Among other things, I’ve also been trying to perfect the art of making crackers. When I tell some people this, they roll their eyes and say that making crackers is just too much work. For some, maybe it is. For others, (if you’re still reading, you’re one of the “others”) it isn’t. Sure, making crackers takes more time than going to the store and buying a box of crackers, but buying them doesn’t give you the satisfaction of making them yourself. And if you make them, you know exactly what the ingredients are.
Some people really enjoy making things from scratch. I am one of those people. Knowing that I created a meal, snack, beverage, whatever it may be, from ingredients that I combined makes me happy. I like knowing what goes into things. Crackers are now some of those things.
It WASN’T a success right out of the gate. No way. The first crackers I made tasted like cardboard. Not even the birds wanted them. Believe me, I tried. I researched a recipe. I bought spelt flour (something I hadn’t purchased before) and followed the instructions to a tee. It was a failure and they weren’t edible. So I tried again.
The next batch of crackers were better, but still I felt I could improve them. My goal was to make Breadfarm quality crackers, or at least get as close as possible.
After making a lot of crackers now, I think I’ve got it. I use a combination of all purpose flour, whole wheat flour and semolina flour. I use a recipe from this book as my guide, and I add things like caraway seeds, fennel seeds, onion powder, poppy seeds, coriander seeds, pepper, sesame seeds and dehydrated onion flakes as my variations. I’m very happy with the way my crackers are turning out these days. So much better than my first attempt. But that’s the way with most things isn’t it? Keep trying until you find out what you like.
I mix all the ingredients up in my Cuisinart. Then I chill the dough in the fridge for a half an hour. Next I divide the dough in half and roll out 1/2 on my Silpat mat. This is really a key step because it allows you to roll the dough very thin (important for a crisp cracker) and you don’t have to worry about transferring the crackers onto a cookie sheet. It’s very easy to pick up the whole mat, put it on a baking sheet, and straight into the oven.
Once I’ve rolled the dough thin enough to cover the Silpat mat, I’m ready to prick the dough with a fork. Don’t forget this step. If you do, you’ll get air bubbles under your crackers and they won’t bake evenly. Once you’ve pricked the dough with a fork you’re ready to slice the dough into actual bite sized crackers. I don’t get too complicated with this step. Just eyeball it, and lightly cut them into strips. A pizza cutter works great.
After I’ve got my crackers cut into little squares I mist them with water and add a little coarse kosher salt. Then I pop them into the oven at 375 for about 15-20 minutes. Just watch them so they don’t get too brown.
When they look done I take them out of the oven and let them cool on a baking rack. I used Washington flour, my backyard eggs, and herbs/spices to taste. There are no preservatives or hard to pronounce ingredients. I make them about every week and a half to two weeks and we don’t have to buy crackers from the store anymore. Success!