Thursday, January 4, 2024

Prepper's Pantry: Twice-Baked Bread

In the past I've done posts on various types of baking, such as yeast breads and quick breads, and one thing all these recipes have in common is a relatively short shelf life. This is due primarily to the inclusion of fats such as butter and oil. While these serve to help retain moisture and keep baked goods soft for longer, they (along with sugar) are also more likely to result in mold if not eaten quickly enough, especially in a humid environment.

Back in the age of sail, various methods were devised for preserving food. One of the more difficult items to make last for long was bread, which was referred to as "soft tack" to differentiate it from "hard tack", a tooth-breakingly tough addition to issued rations.

Hard Tack
A simple combination of flour, water, and salt, hard tack got its long shelf life from being baked twice to drive as much of the water as possible out of the dough.

Hard Tack


  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 ° F.
  2. Combine the flour, water and salt and mix well.
  3. After mixing, the dough should be slightly dry and not sticky. If it is too sticky, add small amounts of flour until the dough holds together, but is still dryer than traditional dough.
  4. On a floured work surface, roll out the dough to a thickness of approximately 1/2 inch.
  5. Cut the dough into 3" squares.
  6. Poke holes in the dough with a fork. Make sure the holes go all the way through. This helps prevents the biscuits from puffing up while baking.
  7. Place the hardtack biscuits on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 30 minutes.
  9. Remove the biscuits from the oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, then flip and bake for another 30 minutes.
  10. When done, place the hardtack biscuits on a cooling rack.
  11. Once they are completely cooled, store in an airtight container.

Another twice-baked item that is much more palatable, biscotti is less likely to go bad than other baked desserts. This is partially due to the two trips through the oven, and partially due to this delicious treat being eaten quickly.



  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Anise extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 egg plus 1 tsp water for egg wash


  1. Combine sugar, baking powder, butter, and eggs.
  2. Blend in the extract.
  3. Mix in the flour one cup at a time.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  5. Form dough into two logs on a greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 1" high by 1 ½" wide. For a better finish, wet your hands and pat the top and sides of the dough.
  6. Brush the logs with egg wash and bake for 20-22 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the logs cool for two minutes.
  8. Cut the logs diagonally into slices 1" thick.
  9. Lay the slices on their sides, and re-bake at the same temperature for 15 minutes.

This is a basic biscotti recipe; there are many optional ingredients, such as dried fruits, nuts, and spices, like cinnamon or ginger. Biscotti are also frequently dipped or coated in chocolate.

Share and enjoy.

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