Crackers

Crackers & Cheese

A friend of mine (who runs Your Child’s Food) mentioned that her mom made homemade crackers when she was little. I admit I hadn’t really thought about making my own crackers, but given that my son often gets fruit and crackers as a snack it made sense to try. Even the nicest crackers I can find in the supermarkets has quite a bit of sodium (salt), and I am trying to not get him addicted to salt too early (the more salt you eat, the less you taste it, causing you to want more salty food). I myself is a fan of salty foods, but even I sometimes feels food is too salty in restaurants – in my opinion there is too much salt in prepared foods.

I ended up browsing around a bit for cracker recipes, and then decided to make 2 different kinds loosely based on some recipes. I made a more day to day whole grain cracker, and a more ‘adult’ cheese & wine type cracker.

Sundried Tomatoes and Thyme Crackers

These crackers are interesting since they are made with yeast – most crackers are made with baking powder. They contain a good deal of oil, not making them super healthy, but they are great with cheese and probably dips too.

Inspiration: Food & Wine Magazine Sunflower Seed and Rosemary Crackers.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (475 ml)
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, finely chopped (60 ml)
  • 1/2-1 tsp thyme, very finely chopped
  • 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (120 ml)
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp olive oil (60 ml + 2 tbsp)

Method

1. Finely chop the sundried tomatoes and the thyme, then mix with flour, salt and yeast.

Tomato Crackers-1

2. Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil, and gradually add the water until a dough forms. Knead the dough about 5 min, until smooth.

Tomato Crackers-2

3. Leave the dough to rest in a plastic film covered bowl for about 2 hours. It will not rise much.

Ready to rest

4. Preheat oven to 350 F/175 C. Divide the dough in half. Cut off a piece of parchment paper so it fits your cookie sheet, and place one piece of dough on it, formed as a small rectangle.

Tomato Crackers-5

5. Roll our the dough to about 9 x 13 inches (23 x 33 cm), about 1/8 of an inch  (2-3 mm) thick. Try to make the dough as square as possible, you can cut off pieces to add to other places and ‘massage’ it into the sheet of dough. They more even thickness you get, the easier the crackers are to bake.

Tomato Crackers-4

6. Cut the dough into strips about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide on the short side, and cut once across the long side. Brush the dough with a bit of the remaining olive oil.

Tomato Crackers-6

7. Bake for about 24-38 minutes, until golden and crisp. Cool on a wire rack, and store in an airtight container.

Tomato Crackers-7

Whole Grain Rye Crackers

This is a more traditional cracker made with baking powder, there are many similar recipes with different flavoring if you search for cracker recipe. I wanted to make something whole grain, and I didn’t feel like adding any seeds, so I decided to add some rye flour to give them a more interesting taste.

Inspiration: Alton Brown’s Seedy Crisps.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz whole wheat flour (60 g)
  • 2 oz all purpose flour (60g)
  • 1 oz dark rye whole grain flour (30g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cups water (75 ml)

Method

1. Mix together the 3 flours, the salt and baking powder. Add the olive oil and mix well.

Rye Crackers-1

2. Add the water gradually until a dough forms, then turn out the dough on a work surface and knead a few times.

Dough before kneading

Dough before kneading

3. Preheat the oven to 450F/230C. Divide the dough into 4 parts, and let rest of 15 minutes.

Rye Crackers-3

4. Roll out one piece of dough very thinly, about 1/16 of an inch (2 mm or so) to a small rectangle. The more evenly you roll out the dough, the more evenly they bake, and the thinner you roll the more important this is.

Rye Crackers-4

5. Transfer the piece to a parchment lined cookie sheet, and add another piece of rolled out dough if there is room.

Rye Crackers-5

6. Bake the cracker ‘sheets’ in the oven for 3 1/2 minutes, then turn then over and bake for an addition 3-4 minutes until golden and crisp.

7. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Rye Crackers-6

8. Break into the cracker sizes you want. I found it easiest to mark where I wanted them to break with a sharp knife, carefully cutting about 1/3 of the way through the sheet, then breaking the cracker decisively holding both sides of the cut firmly, but gently.

Rye Crackers-7

9. Store in an airtight container.

With both of these you can definitely add some salt on top before you bake if you want a more salty cracker, I found they both tasted salty enough, but with room for more.

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