How to Make Hardtack





Introduction: How to Make Hardtack

Hard tack is basically a hard cracker made from water, flour and salt. It's a great survival food because it will stay edible for years as long as you keep it in a dry place. Historically, it was used by soldiers, voyagers and generally anyone who needed an inexpensive food that lasted for a long time. Alternative names for hardtack have been sheet iron and tooth dullers, because they were so hard. It doesn't sound very appetizing, I know, but it's much easier to eat when crumbled into coffee, cocoa, soup or cooked with other foods.

Hardtack can be made using milk, butter, sugar, but that shortens the shelf life of it, making it less useful in a survival situation.

Step 1: The Ingredients

Here are the ingredients you'll need to make this recipe:

-3 cups white flour

-2 tsp salt

-1 cup water

You'll also need a bowl, a knife, a cookie sheet and a nail or toothpick.

Step 2: The Process

Here's the full process.

1. Preheat your oven to 375°f or 190°C

2. Mix flour and salt with a bowl. Be sure to mix it well so you don't get any salt spots in the crackers

3. Mix in water until you make a dough that doesn't stick to your hands

4. Flatten the dough into a square about half an inch thick (1.5 cm)

5. Cut it into smaller squares and poke holes into it (keep about half an inch between the holes)

6. Put the squares on the cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes, and then turn them around and bake for another 30 minutes.

The crackers should be just a little brown on both sides. Once it cools it will be incredibly hard. You can put it in a ziploc bag and keep it in a car, a backpack or just in your pantry.



    • Stick It! Contest

      Stick It! Contest
    • BBQ Showdown Challenge

      BBQ Showdown Challenge
    • Backpack Challenge

      Backpack Challenge

    9 Discussions

    153 year old civil war era hard tack is still edible


    1 year ago

    Will they keep just as long if I make them thinner?

    1 reply

    From my experience the thickness doesn't really matter. As long as they are thoroughly dry they should be fine. Thanks for viewing!

    These are surprisingly easy and fast to make - great 'ible, thanks. If you're going to make these in brigade-volume, time could be saved by making a quick hole jig ("jig" being defined as a tool created to save time/work,etc.):

    1, Cut a thin piece of scrap wood the size of the intended hardtack. Sand it.

    2. Boil some thin nails to sterilize them.

    3. Trace around wood scrap for size.

    4. Design wood hole pattern. Cut out pattern and tape to wood scrap.

    5. Place wood scrap on another wood scrap to avoid drill bit damage and to provide safety. If you want, you can devise a quick holding jig by tacking or wood-gluing thin holding strips to another wood scrap so that you can hold your new jig steady while drilling your holes, and later, pounding your nails through them.

    6. With a very thin drill bit, drill holes through each hole pattern on your design. Drill all the way through wood scrap, deeply enough into your stopper piece so that you can also drive the nails through your product scrap and still lift it from the bottom scrap.

    7. Sand off the bottom so there are no wood whiskers.

    8. Give wood scrap, now a useful tool, a couple layers of Varethene or similar protective coating for preservation and to facilitate cleaning.

    9. Drive clean thin nails through wood scrap. They should protrude about 1/2". This tool will be very easy to clean after using it.

    10. Enjoy your time-saving new tool by quickly punching 28 (or however many) holes into each hardtack biscuit with one fast movement! Happy working and eating!

    1 reply

    This is a really good idea even when making smaller quantities.

    Will try to make some this week-end :) and I voted for you.

    1 reply

    Thanks :) Glad you enjoyed it.

    Definitely a good survival food for the zombie apocalypes :)

    1 reply

    Yeah, it's pretty great. I made a bunch and i'm just keeping some in my car.