Last Updated on July 15, 2023
Civil War Hardtack is a simple, yet nourishing snack that was popular during the American Civil War.
It’s made with just a few ingredients and takes only minutes to prepare. This dish has a long history and was used as an emergency ration by both Union and Confederate troops.
In this article, we’ll look at the history of Civil War Hardtack and how to make it yourself. We’ll also answer some common questions about this dish, including what to serve with it, how to store leftovers and more. So sit back and enjoy this taste of history!
What is Civil War Hardtack?
Civil War Hardtack is a simple snack made with flour, fat, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. It’s a type of hard biscuit that was popular during the American Civil War and was used as an emergency ration by both Union and Confederate troops.
The dish was also popular among pioneers, settlers, and explorers for its long shelf-life and high nutritional value.
What does it taste like?
Civil War Hardtack has a crunchy texture on the outside with a slightly softer, bread-like interior. It has a mild flavor that’s slightly sweet and nutty. The fat in the dough gives it a rich, creamy taste and helps to hold the biscuit together.
The cream of tartar adds an earthy, slightly tangy flavor that’s unique to Hardtack. Overall, Civil War Hardtack is a delicious snack that’s packed with nutrients and has a long shelf-life.
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How did I first get introduced to the Civil War Hardtack?
I first heard about Civil War Hardtack from a friend who is an amateur historian. He told me about the dish and how it was used during the American Civil War. I thought it sounded interesting, so I decided to try making some myself.
After some research and experimentation, I was able to perfect the recipe. Now it’s one of my favorite snacks, and I enjoy making it for friends and family.
How to make Civil War Hardtack?
Making Civil War Hardtack is easy and only takes a few simple steps. It’s a great snack for camping, hiking, or just having on hand in case of an emergency. Here are the ingredients & step-by-step instructions for this recipe:
- Flour: This is the main ingredient for Hardtack. You can use all-purpose, whole wheat, or a combination of both if desired.
- Fat: This could be lard, vegetable shortening, butter, or bacon grease. These ingredients will help to hold the dough together and give it a flaky texture.
- Cream of Tartar: This ingredient helps to give the Hardtack its unique flavor.
- Baking Soda: This ingredient is used to create a softer texture in the finished product.
- Salt: Salt is an important ingredient for taste and flavor.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, fat, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
Slowly add in the water and knead the dough until it is firm and holds its shape.
Roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 3-inch (7.5 cm) squares using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
Place the cut dough onto an ungreased baking sheet and lightly prick the top with a fork to make vent holes. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
Allow the Hardtack to cool before serving or storing.
• For a more flavorful Hardtack, consider using buttermilk or sourdough in place of the water.
• You can also add herbs and spices like basil, oregano, garlic powder, etc. to give the Hardtack a unique flavor.
• If you’d like the Hardtack to be softer and more like bread, bake it for a few minutes less.
• For added flavor, you can brush melted butter on top of the Hardtack after baking.
- 1 Bowl
- rolling pin
- Baking sheet
- Fork, or knife
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons fat
- 2 tablespoons cream of tartar
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, fat, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
- Slowly add in the water and knead the dough until it is firm and holds its shape
- Roll out the dough to a 1/4 inch (6 mm) thickness onto a lightly floured surface. Cut into 3-inch (7.5 cm) squares using a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
- Place the cut dough onto an ungreased baking sheet and lightly prick the top with a fork to make vent holes. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Allow the Hardtack to cool before serving or storing.
- For a more flavorful Hardtack, consider using buttermilk or sourdough in place of the water.
- You can also add herbs and spices like basil, oregano, garlic powder, etc. to give the Hardtack a unique flavor.
- If you’d like the Hardtack to be softer and more like bread, bake it for a few minutes less.
- For added flavor, you can brush melted butter on top of the Hardtack after baking.
- Fat 24 g
- Total Fat: 2.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
- Cholesterol: 2.5 mg
- Sodium: 433.7 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 35.7 g
- Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g
- Sugars: 0.1 g
- Protein: 4.7 g
What to serve with Civil War Hardtack?
Civil War Hardtack is a great snack to serve with your favorite cheese, jam, honey, or other spreads. You can also crumble it up and use it as croutons for salads or soups.
Or why not dunk it into some hot chili or stew? It’s also great for dipping in egg dishes like French Toast or scrambled eggs. And if you’re camping, Hardtack is the perfect snack to fill your stomach in between meals.
How to store leftover Civil War Hardtack?
To store leftover Civil War Hardtack, simply place it in an airtight container or wrap it in plastic. It will keep for months when stored this way.
Be sure to check on the Hardtack periodically to make sure that it’s still fresh and hasn’t gone stale. If you notice any mold, discard the Hardtack immediately.
Can pregnant women eat this?
Yes, pregnant women can eat Civil War Hardtack. However, they should speak to their doctor or healthcare provider first for specific advice related to their health and nutrition needs.
Additionally, be sure to double-check the ingredients list prior to consuming the Hardtack as some individuals may have food allergies or sensitivities.
Is this dish suitable for vegetarians?
Yes, this dish is suitable for vegetarians since it does not contain any meat or animal-based ingredients. The ingredients used in the recipe are flour, fat (such as lard, vegetable shortening, butter, or bacon grease), cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt.
Additionally, you can add herbs and spices like basil, oregano, garlic powder, etc. to give the Hardtack a unique flavor.
Please note that some vegetarians may not consume fat from animal sources such as lard or bacon grease; if this is the case for you, consider substituting these ingredients with another suitable vegetable-based fat instead.
Does Civil War Hardtack contain gluten?
Yes, this dish contains gluten since flour is one of the main ingredients. Individuals who are sensitive to or have an allergy to gluten should not consume Civil War Hardtack.
Additionally, those with celiac disease should consult their doctor or healthcare provider before consuming this dish. There are also gluten-free versions of this recipe available that use gluten-free flour.
Can this snack be frozen?
Yes, Civil War Hardtack can be frozen. To freeze it, wrap each individual piece in plastic wrap and place them in a freezer-safe container or bag. When ready to eat, simply thaw the Hardtack at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
Please note that freezing will not help extend its shelf life significantly, and it should be consumed within a few weeks after freezing. It’s best to freeze only the amount that you plan to eat within this time frame.
Additionally, the texture of the Hardtack may change slightly after thawing due to moisture absorption.
Civil War Hardtack is a timeless and tasty snack that can be enjoyed as-is or jazzed up with various toppings. Not only is it quick to make, but it’s also versatile and affordable, making it the perfect treat for any occasion.
Whether you choose to serve it as-is or dress it up with your favorite add-ons, Civil War Hardtack is sure to be a hit! Be sure to store any leftovers properly so that they can be enjoyed at a later date.
And of course, check with your doctor or healthcare provider before consuming if you have any special dietary needs or concerns.
Thank you for reading! We hope you enjoyed learning more about Civil War Hardtack.
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Rebecca Novak is a trained chef with over 10 years of experience in the food industry. She has worked in both fine dining and casual Hungarian restaurants and specializes in creating dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. She also loves exploring different cuisines worldwide, which allows her to bring unique flavors and ideas to the recipes she creates for Hungarianchef.com. Read more