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Food Preservation

Survival Food 101: Hardtack



Hardtack snack in bowl | Survival Food 101: Hardtack | Featured

The role of hardtack as a survival food dates back to ancient Egypt. Find out why it's one of the best for survival eating until now.

RELATED: 43 Survival Food Items That Actually Taste Good

In this article:

  1. Survivalists Staple Food
    1. Hardtack History
    2. High in Calories, High in Shelf Life
  2. Hardtack Recipe
    1. How to Make Hardtack
  3. Soft Hardtack Recipe
    1. How to Make Soft Hardtack

Hardtack | The Ultimate Survival Food

Survivalists Staple Food


Hardtack bread has been a necessary staple for survivalists for ages. It is also known as pilot bread, ship's biscuit, ship biscuit, sea biscuit, sea bread, “dog biscuits”, “tooth dullers”, “sheet iron”, “worm castles”, or “molar breakers.”

Hardtack may have had many different names throughout the years but its importance in survival has never changed.

Hardtack History

Hardtack nutrition has actually been around since the time of Egyptian pharaohs, but you probably know it from the hardtack Civil War era. During the war, squares of hardtack were shipped to both the Union and Confederate armies, making it a staple part of a soldier’s rations.

Typically made 6 months beforehand, it was as hard as a rock when it actually got to the troops. To soften it, they usually soaked it in water or coffee.

Not only would this soften it enough for eating, but any insect larvae in the bread would float to the top, allowing the soldiers to skim them out.

High in Calories, High in Shelf Life

Soldiers and sailors the world over have used hardtack as a way to stave off hunger. It was one of the main sources of food when Christopher Columbus set sail and eventually landed in America.

It is such a basic item that I am amazed that no one I know under the age of 50 understands its importance, let alone how to make it.

Hardtack is simple; it has three basic ingredients and takes roughly a 1/2 hour of cooking time to prepare. This is one of the most cost-effective long-term survival foods that you can make.

It just isn't very friendly to your diet if you're avoiding carbs.

Hardtack Recipe


You can make hardtack almost identical to what sailors, troops, and pioneers ate (minus the weevils!) by following this simple recipe:

  • 4-5 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tsp of salt

How to Make Hardtack

Mix the flour, water, and salt together, and make sure the mixture is fairly dry. Then roll it out to about 1/2 inch thickness, and shape it into a rectangle.

Cut it into 3×3 inch squares, and poke holes in both sides. Place on an ungreased cookie or baking sheet, and bake for 30 minutes per side at 375˚.

How to Prepare Your Hardtack


As far as cooking goes, you're done! The next step is just to walk away.

You’ll want to let it dry and harden for a few days. When it has roughly the consistency of a brick, it’s fully cured.

Then simply store it in an airtight container or bucket.

To prepare for eating, soak it in water or milk for about 15 minutes, and then fry in a buttered skillet. You can eat it with cheese, soup, or just plain with a dash of salt.

This basic hardtack should keep for years as long as it is kept in an airtight container.

RELATED: 9 Survival Food Items That Will Outlast The Apocalypse

Soft Hardtack Recipe

There is, however, a not-so-hard version of hardtack, with the same shelf life. This is a fun way to serve bread to your guests, especially in a pinch.

It goes great with soups and stews, so it's definitely a recipe worth learning even if S hasn't HTF yet.


  • 2 cups of water
  • 4 tsp salt
  • 4 cups white flour
  • 2 tbsp of either shortening, cold butter, or margarine

How to Make Soft Hardtack

Preheat your oven to 375°. In a bowl, mix your flour and salt.

Add the shortening, cold butter, or margarine into a bowl, then add water. Mix slowly, and then form the dough into balls that don't stick to your hand.

Press the dough down into a square shape of no more than 1/2 inch thick, then cut it into squares. Stick holes in every piece to promote rising.

Finally, bake the bread on an ungreased cookie sheet for 30 minutes.

This video from IslanderHero shows a step-to-step guide on how to make hardtack:

If it ever gets soft, I would recommend tossing it and making a new batch. Hardtack is a versatile food that will keep for years with proper storage.

Make sure to store it in Ziploc bags at a cool temperature to ensure that mold does not grow on it. Also, make sure that you have enough canned soup in your bug-out safehouse so the hardtack bread goes down better!

Do you have any suggestions for hardtack or recipes for other lost or forgotten survival foods? Leave them in the comments section below!


