Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Recipe - Hardtack Biscuits

Hardtack. Think of concrete biscuits. This was actually a staple back in the old west since it could be easily carried without degrading. Some soldiers, like the foot infantry, even carried hardtack biscuits in their pockets for days/weeks.

Made simply by mixing 6 parts flour and one part water; kneading into flat biscuits (about one half to three quarters inch thick) then baking for one half to one hour. Hardtack was, sometimes with Arbuckles Coffee, all Cavalry soldiers had to eat when on patrol. Sailors often subsisted on hard tack biscuits when at sea for long periods of time.

Making Hardtack biscuits even thinner, about 1/8 inch, would reduce cooking time and make them (supposedly) easier to eat. Be sure to poke holes into the biscuits so they cook more evenly. This will give them the “saltine” cracker look.

Hardtack is best eaten after soaking in water, gravy or soup stock. You can add a little corn or vegetable oil or even butter to make them easier to eat, but start off adding very small amounts such as a teaspoon or tablespoon. Butter can also be used, in small amounts. I have heard that adding a handful of steel cut oats to the mixture will also enhance their taste and ability to digest the darn things.

If you add Salt, either iodized Salt, Sea Salt or Light Salt (half salt, half potassium) be aware that your hardtack be more likely to attract moisture.

You can order a pound or Arbuckles Ariosa Coffee from Arbuckle Coffee Traders

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