Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Whole Wheat Hardtack Recipe and Instructions

 We've been reading a lot about hardtack lately. The Little House series, Jane Flory's The Golden Venture (a story about the California Gold Rush), and the studies we've been doing on The Civil War piqued my son's interest. He just HAD to know how it tasted. One day I came into the kitchen and he had all the ingredients out, which isn't much, and I knew then I couldn't put him off a moment longer.

After making it, I can see why the word, "hard" is in hardtack, and I can see why this would have been a staple for any journey. This stuff makes matzah taste like heaven. It really isn't bad tasting, it's just really hard to eat. Josiah's teeth started hurting him, so I made him soak it in his soup. After 15 minutes, it still wasn't soft enough to eat! "Keep soaking, boy!"
In The Little House Cookbook, the recipe calls for white flour. We decided to experiment and do it with whole wheat bread flour instead and see if it would still stay together. Umm, that was NOT a problem ;o)

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbl salt (we used Celtic sea salt)
1 cup water

1.) Preheat oven to 375 F. You can also cook this on a stove top or over a fire if you have a Dutch oven or cast iron griddle. The oven is definitely easier.

2.) Mix dry ingredients in bowl, then add water. Knead dough by hand. It should stick together and become a dough you can roll out, but should not be sticky. If you can't roll it out because it is too dry, add more water; if it is sticky, add more flour. 

 3.) Roll out the dry dough to 1/4 inch thickness. The instructions said 1/2 inch, but I really think that was too thick. You couldn't even break it, even if you banged it on something. Next time I will try 1/4 thickness.

 4.) Cut dough into 3 inch squares. Josiah got his ruler out and tried to make this really precise. Loved the impromptu math lesson here :o)
5.) Poke holes with a fork (or an eight penny nail) into the dough squares.
6.) Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and lightly browned. We didn't get ours crisp enough the first time and had to put them back in the oven for a bit longer.

This was such a fun activity and very easy. I'm glad my son convinced me to try it! Josiah already has plans to make these for the next road trip or hunting/camping excursion. I guarantee I will be soaking mine in stew or soup for a long while before I attempt to eat any ;o) 

God Bless,


aimee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aimee said...

Thank you Josiah (+ Jackie) for this history lesson on what my ancestors ate! Now I am curious to try it...how many 3 inch squares did you end up with?

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

The recipe said 16 pieces, but I don't think we could have got that out it unless we had gone to 1/4 thickness. Glad you enjoyed the post!

Jill said...

What a neat thing to try! I enjoy your posts so much :-)



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