Hardtack Recipe

Homemade Hardtack Crackers

Bread, in one form or another, has been a staple of human diet for more than 10,000 years. This fact was documented when charred bits of loaves — baked in the Stone Age — were unearthed in the ruins of the Swiss Lake Dwellers. The 1936 expedition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art discovered the remains of loaves, which, through laboratory analysis, proved to be 35 centuries old. They were found in Egypt’s Asasif Valley on the site of the Raameses temples.

Today, we enjoy nearly a zillion varieties of bread, yet the vast majority do not travel well. The prerequisite for a trail bread demands it be lightweight, nourishing and impervious to mold or being sat upon. There is one bread that meets these demands and, when properly baked, you’ll swear it is some of the leftovers from the Stone Age.

Many times, that interval between breakfast and lunch is punctuated by an ominous rumble — and it’s no thunder from an approaching storm. It’s usually coming from right behind your belt buckle. But you can silence that grumbling with a satisfying handful of hardtack.

How to Make Hardtack

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 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 degrees, turning several times, until lightly browned on both sides. Cool; then store in waterproof container.

Kept from moisture, these crackers are guaranteed to keep for at least 10,000 years!

From Ron Miller in the OWAA Campsite to Kitchen Recipe Book

[Image: Courtesy of Flickr user NW Nature Nut]

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About the Author

Ray Smith is an author, lecturer, creative director and Senior Associate at Creative Brilliance, a full-service advertising and marketing communications company. He has been involved with northern Wisconsin tourism promotion and economic development for more than 20 years.

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