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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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14 comments

  1. All of your crackers look fabulous! It’s so fun to bake with someone else–even virtually. What should we tackle next?


  2. Wow – I’m going crackers looking at all those! Who needs Wheat Thins – I’m coming to your house instead.

    PS – Try the pumpkin in the coffee – it’s not nearly as strange as it sounds.


  3. You seemed to have done an amazing job with your crackers! Thanks for sharing 🙂


  4. I’ve always wanted to make crackers. I wonder which recipe to try first… which was yoru fave?


    • I love the Four-Seed Snapper Crackers. I’d definitely recommend those!


  5. How cool that you made your own crackers!! They look so delicious. I’m going to have to try my hand at one of them sometime!


  6. Yum! The hi-tech version does it for me.


  7. You and Michele really take on some fun projects, all these look amazing; wheaty crackers sound particularly good right now. There are some packaged crackers with dubiously long ingredient lists, so I’m sure most you make yourself are much better than store-bought.


  8. Your crackers look yummy. I’ve never made them.


  9. Crackers…Crackers…I love crackers with my soup eating ways and all! I have never once given any thoughts to making my own…until now. These look delicious and I want to learn how to do these, too! My next venture: Crackers!


  10. I would have never thought to make my own crackers. I’ll have to give it a try. They all look so yummy.


  11. I haven’t made them very often, but love homemade crackers! Lookin’ good.


  12. Those must be so nice, no to mention how cool they’d be to freeze in prevention of Christmas unexpected guests! Nice going!


  13. These look delicious!!!!

    I haven’t ever even thought about making crackers!!!!



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