Hardtack, also know as Pilot Bread, Ship’s Biscuit, Shipbiscuit, Sea Biscuit, Cabin Bread, Sea Bread, Dog Biscuits, Tooth Dullers, Sheet Iron, Worm Castles, or Molar Breakers. Hardtack is a cheep long lasting cracker type biscuit dating back to pre 1189A.D. Many sailors and soldiers have marched off to battle with a pouch full of Hardtack as there ration.
As the name implies bakers made the biscuits as hard as possible because over time the biscuit would soften due to humidity and other weather conditions. Due to the fact that it is so hard and dry it will survive rough handling, extreme temperatures, and long term storage. In fact Hardtack that was found in civil war era mess kits is still edible. Hardtack was usually dipped in brine, coffee, or other liquid to soften it up. Or it was cooked into a skillet meal.
Hardtack is still a great addition to your survival kit or hiking pack. It is cheap, easy to make, and it will last 50 plus years if stored properly. It has a long history of keeping people fed during long, hard journeys. 900 years of usage is a strong testament to it’s usefulness.
You will need:
4 cups of whole wheat flour
2 cups of water
4 teaspoons of salt
Dissolve salt into water.
Slowly mix water into flour till dough is stiff, firm, and moldable. Dough should not be sticky.
All the water might not be needed.
Roll dough out to about 1/2 thickness.
Cut into 3 inch squares.
Press holes into dough like a store bought cracker.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.
Flip over and bake for another 30 minutes on other side.
Store in an airtight container
Some old recipes call for biscuits to be baked 2 to 4 times. One recipe said to make biscuits 6 months before the sea voyage. Baking the biscuits twice at first. Than twice more right before setting sail.