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on January 17, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.

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  1. Allen

    January 17, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Can you use whole wheat flour or will that make them spoil sooner?

    • Ferdo

      October 14, 2013 at 5:25 PM

      Whole wheat really gets hard! But it has a nutty bite. I like a little more salt…

    • richard1941

      October 18, 2013 at 10:37 PM

      I made some out of whole wheat flour. It is just as awful as the batch I made out of white flour.

  2. Betty

    January 17, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    For an airtight container, I am going to use my FoodSaver unit. I can enclose small batches and will not have to unseal the larger bucket suggested, which would let in air and moisture.

  3. Karen

    January 17, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Is it ok to make hardtack using whole grain or multigrain flour? Or does it have to be plain white flour?

    • Frank

      January 18, 2013 at 1:09 AM

      It is my understanding, from my past reading, that white flour was a 19th century invention. It was a modification that took the wheat germ and bran out of the flour and give the flour a long shelf life. When you mill a grain and break the germ out of the grain- the oil in the germ starts to oxidize, so you want to use a whole grain flour shortly after milling. White flour worked great in a flour barrel for pioneer crossing the country. In Russia white flour bread was a bit more cost consuming to make, they put the flour in a cloth and beat the white flour out leaving behind the bran and wheat germ which you can now feed to the pigs. Point is- this exotic white flour bread was eaten by the rich (they could afford it) and the peasants ate the whole wheat bread. Take some rats and feed one group white flour and the other a diet of whole wheat, after a couple of weeks I think you will have reservations of living on white flour. I really doubt Columbus crossed the ocean with white flour hardtack. I will not venture to guess what whole wheat or a whole grain hardtack would last on the shelf. I would think if it were really dry and packed in nitrogen or a vacuum, you could store it a long time.
      If you do have gluten problems and have a grain hand mill, I’ll bet you can make your hardtack out of millet.

      • Frank

        January 18, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        I’m a little surprised at how much I forget in my old age, now with a little memory recall let me add that if you buy whole wheat flour in the stores it will have the wheat germ remove- they want a long shelf life and once wheat is ground the germ will start to turn rancid. Store bought whole wheat should work ok for long term storage of hardtack.
        When I bought my mill one of the things I had to consider was if I wanted a stone mill(makes it easy to seperate out the germ because of the way it is ground) or steel grinding surfaces that grinds in such a way that the germ is much harder to seperate the germ out. At the time I was only interested in making bread. I was only going to grind enough at a time for a loaf of bread. The germ is where all the flavor is and fresh ground wheat used to make bread is much richer in taste.

        • Lynette

          January 18, 2013 at 2:21 PM

          Thanks for the great information, Frank! I learned a lot and wanted to pass on something that might interest you. The wheat that is grown today is NOTHING like the wheat from 50-60 yrs ago. Check out this website… and the book “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis. It has a TERRIBLE cover, bad title and horrible cover/jacket write-up. His marketing people should be fired. BUT, the contents read like an historical science book on wheat. Glance over it while standing in the aisle. EXECELLENT! I have bought Einkorn wheat flour and a bag of SEED from the above website. Amazing experience. Highly Recommended!

          • Frank

            January 18, 2013 at 10:55 PM

            Yes I was aware of that, I understand that 2000 years ago in the Mediterranean area you could be in one valley where they grew one strain of wheat- cross the mountains and find them growing a totally different one in the next valley. So, there could have been a thousand different varieties, kind of like the corn varieties in Mexico.
            That is why it is maybe a good idea to own a mill so you can turn to and learn to using spelt, kamute, rye, buckwheat and barley. You might find teff interesting to look into, I order mine from a place on the internet – I think it is in Idaho.
            As opposed to hardtack- some of these grains or seeds like teff, amaranth, quinoa, rice, buckwheat and maybe even oats will store a long time. So why not fall back on them, all you need is water, a pot, and a fire.

        • MJ

          January 24, 2013 at 7:46 AM

          Love your articles!

          One question re hard tack… I thought levening of some sort was necessary to actually allow digestion of flour over time… Is this belief untrue? If not, are you saying that leavening reduces the shelf-life of hard tack?

          • Joe

            January 24, 2013 at 9:21 AM

            Hi MJ, from what I understand (and if anyone else knows otherwise please tell me) the leavening creates more air pockets and a thinner “crust” which makes it much easier for the hard tack to become moist and turn from survival food to a hotel for bacteria. As far as you question about digestion… hopefully some one else may be able to answer that for us.

