Mac’s Hardtack

FLASHBACK: 1998 Monitor Article originally published in 1998

Over the past three years, from time-to-time, I think everyone has had
a chance to sample what has become known as Mac’s hardtack. I’ve
never met anyone who has turned down my hospitality when offered a
piece. If you were at the Holly re-enactment this year, you were able
to take part in our rations distribution scenario during the candlelight
tour. All present truly enjoyed the hardtack. Make no mistake, credit
needs to be given in this article before we can move on to the recipe.
Three years ago I was given the basic recipe over the phone by Lee
Stroschine. Where he got it from, I don’t know. I found the exact
historical size of the hardtack in my Civil War Collector’s Encyclopedia
by Francis A. Lord. Dave Hunter, a metal model maker at my shop
and an NSSA target shooter made the cutter for me. After the first
couple of batches were made and eaten the last and final ingredient
was added by Jeff Mogle and his Grandma. Since then I haven’t
changed a thing. Baking it is now part of my pre-reenactment
preparation routine and is as important to me as rolling rounds.

Dry Ingredients Wet Ingredients
¼ teaspoon salt 1 cup of warm water
3 cups of flour 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons of Kraft Calumet Double Acting Baking Powder (Jeff & Grandma’s ingredient) 3 tablespoons of honey
  • Preheat oven to 425°-440° (ovens may vary)
  • Mix all dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl mix all wet
  • Combine the two and mix by hand with a fork until it is well
    Using your hands, work it into a ball. Place dough on a lightly
    floured counter top. (Note: If it’s too flaky, add a little more water.
    If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour).
  • Roll dough out to 3/8” thickness. Cut out 3 1/8” x 2 7/8”
  • Place on a lightly greased cook sheet.
  • Using a toothpick, poke four rows of four holes in each piece.
    (You need to put the holes in your hardtack pieces or you will endup
    with softball sized hardtack).
  • Bake for 8-14 minutes.They will rise about 1/8” and be slightly golden brown around the
    edges. Once they are baked, remove them and place them on a
    cooling rack. Allow to sit overnight and pack them in your haversack
    or your backpack. You will get at least 15-17 pieces per batch, which
    is more than enough for two men for a Civil War week-end.
    Good luck and enjoy.1st Cpl. Mac