Musings on IT, data management, whitewater rafting, and backpacking

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rocky's Hardtack Recipe

I really miss a bread-like food while backpacking, especially on longer trips. I tried many off-the-shelf bread, cracker, and tortilla variations, but they either tasted terrible or didn't last long in my pack or in storage.

Sometimes I would see references to hardtack, but hardtack is hard to find in local stores. I found a few recipes online, tried them, changed them, and came up with mine.

Don't let the name scare you, these aren't that hard (more like hard cookies), they taste pretty good, and they are easy to make for baking novices like me.

Rocky's Hardtack

  • 1+1/2 cups milk 
  • 2 cups white flour 
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour 
  • 2 tablespoons honey 
  • 1+1/2 teaspoons salt

1. Mix the ingredients into a dough.

2 . Roll out to a thickness of 1/2 inch.

3. Cut into 40 mm x 90 mm bars.(*)

4. Place on a greased cookie sheet, and prick with a fork.

5. Bake at 375°F for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown.

Makes about 15 bars, about 2 oz net weight each.

If you intend to store them for several weeks:
  • Minimize contamination - use clean utensils, clean all work surfaces with soap and hot water, wash your hands well, and do not touch the bars at all after baking -- use clean utensils.
  • Allow the bars to cool to room temperature before packaging, to minimize trapped moisture.
  • Package the bars with a Seal-A-Meal or similar to exclude as much air as possible. Ziplocs are a poor second choice.
I normally carry two bars for lunch each day.  They go really well with crunchy baked cheese.


If you need real hardtack that can last for years, you can find many recipes online, including here.

You could also buy Sailor Boy pilot bread, available at Sam's Club, Winco, and Span Alaska Sales.

(*) Yes I know I've mixed Metric and US units. That's how I measured them. Most rulers have both units.

1 comment:

  1. Caution: I baked a batch of these an extra 10 minutes or so, and they turned into tooth-breaking bricks. Threw them all away, and took pita bread instead, because I didn't have time to bake another batch.

    You have been warned!