Hardtack Recipe (Survival Bread) – Bread Dad

This hardtack recipe is very easy to make. As you probably know, hardtack is a survival boodle & historic settler food with an highly long shelf life. If properly stored, hardtack can last for years. Hardtack has been used for centuries and was a historic anchor for pioneers, settlers, sailors & soldiers when traveling on long travel .
Hardtack is a very childlike recipe and lone requires flour, water and salt. It is besides a cheap direction to create long-run survival or camping supplies. It costs merely pennies to make hardtack versus paying a fortune for MREs, freeze dried camping food, etc. Making hardtack is besides a fun way to show your kids what pioneers & ancient soldiers/sailors had to eat as they traveled across the area or earth .
Remember To Soak Hardtack Before Eating!!!
Hardtack Recipe however, please remember that hardtack is NOT a delicate cracker, tender biscuit or downy sandwich boodle. It is hard semi-bland survival food that was historically used for retentive hard journeys ( not gourmet meals ! ). When eating hardtack, it should be soaked inaugural in water, milk, soup, stew, etc. for at least 5-10 minutes in ordering to soften the hardtack before eating… because “ hard” tack is kind of HARD. Historically, according to Wikipedia, “ To soften, hardtack was frequently dunked in seawater, chocolate, or some other liquid, or cooked into a frying pan meal ”.

Cut Dough Into Squares
Survival Bread Recipe - Cut Dough into Squares Ingredients – Hardtack Recipe (Survival Bread)

  • 2 Cups – All Purpose Flour – 240 grams – Do not use self-rising flour
  • 3/4 Cup – Water – 175 milliliters
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons – Salt – 7.5 milliliters

Servings – 10-12 biscuits/crackers. For 20-25 hardtack biscuits/crackers, you just need to double each ingredient in this hardtack recipe .
Equipment – Measuring cup & spoons, mixing bowl, rolling pin, cutting dining table, silicone spatula, baking sheets, oven mitts, cooling extort and an oven. Plus airtight food containers. Visit Bread Dad ’ south equipment section if you are missing anything .
Use Chopsticks To Poke Holes In Dough (Picture Before Baking)
Hardtack - Poke holes with chopsticks into the dough Instructions – Hardtack Recipe (Survival Bread)

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Mix the flour, water and salt in a bowl.
  • After mixing completely, the dough should be a little dry (and not stick to your fingers).
  • If your mix is still too sticky, you can add more flour in small increments until the dough is dry enough.
  • Use a roller to spread out the dough on a counter, large cutting board, etc. until it reaches a thickness of roughly 1/3 to 1/2 inches.
  • To prevent sticking to the counter or cutting board, you should spread a little flour on the surface before rolling the dough. Also spread a little flour on top of the dough to prevent the roller from sticking to the dough.
  • Cut the dough into squares (i.e. 3 inch squares). You can create square hardtack “biscuits” by cutting the dough horizontally & vertically on a large cutting board.
  • Poke narrow holes in the hardtack biscuits with a chopstick or fork. The holes should go all the way through to the other side of the hardtack. This prevents the hardtack from puffing up.
  • Place the hardtack biscuits on a baking sheet/tray.
  • Put the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Wear oven mitts.
  • Flip the hardtack over with a spatula and bake for another 30 minutes. Wear oven mitts.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Wear oven mitts. Then use a spatula to remove the hardtack from the baking sheet. Place the hardtack biscuits on a cooling rack in order to cool down.
  • When completely cooled, place the hardtack in an airtight container.
  • Please read the tips section below for extra information on how to make this recipe successfully.

