Tag Archives: hardtack

Hardtack or Pilot Bread is Good for Long-Term Storage


Hardtack from the civil war that is in a museum

I have been reading a book about the experiences of a soldier in the civil war.  In it, he describes a lot about their diet which included large amounts of hardtack or pilot bread, sowbelly and beans.  Sowbelly is defined as salt pork taken from the belly of the pig.  He says that on many occasions they ate sowbelly raw with their hardtack.

Hardtack is a type of cracker, made from flour, water, and sometimes salt.  It is inexpensive and long lasting.  Hardtack was also know as pilot bread, ship’s biscuit,  sea biscuit, cabin bread, or sea bread  It has been used for long term food storage for hundreds of years.…

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Making Pilot Bread or Hardtack


Today I was reading a book on camping written in 1877.  It discussed food and showed a suggested quantity of food for two men for one week camping and hiking.

  • Ten pounds of pilot-bread
  • Eight pounds of salt pork
  • One pound of coffee
  • Two pounds of sugar
  • Thirty pounds of potatoes
  • A little beef and butter
  • A few gingersnaps

It was suggested that you eat the potatoes first and save the pilot bread.  This will reduce the weight you are carrying.

Army Hardtack or Pilot Bread Recipe


  • 4 cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • Water (about 2 cups)
  • Pre-heat oven to 375° F
  • Makes about 10 pieces

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl.  …

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