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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cosie's Corner & Feed Bag (Moderator: Delmonico)  |  Topic: Hardtack update: finally made a small batch 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Hardtack update: finally made a small batch  (Read 5996 times)
SimmerinLightning
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« on: August 06, 2016, 03:22:06 pm »


  Here is the issue: I really like MRE crackers but no longer have a free supply. There are places that sell them in bulk but they are too expensive. I have often wondered, having never eaten hardtack, whether it would be similar in flavor. Can anyone here answer that question?
  The next question is, everything I can find on the subject indicates it is called HARDtack for a reason. Are there any recipes that produce a more easily chewable product? I don't care if the shelf life is reduced, as long as it will keep for a couple of weeks or so.
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Coal Creek Griff
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« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2016, 04:01:13 pm »

I make a version I call "soft tack" by simply not baking/drying it as long.  It's still pretty hard, but less likely to break teeth.  I've made it with various recipes, but mostly with flour a little salt and water.  I'll leave the MRE cracker question to others.

CC Griff
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SimmerinLightning
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2016, 04:08:36 pm »

I make a version I call "soft tack" by simply not baking/drying it as long.  It's still pretty hard, but less likely to break teeth.  I've made it with various recipes, but mostly with flour a little salt and water.  I'll leave the MRE cracker question to others.

CC Griff
I think I will just give that a try. Worst case scenario I will be out a few cents' worth of flour and a bit of time. Thanks for the response. I will let you know how it turns out.
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pony express
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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2016, 06:01:16 am »

Never got to try the MRE crackers, still had crackers in a can when I left the service. But those were kind of like a saltine, but more dense, not flaky.
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Oregon Bill
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« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2016, 09:40:59 am »

I had a recipe for hardtack once that made a really desirable product, but lost it. All the recipes I have tried since -- and there are a bunch out there claiming to be the Civil War pure quill -- were somewhat disappointing.
Maybe Delmonico will weigh in here.
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SimmerinLightning
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« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2016, 04:56:18 pm »

I had a recipe for hardtack once that made a really desirable product, but lost it. All the recipes I have tried since -- and there are a bunch out there claiming to be the Civil War pure quill -- were somewhat disappointing.
Maybe Delmonico will weigh in here.
I have seen dozens of "different" recipes online, but they all include the same ingredients- flour, water, and sometimes salt- just in varying proportions.
Still haven't gotten around to making any.
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1961MJS
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2018, 12:09:32 am »

Hi

I've made Hard Tack two or three times.  It's HARD.  It has very little flavor of any sort.  We made some, ate a little and it was great.  After a month in the can, it wasn't so good, mainly no flavor and it's HARD.

Later
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2018, 12:00:33 pm »

Made it in my younger days.  Honestly it was never to be eaten as a cracker.   I believe it was always soaked and eaten as essentially a mush.  We did roll them real thin once.  Still hard, and if you tried to eat them would cut your mouth.  OUCH!
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LongWalker
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2018, 09:24:17 pm »

Hi

I've made Hard Tack two or three times.  It's HARD.  It has very little flavor of any sort. 

My ex-wife, back when we were dating in high school, once made sour dough biscuits that reminded me of hardtack.  I shot a bunch of them out of a little swivel gun I had.  To my surprise, they wouldn't penetrate the door of an old junk car out in the pasture, but I did manage to recover some of the biscuits a week later--and shot them again!

But hardtack itself, made to the old WBTS-era recipes, can be ground to a knife edge.  Nasty stuff.  You might be better off finding a source for "Sailor Boy Pilot Bread": it is like leavened hardtack, and borderline edible.  (For some values of "edible".  If you're hungry enough.)
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2018, 08:31:34 am »

Bent Cracker Co., in Boston, Mass., was a source for hardtack. They started business in 1801 and hardtack and sailor biscuits were their main production.

In recent years the re-enactor groups kept them in production.

I read where they were sold recently, and it's unsure if the new owners will continue their production of hardtack.


RCJ
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SimmerinLightning
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2018, 04:55:49 pm »

I finally made a small batch, and I have a couple more questions. Mainly how long and at what temperature do you bake it? The recipe I followed said 350 degrees for I think it was 2 hours each side. I baked it for an hour on each side and it came out, not exactly burnt but definitely having a hint of that burnt flavor.

On the bright side it is quite bland and tasteless and very... what's the word I'm looking for?... hard. Very hard. Not so hard that I can't chew it with a little bit of effort, but if I didn't have good teeth I probably would refrain, and in fact I I do prefer to break it up into small pieces and just kind of apply pressure with my teeth until it finally cracks. Definitely not something you can just pop in your mouth and munch on.
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Delmonico
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2018, 05:48:05 pm »

You have it down perfect. Grin
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Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

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The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
SimmerinLightning
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2018, 06:31:02 pm »

I've been smacking it with the handle of a 3/8 inch ratchet.

Oh and contrary to what I've read, soaking it in coffee (or in my case hot chocolate) doesn't seem to have any effect whatsoever- it appears to be impermeable.

I think if I ever make any more, I will add a little bit of salt and maybe some dried minced onion, just to give it SOME kind of flavor. I know that will cut the shelf life down but frankly I don't care.
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Delmonico
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2018, 07:21:15 pm »

Salt is part of it and helps it keep, must have got a Martha Stewart's recipe or possibly off Pintrest. Roll Eyes
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
SimmerinLightning
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2018, 07:37:11 pm »

Salt is part of it and helps it keep, must have got a Martha Stewart's recipe or possibly off Pintrest. Roll Eyes
Neither. I found a variety of recipes on various websites covering everything from camping to reenactments et cetera, most of them consisted of flour and water, and sometimes salt. Baking times and temperatures seemed to vary greatly. I can't remember if I was specifically told this or read it somewhere or if I just somehow got the impression, that true hardtack should not have salt in it.

Does adding salt to the recipe, make the finished product any more absorbent vis-a-vis soaking in coffee or whatever? Because like I said in my earlier post that did not do anything even after more than half an hour. It did not penetrate the flat surfaces and it did not penetrate the broken edges. I mean not at all.
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Delmonico
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2018, 09:39:50 pm »

You have hardtack, plain and simple.  Salt is an antimicrobial, no idea why some place would say not to use it.   As for soaking, it takes a while, ain't like dunking s cookie.
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cosie's Corner & Feed Bag (Moderator: Delmonico)  |  Topic: Hardtack update: finally made a small batch « previous next »
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