Hardtack Recipe

Hardtack Recipe: The Timeless Survival Bread That Lasts Forever

Hardtack Recipe
Hardtack Recipe

In times of uncertainty and survival scenarios, having a reliable source of sustenance is essential. Enter hardtack, a simple and durable bread that has stood the test of time.

With origins dating back centuries, hardtack has served as a staple food for sailors, soldiers, and adventurers alike. This unique recipe article will guide you through the process of making hardtack, delve into its fascinating history, and provide tips on how to keep it fresh for extended periods.

The History of Hardtack:

Hardtack, also known as ship’s biscuit or army bread, has a storied history. Its roots can be traced back to ancient Egypt, where it was a staple food for soldiers and sailors due to its longevity and portability.

The concept of hardtack spread across civilizations, becoming a vital part of military rations during the Age of Exploration and beyond. Sailors relied on hardtack during long sea voyages, and soldiers carried it into battle due to its ability to withstand harsh conditions and provide sustenance in the absence of perishable goods.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Gradually add water while stirring until the dough begins to come together.
  3. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes or until it becomes smooth and elastic.
  4. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately ½ inch (1.27 cm) thick.
  5. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into small squares or rectangles, about 3×3 inches (7.6×7.6 cm).
  6. Arrange the pieces of dough on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to leave some space between them to allow for even baking.
  7. Use a fork to prick holes into each piece of dough. This will help prevent the hardtack from puffing up during baking.
  8. Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the hardtack turns golden brown and feels firm to the touch.
  9. Once baked, remove the hardtack from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
lightly floured surface
lightly floured surface

How Long Does Hardtack Last and How to Keep It Fresh:

One of the remarkable qualities of hardtack is its impressive shelf life. When stored properly, hardtack can last for years, making it an ideal survival food. To keep your hardtack fresh and edible for an extended period, follow these guidelines:

  1. Store in an airtight container: Place the hardtack in airtight containers, such as jars or food-grade plastic bags, to protect it from moisture and pests.
  2. Keep in a cool, dry place: Store the containers in a cool and dry location, away from direct sunlight and excessive heat. Basements or pantry shelves are suitable choices.
  3. Rotate your stock: While hardtack can last for a long time, it’s a good practice to rotate your supply periodically. Consume the older pieces and replace them with freshly made ones to ensure you always have a fresh batch available.

Hardtack is a testament to the ingenuity of our ancestors who sought a reliable source of sustenance during challenging times. With its simple ingredients and timeless recipe, this survival bread provides a long-lasting and dependable source of nutrition.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or preparing for an adventure, making your own hardtack is not only a practical skill but also a connection to the past. So gather your ingredients, bake a batch of hardtack, and be prepared for whatever the future holds.

Recipe Card

recipe card for Hardtack
recipe card for Hardtack