Baking Days: Hardtack for lunch

End of Day 1 of baking days....many more to come....

Mountain of Hardtack


If you are a fan of historical fiction, or  enjoy reading about the gold rush, or you are a sailor; you’re intimately familiar with the likes of hardtack. I will soon be joining the ranks of those who’ve gone on before me, as Jacob and I are planning on using a modified version of that traditional tasteless, hard biscuit as part of our lunch on the PCT.

Jacob is working his last week at the job, and I’m busy baking away in whirlwind of flour, sesame seeds, and flax seeds. We’ve repackaged all of our other meals into two and three day rations in large freezer zip-lock bags. Breakfast of oatmeal, brown sugar and raisins and tea, lunch consisting of a trail-mix including peanuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, chocolate, banana chips, and dried pineapple are safely tucked away, and our dinner of couscous and refried beans, aka bachelor chow, is all packaged up waiting to be sent off to the resupply points. All that we have left for food, is the hardtack: the Pilot Biscuit, the Sea Biscuit, the PCT Biscuit.

But, actually, it’s kind of a lot of baking. So I’m taking a break. To write down the recipe.

J’s PCT Biscuit also known as hardtack:

Ingredients for one person per day:

1/2 lb flour~ 2 1/4 cups of flour

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/2 cup Turbino Sugar

2 Tlb Canola Oil

1 Tlb Salt


Combine flour, sesame seeds, flax seeds, salt, and mix well. Dissolve sugar in a small amount of water. Add oil and using hands kneed everything together. Mix in water and sugar, and add water so that the dough is sticking together. Roll out the dough like a pie crust, about an 3/4 inch to an inch thick. Poke holes using a knife or the back of a fork, or a pen, (to help it bake through), and then cut the dough into squares. Put on an oiled pan, and bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. *depending on the water content, the thickness of the dough, and how finicky your oven is, this will vary….*

Let the biscuits cool, for a day or two before storing them. If stored, try to keep them in a moisture free environment, so mold can’t grow. (I’ll let you know if this actually worked for us in a few months:)

On a side note: today is absolutely gorgeous. Sunny and warm, with a blue sky, and birds are chirping. Hoping the snow pack gets melting soon:) And I do have to mention how grateful I am: for J’s parent’s for opening their home and their kitchen, for family and friends who are supportive as we go follow our dream, for my health, for J, and just, well, for this beautiful day.

Ok, off I go to bake some more…….


5 thoughts on “Baking Days: Hardtack for lunch

  1. Oh wow, this is why my mom asked me what hardtack is. I was actually a professional sailor for awhile, and coupled with my geeky love of maritime history and Patrick O’Brian historical fiction, used it to inspire a big body of artwork. However, actually eating hardtack, yeesh. Dude. I hope you dried the heck out of em. But I sure am impressed, and hope to snag a taste on the trail! I’ve got a few creative no-cook meals up my sleeves too. cheers!

    • wanderingdot: baking this hardtack has been, and still is…….a humbling learning process-and hopefully it’s been dried enough to withstand 5 months in a box! I’ll make sure to pass some along to you-if we catch up to you along the way:) I see your start date is the 15th?- Seriously dig the fact that you were a professional sailor, AND that you made your own sleeves! ok. hope the planning is going well. these butterflies in my stomach are going around and around like they’re on a merry-go-round, can’t wait to be out there! cheers to you:)

  2. Okay, I have got to ask…HOW does this actually taste? I know you are aiming for the long haul in freshness. I am going stove-less for a lot of the trail this summer and this looks like a great healthy alternative. On a side note: it is like 90 degrees today in Tehachapi and just a few days ago we had snow on the ground and I had a down jacket on inside our house!!!! Good news for you!

    • Hey Rockin….so I think it tastes pretty good……it’s like a very dense cracker. Worked on the ratio of salt to sugar for a while, and this was what we ended up with. But I can’t guarantee….you’ll have to try a batch yourself:) And yeah, the snow may be melting….at least the temps are getting up there! Hoorah! Ok. Let me know if you give the hardtack a try:)

    • Hard Tack got a bad reputation because it was often rotten and full of worms, not necessarily because the product itself is bad. The original recipe for hard tack was water, flour and salt, which is the same ingredients as a baguette, and everyone knows that baguettes are wonderfully tasty. As long as we can keep the mold and worms at bay it should be delightful.

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