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Making Simple Flat Breads From Food Storage Staples Can Sustain Life In An Emergency

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Making Simple Flat Breads From Food Storage Staples Can Sustain Life In An Emergency

02.10.13 10:01 PM

Everyone loves fry bread, tortillas and pita bread. All these breads can be made from a few staple ingredients.

If you get caught in an emergency situation, these breads can be made and eaten to sustain your life. Add canned meat, beans, rice and rehydrated vegetables and you have a meal.

Wheat Grinder Or Grain Mill

A wheat grinder or grain mill is very important to have. If you have a wheat grinder, you can make whole grain flour that is much more nutritious than white flour. I suggest you have an electric grinder for everyday use and a hand-operated grain grinder for emergency use if the power goes out. I really like the Wonder Junior Hand Grain Grinder and the Wonder Mill Electric Grain Grinder.

Food Storage Staples For Making Bread

Everyone should store the following staples for making simple breads:

  • Wheat and other grains to grind into whole-grain flour.
  • White flour (has no nutritional value).
  • Shortening or olive oil.
  • Sweetener such as honey, sugar or agave.
  • Salt.
  • Baking powder.
  • Dry yeast. (Keep it in the freezer.)
  • Powdered milk.
  • Potable water.
With these basic ingredients you can make just about any flat bread, tortilla or pita bread. Try practicing making these simple breads so that if you ever need to make them in an emergency, you will feel confident that you can.

Pita Bread Recipe

2 packages dried yeast (4 ½ teaspoons)
1 tablespoon sugar
1½ cups lukewarm water
4 cups* flour (white, whole wheat, multigrain or a combination)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Dissolve the yeast and sugar into 1½ cups of warm water, then set it aside for 10 minutes so it can proof. This means it starts to grow and form bubbles.
  3. Mix the flour, salt and oil together in a bowl and then add the yeast and water mixture.
  4. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, adding more flour if necessary until it is no longer sticky.
  5. Place the dough in a warm, oiled bowl, turning the dough around to coat the surface with oil. Cover the bowl with a dry cloth and set it in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise until it is double in volume. This takes about two or three hours.
  6. Punch down the dough and knead it for about two minutes. Divide and roll the dough into 12 little balls.
  7. Place the dough balls on a dry cloth in a warm place, then cover with another cloth and let them rise for about 30 minutes.
  8. Roll out the balls into circles about 1/8-inch thick.
  9. Bake the pita bread on a preheated cookie sheet in the center of the oven for six to seven minutes, watching them so they don’t burn. When the bread cooks, it will puff up like a balloon. It will collapse when it cools.
  10. Once the pita bread is cooked, remove it from the baking sheet and cover it with a dish towel with plastic wrap on top of the towel. Repeat with each loaf until all the pita bread is cooked. If you do not cover with the towel and plastic wrap, the bread will harden and not be as good.
  11. Store the pita bread in a zippered baggie. You can eat it immediately or freeze it.
Pita bread can be eaten with any meal. A staple in many Middle Eastern countries, pita bread can be used as a spoon or scoop and is eaten with olive oil, hummus, dips, soups, sauces, meats and vegetables. When cut in half, pita bread can be opened up like a half-moon pocket that can be filled with meats and vegetables.

Old Indian Fry Bread Recipe

2 cups white or whole-wheat flour
1½ teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons shortening or lard
¾ cup milk or (½ cup powdered milk mixed with ¾ cup warm water)
Vegetable oil for frying

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Rub the mixture with your fingers until it forms coarse crumbs. Push all the shortening and flour crumbs to the side of the bowl.
  2. Add the milk and mix this together in a circular motion with your fingers. Knead the dough until it forms a soft dough ball. It usually takes three to five minutes to knead the dough by hand. It takes practice, and you will get a feel for it. Continue to add a little extra flour to the countertop and continue kneading the dough until it is no longer sticky.
  3. Divide the dough into six portions and shape them into balls. Flatten each of the balls with your fingers from the center outward until it is round like a small pizza. Pull it back and forth and form it into a 6-inch tortilla. You can roll the dough with a rolling pin to flatten it as well.
Basic Dough

This dough can be used for making into tortillas or flat bread. The difference is that tortillas are cooked in a cast iron skillet without oil and flat bread is cooked in a frying pan with oil. How you cook it depends on what you are making.

Tortillas are usually filled with meat and ingredients such as tomatoes, onions and cheese and then rolled into a burrito or soft taco. Fry bread is used flat and topped with meat such as shredded beef, hamburger, chicken or pork, then topped with black beans, pinto beans, rice, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, minced onions, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. If fresh food is unavailable, use canned tomatoes, canned beans, canned meat and whatever else you have on hand.


To fry tortillas, the pan must be hot with no oil in it so that the bread dough does not raise and puff up like fry bread. It stays flat and soft.

Fry Bread

To fry the flat bread, you will need to prepare a frying pan with vegetable oil in it about 1/8-inch thick. Heat up the oil in the pan and place the fry bread in the oil. When it turns golden brown, turn it over and cook it on the other side. Take it out of the oil and place it on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

Bread Cooked Over Hot Coals Or On a Stick

Use this same recipe and method of preparation as for fry bread and tortillas. Shape the dough into a circular piece of flat bread and cook it on a wire rack that has been placed above the hot coals. Turn the bread over several times to make sure it is browned on both sides and has thoroughly cooked.

You can cook flat bread on a stick by wrapping the dough around a willow-type stick and securing it by pinching the dough together so it won’t fall off the stick. Hold it over the warm coals and turn it often so that all sides will brown evenly and cook all the way through.

This recipe came from the book Cookin’ With Home Storage.

This book has more than 550 food storage recipes as well as:

  • Emergency food storage instruction and tips on survival.
  • What to store and how much to store.
  • Reconstituting charts for dehydrated and freeze-dried foods.
  • Authentic pioneer and early settler recipes using basic food.
  • Fascinating historical pioneer information.
  • Natural beauty and personal care.
  • Natural household cleaners.
  • Grandma’s home remedies.
  • Emergency baby food.
–Peggy Layton

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