The original manuscript for my latest book Complete Guide to Winter Camping was just under 90,000 words. I sent it to the editor and it was chopped to under 50,000. Welcome to the world of publishing.

The good news, of course, is that I have this weekly blog where I can still share all the bits and pieces tossed out of the early manuscript. Here’s the first on my list. A winter camping recipe shared by good friend, and renowned canoe instructor, Becky Mason.

Becky Mason's Trapper's BreadKevin Callan

In Becky’s words:

Let’s get this straight. I am a girl that loves her bannock and takes pride in making it on the trail but this bread, baked ahead of time, lasts for weeks. My Mom found this recipe in the Laura Secord Cookbook where it was described as a bread made by many women in Labrador for their husbands to take out on the traplines. I still use this recipe for our long trips and although it's supposed to last it seems to get eaten up awfully fast!

Cover with boiling water, all to plump and then drain:

  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups currants

In a large bowl combine:

  • 2 3/4 cups hot water
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup butter (margarine)
  • 2/3 to 1 cup molasses (I used the heavier-handed version, I love molasses)
  • Stir until butter melts. Cool to lukewarm

Meanwhile, dissolve:

  • 2 teaspoons sugar in 1 cup lukewarm water (100˚ F.)

Over this, sprinkle:

  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast
  • Let stand for 10 minutes. Then stir briskly with a fork. Add softened yeast to lukewarm mixture. Stir

Beat in:

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour

Mix plumped fruit with:

  • 6 cups all-purpose flour (I added the first batch of flour, then the fruit, then the next batch of flour, don’t leave the fruit till last, it is a pain to work in. I also only used 3.5 cups out of the four cups in my paired down recipe, it is your judgement, don’t feel you need to add all the flour, or you might need more!)
  • Stir into dough.
  • Work in the last of the flour mixture with a rotating motion of the hand. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes. Shape into a smooth ball and place in a greased bowl, rotating dough to grease surface. Cover with damp cloth and let rise until doubled (about two hours). Punch down and shape into four loaves. Place in greased 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pans, cover, and let rise again until doubled (about an hour).

Bake in preheated 375˚F oven for one hour.

  • Brush tops with butter (margarine) while still hot.
  • Makes four loaves.

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