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Bread, Side or Appetizer

Hard Tack

The classic traveler bread,  “tack’ was  sailor slang for food, as in supplies. We call fishing gear tackle from the same reasoning. Classically baked six times, hard tack was very hard, very dry, and could survive for years so long as it was kept dry.
This version isn’t cooked quite as long or often (twice baked only), so won’t keep nearly as long. On the other hand, it also probably won’t break your teeth.

  • 2 cups all-purpose flower
  • ½ to ¾ cup water
  • 6 pinches salt
  • 1 Tablespoon shortening (optional)


  1. Mix all the ingredients into a batter and press onto a cookie sheet to a thickness of about ½ inch.
  2. Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F (205°C) for one hour.
  3. Remove from oven, cut dough into 3-inch squares, and punch four rows of holes, four holes per row into the dough (a fork works nicely).
  4. Flip the crackers and return to the oven for another half hour.
  5. Keep an eye on this. The longer you bake them, the harder the hard tack will be.


  • A simple fix is to add a bit of spice to the batter when you make it.  A bit of black pepper, garlic, or chives flavors this nicely.
  • A little dry cheese in the batter also improves the flavor.
  • These are more or less saltine crackers. So anything you might serve on a cracker, leftover tuna salad, melted cheese, spreads, jelly…. all work great.


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