Dehydrating breadcrumbs or cake with a food dehydrator is fast and easy. Neutral flavored breads like Italian work well, but you can dehydrate any bread you like. Full flavored breads like rye and pumpernickel make tasty breadcrumbs for trail mixes or to top off a bowl of chili.
This page also covers dehydrating cake. Angel food cake is the best choice for drying, since it doesn't contain any fats, but banana bread and carrot cake can also be dried for shorter term storage.
I use dehydrated breadcrumbs and cake to make amazing backpacking desserts. See the links to recipes below.
Place slices of bread on the dehydrator trays.
Dehydrate @ 125°F (52°C) for approximately four hours.
There should be no sponginess left in the bread or it might spoil later.
When the bread is dry, it will break easily by hand into large crumbs for use as a chili topping or in dessert recipes.
For making breadcrumbs with a fine texture, pulse a few times in a food processor or reduce with a rolling pin or tenderizing mallet.
Store in an air-tight container until ready to use.
Dehydrating Pita Bread
Dried pita bread is excellent as a chili topping or it takes on a crust-like texture when rehydrated in dessert recipes.
Cut the loaves in half and separate the two parts into single slices before dehydrating @ 125°F (52°C) for three to four hours until crispy. It will snap into pieces when dry.
Using Breadcrumbs in Backpacking Food
Dried ground beef rehydrates MUCH better if you add fine breadcrumbs to it before cooking and drying. All you have to do is run your dried breadcrumbs through a blender and mix in half-a-cup per pound of ground meat.
Using breadcrumbs in desserts is a delicious idea. The breadcrumbs absorb sweet juices from the rehydrated fruits.
Check out these recipes:
Cut angel food cake into slices about ½ to ¾ of an inch thick.
Dehydrate cake at @ 125°F (52°C) for approximately four hours until crunchy.
Angel food cake contains no oil or butter. It is an excellent choice for long term storage and long backpacking trips.
Backpacking Dessert Recipes with Dried Cake:
Some of the cake absorbs the warm pineapple or strawberry juices and some of it remains crunchy. Drizzle chocolate sauce over it or push it down into the pudding.
Photo above: Dehydrated angel food cake used in Pineapple-Upside-Down Backpacking Dessert.
Photo below: Trail Angel Cake
Photo above: Heat and reconstitute ¾ cup dried fruit in ½ cup of water for ten minutes. Stir in the carrot cake cookie crumbs. Very tasty!
From the Mail Bag:
Ming: Have you ever dehydrated baked banana bread or carrot cake into crunchy thin slices?
Chef Glenn: For long backpacking trips lasting several weeks where I don’t want to risk having food spoi, or the taste go off from fat oxidation, I dry angel food cake because it doesn’t contain any fat. Banana bread and carrot cake contain egg yolks and butter or oil; they could spoil after several weeks, but should be fine for a couple of weeks.
Carrot cake and banana bread are denser than angel food cake, so they dry best in thin slices, about ⅜ inches thick each.
Dehydrate at 125°F (52°C) for approximately four to five hours.
Thin sliced banana bread or carrot cake will dry like crunchy cookies. If you dry slices that are thicker, like ¾-inch thick, the outside will dry, but the insides will still be moist.
Ideas to enjoy dried carrot cake and banana bread on the trail:
Photo above: Slices of Banana-Pecan Cake dehydrated into crunchy trail cookies. Bet you can't eat just one!
Enjoy this cake at home, or dehydrate slices into crunchy trail cookies. Because of the fat in the eggs and butter, dehydrated banana-pecan cake is not recommended for long term storage. When dried to a good crunch, the cookies should hold up well for at least two weeks. Pack them in Ziploc bags or vacuum seal them with your daily rations.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, butter, and sugar.
Mash bananas. After washing the lemon, grate the peel into the bananas. Then squeeze all the lemon juice into the bananas. Add to the bowl.
Mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients until well combined.
Line a 12” loaf pan with baking paper and pour in the batter.
Bake in preheated oven, using the oven’s fan setting, at 350°F (175°C) for 75–80 minutes. Do not open the oven door during the first 70 minutes.
Dehydrating Banana-Pecan Cake
Cut slices across loaf about ⅜ of an inch thick. Then cut the slices into three pieces.
Dehydrate at 125°F (52°C) for approximately five hours. The dehydrated cake will be crunchy like cookies when done, and will easily snap in half.
These dehydrated cake-cookies make great trail snacks, and you can also crumble them into rehydrated fruit or oatmeal.