Archive for the ‘Crackers’ Category

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Sesame Crackers

April 6, 2012

I love all things sesame. These crackers are thin and crispy, loaded with sesame seeds, and flavored with sesame oil. If you love sesame and you’re up for a bit of a project in the kitchen, this is the recipe for you!

I didn’t count the number of crackers that I made, but you can get an idea from the photo above (that’s a 10″ x 15″ pan with shallow sides). The original recipe makes four times the amount of crackers shown in the photo above – that would be a lot of crackers and it would take a lot of time to roll and bake them. Ah, but these are so crisp and full of sesame flavor I wish I had made a larger batch!

The “project” part of the recipe is the rolling. I used a pasta machine, which worked wonderfully; it made the crackers really thin and even. See the notes and photos below for more details.

Recipe Notes

  • The dough is easy to make, but it’s hard to incorporate all of the sesame seeds. The dough is pretty stiff by the time the seeds are added, and even with the dough hook, many of the seeds do not mix in. I worked the dough quite a bit with my hands and was able to incorporate most of the seeds.
  • I divided the dough into balls about this size. I would call that softball size, but since I’m not sports-oriented, I thought I better show you a photo in case that’s not what a softball looks like.

  • Rolling the dough in the pasta machine is easy. I have an Atlas Pasta Queen, which has settings from 1-7. I rolled each piece of dough through each setting twice, starting with 1 and ending with setting 5. Any thinner than that and the dough started to tear.

  • Here’s what that ball of dough looks like when it’s rolled out and cut. I used a pizza cutter to cut the crackers.

  • I baked two sheets at a time, and I had six sheets of crackers. My baking sheets are pretty small; if you are baking on half sheet pans, you may be able to bake all of the crackers on four pans.
  • The second time I made these, I sprinkled just a little salt on them before baking. They were good the first time, but even better with a little salt on top.
  • The seeds fly around a lot, so get ready to do some clean-up, including vacuuming, when you’re done!
  • The recipe below is scaled to 1/4 of the original. The amounts are in grams and milliliters, which I think makes it easier to measure precisely.

Sesame Crackers

Adapted from The Professional Pastry Chef

5g yeast
210 ml warm water (105º-115ºF/40º-46ºC)
3.75 ml (1/4 Tablespoon) diastatic malt or honey
7.5 g salt
20 ml Asian sesame oil
85 g whole wheat flour
283 g bread flour
113 g sesame seeds (all white or a mix black and white)
Salt for sprinkling on top, optional

In the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix in the malt or honey, salt, and sesame oil. Using the dough hook, incorporate the whole wheat flour and all but a handful of the bread flour. Knead until a smooth elastic dough develops, scraping down the sides of the bowl and adding the reserved flour if necessary. Incorporate the sesame seeds (you may need to work the seeds in with your hands).

Cover and let rise in a warm location for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F/190ºC. Divide the dough into 6 or 7 softball-size pieces (see this link for an explanation of forming dough into a ball). Cover and allow them to relax for 15 minutes.

Roll each dough ball to 1/16 inch (2 mm) thick. The easiest way to do this is with a pasta roller. Start with the widest setting, roll the dough through twice, and then move to the next setting. Continue until the dough is as thin as it can be without tearing. Place the dough on a baking pan lined with parchment paper; cut into pieces (a pizza cutter works well). Try to keep the pieces similarly sized for even baking. You do not need to leave space between the crackers when you bake them. If desired, sprinkle salt on the unbaked crackers and press gently to help it stick. Bake immediately so the crackers do not rise.

Bake the crackers until deep golden brown (approximately 9 minutes), rotating the baking sheets halfway through baking. Keep your eye on them while they are in the oven – they are thin and will brown quickly. Let cool for a while on the baking sheet and then transfer to a large platter or pan to finish cooling. While the crackers bake, roll out the next ball of dough, continuing in batches until they are all baked. Store in an airtight container.

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Crisp Bread Crackers: seedy in a good way

December 5, 2010

Every week, quite a few good-looking recipes get added to my “to make” list. In a sea of tempting treats, what recipe looked so good that I couldn’t wait to make it? A seeded cracker. I really love seeds. Seeds in and on bread and bagels, seeds on crackers, sunflower seeds on salads and in granola. Sesame anything.


My pal Michele wrote about these crackers here and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I made them. It helped that I had all the ingredients, including chia seeds, which I bought for another recipe a while back. You’ll notice that the original recipe is in metric, so I’ve posted it with my converted measurements below.  I rounded the measurements, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to try to measure 0.422675284 cups!

I’ve made these twice and I’ll make them many more times. They’re delicious plain, but also a good partner for some hummus or bean dip.

Notes

  • I reduced the salt from the 1 teaspoon called for in the original recipe because I thought they were too salty the first time I made them.
  • I used roasted unsalted sunflower seeds from Trader Joe’s. I think that raw sunflower seeds would also work.
  • I used Hodgson Mill Unprocessed Wheat Bran. It’s the stuff that looks like sawdust.
  • My guess is that you could substitute poppy seeds for the chia seeds, but I haven’t tried it.
  • I wanted these to be really crisp, so I baked them for an hour, then took them off the parchment, broke them into pieces, and put them back into the oven for about 10 minutes. You can see that mine are pretty dark; you can bake yours for less time for a softer texture.

Crisp Bread Crackers
converted and slightly adapted from here

1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds, unsalted
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 cup wheat bran
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 cups water

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and let sit for 20 minutes. If all of the water isn’t absorbed after 20 minutes, add a couple more tablespoons of wheat bran, stir, and wait a few more minutes. Divide onto two parchment-lined baking sheets and use a spatula to spread and pat it as thin as you can. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut into squares. Bake at 335° F for about 1 hour, or until golden and crisp. To make them extra-crisp, take them off the parchment, break into pieces, and put back into the oven for about 10 minutes. Cool on a rack or on the baking sheets. When completely cool, store in an airtight container.

