Thursday, November 21, 2013

Alaska Pilot Bread Recipe

There is something I find romantic about selling most of my junk and moving to a little cabin in Alaska with only moose for my neighbors.  I love watching the shows like Buying Alaska and Alaska the Last Frontier and dreaming of wearing cute fluffy fur trimmed hats and boots I made from skinning a deer I shot my self.
Then reality kicks me in the teeth and reminds me that I hate being cold and that if I had to skin a deer I would probably puke on my own shoes. 

So instead I look for things to give me that Alaska experience with out ever going somewhere that my hair would freeze into little ice cicles. While I dont yet own a adorable log cabin, I did discover a little Alaskan favorite called pilot bread aka Hard Tack, which is actually pretty good. 

The down side is that its pretty tough to find pilot bread here in AZ. I searched the internet for a good recipe and I was surprised to not find one. So of course I had to create one my self. I think I came pretty darn close with this recipe and I hope you enjoy it!

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 tbsp cold butter 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2/3 cup 1% milk (2% would most likely work, but I think whole would be too much fat)
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F.

  2. Put the flour, baking powder, powdered sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt in the food processor.
  3. Pulse to combine.
  4. Add cold butter a few small pats at a time, and pulse to combine.
  5. Add coconut oil.  Pulse to combine.
  6. Slowly drizzle in the milk as you pulse the food processor. Your dough will form a ball. Now turn on your food processor and let it run for 4 minutes. you dough will be warm when you take it out and thats ok.
Next we are going to roll out out dough. I like to roll mine right out on the silpat that I will cook them on, that way they dont get all distorted if you try to move them.

  1. You want to make sure you roll these out nice and thin, about 1/8 inch is good.
  2. Use a 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut them out.  Remove excess dough. Dock the pilot bread all over with a fork, you can get fancy or just stab them all over like I did. I like stabbing them, its kind of theraputic!

  1. Bake your crackers for 25 minutes and then turn off your stove and crack your oven door and let them stay in the oven until cool. This is what gives you a crispy cracker. If you live in an area with high humidity you may need to dry them out in a dehydrator or a very low oven to get them dryed out.
Your done! Store in a tightly sealed jar and as long as you have fully dryed them out (they will be creispy and snapw hen you break them.) they will store indefinately. 


  1. | they will store indefinately.

    Are you sure? Your recipe has a lot of fats, which go rancid. Have you tried it after storing a year or two? I'm very interested because plain baked flour strikes me as an unappetizing ration.

  2. Would like to know about fats/storage as well

  3. Wondering the same as above. Please respond with your long term success and if you know of any others that have done the same please provide links.

  4. I found this recipe online and it seems legit, i'm sure namastemama's taste better though.

  5. This is not strictly "hardtack." I am sure this is meant to be a modern "cracker" type version. True hardtack is(was) nothing more than water, flour, and salt baked 2 to 4 times and dried for 6 months before shipment. Samples of Civil War exist which are almost pristine. And yes, hardtack is not meant to be palatable; it is meant to be a source of calories that is portable and indestructible.

  6. Growing up in Alaska, this is not pilot bread recipe from there... it's not sweet, has no leavening in it, and no fats. here's a simple recipe for it (almost identical to the Sailor Boy Pilot Bread in the blue box we used to get as a kid): 4 cups of flour, 2 cups of water, 3tsp salt. mix, roll out to half inch, cut in either rounds or squares and poke holes like a saltine on each side.. bake at 350 for 30 minutes each side.. there is no need to bake it more than once. When they are done, let them air dry for a couple days to get hard and "Cure".. then store them, they will last a very long time (more than 6 months).. as a treat, we used to eat them with Wild Alaskan Strawberry Jam on them.. but we would have them as PB&J's and also they make for a terrific tuna sandwich. There are many many many ways to eat them.. or just plain!

    1. Oops...wanted the comment to go to you, Brad. Thanks for the recipe that's like the Sailor Boy Pilot Bread. (See comment below on Nameste Mama site.)

    2. This recipe has very similar ingredients to Sailor Boy Pilot Bread... which has both leavening and sugar......

      Enriched Flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), palm oil, salt, dextrose, baking soda, modified corn starch, yeast, monocalcium phosphate, malted barley syrup, calcium propionate (as preservatives), artificial flavor, enzymes, soy lecithin.

  7. Thanks for the recipe. I wanted to make a bread that would not mold in a few days and have a long shelf life. Anxious to try this.

  8. This is not hardtack, its pilot bread and its completely different. Yes this stores easy 1 year or more in cool dry conditions.

  9. This is some posh hard-tack with all the milk and butter in it. I'm sure it tastes great, but its more like a cookie than pilot bread. Amazon now carries a couple brands, but it's worth notin Sailor Boy is the traditional food. Link below is a backpacking brand: