rains every day. So it is real simple and a very few steps so will get it okay.

As I told you, this is about the most basic recipe you can make this is going to be for some survival bread and you only need a few things. You need a bowl, something to mix in and you need a couple teaspoons a salt. You need some warm water and some yeast or the mother of the bread that you used before, will explain that later. You need uhh some cast iron cookware cause we’re gonna cook over coals. I like this big deep pan right here, gives it a lot of room for it to rise but if you don’t have that a 10 inch lodge skillet is good. We’re probably gonna try to do this one the dutch oven. These (skillets) only work if you’re doing it in a conventional oven okay because you need heat from the top. So if you wanna do this at home because this is really really great do at home also but you’re gonna need a Dutch oven, number 10 or number 12.

Just a few ingredients, its three cups of all-purpose flour or bread flour its whatever you got. Even if you’re some of my prepper friends out there subscribers um if you grind your own flour, whatever you have is gonna work. We’re gonna use about a teaspoon of salt that’s it. We’re going to take our dry yeast we’re gonna add that straight to the flour and here we have this is just warm tap water you didn’t have warm water obviously just heat it up a little bit.

Survival Bread: Making the doughFor water the optimal temperature is 105 degrees so it should feel warm to the touch. If you take it straight out of the tap it’s at 120 and will cool to 105 almost immediately so just warm tap water. And we’re just going to slowly add warm tap water into the flour and just try to get that incorporated and will keep adding it till we have the medium consistency dough. It’s not rocket science here okay. We just brought that together with just enough water to bring the flour and water yeast mixture together to where it’s reasonably smooth not like falling apart into different segments. It is consistent so that’s what you want at this step.

What we’re gonna do now is leave it in the bowl no fuss no muss we’re gonna put a dish towel over and we’re gonna set that Joker aside. If it’s cool where you live try to keep it in a warm place. Now if you’re camping near the fire optimal temperatures bout nineties to a 100 degrees. And a humidity level great. If you’re in a desert area you might want to just dampen the towel on top to keep the humidity level up inside the bowl so it doesn’t dry on the crust outside a bit. Here Florida summertime it’s already ninety percent humidity so all we’re gonna do is cover with a towel and this is the Saturday afternoon we’re gonna let that guy do its thing. Let that magic yeast do their thing until tomorrow.

Survival Bread: working the doughAll right folks, next day on the bread here been sittin over there all night most of the day today couldn’t get back to it. It’s a nice airy gooey kinda because it’s risen up quite a bit the gluten in the flour just nice and stringy. This gonna give us a nice texture for the bread. Scrape that out on floured piece of wax paper and we’ll start working it a little bit. Roll it over on itself if it starts sticken you’re gonna have to get in there if ya don’t have all your paper covered but it’s now very soft, pliable and as soon as we work a little flour into it its gonna get stretchy like pizza dough. Work it back to the middle keep your hands floured very uh stretchy a soft. Paper helps contain the mess but definitely not necessary if you don’t have it. So now that I’ve got it kinda in a ball it’s starting to take shape keep my hands floured here and I’m just turning it back around itself and keep dustin it just enough to keep it from sticken to ya. Rollin it what I’m doing is on stretching it out stretching out the glutens. We’re gonna dust that off a little bit and keep it from sticking to us use a little more flour here. Just grabbin up new flour right now to feed this yeast and let it continue the rising process. So anyways got into a pretty nice ball there and what we’re gonna to next is move it over Dutch oven here. I did grease this with lard. I like to grease with lard its more a natural product has a higher burning rate than butter. And looking for kinda smooths surface on this guy right here and we gonna put it right in the middle.

Survival Bread: Cutting the doughWhat we will do next for is take a very sharp knife and we’re gonna cut right through the top of the dough razor blade works really good for this too cut through the top that dough. Might have to put some flour on the knife cause this was particularly sticky. That’ll give it place to expand so what he needs now is more time till it at least doubled this volume.

It’s been about an hour we just had the Dutch oven sittin out here with the bread in the sun. We’ll can see it’s in pretty big is very close doubled so its time to get your fire ready. Maybe another fifteen minutes. So fire ready and we’ll bake her off. All right here we’ve got our backyard set up you know this is in lieu of campfire. We’ve got by volume we’re trying to hit 375 about the same as 9 coals, these are natural coals. Survival Bread: cooking in the dutch ovenThe rain did hold off for us so we were able to get her going. So we’re going to go ahead and get our pot on and take the rest of the chimney of home maders. We want more heat on top of tis obviously than on the bottom. So get a hold of this one down here that got away. We just kinda scoot those to the outside and we’ll keep rotating that lid.

Alright we got that set up now and most of our bottom coals around the bottom edge and the and the top coals around the top edge. We’ll come out here every 5-10 minutes and rotate that, actually every five minutes. Wanna look at about a 15-20 minute bake time to bake this bread. So we’ll just keep rotating that lid

Survival Bread: Golden BrownOk we turned that lid one time there and like I said it’ll be short cooking time we are gonna go ahead and take a peak and look at it. Uhhh that’s pretty much perfect. Golden brown bread so we are gonna go ahead and take that guy off the fire.

Alright we took him off and the first thing we do is pop him out of that pot. A very hot pot. The way I like to check the bread is thump it. If it sounds hollow that means it’s gonna be pretty good. So we will serve this guy up with some chicken and rice we made. We’ll show you how it looks once we slice it. I guarantee it taste awesome.

We are gonna go ahead and cut into this guy for ya. A bread knife works real good here. Gonna get a nice little wedge of it. Cut it out. You can see the bottom is just a little dark but not to bad. Gets nice and crispy on the bottom. It’s a hardy bread, it’s meant to be that way. Gonna go ahead and take uhh some soften butter. If you’re looking up ahead at that its real butter to btw, not margarine. Survival Bread: Ready to eatGive it a good slather of that and put that right there with the chicken and rice homemade and believe me, try this, you’re gonna love it.

Very warm day here in Florida in the back woods. I hope you guys enjoyed this video. Try this recipe yourself; it does take a while to perfect it. I’ve been trying myself for a couple of months now. Made it probably a dozen times. Like everything else it does take some practice. But it is something that is very simple, very few ingredients. You can make it in the woods, campin, whatever you wanna do with it.

This Transcription is available for copy under the Creative Commons By-ND licence.  You may copy and repost this transcription in it’s entirety as long as original links, affiliate links, and embedded video remain intact, including this CC notice.

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What is Natural Yeast & 3 Health Benefits No One Tells You About!

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Benefits of Natural Yeast

I often teach classes on putting together a yearly menu plan and how to store foods so they last. One of the things I stress most is the importance of being able to make bread! That’s a critical part of food storage – at least mine.

Inevitable, someone always asks me how to store yeast long-term and I’ve never had a great answer, well… until now.

Baking with Natural Yeast

By chance, I happened to meet Melissa Richardson this year who has written an entire book on Baking with Natural Yeast. I immediately bought the only copy on her and started studying it. To be honest, I don’t know anyone who cooks with Natural Yeast, let alone knows how to start it and care for it.

My main goal in reading her book was to know how to create my own never-ending supply of yeast for my food storage (which it does teach), but I was shocked about what else I learned in the process.

Natural Yeast vs Commercial Yeast

Most of us know we need yeast for bread to help make it rise and keep it light and airy. The most familiar yeasts are Fleischmann’s Active Dry Yeast® that was developed after World War II and also the RapidRise yeast that came about in 1984.

Natural Yeast was quickly ditched for the convenience of  commercial “instant” yeasts, leaving generations like mine not even realizing that for the first time in thousands of years we are eating bread that is not made with natural yeast.

You might be asking what is the big deal – at least that’s what the rebel in me wondered.

Commercial Yeast Might Be Making You Sick

Anytime you introduce something foreign to your body, you run the risk of your body rejecting it. For nearly 6000 years people all over the world have been using natural yeast to make bread, so to now go to a synthetic yeast may be a contributing factor to some of our society’s recent ailments.

Now before you start thinking I’m anti commercial yeast – I’m not. One look in my freezer will make you wonder if I hold stock in the stuff. I just found it absolutely fascinating some of the health benefits people are noticing when they switch back to natural yeast.

As I mentioned earlier, in the 1980’s most of our society switched to the finer, highly active yeast that is able to raise dough faster than ever before. Around this same time other trends also begin to take place that Melissa mentions in her book…

The 1980’s also saw another trend- the beginning of a continuing spike in celiac disease, gluten intolerance, acid-reflux disease, diabetes, and wheat allergies. There is evidence natural yeast can help combat these problems.

There have been many instances noted where people have been able to finally enjoy bread again without having a diabetic spike, allergic reaction, or heartburn – all because they switched to bread made with natural yeast.

This especially interested me, because my nephew has celiac disease and is banned from anything with wheat. Melissa mentions several people with his same condition who have tried bread made with natural yeast and had no reaction to it.

I’m not sure if my sister-in-law will let me test out this theory on her son, but if she does, I’ll let you know how it goes!

What is Natural Yeast?

So what exactly makes up natural yeast? I’ll let Melissa explain…

Wild, Natural Yeast is everywhere – in the air you breathe, on the bark or trees, on leaves. Have you ever seen the white film on backyard grapes? That’s wild yeast. The same film can be found on juniper berries. For centuries, both berries have been uses as a natural “start” for bread yeast.

