Survival Hardtack





Introduction: Survival Hardtack

About: I'm a husband, a parent and an 8th grade science teacher.
The outdoors can be as fun as it is unforgiving and if you are not prepared for the worst then it can also be deadly. We have much to learn from the outdoorsman of the past. The survival methods they used were proven and should be used to increase survival even today. Food is important when surviving because it is the only way to replenish energy. You can survive with very little food and I will show you a way to easily carry some with you.

Hardtack is a dense bread that has minimal water and can last months without modern refrigeration. It is true to its name and has a reputation for being hard as brick. Historically, it has helped armies and sailors make long trips by packing wooden casks with this hard bread.

Making it is simple and it requires only whole wheat flour, salt and water.

Step 1:

First, measure 4 cups of flour. 4 cups of flour weighs 480 grams.
Next, measure 2 cups of water and dissolve 4 teaspoons of salt into it.

Step 2:

Then, mix the water slowly into the flour until it is a stiff dough. All the water may not be used. The dough should not be sticky but instead firm and moldable.

Step 3:

Roll out the dough to a thickness of ½ inch. Cut 3 inch square pieces and press into the dough holes similar to store bought crackers.

Step 4:

Put the hardtack on a un-greased pan and bake at 375 for 30 min. flip and bake for another 30 min.

They will keep for a year or longer if stored air tight.



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    Not to sound like an ignoramous, but considering that hard tack is just flour and salt, to which water is added and then removed, couldn't one just store flour and salt, then scarf them down together, and thusly omit the cooking process? Or does baking it somehow add to the longevity factor?

    I made mine out of oat flour. Cant wait to try them! you might want to highlight the fact that you add the water in only as needed because I dumped it all in and had to add more flour in later. Oops! lol


    2 replies

    Acorn flour is actually relatively easy to make. Boil acorns, Crack acorns, Dry acorns, Separate the shells from the other stuff, Leach Acorns, Mush them, dry them, then grind and sift them. then you have acorn flour

    Nut'n to it... get it?

    It calls for whole wheat.

    Thanks for this! I made it about 6 months ago, tried my 6 month old hardtack last weekend. It is exactly the same as when I made it. I store them vacuum sealed.

    Are the 'holes' to aid it the baking process; even temperature or keeping them from rising ( I realize these will not rise like regular breads).

    Thank you

    1 reply

    The holes help to allow moisture out and also keeps it from rising due to steam bubbles.

    How big a cup do I use? Or do I assume that if I use the same cup for everything it will all be in proportion?

    1 reply

    Never mind, I just noticed the fluid ounces conversion on your jug. Sorry!

    Yes you can, but it won't keep as long. If the recipe is followed it can keep for about 50 years (if kept dry)

    Well seeing honey is the only food that will actually last forever, why would adding it shorten it's shelf-life?

    You coukd keep honey packets maybe to add to it when you eat. Just my 2cents

    Honey keeps due to the fact that it is so high in sugar that bacteria can't grow. Once yo dilute it (i.e. use it in a recipe) it is now susceptible...

    Rambo556 is right, but it's because honey is hygroscopic and will draw moisture right out of the air, leading to premature spoiling of the hardtack. Also, honey often has dormant spores of Clostridium botulinum which normally do not pose a problem for anyone over 1 year old, but for a product intended to be stored for an indefinite period of time, any improper storage could lead to these spores germinating and producing a dangerously high concentration of the bacteria's toxins. Just thought i'd add some clarity. Also, I have heard that hardtack used by frontier women feeding their families was typically crushed or ground to essentially reconstitute flour for baking fresh bread or other baked goods. Maybe a better method for non-survivalist types who expect to eat something palatable. Still, a time-tested and proven foodstuff.

    could you use a coffee can or something similar with argon gas and an extra sure paraffin wax dipped seal (always useful to have extra paraffin in a kit in any form) to store it longer than a year safely?