Hardtack recipe's

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yogi

Member
Jul 9, 2008
23
0
chichester
I've been looking for hardtack recipe's
The most common one is
4 cups flour ( preferably whole wheat )
4 teaspoons salt
Water about 2 cups
Cook for half hour each side
Has any one got a diffrant one and is it a good pack food to carry.
 

Mike Ameling

Need to contact Admin...
Jan 18, 2007
872
1
Iowa U.S.A.
www.angelfire.com
The classic British soldier Biscuit (hardtack) was pretty similar. This recipe makes ONE biscuit. Scale it up or down as needed.

2 cups flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup water
Mix all ingredients well. Add a little extra water if needed (a teaspoon at a time) until you have a very stiff (not sticky) dough. Work the dough into a ball, then set it aside for a fre minutes to let it set up. Next, roll the dough ball out until it is about 3/8 of an inch thick, cut it and punch 12 to 16 holes into each round to help let the moisture escape. Place a few clean bricks in your oven and preheat it to 350-400 degrees, then place your biscuits on the bricks for one-half hour or until all the moisture is out of them and they are slightly browned (you can use a cookie sheet instead of bricks, though the later will give you a better biscuit). Finally, set your biscuits aside to cool and dry out for a day or two. Biscuits must be dry and hard in order to keep well. Two of these make up a pound of "bread".

This is the recipe from Mark Tully's booklet The Packet, and is based upon the early to mid 1700's military records. Two of these biscuits were the bread portion of the daily military issue ration for a soldier/sailor. The daily ration was one pound of bread, one pound of beef or pork, just over an ounce of rice, seven ounces of peas, and just under one ounce of butter. But the rations were generally issued once a week.

Adding anything like sugar or butter or anything else will greatly reduce the "shelf life". Those other things tend to lead to mold growth. Ship's biscuit or hardtack was meant for long term storage - as long as you kept it dry. Hmmm ... one ship like the HMS Victory carrying 500 plus men, each getting 2 ship's biscuits a day, and being out of port for several months. That's a lot of biscuits to have made up and stored below deck! 1000 a day is 500 pounds per day, times how many days?

One friend makes up his Ship's Biscuits for living history camps following this recipe. But he also adds in a small handful of uncooked brown rice to the dough. Then, when he is "in camp" in front of the public, he can ... pick out "weevils" from his issued biscuits! (but they also don't hurt him to just eat them) Yeah, he does have a bit of a twisted mind. But the looks he gets from the spectators is wonderful!

Mikey - that grumpy ol' German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands
 
I have to ask: Why bother?

I know it's historically accurate and it's what soldiers and sailors and explorers would have used, but.....ughhh.

I guess I value my teeth too much and see hard tack as a serious threat to their well being.

I've tried hard tack and I'll pass.

Just my opinion.
 

Mike Ameling

Need to contact Admin...
Jan 18, 2007
872
1
Iowa U.S.A.
www.angelfire.com
Hardtack was not generally eaten as-is, or by itself. It was generally crumbled up and mixed into your soup/stew/mush. This softened it up. A common meal involved crumbling a piece of ship's biscuit onto your plate, and then pouring/ladling on some boiled beef - with a bunch of the stock/juice. This then all soaked down into your "bread" - softening it up, allowed that "juice" to flavor your bread, and saving all that juice for you to eat. And "boiled beef" was the common method to prepare meat back then - as frying or roasting meat was considered "unhealthy". Yeah, funny notions abound in the military over all the centuries.

The key idea was to have a form of Bread that would last a long time in storage and being transported. If you kept hardtack dry, it did that. The modern version is in the MRE's as something like the Wheat Snack Bread. But that is a lot softer and (in theory) more edible. Or the packs of Crackers.

So, if you want to pack along some "bread" that will survive (not start to develope mold) for more than a couple days, hardtack is an option. Or you can pack along flour and the other ingredients to make your own bannock on the trail.

It's just an option.

Mikey - that grumpy ol' German blacksmith out in the Hinterlands
 

tombear

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jul 9, 2004
4,078
169
51
Rossendale, Lancashire
Just knocked up a biscuit cutter



3" x 3" x 1/2".

Anybody got and varriations on the recipes in this thread as with the crap weather I'm going to do some baking with the kids tomorrow and I'd like to do some they would actually enjoy, as oppose to break their teeth on.

