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Flavoring Hardtack: Lemon Honey
Flavoring that Bland Bread
Hardtack. It's a great, long lasting, filling food, and it couldn't be easier to make. But the biggest complaint I hear is always the same: The Taste. Traditional hardtack is a very dry, hard bread made to last a long while without spoiling, so the ingredients were simple. Just Whole wheat flour, salt, and water. As you can imagine, its not the most exciting thing to eat. So while thinking of ways to favor this bread (and not reduce its long shelf life too much!), and not getting much help from the internet (nothing but the basic hardtack recipe, and hard tack candy) I came up with an idea! Lemon Honey Hardtack! Due to the nature of the ingredients, shelf life shouldn't be reduced much (if at all) and it adds a pleasant, subtle flavor to that boring bread!
This is a real easy recipe, and stays pretty close with the traditional way of making hardtack. I used All purpose flour, but most any variety should work. This recipe is for 2 pieces, each one being rather filling, solid and about the size of a deck of cards. For more pieces, simply multiply the recipe.
-1 cup of flour
-1/2 cup of warm water
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp lemon extract
-2 tsp honey
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Mix the salt, honey, and lemon extract into the water. Then, in a large bowl, slowly pour the water mixture into the flour, only adding enough to form a firm dough (I used almost the full half cup).
Once you have a dry dough formed, you'll want to knead the dough on a floured surface (or in the bowl with more flour, if its big enough) until the dough is firm, not sticky, and springs back when you touch it.
Then, You want to either roll or flatten it out with your hands to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Using your favorite cookie cutter, or an improvised one, cut out the dough . I used a small tupperware to shape mine. Once all cut out, place the pieces onto a cookie sheet UNGREASED! These wont stick to the pan.
Poke holes along the top with a fork, flip them, and do the same on the other side. Place them in the oven for 30 minutes, flip them over, and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
After they're done, you want to leave them out (or in a brown paper bag, open) over night. This is to ensure all the moisture is out of the bread.
And viola! You've got a pleasantly flavored Hardtack to mix up the sundries of the day, be it for hiking, camping, in your bug out bag, or just to have something simple to eat.
If you're new to making hardtack, here are some things to consider:
When baking your hardtack, you don't want to burn it, you want to dry it out. They shouldn't get too dark. If your bread looks like its starting to darken, turn down the temperature, and let it cook a bit longer. So long as the End product is dry as a brick, you did it right :)
If you want a stronger lemon flavor, try adding a additional teaspoon of lemon extract. I recommend doing a small batch (the above recipe) to try it first and see what your taste buds tell you.
If you like it sweeter, an extra teaspoon of honey or two. just don't overdo it. Honey gets rather hard and difficult to soften after its baked.
And of course, extra salt if you like it salty! Just remember: ALWAYS mix the salt into the water first.
Make it Bite Size!
The only thing you can do to make this even better, would be making it bite size! Simply follow the same recipe, but roll them out to 1/4 inch, and cut them into small 1-inch squares. A sharp knife or a pizza cutter work great.
And if you like a softer snack, you can soft bake these puppies! Add in about a teaspoon of baking powder, and bake at 350 for 30 minutes, only on one side. when they come out, they'll still give that crunch on the crust, but be far softer and lighter on the inside, perfect for snacking! When you soft bake them, their shelf life is reduced, as there will be more moisture in them, but I suspect they'll still last longer than you'll let them sit around before eating them ;)