Thursday, March 25, 2010

Make It Yourself - Crackers


Almost a year ago, I admitted that I had tried making crackers. I fully expected a lot of eye-rolling disbelief. And maybe there was! But I was shocked at how many of you said "I want to make crackers, too!"

I have been amazed at how easy it is to make crackers. If bread baking scares you, try some whole grain crackers. They are simple to make - and delicious! Plus they won't have any questionable ingredients. I just checked the Ritz box and Graham cracker box. (Yes, both are in my cupboard now!) The ingredient list on both contained high fructose corn syrup plus some other big words of unknown meaning.

In the next few days, I plan to share some of my favorite homemade cracker recipes. But first I thought I'd share a few hints.

Unlike bread, in crackers you want to AVOID gluten development. When using white flour, use all purpose, and maybe add a little cake flour. With whole grain flour, crackers are a great opportunity to use rye, millet, oat, and other flours that make poor bread texture. I've made some great crackers by blending oatmeal in my blender.

Cracker dough can be soft and hard to roll thinly and still transfer to a baking sheet. I use a pastry cloth with generous flouring. Another option would be to sandwich the dough between two sheets of parchment paper or roll directly on a silicone baking mat. I find it best to work with a small ball of dough instead of the whole batch at once.

You may cut circles or fancy shapes for your cookies. I choose the easiest method. Once my dough is rolled thinly, I place it on the baking sheet and cut into squares with a pizza cutter. Sometimes it doesn't cut right up to the edge, but we usually have these pieces nibbled on before they are cool.

Most crackers shrink a little while baking so there is no need to separate the pieces before baking. Graham crackers are an exception. For graham crackers, pieces should be separated before baking to give room for expansion. Or just do as I do and cut them apart after baking while still warm!

I bake two pans of crackers at a time in the oven. Every five minutes I switch the pans so that they brown evenly.

Part of the fun of making crackers in the garnishes. Usually I just sprinkle some salt or garlic powder but you may get more creative! To help the garnishes stick to the dough, whisk an egg white with 2 T water. If making a sweet cracker you may whisk 1 T honey with 3 T water. I usually garnish before cutting the crackers.

When crackers begin to brown in the oven, they are probably baked. They will continue to crisp as they cool. If they don't seem crisp enough. Return them to a low oven to dry out some more.

Have fun cracker making! And let me know if you have a favorite recipe for me to try!

4 comments :

  1. wow! this sounds like fun. can't wait to try some of your ideas!

    btw. my family has LOVED every single recipe I've tried from your blog. amazing! thank you so much for all the time you put into giving all of us such fun and healthy ideas.

    hope you have a wonderful weekend!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bek-
    You could not have given a nicer compliment! But I can't tell you how many times I've taken pictures while I made some neat recipe that I thought I could post - but the outcome did not impress my family! If my hubby doesn't love it - it doesn't make it to this blog. Not that he is a picky eater but I've decided that I'm not a gourmet cook and my attempts at "fancy" dishes are usually don't impress my family! We are all about old fashioned comfort food here!

    Blessings,
    Gina

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cheddar crackers are easy to make too, I make them for my husband and sons quite often. They are just cheese, butter, salt, and flour. I foudfound the recipe on: http://joythebaker.com/2012/10/sharp-cheddar-cheese-crackers/

    Melissa

    ReplyDelete

I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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