Make Your Own Union Hardtack

Great Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself Recipe available in “Great Civil War Projects You Can Build Yourself” by Maxine Anderson  (Available at Gettysburg Tours)

  • 2 cups of flour                      bowl
  • ½ to ¾ cup water                 rolling pin
  • salt (5-6 pinches)                 cookie sheet

What to do:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.  Make sure you add enough flour so that the dough is no longer sticky, but be careful not to make it too dry.  Knead the dough a few times.  During the war, hardtack was about half an inch thick, so when you’re rolling the dough, aim for this thickness.  It is easiest to roll the dough directly on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the dough from the oven, cut the large square into smaller three-by-three-inch square.  Poke 16 evenly spaced holes in each square.  Flip, return to the oven, and bake for another 30 minutes.  Turn the oven off, and allow the hardtack to cool in the oven with the door closed.  Allow to completely cool, and then enjoy!

Variations:  Soldiers often soaked their hardtack in leftover water from boiling their meat.  This softened the hardtack, and also gave it some flavor.  They would then fry the softened hardtack in pork grease.  The end result tasted something like a crouton and was called “skillygallee.”

Give it a try and let us know on Facebook how you liked it.