crackers

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paul
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crackers

Post by paul » Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:50 pm

I like crackers, but most of the crackers I have tried to take backpacking have not fared well and many are too sweet. So I averaged out a bunch of recipes and came up with these. Simple and robust, they hold up well in food bag or bear can.

Whole Wheat Crackers
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
2 tbsp wheat germ (raw not toasted)
1 tsp salt
¼ cup oil
Slightly less than ½ cup water
Mix all dry ingredients
Whisk oil and water together and then add to dry stuff and mix
Knead until smooth
Roll out to 1/8” thick , place on an un-greased baking sheet and cut into 1 ¼” to 1 ½” squares ( I use a pizza cutter)
Sprinkle on a little bit of coarse salt and very lightly roll it in (I use the rolling pin with no pressure, just the weight of the roller)
Bake at 350 for about 22 minutes. Edges should be just barely darkening, and crisp, while the middle should have just a tiny bit of give still
Cool mostly before sealing them up in a bag or container

I pack mine in a light plastic container - kind of sandwich size, it's square and flattish, I think Ziploc brand - and stick that in the bear can. I think that keeps them in better shape than if they are in a bag.








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bobby49
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Re: crackers

Post by bobby49 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 6:58 pm

Crackers are OK, but Logan Bread holds a lot more calories. I've eaten Logan Bread that was as much as six months old, and yet there was no mold. You can probably squeeze it into a bear can, hit it with a hammer, and still it is edible. I've done some multi-day trips where Logan Bread was 50% of all of my calories.

The other recipe is for Quinoa Cookies. That's got a lot of calories also.

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paul
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Re: crackers

Post by paul » Mon Feb 25, 2019 9:50 am

Calories per gram with Logan bread, or Hudson's Bay Bread, or crackers, is mostly about how much fat you put in (including fat in the form of nuts or nut butters or seeds). All the other stuff - grains, sugars, dried fruits - are pretty close to the same in terms of calories per gram, being pretty much all carbohydrates of one variety or another. So having more sugar and less flour does not boost calories per gram. The Logan Bread recipe that I have has less calories per gram than these crackers do, because it has less fat. But there are a number of recipes out there for Logan Bread, some may have more fat than the recipe I have. Not that I was looking for maximum calories per gram with these, I just wanted crackers that that I would like and that would hold up.

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bobby49
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Re: crackers

Post by bobby49 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:18 am

Correct. The Logan Bread recipe that I've used for 40 years is full of stuff like canola oil and whole wheat flour, but with some brown sugar, so it is neither fast-burning nor slow-burning. The goal is to get something that is still edible without any refrigeration. I guess it matters what you get used to.

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Re: crackers

Post by Wandering Daisy » Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:51 am

So what keeps the Logan Bread from molding or going bad? I had a friend who's tortillas went bad after a week in a bear box along the PCT. I suspect it is the moisture, drier the better. But then, why do dried fruits, like raisins which are pretty moist and chewy not go bad? It as always been a mystery to me. I try to put my bear can immediately in shade when I camp just so my cheese and chocolate do not melt. Could heat be the culprit in food going bad?

One problem I have had; dry food packed in zip-lock sandwich bags taste of plastic if stored more than a week or so. Not necessarily that the food went bad but the plastic taste is quite off-putting. I have seen labels on boxes of sandwich or snack bags that say they are for immediate use (meaning not to be used as freezer bags?) but never explain why. Years ago I never noticed this. Have plastic bags changed? I have looked into buying the mylar bags but they are horribly expensive. I also cut up the inside bags of boxed cereals into smaller pieces, sewn three edges and fold-taped the top. They do not cause bad tastes, but are awkward to use. I like to repackage food before the backpack season so I just have to pick out bags to take for each trip, but now do not do that because of the taste issue. Anyone have a good solution?

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Re: crackers

Post by paul » Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:35 am

As to mold - I know it needs some moisture, it likes warm but not too hot, and I think I have heard it does not like highly acid stuff, but I'm not sure about that. Dry enough and you'll have no mold. Cold enough and you'll have no mold.
I don't think mold can grow on pure sugar, but again I'm not certain of that.
I do know from experience that tortillas made of white flour will last a whole lot longer than ones made of whole wheat.
One of the reasons I like crackers on the trail over tortillas is that due to having less moisture they not only last longer, but also you aren't carrying that water content, so more efficient in terms of calories per gram that tortillas or bread.

WD - did you have the plastic taste thing with a particular kind of food? I haven't had that happen, and I repackage a fair amount of stuff.

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Re: crackers

Post by bobby49 » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:17 pm

Yes, there is some magic formula that helps mold thrive. Some think that it is from the oil or fat in the recipe. Some think that it is from the residual water, but if you make that stuff yourself, you should be able to bake out the water. The acid factor is something to consider. Also, it is possible that you have mold spores in your kitchen. The stuff gets mixed and baked, but then it picks up spores before it is bagged or packaged. Also, some people will drop in an oxygen absorber packet to each bag that might be susceptible. If you detect a plastic smell from the Ziploc, then you can add in one more item that has an acceptable smell of its own (cinnamon), and that might offset the plastic. I used a pinch of Trisodium Citrate Dihydrate in the recipe to help reduce mold.

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Re: crackers

Post by longri » Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:33 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Mon Feb 25, 2019 10:51 am
I had a friend who's tortillas went bad after a week in a bear box along the PCT. I suspect it is the moisture, drier the better.

Your friend probably chose a brand of tortillas that lacked sufficient preservatives. Those without them tend to mold pretty easily, sometimes even on the grocery store shelf. The ones I take backpacking pretty much never get moldy. They're certainly good for 3-4 weeks at room temperature.

I'm curious what crackers get moldy or otherwise do not hold up well. The only problem I ever have is that crackers tend to be fragile and so require special handling, often taking up a lot of space. But gotta have 'em to go with the soft ripened cheese.

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paul
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Re: crackers

Post by paul » Mon Feb 25, 2019 5:59 pm

Yeah, I've never had crackers get moldy, just disintegrate into crumbs. Structural integrity is what I was after, and I didn't want any sugar in them, I get plenty of sugars from my dried fruit and my M&M's.

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Re: crackers

Post by longri » Mon Feb 25, 2019 6:27 pm

Oh, I misinterpreted what you meant by "not fared well". So your crackers must be thicker or just tougher in general. But you still need to put them in a box, right?

I'm still confused about the sugar part though. A sweet cracker seems like an oxymoron. What crackers are sweet?

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