          • Frank

            January 24, 2013 at 4:06 PM

            I think you will find that the way to best store hard tack is to make sure that it is moisture free maybe well dried in the oven and sealing it in a good zip lock bags. While I do not know how readily mold and bacteria will attack white flour made hardtack I suspect you will have no problem with insects. You may recall from your history that durning the siege of Leningrad that people were tearing wallpaper off the wall and licking the flour paste off the back to survive. I’m sure it gave them some calories even though it was empty clories and I’m sure that even at that time that wall paper had been on there a long time. Think about this for a moment– You may remember perhaps having a box of corn starch on the shelf and maybe it has been up their for years? Nothing will touch it, the insects will avoid it and mold avoided it too. Now, it has been at least four decades since I have bought a sack of white flour, but, as I recall you can do the same thing with a sack of flour. So, if insects are not able to live off white flour why could you expect that you might if that was all you had? Mold would be my chief concern but but maybe it isn’t, you could best handle that by just keeping it dry. If you put a sack of unground wheat berries on that shelf, I might expect weevils to get into it. That is why wheat stored in grain elevators will have had something like highlife added to remove the oxygen.
            The term “worm castle” — I think you will find that that came into use when they were making hardtack out of whole wheat flour, not white flour. If you leaven it, it is no longer hardtack, it’s going to fluff up like bread. I guess if you wanted to, you could cut your bread into cubes and toast them like croutons then seal them up. That will just take more storage space which defeats the main attribute for resorting to hardtack.
            Hope that helps.

          • Frank

            January 24, 2013 at 3:10 PM

            I do not recall anyone implying that leavening of bread was needed to help digestion. As I recall unleaven bread plays a part in the Jewish religion, someone of that faith could address that for you. I do recall reading, many years ago, of the use of salt in bread having a play in aiding digestion. I think all we suggested was the flaw of depending on white bread or the use of white flour alone because of the lack of nutrition. (bran and wheat germ removed)

          • richard1941

            October 18, 2013 at 10:41 PM

            Leavening? Read the bible, book of Exodus. Matzoh is the same basic idea as hardtack, but is much easier to chew. It has long shelf life, is digestible, and easy to make. For the next time the Egyptian Army is after you.

      • Michael

        February 5, 2014 at 12:06 AM

        You confused me….So for long term keeping of hard tack. What type of flour do you recommend?

  4. Tessa

    January 17, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    I’ve made this for the kids when camping. It is very bland and dry. I’ve teased them that they would never make it on a colony ship!
    The first one they try is plain; the second one has swirls of color in them made by adding food coloring to part of the dough and then kneading it in. I also add lots and lots of cinnamon to give it some flavor. It has health benefits and makes the hardtack edible. I raise bees so of course they get to drizzle homegrown honey all over it. It goes from a horrible tasting punishment to a delicious treat! 🙂

    • J Wilson

      October 14, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Tessa… I would suppose that long months on reduced calories would change the “bland and dry” description to “tolerable.”

      I like the idea of adding some dry spices for flavor. I suppose one’s imagination is near unlimited (cinnamon, garlic, et al.) many of which will enhance the healthy characteristics of the bread.

      Thank you for contributing.

      • Johnette

        November 26, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        i wanna try this, but i’m thinking of adding cocoa powder and natural sugar with extra vitamins and minerals.
        it will taste better in milk.

  5. Hiram

    January 17, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    About 12 years ago I cooked my first batch using essentially the same recipe as above.

    The next day I put the Tack in a 140 degree oven and let it bake for another 5 hours. It was brick hard.

    I put the cooled Tack in 1 gallon ziplock bag and put the bags on the shelf in one of the guest bedrooms closets.

    At 1 month, 3 month, 6 month, 1 year, 2 year, & 3 years I took one out and ate it.

    At 6 years, I gave some to the son of a friend of mine. He did re-enacting. He said it was perfect. So I gave him what I had left of the first batch with the “It’s 6 years old warning”.

    He took it to the next re-enactment and EVERYONE said it was perfect.

    No one had any ill effects. Can’t speak as to nutrition but it will store for an very long time.

  6. Frank

    January 17, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    In this recipe you leave it to be assumed that they would have used white flour. I think you will find that at the time, whole wheat flour was the standard. I think you will find that whole wheat might have provided a little better nutritional value. Another question, regarding the orgin of our historical hardtack, it may have been made from rye or barley flour. So, is there any superior nutritional value to some specific flour? Maybe, but I don’t know. That might be important if you have to survive long term on the stuff.

