Added by Saltjunk | Tue 06 Sep 2011 @ 13:27
Hardtack (also known as Hard Bread, Ship’s Biscuit, Sea Biscuit, Sea Bread, Dog Biscuits) is made from all-purpose flour, water and salt. It is inexpensive and long lasting; it was used in the absence of perishable foods, especially during long sea voyages and military campaigns. The name itself derives from the British sailor slang for food “tack”.
This particular food has been a dietary staple of Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans for many decades, up to around the mid 1960s, especially around the Outports. Also, it was consumed by fishermen, hunters and woodcutters throughout the year during their little expeditions. Hard-bread was mainly prepared for the upcoming harsh winter months when flour was scarce or until spring when the Bay was clear of ice and fresh supplies could be obtained.
Hardtack is still used in many NL recipes today as was in the past. One of our famous dishes is “Fish & Brewis” (see site for recipe). Actually, I have seen moms giving their babies hardtack for teething.
See below the basic Hardtack or Hard-bread recipe that is still used today. It is very simple to make and I believe a lot superior and less expensive than what is sold at groceries stores or supermarkets.
Yields – 20 pieces
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 ˝ cup water
1 tbsp salt
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients thoroughly. Knead dough until firm or stiff. Roll pieces out to 3” in length, to approx 1 “thick. Poke holes in the centre of the dough (on both sides). Place on a cookie sheet and bake in preheated oven at 425 degrees F for approx 35-40 minutes or until dry and lightly brown (turn over mid-way). Remove from oven, let cool and store in a dry place.
Add just enough water so that mixture will stick together, producing a dough that won’t stick to hands, rolling pin or pan
If dough is still sticky, add a little more flour
Fresh hardtack are easily broken, however, as they cool, they harden Turn hardtack over mid-way when baking