ATB

Tom
 
Sep 20, 2013
3
0
Austin, Texas
HARDTACK

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups flour
6 tsp. Salt
3/4 cup water

Dry mix the ingredients.
Add the water and knead the dough. Dough should not be sticky.
Roll out to an even thickness. I use a shallow sided cookie pan. The shallow sides control the thickness
Cut to shape. Poke three rows of holds with a fork.
Place in the oven for about 1/2 hour or until just golden.

Makes 10-12 biscuits.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

To cook them really thoroughly, set them aside for a day, then cook them at 225 degrees for 30-45 more minutes. The second baking will remove any “sweat” and really dry the biscuit. This is important.

----------------------------------------------------------

I took my original recipe from a civil war reenacting webpage (it's not there anymore) and experimented. The above recipe is what I wound up with.

I made a double batch.

Put them in 1 gallon ziplock baggies and put the baggies on the guest Bedroom closet shelf.

All food trials included a bowl of hot chicken boullion for dipping soakin

1 week later - tried one - I'd hate to have to live on them.
2 weeks - same
1 month
6 months
1 year
18 month
2 years
2 1/2 years
3, 4, 5, 7 & 8 year - same

Gave one to a friends step-son (Ben) - a reenactor, he liked it SO...
Gave what was left to Ben - they were a hit at the reenaction.

Have made a batch or two since then.

Am going to be doing a new batch fairly soon. I have Ben's APO and will be sending him a care basket of hardtack, dried apricots, dried peaches, dried apples, raisins, a can or so of penuts & cashews. AND a special candy that was developed for the War Department in WWII to be able to boost the calorie count of soldiers rations - M&Ms

And a couple bottles of McIlhaneys Tabasco sauce.

WolfBrother
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
I printed out a recipe for hardtack from the Wiki Cookbook but haven't tried it yet, mainly because of the lack of any good reason. I have a large can of so-called pilot bread that I bought from Campmor but the utility of having it has largely evaporated. Pilot bread is almost hardtack but isn't at all hard but it isn't particularly tasty either. I've been tried various bread recipes over the last few months with only modest success.

One recipe worth mentioning, which came from a blog called "The Joy of Field Rations" (I kid you not) was for rye bread baked in a messkit, which is a WWII German rye bread recipe for one ration of bread as baked in one of their messtins of the day. Mine failed to rise a second time with the sourdough recipe and the result was close to hardtack but not bad tasting. I had expected rye bread to be too strong tasting for what I was used to. But it was a lot of trouble for only a little loaf. I used a rectangular British mess tin. Maybe that was my problem.
 
Whilst it's not Hard Tack (which I have made and tried; my friends called it Hard Core!), Logan Bread is a high value expedition food which IS tasty. If you search BCUK for Logan Bread you'll find a couple of recipes, and some comments thereon. However I doubt the shelf life of Logan Bread is that of Hard Tack. You pays your money...etc.
 

mousey

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jun 15, 2010
2,210
252
39
NE Scotland
Not Hardtack but a recipe I tried a while ago - found somewhere on here....


  1. My favourite food to take with me is Anzac Biscuits they are really easy to make and they keep for about 8 months in an airtight container.
    1 cup dried fruit (optional)
    1 Cup Rolled Oats
    1 Cup Plain flour
    1 cup Suger
    3/4 Cup coconut
    125g Butter apox
    1 tbsp Golden Syrup
    1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
    2 tsp Boiling Water
    Mix all dry Ingredients together
    Put Butter,Syrup in pan on low heat till melted
    put 1 tsp Bicarb in cup add 2 tsp Boiling Water
    add to pan of butter syrup it will fiz up add to dry mix and mix in well
    put on greased baking tray about 1/2" thick put in preheat oven mid heat till light brown 20-25 min approx
    cut in to squares leave to cool it is soft at first and get harder with time. One 2"x3" squares is the same as a full meal.
    It takes about 10min to make 20min to cook.
    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
 

sgtoutback

Nomad
Jun 29, 2010
311
10
Near the fundy
Swedish Hardtack
1 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 ***** 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.

or
Sailors Bisucit
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats.
3 cups unbleached flour.
1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
1 teaspoon baking soda.
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.

That ANZAC biscuit sounds great will have to try that.
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
To Mousey, what is meant by "Golden syrup?" Is that a brand name of something? And what exactly might be used for dried fruits. I've never used anything like that in anything, except raisins (and then only in carrot salad).
 

rik_uk3

Banned
Jun 10, 2006
13,320
20
65
south wales
Not Hardtack but a recipe I tried a while ago - found somewhere on here....


