How to Make Hardtack

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 military campaigns.


During the Civil War is was the mainstay of the average soldier's diet.  Due to its hardened texture the person eating hardtack had to get creative in trying to soften it.  Usually by dunkening it in coffee or frying it in grease.

Making Your Own Hardtack - Ingredients


Authentic method ..... 3 cups flour, 1 cup water, 2 teaspoon of salt


Softer Method… 4 cups of flour, 2 cups of cold water, 2 tablespoons of cold butter or shortening/margarine, 4 teaspoons of salt



Preheat oven to 375°F.


Mix flour, salt, and water together in a bowl. Place the water and salt in the bowl, and slowly add in flour while stirring constantly, until the mixture becomes too thick to stir, at which point enough flour has been added.


Knead dough and roll out until it is 1/2″


Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 3″x3″ (7cm. x 7cm.) squares.


Poke four rows of four holes in the cracker using a skewer stick


Lay the crackers out on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, flip crackers over, and bake for another 30 minutes.

Take crackers out when they are a light golden brown.

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