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Helpful Tips & Interesting Facts – Hardtack Recipe (Survival Bread)

  • If you want to print out this recipe, please scroll down the page to our recipe widget “box”. You will find a “print recipe” button located right under the product image photo in this box. Click on that button in order to print out the basic recipe instructions.
  • Let me reemphasize that hardtack is NOT a soft delicious cracker!!! It was created to be a long-term survival food that was less likely to spoil on long journeys. It was not designed to be a tasty & salty snack.
  • Hardtack is not a white cracker (soft & crunchy). It will come out as a brown baked hard “biscuit”.
  • The thickness of the hardtack dough (before baking) should be between 1/3 and 1/2 inches. Do not make the hardtack too thick or it will not bake properly.
  • Hardtack is an unleavened bread. It does not use yeast, baking soda, baking powder, etc.
  • Do not use self-rising flour! Self-rising flour contains a leavening agent (usually baking powder). This recipe calls for the use of all-purpose flour (that does not contain baking powder/soda or yeast). This recipe will not work properly if you use a leavening agent (i.e. baking powder/soda or yeast).
  • Some hardtack recipes include ingredients such as butter or vegetable oil. While this might make the hardtack softer and more tasty, it will significantly cut down on the shelf life of the hardtack. Historic hardtack was made from just flour, water and salt (or just water & flour if salt was not available).
  • Optional – Not very historic but… you can reduce the salt by a 1/2 teaspoon and add a 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs/spices (i.e. ground pepper, dried rosemary or Italian seasoning) to this hardtack recipe in order to make the hardtack more palatable & flavorful.
  • OptionalYou can make hardtack without salt. However, it will be VERY bland. Moreover, beyond improving the taste of hardtack, salt acts as a natural preservative and helps hardtack last longer in storage.
  • Remember when eating hardtack, hardtack should be soaked first in water, milk, soup, stew, etc. for at least 5-10 minutes in order to soften the hardtack before eating. Some experts think that very dry hardtack should be soaked for at least 15 minutes. However, you should just continue to soak the hardtack if it is still hard when you try to eat it. After soaking the hardtack, you can eat it like a biscuit or experiment with frying it like Roman and Civil War soldiers!
  • Hardtack has been used by a wide range of armed forces over the centuries including Roman soldiers, Crusaders, British navy sailors, Civil War soldiers, etc.
  • According to Wikipedia, “Some men also turned hardtack into a mush by breaking it up with blows from their rifle butts, then adding water. If the men had a frying pan, they could cook the mush into a lumpy pancake; otherwise they dropped the mush directly on the coals of their campfire. They also mixed hardtack with brown sugar, hot water, and sometimes whiskey to create what they called a pudding, to serve as dessert”.
  • Make sure to place the baking tray in the center of the oven. If you place the baking tray on the top or bottom rack, it might be near the oven’s heating element (where the temperature will be hotter than expected). This could led to the hardtack burning.
  • Hardtack must be completely cooled before you try to store it because the cool down helps to complete the drying process. Some people like to leave the hardtack on the cooling rack for a least a day in order to finish the drying process (in a non-humid environment). Others recommend letting it dry for several days on the cooling rack.
  • To keep hardtack from going bad, it must be stored in an airtight container (in order to prevent moisture from reaching the hardtack). Proper food storage is especially important if you are using hardtack as part of your long-term survival food supplies.
  • Some people also like to use vacuum sealing for the long-term storage of dry food products (i.e. hardtack). For more information, you might like to read the Wikipedia articles on vacuum packing and food preservation.
  • Other long-term survival foods include canned food, MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), dried goods (i.e. dried beans, grain & rice), pasta, freeze dried food, etc.
  • Hardtack is also known as survival bread, survival biscuits, etc. Moreover, according to Wikipedia, it has also been called “cabin bread, pilot bread, sea biscuit, soda crackers, sea bread (as rations for sailors), ship’s biscuit, or pejoratively as dog biscuits, molar breakers, sheet iron, tooth dullers, armor plates (Germany) and worm castles”.
  • According to Wikipedia, “Interbake Foods of Richmond, Virginia, produces most, if not all, of the commercially available hardtack in the United States, under the “Sailor Boy” label. As of January 2015, 98 percent of its production goes to Alaska. Alaskans are among the last to still eat hardtack as a significant part of their normal diet. Originally imported as a food product that could endure the rigors of transportation throughout Alaska, hardtack has remained a favored food even as other, less robust foods have become more readily available”.
  • However, Wikipedia also states that “Unlike the traditional hardtack recipe, Sailor Boy Pilot Bread contains leavening and vegetable shortening.” So Sailor Boy seems to be more like a cracker than a traditional hardtack. Thanks Isaac for pointing that out!
  • According to Wikipedia, hardtack is known as “Kanpan in Japan and Geonbbang in South Korea, meaning ‘dry bread’, and is still sold as a fairly popular snack food in both countries… Canned kanpan is also distributed in Japan as emergency rations in case of earthquake, flood, or other disaster”.
  • Interesting fact – According to CNBC, in 2015, a hardtack cracker from a Titanic lifeboat “sold at auction for £15,000 ($22,990)”. This hardtack cracker was “part of a survival kit that would have been found in the Titanic’s lifeboats… It was kept as a souvenir by the Fenwicks, newlyweds that were onboard the SS Carpathia that came to the rescue of Titanic survivors”.
  • My recipes are based on US ingredient measurements (i.e. US cups & tablespoons). However, as a courtesy to our European visitors, I have also included some very ROUGH European equivalents (i.e. grams & milliliters). Since I rarely use European measurements when baking, please let me know in the comment section below if any of the European ingredient measurements need to be changed (i.e. for XYZ ingredient, milliliters are more commonly used versus the grams information listed in the recipe).
  • Always wear oven mitts/gloves when dealing with a hot oven and baking sheets/trays.
  • Other potential survival breads (and related foods) that you might like to explore include campfire bread, frying pan bread, breads made with baking powder (no yeast), flatbreads (no yeast), tortillas (no yeast), ash cakes, Johnnycakes, wild yeast breads, unleavened breads, oatcakes, etc. These examples do not store as well as hardtack. However, they are seen as potential survival breads because they are simple to make and/or they may enable you to make bread if you are missing a key ingredient (i.e. packaged yeast) or piece of equipment (i.e. functioning oven).
  • If you are researching survival bread, you should also learn how to make basic homemade breads. Fresh homemade bread can make a crisis (i.e. if you are trapped inside during a pandemic) more bearable for families. Our recipes are an easy way for you to make comfort foods such as homemade white bread, pizza, cornbread, etc. Check out Bread Dad’s sections on Bread Machine Recipes and Homemade Bread Recipes for simple recipes that you can make at home.