  7. rickcow

    January 17, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    If you add salt, the hardtack will mold because the salt makes it hydroscopic. leave the salt out and it will last longer. You need to add salt (and other spices) to your bug out bag to make life more enjoyable. Also, the biscuits were usually baked a second time. The object is to drive all the water out leaving only the flour held together by gluten that was generated during the mixing/kneeding process.

  8. tabor

    January 17, 2013 at 3:05 PM

    A gluten-sensitive person would need a gluten-free version of this. Anyone have such a recipe?

    • J Wilson

      October 14, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      Per the post from rickcow, gluten is what holds the hardtack together. I, therefore, do not believe you can produce gluten-free hardtack.

    • richard1941

      October 18, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      Today I noticed some sliced ham on sale at Trader Joe’s. It was promoted as “gluten free”.

  9. Roy Bellew

    January 17, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Would mixing in a little ground cinnamon hurt anything? Might add a little flavor.

  10. Nonie

    January 17, 2013 at 11:45 PM

    Very interesting. I have never heard of hardtack before. Will have to try it. Not sure if I am brave enough to eat one after a few years but nice to know that it is possible.

  11. Janet

    January 18, 2013 at 6:53 AM

    Those of us in the re-enactment genre still use hardtack. If it comes down to survival, I’m sure everyone will overlook the texture and hard nature and eat it. The cinnamon is a great idea and adds nutrient value.

  12. Adrin

    January 18, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Have you looked at oat cakes? The Scottish tradition is used almost like our bread, and has a better shelf life too, although not quite like hardtack.

    • charlie

      January 21, 2013 at 3:13 PM

      What can you tell us about the storage life for Scottish Oat cakes ?

    • J Wilson

      October 14, 2013 at 10:57 AM

      Please provide a recipe. This sounds very interesting!

  13. MI Patriot

    January 18, 2013 at 9:37 PM

    I made a batch of hard tack. If you do Civil War re-enacting you know what it is. A friend of mine suggested using to replace the Kevlar plates in a bullet proof vest or flak jacket. My hard tack is indeed hard, very, very hard. I think it could also be used as a hammer or a weapon if needed. Mine has no salt in it either. Right now I just have it in a zip lock bag.

  14. Bill

    January 19, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    I may be giveing away my age, but when I was young I would go to the
    store and buy hardtack. It was the thickness of a cracker, and I would
    put butter on and eat it that way.

  15. paul

    January 21, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    I would recmmend instead of regular table salt,use hymalaian pink salt or now grey salt,each contain high mineral content

  16. Chuck

    January 21, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    As an interesting nutritional note, the last emperor of the Tokugawa dynasty in Japan died from beri beri because he was so fond of white rice that is all he would eat. It was a common condition among the wealthy in Japan. The peasants didn’t suffer from it because they got brown rice if they got rice at all. Mostly they ate barley. In a survival situation where nutrition is crucial, hardtack made from whole wheat or some other grain might stave off a condition like beri beri. You need to be careful about scurvy also.

  17. Donna

    January 26, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    The hardtack was soaked in soup or broth.Some civil war soldiers in spring would cook it with wild bird eggs, or added with beans and wild onions.Most of it was thrown in for a thickener or added like crackers that would be in soups and stews, especially when the soup was watered down to spread among the troops.

  18. Andy

    January 28, 2013 at 7:36 AM

    Someone above mentioned that white flour will be bug-free. I used to work in a bakery, as not mcuh more than a laborer. One of my least favored jobs was to spread the white flour out on a stone countertop and sift through it for beetles. I never saw any mold or anything like that, but beetles (unknown what type) will easily live in white flour!!!

    • Joe

      January 28, 2013 at 12:40 PM

      Hi Andy,
      I agree with you about the bugs, I did some research the first time I found them. Most likely they are a grain weevil. The sad truth is they are already in most of our flour, the eggs are small and usually survive the milling process. If the flour is left hanging around too long they will hatch. Luckily they are harmless to humans and I suppose if you can get past the idea of eating them… it’s just a little added protein to your carbohydrates.

      From what I’ve heard, the easiest way to do away with them is to store your flour in the freezer for a few days to kill the eggs.

      • J Wilson

        October 14, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        Indeed. I was once stationed overseas and many of the flour-based products were near the end of their shelf life… which often meant we found weevils.

        When I started putting the flour-based products in the freezer, that problem was all but eliminated.

  19. Sara

    March 7, 2013 at 10:53 PM

    If you want to keep biscuits from going soft, put a teaspoon of uncooked rice in the bottom of the container, then cover with a small piece of paper towel.
    This absorbs excess moisture and the biscuits stay hard and crunchy!
    Can’t see why this wouldn’t work for hardtack as well!

  20. Purple Cow

    March 18, 2013 at 3:38 AM

    do u have to cure them before eating?

  21. richard1941

    March 21, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    Aboutargo is a Greek delicacy that my grandpa used to serve at parties he threw for the sefardic community. (Grandpa was from Salonika, grandma from Ismir.) Arabs call it “boutarakh”. Same stuff, just as good!

    Remove the light bulb from your oven and replace it with a 100 watt incandescent bulb. Place three coffee cups in a large glass casserole dish, and place the dish in the oven. Carefully fill the dish with water. Then place a small grill on top of the three cups.

    Obtain roe organs from mullet. Wash them off in water, pat them dry with paper towel, and sprinkle generously with coarse “kosher” salt on both sides. Place them on the grill.

    Turn on the oven light and prop the oven door open about an inch. After about four days, it is done. You know it is ready when it is hard all over.

    Preserve the dried product by dipping in parafin wax. It keeps forever. WARNING: do not taste this preparation, or it will not survive to make it into your survival kit.

    Due to cultural diffusion from Turkey to Japan, I saw some of this at a Japanese sushi bar! One piece would cost a hundred buck$!

    Why eat hardtack when you can have something that is better than caviar?

    Next: smoked salmon jerky….

  22. richard1941

    March 21, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    Smoked salmon jerky. This is really good. I first encountered it at the Lonsdale Quay fish market, North Vancouver, BC. Every year would be the same conversation:

    “What is that?”

    “That is smnoked salmon jerky.”

    “Is it any good?”

    “Here, try a sample and see if you like it.”

    “Yes, it is good. I will take it.”

    “How much do you want, sir?”

    “I want ALL of it.”

    “Oh, an American, eh?”

    Eventually I taught myself to make something almost as good.

    Replace the light in your oven with a 100 watt incandescent bulb and turn it on. Place three coffee cups in a large pan or casserole dish and put in the oven. Place a grill from a small BBQ on the cups. Put some water in the casserole dish. (This is a defense against the little black Argentine ants that have relocated to southern California.)

    Get salmon filet. The fish from Costco is best because it has the skin and fat layer removed. Otherwise, you have to remove it yourself. Cut into strips less than 1″ wide. Place in a glass casserole dish. Cover with soy sauce and add a tablespoon of liquid smoke. Cover the dish with saran wrap (clingfilm in the UK) and put it in the refrigerator. After soaking for 24 hours, take it out and turn all of the strips over so that all sides of all pieces get exposed to the soy sauce/smoke solution. After another 24 hours, put the fish on the ant-protected grill in the oven, and let it dry for about 4 days.

    WARNING: do not sample this! If you sample it, none of it will get to your survival pack, as it is really, really good!

    Pat the oil off of the fish sticks with a paper towel and preserve by dunking in liquid paraffin wax. It will still be delicious long after you are not. Why eat hardtack when you can have something that is as good as caviar?

    . . . Richard

  23. Lucifer

    October 10, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    It is possible, as a way to insure that the hardtack is completely dry, to bake it for an additional 1/2 hour on each side after the initial two bakings. I have not yet tried this personally, but I plan to with part of my next batch as it may cause the hardtack to crumble and/or burn.

  24. sharon esquilla

    October 14, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    frank: along these lines of thinking, do you have a recipe for jerky good for long term storage. All the recipes I’ve seen say to freeze if not used in 10 days, and then for only up to 3 months.

  25. Jay Steranka

    October 14, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    I found the hardtack recipe very interesting. I will definitely give it a try. Does any one have a recipe for curing meat for long term storage? As an example salt pork. Jay

  26. Janette C. Price

    October 15, 2013 at 12:54 AM

    This has been fun!!! I’m going to mix up a batch and store — never
    know when you’ll need it. I’m 71 years old and use organic, whole
    grains/flour for the most part. Have a garden in my front yard —
    grew up with the natural way in the great state of North Dakota. Here
    in Arkansas I’ve continued with this philosophy. Having hard tack to
    take on hiking trips, to have for emergencies, and just “for fun” is to
    be one of my next projects. With three granddaughters, I can use this
    as a teaching opportunity. Thank you everyone for your comments/
    questions — have totally enjoyed all.