Interested in crackers? Check out these and these!

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Carta di Musica…crispy, crunchy flatbread

July 6, 2010

OK, so have you heard of Carta di Musica? I sure hadn’t until I saw it here on Baking Banter, King Arthur Flour’s blog. My father-in-law happened to be at our house the day I made them, so I handed him one without any explanation and right away he said “Did you make Carta di Muscia?” I was floored. He’s a bread baker and he said he had made them years ago.

Carta da Musica

These puffed and browned beautifully on my baking stone, and they were wonderful with this Roasted Vegetable Spread. Another recipe to add to my cracker repertoire.

You can get the recipe here, and the full scoop with photos here.

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Crackers Three Ways

November 1, 2009

Crackers are something I’ve wanted to make for a while, but after a couple of unsuccessful attempts last year, I hadn’t done much about it. But after baking a couple of things with Michele from Veggie Num Nums, I mentioned wanting to make crackers. She was game and that was the push we both needed to get the cracker baking started. All of these crackers were easy to make and the dough was very easy to work with. Read on and then get ready to bake up a tasty snack!

First up are High-Tech Crackers. This recipe is from Flatbreads and Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas, a book that Michele sent me after I mentioned that I was interested in baking flatbreads and crackers. This is an awesome book and you will be seeing more recipes from it on my blog. These are called high-tech crackers because the author’s original version of the recipe was mixed by hand and this one uses a food processor.

High-Tech Crackers

I tried an assortment of toppings on these crackers: salt, sesame seeds with and without salt, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese. These crackers are very wheaty tasting and I thought that the crackers with the garlic powder tasted best. Although they were kind of plain, they would be great with a dip. I’ll make these again and will add seasonings or herbs to them: these are like a blank canvas waiting for some flavors to be added. Scroll down to the end of this post for the recipe.

The next recipe we tried is Four-Seed Snapper Crackers, a Peter Reinhart recipe that Michele found online.

Four Seed Snapper Crackers

I love seeds, and these crackers were my favorite of the three that we made. The dough was a little harder to roll out thin because of all the seeds, but the thinner portions turned out the crispiest. A few days later, I put some of the thicker crackers back into the oven to crisp them and it worked very well. I cut some with a round cutter and others into squares with a pizza cutter. The round ones got a brush of egg wash and a topping of black and white sesame seeds. The seeds on top look nice, but with all the seeds inside, they aren’t needed for flavor. These crackers were great for snacking! The recipe is here. I used a combination of whole wheat and rye flour. I have a bag of flax seed meal, so I used that instead of grinding whole flax seeds.

Next was Alton Brown’s Lavash, which is not as healthy as the other recipes (but trust me, not nearly as unhealthy as some of the crackers out there).

Lavash

I didn’t get another photo of this one, but after it cools, you break it up into pieces. This is a fun cracker, crispy and full of air bubbles. This was a great accompaniment to a bowl of chili and it was a big hit with my husband. The Lavash recipe is here. I didn’t need all of the melted butter called for, and I sprinkled a little bit of kosher salt on top before baking.

There you go: three different crackers, all of them good. Give them a try! All of these recipes make a fairly large amount, so you may want to make half a batch. Be sure to head over to Veggie Num Nums to see what Michele has to say about these recipes.

High-Tech Crackers

from Flatbreads and Flavors: A Baker’s Atlas

3 cups whole wheat flour (or more, as needed)

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups warm water

Optional toppings: grated parmesan, cayenne, coarse salt, sesame seeds, grated unsweetened coconut, cumin seed, garlic powder. Note: you can also sprinkle seeds or coconut on the baking sheet and then lay the dough on top.

Place the flour and salt in a food processor and process for 10 seconds to mix thoroughly. With the motor running, add the water in a steady stream, and then process for 10 seconds longer. The dough should have formed into one large ball; if not, feel the dough: If it feels very sticky, add 3 to 4 tablespoons more flour and process briefly until a ball forms. If the dough feels dry and floury, start the processor again, add 2 to 3 tablespoons more water, and process until a ball of dough forms.

Once you have a ball of dough, process for 1 minute more, no longer. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 30 seconds or so. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 500º F and place an oven rack near the center of the oven.

Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Work with one piece at a time, leaving the other pieces covered. On a lightly floured surface, with lightly floured hands, flatten a piece of dough with your palms. Then roll it out to a very thin rectangle or round, as even as possible to ensure even cooking. Gently lift the dough from your rolling surface and place it on a large baking sheet or pizza pan. Sprinkle on one of the optional toppings or leave plain. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut through the dough to make rectangular crackers. (Don’t worry if they are not all exactly the same size. Variations in size and flavor will make your crackers interesting.) Spray the dough lightly with water and place in the center of the oven.

Begin rolling out the next piece of dough, keeping an eye on the crackers already baking. (Crackers brown from underneath.) Check on them 2 1/2 to 3 minutes after they go in. As soon as the thinnest patches of the dough have started to brown, take them out. If necessary, continue baking, checking every 30 seconds, but it is better to take the crackers out a little early than too late.

You will soon get a feel for timing and degree of doneness. Variables that affect timing are the heat of your oven and how thin you managed to roll out your dough. When they come out of the oven, some of the crackers will be crisp, while others will need a little time in the air to crisp up. Transfer to a large bowl, breaking up any incompletely separated crackers. Roll out the remaining dough, season, and bake. When completely cool, crackers can be stored in a well-sealed plastic bag or cookie tins for up to a month.

Yield: Approximately 13 dozen very thin crackers of varying size, averaging 1 1/2×2 1/2″

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