Ship’s Bisket

Biskets were not only used by sailors, but also soldiers and travelers of just about any sort. Traders many times used them to bargain with the Indians and they were also thought to have medicinal properties. They used them in treating edema, indigestion, and gout.

Just as biskets had different names and uses, they were also made in different ways. The term bisket has its origins in the word twice baked. Many 18th century recipes call for bread rolls to be baked, sliced into slices and then baked again. These are also known as rusks.

Ben Franklin, in his memoir, also called this type of bisket the true original bisket, much superior to the unleavened variety, but it’s the unleavened variety that we’re going to make today.

 

Recipe source: “Savouring The Past” by Jas Townsend and Son

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Ship's Bisket
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Course Breads, Sides
Cuisine American, English
Servings
Course Breads, Sides
Cuisine American, English
Servings
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
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Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to a medium low heat. If you are using a home oven it needs to be about 300-350 degrees. About two pounds of flour will be enough to make eight 4 ounce biskets. Add about a teaspoon of salt for each cup of flour added. Pour in the water slowly until you get a good stiff dough.
  2. Knead your dough a bit and then break it up into individual portions about 4 ounces in size. Knead each individual bisket and then form them into a patty for your final bisket shape. Place your biskets on the baking tray right next to each other as they will not rise making sure that they are the final proper thickness of about a half an inch or thinner. Prick each bisket so that they don’t puff up too much.
  3. These are going to bake for about 2-3 hours. Many times in the time period, these would be baked and then pulled out. They’d let them cool and then they would bake them again the next day, probably at a lower temperature to drive out any excess moisture and for very long term storage, they might bake these three or four times.
Recipe Notes

Hard biskets could be eaten just as they are, but it was never thought of as an enjoyable event. Many times they were soaked in wine, brandy, or sac to soften them up a little.

Cooks would also take the biskets and grind them up or powder them by putting them in a bag and beating them with a hammer then take the crumbs left over and you can use them like flour. This crunched up bisket tastes a lot like raisin bran without the raisins.

While this isn’t the most flavorful recipe that we’ve done so far, it’s certainly a very significant food source for people in the 18th century.

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Travis Toler

Son of James Ivan Toler and Carol Ann Vadeboncoeur Toler

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