    • richard1941

      October 18, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      I hope you have good dental insurance. Soaking for 15 minutes just doesn’t do it. Soak it for 2 hours in a cup of hot water with a chicken bullion cube, and you might avoid a broken tooth.

      Oh, yeah, after baking it, I let mine cure in the oven overnight at about 160 degF. I used whole wheat inorganic flour.

      Because of the broken tooth, I have converted to Jewish matzoh. It keeps just as well, has the same basic nutrient value, and is a lot easier to eat.

  27. oncla Beau

    October 15, 2013 at 8:19 AM

    Wheat flour was different. Now we have cake flour, whole wheat, white flour, etc. During the 1860s and earlier probably they ground a “cracker” flour. That is what the hardtack was made from. Don’t ask how it was different, I don’t know. But Bent’s made pilot bisquit and hard tack, really good.

    • dwwolf

      February 7, 2018 at 4:25 PM

      It depends really, just like breads there was a bewildering array available for sale depending on how much money the buyer wanted to spend, the time the ships biscuit needed to stay good, the reputation of the baker etc etc.

      The cheapest kind got straight milled whole meat, with an extra helping of bram and germ from sifted flour.
      There were progressively finer sieved fractions of flour available, upto very fine “white” flour ( still unbleached ofcourse) which was baked into what was called captain’s biskit in the time period.

  28. Fred Beduhn

    October 15, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Google “Bannock” and “Pemmican” for survival food also! Good stuff!

    • Hipockets

      October 15, 2013 at 10:54 PM

      The hard tack recipie almost sounds like Fry Bread,just
      minus a couple things and it is fried instead of baked.
      I’d say freeze it in vacuum sealed bags.Much tastier and’
      I doubt we’ll have to worry about something lasting years’

      • 'Above Average' Joe

        October 16, 2013 at 7:13 AM

        Hey Hipockets,

        One of the recipes I looked up talked about how you would soak the hardtack in milk or water and then put it in a hot skillet with butter to fry it up. I don’t know if that’s the same as what you’re talking about but it sure sounds delicious to me! 🙂

  29. Old Soldier

    October 15, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    When I was young and in great shape being an airborne trooper, I really liked to hike and rough it in the forest. I stumbled onto a form of hard tack called Logan Bread. Originated in Canada I believe and several formulas exist. It is stern stuff, stores for eons of time and is far more nutritious than regular pilot bread or hard tack. I have not made a batch for years but your recommendation for hard tack has stirred memories. Will look up my notes and make a batch

    • Michael

      February 5, 2014 at 12:40 AM

      Recipe PLEASE !

    • Jim Cormier

      January 29, 2015 at 10:15 PM

      I make “Hudson Bay Bread” which I had on a canoe trip in the boundary waters. It keeps we’ll is very tasty and nutritious. I make it quite often as my wife likes it for cycling and workouts

      3/4 lbs butter
      1/3 cup honey
      1/3 cup corn syrup
      2 cups sugar
      1 tsp maple flavoring
      3/4 cup chopped nuts
      9&1/2 cups quick oats

      Mix together, press into sheet pan, bake at 325 for 26 minutes.
      Let cool 10 minutes and press again.
      Cut into squares

      This is good with peanut butter on it!
      I figure you could add coconut, raisins, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc.
      I recently started making some with coco powder and it is good to but is more crumbly!

      I have a friend who keeps some in freezer. Also the always ask for the crumbs when I make it and will eat as cereal or use as ice cream topping.

  30. richard1941

    October 18, 2013 at 10:54 PM

    Once again, hardtack is HARD. Nothing can wreck your survivalist holiday like a broken tooth. Make sure your dental insurance is in order, and be very careful when you try to eat hardtack.

    That makes me wonder: what happens if you make pill sized pieces that you swaller whole and rehydrate with your digestive juices? Wash it down with beer or broth from a bullion cube.

    Also, I am looking for a way to imprint “CSA” and “USA” into my biscuits.

