Hardtack Recipe and my experience

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This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  rob stef 4 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #8508

    Wolf Brother

    Probably the one, first, and most requested recipe on the net, in the discussion groups, or anywhere ACW enthusiasts get together, is for hardtack (also known as ‘tack, ironplate biscuits, army bread, and other colorful names). OK, out of the 1862 US Army book of receipts, is one that is guaranteed to keep your dentist happy with bridge and upper plate work, and not satisfy your culinary hunger. But these actually work and stay fresh for eons.

    Hardtack Recipe
    6 Cups Flour (unbleached)
    1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
    1 Tablespoon Salt
    1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups Water —- See note below

    Preheated Oven to 450

    NOTE: – DO NOT ALL ALL THE WATER AT ONCE. ADD a bit at a time until you get a dough that is pliable and does not stick to your hands. THIS IS IMPORTANT a pizza dough consistency is good.

    Take this mound of dough, and flatten it out onto a greased cookie sheet (the ones with a small lip around the edge…like a real shallow pan…), and roll the dough into a flat sheet aprx. 1/2 inch thick. Using a bread knife, divide the dough into 16 squares. taking a 10-penny nail, put a 3×3 matrix of holes into the surface of the dough, all the way thru, at even intervals (Village tinsmithing works sells a cutter that does all of this…works great!).

    Bake in the oven for aprx 20 Min., till lightly browned.
    Turn over do another 20 min.

    Oven to 200 degrees – let sit about 2 hours.

    Turn oven off and let cool.

    Do this the day before your go on the field, and your will have enough tack to fill your haversack. It will be somewhat soft on Saturday morning, but, by Sunday, you should soak it in your coffee before eating, else you will have a hard time chewing.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    WolfBrother’s notes:
    The flour, water, salt recipe above is the one used to make Hardtack in the War Between the States.

    From what I’ve read of what others researched, standard hardtack was made with flour water and salt OR flour and saltwater then baked.

    I suspect any recipe with a fat in it needs eaten fairly quickly, before the O2 in the air makes the fat go rancid.

    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Before Y2K, I made a fairly large batch – more or less based on a recipe I found (which was essentially like the one above).

    The one thing I did do different was the next day, I put the tack in a toaster oven 250 degrees F for about 9 hours. I went from hard to HARD.

    I divided it up into several sandwich sized zip locks and stored them on the closet shelf in our guest bedroom.

    First year – every 3 months I ate one.
    2nd-5th – every 6 months I ate one.
    year 6 – I gave two bags to a Civil War re-enactor. They were a hit and several wives got the recipe from me.
    year 6-10 – every 6 months I ate one.
    year 10 – the reenactor had joined up and was in Afghanistan. I sent a couple cans of Pilot bread, Peanut butter, and the remaining hard tack to him.
    Got a letter signed by his squad – they ALL said they liked the Pilot Bread and Peanut butter and ALL said to do another batch of HardTack because it went with some of their MRE’s better than anything else.

    OK – 10 year history on hardtack stored in the dark in temps from 60-80 degrees in ziplock bags.

  • #8519

    OldMt Woman

    Thank you, WolfBrother!  Simple is sometimes best….sometimes the ONLY.

    OldMtWoman  …copied that!

  • #29570

    rob stef

    I add garlic, onion, and sometimes jalapeno powder and mix with the flour before adding water. It is really good as a snack or with soup/stews.

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