  1. My favourite food to take with me is Anzac Biscuits they are really easy to make and they keep for about 8 months in an airtight container.
    1 cup dried fruit (optional)
    1 Cup Rolled Oats
    1 Cup Plain flour
    1 cup Suger
    3/4 Cup coconut
    125g Butter apox
    1 tbsp Golden Syrup
    1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
    2 tsp Boiling Water
    Mix all dry Ingredients together
    Put Butter,Syrup in pan on low heat till melted
    put 1 tsp Bicarb in cup add 2 tsp Boiling Water
    add to pan of butter syrup it will fiz up add to dry mix and mix in well
    put on greased baking tray about 1/2" thick put in preheat oven mid heat till light brown 20-25 min approx
    cut in to squares leave to cool it is soft at first and get harder with time. One 2"x3" squares is the same as a full meal.
    It takes about 10min to make 20min to cook.
    I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HobNob Would seem the humble HobNob is based on the Anzac biscuit...and a better dunker in your tea is hard to find :)
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
Ah ha! I've learned something today without trying very hard. The last time that happened was when I was describing an obsolete piece of French army camp equipment that was called a Marmite de campement, only I'm not sure if I have that or a Gamelle de campement. Whichever it is, it's pretty neat and I've even used it already. Then I found out there's a food concoction called Marmite.

I'm also in pursuit of an elusive article of army field equipment referred to as a "racing spoon," which I take is used for eating in a hurry.
 

Dace

Full Member
Oct 12, 2004
34
0
Kent
A "Racing Spoon" is any spoon either of wood, plastic or metal which is carried by any person, and who's sole aim in life is to eat as much food as possible from other peoples plates, mugs etc. without actually doing any cooking themselves, the normal method of approach is to assess the person cooking and then tap them on the shoulder when the meal has just been taken off the heat, or placed onto a plate they turn round and the racing spoon is in and out and the deed is done :)
 

weekender

Full Member
Feb 26, 2006
1,809
2
50
Cambridge
A "Racing Spoon" is any spoon either of wood, plastic or metal which is carried by any person, and who's sole aim in life is to eat as much food as possible from other peoples plates, mugs etc. without actually doing any cooking themselves, the normal method of approach is to assess the person cooking and then tap them on the shoulder when the meal has just been taken off the heat, or placed onto a plate they turn round and the racing spoon is in and out and the deed is done :)
Ha ha ha some of the older guys I worked with when I was an apprentice called it a "robbers spoon" same thing though, they told a tale of nearly being able to get half a tin of food on the spoon in one scoop of the tin or mess tin....
 

Big Stu 12

Full Member
Jan 7, 2012
6,025
2
Ipswich
Ah ha! I've learned something today without trying very hard. The last time that happened was when I was describing an obsolete piece of French army camp equipment that was called a Marmite de campement, only I'm not sure if I have that or a Gamelle de campement. Whichever it is, it's pretty neat and I've even used it already. Then I found out there's a food concoction called Marmite.
Thats because it was sold in Clay pots before the 1920's I belive
 

BlueTrain

New Member
Jul 13, 2005
482
0
73
Near Washington, D.C.
Okay, Mr. Mousey, I tried your recipe for Anzac biscuit. It turned out well and is a Good Thing. To me, it's very similiar to granola in spite of having no fruit or nuts. In fact, it's much better. How could something made with a stick of butter, a cup of sugar and a cup of oatmeal not be? Very easy to make, too, always a plus. I'm sure you could never go wrong with a batch unless you failed to mix the ingredients sufficiently. I don't think the batch I made is going to last long enough to spoil.

Not hardtack but the biscuits from a ration pack are tolerably good for on the trail use. I've never discovered any commercial cracker or cookie, as we would call them, that is exactly the same but some come close. But I've found some suitable alternatives, none of which I remember. This Anzac biscuit, though, is easily better tasting and undoubtedly has a high energy content, if nothing else.

As I recall from reading about Marmite, it has a love it or hate it quality about it. The French army squad cooking utensil I rererred to is best described as a boiler of 2-liter size. It's exactly like a German-style mess tin, only bigger. It seems quite archaic in both design and purpose but mine is dated 1961. It's aluminium, originals were tinned steel. Incredibly enough, reproductions of the originals are available.