  31. johnw

    January 6, 2014 at 4:20 PM

    I like to make my hardtack using whole wheat gram flour it just seems to last a little longer and tast a little better when served with pine needle tea the recipes are as follows.
    3 cups gram flour
    1 heaping TBS salt
    enouph water to make a stiff dough follow pretty much any other hardtack recipe for the rest. I still have some from 5 years ago that tastes great.
    pine needle tea
    2 cupd fresh pine needles and green branch tips steep for 5 min in boiling water.
    sorry I rambled on so long I tend to do that.

  32. Mike kenendy

    January 22, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    How about using flour fortified with insects! Up the food value considerable!

    • Michael

      February 5, 2014 at 12:39 AM

      sounds like a good idea

  33. scrambo

    March 15, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    It was made with buckwheat flour not bleached flour. It also was made with molasses…I have toyed with my recipe and just like yours but ad molasses and a tad of ginger….

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  35. Brandon

    April 28, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    I wonder if honey could be added, seeing as honey doesn’t spoil?

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  38. Susannah

    May 25, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    In addition to hard tack I would suggest people look into making pemmican which would have more fat, protein and nutrients which in a situation requiring strenuous physical activity for prolonged periods would be more beneficial. I’m not sure how well it keeps but there’s tons of info online about it. And if you don’t want to have to worry about toting something around with you or how long it keeps you can eat tree bark. Its the inner layer of tree bark, the cambium. Relatively nutritious, there were native american tribes who survived long cold winters by eating tree bark. Just a word of caution while pine trees(among many others) are fine certain trees such as yew are poisonous. Know the trees in your area and the dangers any of them might pose.

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  41. Brad Limer

    December 13, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    I just made my first batch of hard tack a few days ago. I just softened and cooked a few pieces this morning to try. Soaked some in water and some in milk. Fried in butter, and topped bites with either cheddar cheese, honey, jelly, or butter. Very cool. Also, with being able to make a few dozen for only $2.50, coupled by their indefinite shelf life, I am more satisfied with this food than the 25 year freeze dried food I paid thousands to get. Very filling. Will become my #1 long-term stored food item soon. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!!

  42. Zach

    February 3, 2015 at 11:44 AM

    I just want to add that whole wheat hardtack will last just as long as white flower hardtack. Hardtack is a great way to take older flour that otherwise would go to waste or to the weevils and convert it to something that will last nearly forever. If kept dry Hardtack can last 30+ years. However some would say once hard it is not very editable. It a great source of calories, but you do need to eat it with other items for your digestion.

  43. Chris Funk

    September 20, 2016 at 8:47 PM

    As a climber, avid mountaineer and outdoors enthusiast I like to travel light and bring a little more than what I need just on case I get stuck for a few days. I’ve used multiple different seasonings to make the hardtack more tasty, ranging from replacing h20 with chicken stock and adding a dash of old bay in lieu of 1 tbsp of salt. I’ve even added Parmesan and Italian herbs for short shelf life batches (holds for about 4 months and best to slow cook).
    While it’s not an award winning risotto, it’s a good read up to know for winter storms and such. Thanks for the article!

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  46. James Morrison

    June 18, 2017 at 7:32 PM

    Self rising flour??? More than one seems to always forget to include that VERY important info!

  47. Charlet Estes

    July 30, 2017 at 10:55 AM

    Is it better to use plastic containers to store it or other? Will plastic sweat and make it spoil? I bought Lost Ways and they forgot to include storage tips on the hardtack part. Thanks!

  48. Al Smith

    April 18, 2018 at 7:21 AM

    In Newfoundland, we can still buy Purity Hard Bread off the store shelves. Even found in some stores here in Ottawa, Canada. While we sometimes put it in glasses of water to soak before we eat it. We used to soak a bunch of these “cakes” overnight, and for lunch the next day, we would boil up this “brewis” with salt cod.

    It’s mostly a rarity these days, but occasionally, we still boil up a scoff of these items.

    Fish ‘n Brewis
    (Made with Fresh or Salt Fish)

    Split cakes of PURITY HARD BREAD; allow one cake per person. In a large saucepan place Hard Bread; well covered with water. Soak overnight. Next day, using the same water, salt to taste and bring Hard Bread to near boil. DO NOT BOIL. DRAIN IMMEDIATELY. Keep hot.
    To prepare SALT FISH – Skin dried salt fish. Cut fish into serving pieces; cover with cold water and soak overnight. Next day, change water and bring to a boil for 20 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork. Drain; remove fish bones. Combine fish and prepared hard bread (Brewis). Serve with “Scrunchions” (small cubes of fat back pork fried to golden brown); use as a gravy over Fish and Brewis.
    To prepare FRESH FISH – Cut fish into serving pieces and place in a bake-pot with fat and scrunchions. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is cooked, and remove the bones. Combine the cooked fish with the prepared hard bread (Brewis).