If you liked this recipe, please leave a comment below & give us a 5 star rating. It is ALWAYS great to hear from someone who has enjoyed our recipes!
Reference Sources
Hardtack Recipe Questions
What does hardtack taste like?
Hardtack actually tastes pretty good because it soaks up the flavor of the fluid, fret or soup that you use in decree to soften the hardtack. By itself, hardtack is a basically a very hard semi-salty thick bland cracker. however, it is much better taste ( and softer ) when combined with a flavorful semi-liquid meal ( i.e. soup ) .
How can I improve the taste of hardtack?
Some people like to add butter or vegetable oil to their hardtack recipes. however, these ingredients can cause the hardtack to spoil much more promptly and shortens the hardtack shelf biography importantly. I prefer to add some dried herbs such as black pepper, rosemary or italian seasoning in ordain to enhance the relish. Dried herb can improve the taste of hardtack without having a huge impingement on its long-run storage electric potential .
Can I buy hardtack?
You can buy hardtack from retailers such as Amazon. The most popular brand of hardtack is Sailor Boy Pilot Bread. however, it is much easier and cheaper to make your own with the hardtack recipe on this page !
Does hardtack go bad?
If hardtack is made by rights ( i.e. without butter ) and stored correctly ( i.e. in an airtight container ), hardtack can last for years. however, if hardtack is stored improperly ( i.e. open to moisture and insects ) and made with less static ingredients ( i.e. butter or vegetable oil ) added for unfitness and/or relish, hardtack can spoil much more promptly .
Why is it called hardtack?
interchange was slang used by british sailors for the bible “ food ”. consequently, hardtack means “ hard food ” .
How do you eat hardtack?
There are many unlike ways to eat hardtack. For exercise, you can soften hardtack in fret or a soup and eat it like a big redneck. Or a person can crumble the hardtack into soup in rate to act as a “ thickening ”. Another way is to soak hardtack in milk for 15 minutes and then fry it. Or you can break up the hardtack and add milk & carbohydrate in ordain to make breakfast porridge. Historically, some people even make hardtack into a dessert by crumbling it and combining the hardtack with butter, brown sugar and whiskey .
Can I make hardtack without salt?
Yes. Pioneers much made hardtack without salt ( because salt on the frontier was besides hard to find or besides expensive ). however, salt has been used in hardtack for centuries. Salt acts as a natural preservative and helps hardtack to last long in storehouse. In accession, salt improves the smack of hardtack ( as “ no salt ” hardtack is extremely bland ) .
What is hardtack made out of?
hardtack is made out of water, flour and salt. however, many pioneers made hardtack out of merely flour and water. Salt was excessively hard to find or was excessively expensive for many pioneers. however, today when salt is brassy, it is better to add salt to a hardtack recipe because salt adds spirit and acts as a natural preservative .
Is hardtack a complete meal?
No. Hardtack is not a complete meal. It provides little or no protein, substantive vitamins, etc. Hardtack is frequently used to supplement other foods ( i.e. meats, vegetables and yield ) and is generally used as a source of cheap calories .
If you liked this recipe, please leave a comment below & give us a 5 star rating. We LOVE to hear from people who have enjoyed our recipes!!
Hardtack Recipe
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Hardtack Recipe (Survival Bread)

