Darwin200 Episode 19: Hard Tack bake off
The Darwin200 team undertake a competition to bake hard tack, also known as ‘ship’s biscuits’. Hard tack was the staple food on ships throughout the 18th and 19th centuries but once baked, could be as hard as rock (and for this reason, biscuits of hard tack were known as “teeth breakers”)!
It was said that you looked at hard tack at breakfast, you sucked it for lunch and you ate it for dinner! The rock-hard nature of baked hard tack enabled captains to stow tonnes of it in their ship’s hold to be stored for months or even years at a time, although often the hard tack would become infested with the larvae of weevils and other creepy crawlies!
The Darwin200 team split into groups to experiment with different recipes of hard tack to create some interesting results. Some of the competition entries resembled original navy hard tack, others took on more unconventional shapes and designs!