    Serve Hard Bread (Brewis) with the following:
    BACON – Serve Brewis with Bacon for a hearty and satisfying Breakfast or Lunch.
    MOLASSES – Pour Molasses over prepared Brewis for a sweet snack or dessert.
    STEAK/WILD GAME & GRAVY – Serve Brewis as a side dish, covered in gravy, with your favourite meat and gravy meal.
    As a general SUBSTITUTE for POTATOES & RICE – Instead of serving the usual potatoes and rice for dinner, serve Brewis, a low-fat nutritious alternative. Brewis may also be used as a substitute in casseroles, stews and chowders.

    2 fresh 6 oz fish fillets 2
    1 cake Purity Hard Bread 1
    1/2 green onion diced 1/2
    1 small green pepper diced 1
    1 small red pepper diced (optional) 1
    2 Tbsp bacon bits 30 mL
    2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese 30 mL
    2 cups fish stock 500 mL
    1. Soak Purity Hard Bread overnight in water.
    2. After hard bread has soaked, squeeze all water from bread. Break hard bread into small pieces and combine with green onion, bacon bits, Parmesan cheese, red pepper and green pepper.
    3. Lay fish flat on table.
    4. Place the stuffing hard bread stuffing on each fish piece, rolling up from the narrow end. Secure with a toothpick.
    5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    6. Cook the fish in an oven at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.
    7. Garnish with fresh spinach, julienne of carrot or your favourite vegetable.

    Serves 2 people.
    HARD BREAD AND BEEF (for 2 people)

    1 lb blade steak cut into 1 inch cubes 1 Kg
    4 oz red wine 120 mL
    1 cup beef stock (oxo cube or beef consomme) 250 mL
    1 chopped celery stick 1
    1 chopped carrot 1
    1 bay leaf 1
    1 whole clove 1
    1 clove fresh garlic 1
    1. Combine all ingredients in large bowl and marinate overnight.
    2. Remove beef from marinate. Flour and saute in a little vegetable oil until brown.
    3. Add remainder of marinate and simmer for 45 minutes.
    4. Remove beef from mixture.
    5. Strain vegetables from juice and discard vegetables.
    6. Thicken juice with corn starch. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

    2 cakes Purity Hard Bread 2
    1/2 lb mushrooms (fresh or canned) 500 g
    3 Tbsp chopped parsley 45 mL
    2 Tbsp savory 30 mL
    4 cups beef base (oxo cube or beef consomme) 1 L
    1 small onion 1
    1 egg 1
    1. Soak Purity Hard Bread overnight in beef base.
    2. After hard bread has soaked, squeeze all juice from bread. Break bread into small pieces.
    3.Finely chop mushrooms and onion. Saute in vegetable oil for 5 minutes.
    4. Thoroughly mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Form into balls with an ice cream scoop and lightly flatten. Note: if patties do not stay together, sprinkle a little flour through the mixture.
    5. Flour patties and saute on medium heat with a littlevegetable oil until brown on each side. Makes about 4 patties.

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  57. Gregory Perkins

    February 24, 2019 at 8:20 PM

    The article was wrong about making a softer hard tack with butter etc. The oils recommended will all become
    rancid in the prepared food and thusly will not and can not last as long as the hard tack without oils of any type.
    I hate to say but I believe the very worst fats ( saturated fats ) for our health are the very fats that last the longest
    before becoming rancid. I guess back then you were more concerned with making it through the winter than
    whether you were going to live 15 vs 20 more years. If you dont make it through winter it is kind of irrelevant.
    I learned about the longevity of fats and oils from literature about different recipes for Indian Pemmican.

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  61. Robbie A Spencer

    December 18, 2022 at 8:30 AM

    Add some oregano & Celtic salt, which is the best tasting salt you can find, then when it’s done, fry it in bacon grease or shortening until the outside is crispy, but don’t burn it, let it cool & cover it in butter or honey or peanut butter, I prefer the 1st 2, and then it’s easier much easier to eat & tastes good, the outside crunchy the inside is softer.

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