This hardtack recipe is very easy to make. As you probably know, hardtack is a survival bread & historic settler food with an extremely long shelf life. If properly stored, hardtack can last for years. Hardtack has been used for centuries and was a historic mainstay for pioneers, settlers, sailors & soldiers when traveling on long journeys. Visit BreadDad.com for more great homemade bread recipes.

Prep Time

5

mins

Cook Time

1

hr

Total Time

1

hr

5

mins

Servings:

12

Biscuits

Calories:

76

kcal

Author:

Bread Dad

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour – 240 grams – Do not use self-rising flour
  • 3/4 cup water – 175 milliliters
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt

    – 7.5 milliliters

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

  • Mix the flour, water and salt in a bowl.

  • After mixing completely, the dough should be a little dry (and not stick to your fingers).

  • If your mix is still too sticky, you can add more flour in small increments until the dough is dry enough.

  • Use a roller to spread out the dough on a counter, large cutting board, etc. until it reaches a thickness of roughly 1/3 to 1/2 inches.

  • To prevent sticking to the counter or cutting board, you should spread a little flour on the surface before rolling the dough. Also spread a little flour on top of the dough to prevent the roller from sticking to the dough.

  • Cut the dough into squares (i.e. 3 inch squares). You can create square hardtack “biscuits” by cutting the dough horizontally & vertically on a large cutting board.

  • Poke narrow holes in the hardtack biscuits with a chopstick or fork. The holes should go all the way through to the other side of the hardtack. This prevents the hardtack from puffing up.

  • Place the hardtack biscuits on a baking sheet/tray.

  • Put the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Wear oven mitts.

  • Flip the hardtack over with a spatula and bake for another 30 minutes. Wear oven mitts.

  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Wear oven mitts. Then use a spatula to remove the hardtack from the baking sheet. Place the hardtack biscuits on a cooling rack in order to cool down. 

  • When completely cooled, place the hardtack in an airtight container.

Notes

This is a Bread Dad recipe and may not be copied or reproduced. This recipe is copyright protected under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act .
Legal Disclaimer

The nutritional data is provided using recipe tools such as WP Recipe Maker. These figures should only be considered as an estimate. They should not be construed as a guarantee of accuracy given visitors may use different serving sizes, ingredients, etc. See our legal disclaimer for extra nutrition disclosures .

Nutrition

Serving:

1

Biscuit

|

Calories:

76

kcal

|

Carbohydrates:

16

g

|

Protein:

2

g

|

Fat:

1

g

|

Saturated Fat:

1

g

|

Sodium:

292

mg

|

Potassium:

22

mg

|

Fiber:

1

g

|

Sugar:

1

g

|

Calcium:

4

mg

|

Iron:

1

mg

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