Yeast is a single fungus and it’s the first domesticated living creature in history. Modern science has identified more than 1,000 different varieties of wild yeast. These organisms are so small that hundreds of millions, if not billions, fit into a single teaspoon.

But not all yeast varieties are the same. For example, the yeast used to make beer is not the same kind of yeast used to make bread. Different natural yeasts have different flavors – some are strongly sour, some are mildly sour, and some are not sour at all. Some are better at raising breads than others. This is why the best strains of natural yeast have been passed down through generations and communities. – The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast

Benefits of Baking with Natural Yeast

Benefits of Natural Yeast:

It can be hard to give up the conveniences that commercial yeasts offer, but after learning about the many benefits of natural yeast it’s something I definitely want to try!

Here are some of my favorite benefits she mentions:

1- Never Buy Yeast Again!

Before I read Melissa’s book, this was my one and only purpose I had to wanting to learn how to maintain a natural yeast start. Bread plays a critical role in my food storage plan, so knowing how to care for yeast is an important skill to learn if I plan to make bread as often as I hope.

Also, being prepared and living a self-sustainable lifestyle go hand in hand, so I’m always looking for ways to be able to cross off an item and avoid going to the store altogether. That’s my dream at least; I can’t even begin to tell you all the scenes my kids cause there 😉

2- Feel Full & Eat Less

Bread often gets a bad rap, because you can’t stop eating the stuff.

I eat at least a few baskets of rolls every time I go to Texas Roadhouse (ok, maybe a few make it into my purse for later), but those things are seriously addicting.

Science has been able to prove that natural yeast slows digestion so people not only feel full longer, but it helps them to eat less.

3- Lowers the Body’s Glycemic Response to Carbs

A 2009 study from the University of Guelph, showed the following results:

Not only did natural yeast bread lower the glycemic response better than whole wheat bread made with commercial yeast, but the body’s glycemic response also remained lower when eating a meal hours later. No other kind of bread produced the same result.

This may be especially good news for people who have diabetes, but according to the following report, most people could benefit from eating foods that help to lower their glycemic response:

Consistent consumption of high GI foods may increase risk factors associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Conversely, the consumption of foods that elicit low glycemic responses may help to reduce such risk factors. A lower glycemic response is thought to correspond to less insulin release, better long-term blood glucose control and a reduction in blood lipids. While there is no definitive proof that reducing glycemic impact will prevent disease on an individual basis, some research suggests that reducing the glycemic effect of the diet may reduce disease risk. A growing number of studies suggest that reducing the glycemic impact of the diet may help consumers eat fewer calories, however not all investigators and reviewers have reached the same conclusion.

Hubrich B, Nabors, L.O. Glycemic Response. Food Product Design. 2006:3-17.

The benefits on natural yeast don’t stop there. They break down harmful enzymes in grains, makes vitamins and minerals more easily available for digestion, converts dough into a nutritious food source that won’t spike your body’s defenses, and so much more you’ll learn in her book.

Getting Started with Natural Yeast

Natural yeast can be intimidating, because it’s alive and requires daily feeding and maintenance.

I have a hard enough time remembering to feed our turtle once a week, let alone bacteria in the fridge.

Melissa understands this, and in her book she does an excellent job explaining everything step by step with detailed pictures, examples, and lots of great tips and tricks to help keep your new pet alive 😉

Once you’re ready to start baking she has a load of basic recipes your family will love such as: everyday breads, nut breads, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cakes, cinnamon rolls, breadsticks, pizza dough, and so much more. She even adds some detailed tutorials for artisan bread and shaping dough.

Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast

Melissa recently just finished her 2nd book Beyond Basics with Natural Yeast that is just as incredible as her first. It begins with a brief summary about starting, growing, and using a starter and then jumps right into recipes that are beyond impressive.

Beyond Basics With Natural Yeast

These are the following sections you’ll find her book along with one of my favorite recipes from each:


Jalepeno Cheddar Sourdough Bread Jalepeno Cheddar Sourdough Bread


Waffles made with Natural Yeast

Carrot Cake Waffles


Cheesy Crackers

Cheese Crackers


Basil Dinner Crepes

Basil Dinner Crepes

Sweet Breads

Swiss Roll Cake

Swiss Roll Cake

Bonus Recipes

Croutons & Stuffing

Croutons & Stuffing

One More Favorite…

Campfire Dutch Oven Bread

Campfire Dutch Oven Bread

As you’ve probably noticed, these books are full off beautiful pictures throughout and it’s laid out in a way that is very easy to follow.

If you’re ready to get started with natural yeast, or take it to the next level, these books are packed with everything you need to feel confident in doing so.

She truly makes me want to get in the kitchen, grab some starter, and begin whipping up some healthy and delicious bread!

I want to hear your experiences –> Have you ever tried cooking with natural yeast or do you think you could benefit from doing so? 

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