How to make survival bread

Written by christine wheatley
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How to make survival bread
Make your own survival bread with just a few basic ingredients. (Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Survival bread, also known as hard tack, pilot bread, ship biscuit or sea bread, was used throughout history during wars, on long sea voyages and in other survival situations where an inexpensive food was needed that would keep indefinitely. Survival bread is still baked and eaten today by survivalists, hikers and campers who need a long-lasting food source that doesn't require refrigeration. Many bread ingredients, such as oil, sugar, butter and milk, significantly reduce the shelf life of bread. For the longest-lasting survival bread, follow a very simple recipe that uses only flour, salt and water.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Oven
  • Large mixing bowl
  • 4 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • Mixing spoon
  • Water
  • Rolling pin
  • Knife
  • Nail
  • Baking tray

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  1. 1

    Turn on the oven and preheat it to 204 degrees C. Wash your hands thoroughly.

  2. 2

    Pour 4 cups of flour and 4 teaspoons of salt into a mixing bowl. Mix them together with a spoon.

  3. 3

    Add water to the flour and salt mixture, a little at a time, while you mix it by hand. The mixture should stick together but not to your hands or the rolling pin. The idea is to use as little water as possible to achieve this.

  4. 4

    Roll out the dough with the rolling pin, shaping it into a large rectangle, until it's about 1/2 inch thick.

  5. 5

    Cut the dough with the knife, creating squares that are 3-by-3 inches. Poke each square with a clean nail without punching completely through the dough, making a 4-by-4 pattern of holes. Repeat this hole pattern on the other side as well. The holes will enable you to break the bread easier once it's cooked.

  6. 6

    Put the bread dough on an ungreased baking tray and place them in the oven. Bake the dough for 20 to 25 minutes. The edges of the bread should be lightly browned.

  7. 7

    Wait until the bread is completely dry before removing it from the oven. Store the survival bread in a closed container away from moisture.

Tips and warnings

  • You can substitute whole wheat flour for regular flour in this recipe.
  • Dry survival bread can get very hard, with a bricklike consistency. Dip the bread in beverages, top with spreads or add to soups for easier consumption.
  • Cook the survival bread for 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes to make the bread softer.

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