Sunday, June 12, 2011

Recipes - Hard Tack, a simple life saver

Hardtack is a simple type of cracker or biscuit, made from flour, water, and sometimes salt. Inexpensive and long-lasting, it was and is used for sustenance in the absence of perishable foods, commonly during long sea voyages and military campaigns. Hard tack is still made today and sold in our grocery stores. You'll see them as hard biscuits, wafers, etc. They usually are pricey for such a simple and inexpensive item to make. After baking let them cool until completely dry before storing in canisters. The crackers should be hard as bricks and indestructibly unappetizing.

This will last and last and last. Why not make some and put it away in your storage. You could even carry it in your car if you were stranded due to bad weather conditions it would be a lifesaver.

Hard Tack

For you all that do not know what hard tack is it is a ration that was issued to soldiers during the civil war and up to world war 1. It is like a large cracker but lasts a long time. Here are several different recipes.

1 1/2 cups flour 
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 tsp. salt 
1/4 tsp. soda
1/8 cup lard 
2 Tbls. sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk OR 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar added to sweet milk to turn it sour.
1/4 cup water

Sift flour, salt, soda and sugar together 3 times. Add the gr. cracker crumbs and water and cut the lard as you would for a pie crust. Add the buttermilk. Knead out on a floured board using just enough flour to prevent sticking.

Divide the dough into 8 parts and let rest for 15 min.. Roll out dough very thinly cut in 6 to 8 in. squares, prick with fork. Bake on racks in a preheated oven set at 350 for 15 min. Let cool.

Army Hardtack

  • 4 cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • Water (about 2 cups)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375° F
  • Makes about 10 pieces
Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Add just enough water (less than two cups) so that the mixture will stick together, producing a dough that won’t stick to hands, rolling pin or pan.  Mix the dough by hand. Roll the dough out, shaping it roughly into a rectangle. Cut into the dough into squares about 3 x 3 inches and ½ inch thick.

After cutting the squares, press a pattern of four rows of four holes into each square, using a nail or other such object. Do not punch through the dough.  The appearance you want is similar to that of a modern saltine cracker.  Turn each square over and do the same thing to the other side.
Place the squares on an ungreased cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Turn each piece over and bake for another 30 minutes. The crackers should be slightly brown on both sides.
The fresh crackers are easily broken but as they dry, they harden and assume the consistency of fired brick.

Swedish Hardtack

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 3 cups rye flour (or 1 1/2 cups rye & 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour)
  • 1  1/2 tbsp. brewer's yeast (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
Mix liquids together.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Combine the mixtures, stirring to moisten throughout.  Form a ball.  On a floured surface, flatten the dough, and roll out thinly. Cut into squares and prick each cracker with the tines of a fork a couple of times.  Transfer to lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 425° F for around 8 minutes, checking to be sure not to over-brown.  It is best served warm.

Hard Tack
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 6 pinches of salt
Mix flour, water, and salt into a stiff dough, kneading it several times.  Spread dough ½ inch thick onto baking sheet and slice into 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inch squares.  Poke holes in dough, four lines of four holes across and four down.  Bake for ½ hour at 400.° F.   Remove from the oven, cut the dough into 3 inch squares. Turn dough over, return it to the oven, and bake for another ½ hour. Turn the oven off, leaving the oven door closed.  Leave the hardtack in the oven until it is cool.

Hard Tack
  • 2 c Flour
  • 1/2 Tb Salt (optional)
  • 1/2 Tb Sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 c Water
Mix together in an electric blender at medium speed until it has the consistency of playdough. Roll it out with a rolling pin to about 1/3" or so, the thinner the crisper, then cut it into 3 x 3 inch squares.  I use the barrel of a ball point pen to punch 16 holes (4 x 4) in each square. Bake at 375° F on the first side for 20-25 minutes or until it turns a light brown color, then turn them over and bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Hard Tack

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup water
Mix to a stiff dry dough.  It should not stick to your hands.  Add water slowly. Add more flour if needed.  Cut to 3x3 inch squares 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Now put 16 little holes in each one, using a 10 d nail or some other such thing. Toothpick are too small. Bake in an ungreased cookie pan, preheated to 400° F for about 20 to 30 minutes on each side, or until dry. Check it every now and then.

Hard Tack
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 teaspoons real maple syrup
  • 3/8 teaspoons salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons shortening
Preheat oven to 425° F.  Mix the soda and buttermilk, then set aside. Combine flour, syrup, and salt.  Cut in the shortening.  Add the buttermilk mixture. Roll out very thin and score rectangles in the dough without cutting all the way through. Prick each rectangle several times with a fork.  Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Hard Tack
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 to 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbl spoon of Shortening
  • 6 pinches of salt
Mix the ingredients together to form a stiff batter, kneading several times. Spread the dough onto a baking sheet at a thickness of 1/2 inch. Bake for a half hour at 400° F.  Remove from oven, cut dough into 3-inch squares, and punch four rows of holes, four holes per row into the dough.  Turn dough over, return to the oven and bake another half hour. Turn oven off, leaving door closed.  Leave the hardtack in the oven until cool.

Hard Tack
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2` cup cracked wheat
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
Combine the flours, cornmeal, wheat, sugar and salt. Add buttermilk, mix well, and knead briefly. Shape dough into golf-ball-sized portions. Dust with flour and roll very thin.  Place on greased and floured baking sheet.  Bake at 400° F turning several times, until lightly browned on both sides. Cool; then store in waterproof container.
  • 2 Level teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 jelly glass of orange marmalade
  • 1 lb Finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 lb Finely chopped dates
Sift ingredients together. Add the remainder of ingredients; mix well.  Bake about an inch thick on a cookie sheet in an oven at 375° F for about 45 minutes. Cut into squares while warm.

Hard Tack
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon of Shortening
  • 6 pinches of salt
Bake for 30 minutes at 400° F. Remove the dough from the oven, and cut it into 3-inch squares.  Punch four rows of holes into the dough. Turn the dough over, return it to the oven and bake for another 30 minutes.

A Sailor's Diet
  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned or quick oats.
  • 3 cups unbleached flour.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda.
In a separate container, mix:
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk.
  • 3 tablespoons honey.
  • 1/2 cup melted bacon drippings or shortening.
Combine the two sets of ingredients. When the dough is thoroughly mixed, roll it out on a floured board to a thickness of about a quarter inch.  Cut out circles of dough with a large drinking glass dipped in flour and put them on a lightly greased cookie sheet.  Bake for about 5 1/2 minutes at 450° F.  Let the hardtack cool on a wire rack before serving with jam or jelly.

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