Hardtack revisited

Posted By on August 28, 2013

Last night's hardtack.

Last night’s hardtack.

I’ve posted before about my adventures and misadventures in making ship’s biscuit or hardtack, and in cooking with it. I’ve made it a bunch of times but never seem to get it right.

Until last night. Last night, I decided to throw my recipe out and start again, redacting from scratch. I followed a friend’s advice about rolling it as thin as possible (1/8″ or so) and starting it in a hot oven before reducing heat for a few hours, and lo and behold, it worked!

This redaction: 2 parts flour to ~1 part water. Knead for 15 minutes and roll out very thin. Cut into circles and prick all over with a fork. Bake for about 15 minutes at 450*F and then reduce heat to 150* for the next couple hours.

This batch, instead of being bricklike, is crisp and breaks fairly easily when thumped or bitten. The taste is surprisingly good for a flour-and-water-and-nothing-else dough. I think the long baking toasted it a little and improved the flavor. I don’t think I’ll get a chance to test its keeping qualities, since I suspect it will be gone within a couple weeks!

About the author

I'm a museum professional with an MA in Museum Studies and Atlantic History. A lot of my research has been in colonial and maritime history, as well as material culture of the 16th - 19th centuries. I've held a lot of weird jobs covering everything from beekeeper to tall ship deckhand. I currently live with my partner on the Canadian border in Vermont.


One Response to “Hardtack revisited”

  1. Don Craig says:

    I still have a piece of hardtack, that Craig Russell gave me years ago, that I keep in my shooting bag as a back-up flint for my Brown Bess. :))

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