Hardtack is a staple in most prepper pantries. The good news is that it is still an excellent option for preparedness, and there’s a newer more modern version that may be a better choice for you and your family.
Generally speaking, hardtack is a hard biscuit made of flour, water, and salt. This is the traditional recipe but you can also add some herbs and spices to help out with flavor if desired. Adding any ingredients above and beyond the simple list will decrease the life of your hardtack, so bear that in mind if you decide to try the modern version. But the traditional hardtack will be good forever as long as it’s kept dry. You cannot beat that!
Both modern and traditional hardtack is cooked until it is devoid of moisture.
Below is a link for traditional hardtack:
But what about modern hardtack? Personally, I think it’s better. It doesn’t feel like you’re chowing down on cardboard. But again, watch the shelf life. But here’s an example of some modern hardtack that’s really easy to make. The nutritional yeast adds a nice “cheese-like” flavor and has been a staple in our dairy-free home for over a year now. This recipe can also be made in the over without a dehydrator, so it’s perfect for those who don’t have one yet.
- 3 cups White Flour
- 1.5 cups Sweet Sorghum Flour
- 9 Rounded Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- ½ Cup Refined Coconut Oil
- 3 Tbsp Iodized Salt
- 1.5 cups of water
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Add all of the dry ingredients to your bowl. The amount of water you need can vary a bit. I add a ½ cup at a time and work it in. Knead the dough. The end consistency you are going for is just pliable enough to be smooth and worked with a rolling pin. Roll out the dough until it is approximately 1 inch thick. Cut the dough into square biscuit/cracker shapes. Poke holes in the dough. Bake it in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Allow the hardtack to cool completely before storing it for long-term use.
Remember, traditional hardtack can be made the same way with only 4.5 cups white flour, 3 Tbsp salt, and 1 1/2 /cups of water. The modern hardtack will have more caloric benefits with the additional coconut oil as well, so if you need something more filling and hearty, it would be a good idea to try it out.
Proper storage is vital for every single food in your prepper pantry! Hardtack is no different.
The most important things to remember when it comes to storing hardtack are to keep it moisture-free and protect it from insects, rodents, and other pests. I suggest using a vacuum sealer to remove all the air from the bag after your hardtack is cooled off and set up solid. You could even vacuum seal the hardtack in those bags with an oxygen absorber. Store the hardtack in a plastic tote with a tight lid and it will stay good indefinitely. We use food-safe buckets with twist on/off lids because they are both easy to get into and easy to seal up for the long haul.
How To Eat
My suggestion is to toss hardtack into a soup. Let it soak up some of the moisture. If you don’t do this, it’ll be difficult to get through. This is a food that you can actually hurt your teeth and/or mouth if you don’t take care when eating it. Soaking it in a beverage or a broth is definitely going to make consumption so much easier!