Recipe Rewind Episode 3: Hardtack (Bucellatum)

The recipe for Hardtack has changed little since Egyptian sailors and Roman armies used it to fuel them for long journeys. But it’s not exactly snack or home food.
Armies have hated hardtack for at least over two thousand years and now it’s our turn…

Hardtack is a simple biscuit that’s been served in various forms for militaries and expeditions since Classical times.

Food needed to last the long journeys and so hardtack was made as dry as possible so as not to spoil. This was done by baking the dough slowly, and twice, hence the word ‘biscuit’, meaning twice cooked in Latin.

Whilst the Romans made the recipe their own and called it Bucellatum, hardtack was also eaten by sailors, Christian crusaders and soldiers in the American Civil War.

FURTHER READING –

The History of Hardtack on Wikipedia


Ingredients:

  • 175g of flour
  • 5g of butter
  • 35-40ml of water
  • Dash of salt

Put 175g of flour in a bowl and sprinkle a dash of salt on top. Then add 5g of butter and mix. Pour in about 35-40ml of water and whisk.

Be warned, it’s sticky so you might want to use an electric whisker which makes a right mess.

Bring it all together and roll until the dough is about half an inch thick and cut out some round biscuits.

Put them in the oven at about 120 degrees and cook for something like three hours. After that, leave it overnight in the oven to harden.


nuts

Written by Benjamin Daniels

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