Saturday, December 19, 2009

Homemade crackers...

I usually save my Saturday baking for sweet treats, but Jeff had a craving for homemade crackers earlier in the week and I didn't have time to get to them until this morning. I asked what kind he wanted and all he replied with was "Thin and Crunchy!".

Well, I could handle that, but I was more curious as to what kind of flavor he wanted - he couldn't narrow it down and left me to decide! Rather than just doing one, I thought it would be nice to split up the dough and make two different crackers, which resulted in these Seed-Topped and Rosemary Crackers.

The dough for these crackers is ridiculously simple - all it took to create was all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, your best extra-virgin olive oil and salt! You don't even have to knead for several minutes like you would bread dough - just enough to bring the ingredients together in a soft cohesive ball. Because I was after two different versions, what I ended up doing was dividing the dough in half, leaving one plain and working in a tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary into the other.

While I wrapped the rosemary-laced dough (important to keep it from drying out) and set it aside to rest, I took the plain piece and divided that one in half, leaving me with a more manageable hunk of dough to work with.

You can roll it out with a rolling pin if you like, but I decided to try and use a neglected gift that has been sitting on a shelf. Can you guess what it was/is? My counter-top pasta roller machine! I've only used mine a couple times, and just for fresh pasta, but I've heard that it makes the best crackers because you can pass the dough through the rollers and end up with paper-thin sheets for the crispiest crackers. This worked beautifully and left me with tidy sheets of dough - all I did was start at the widest setting and continued to pass the dough through each narrower setting, stopping at the second to the last.

For the first set, the plain sheets were lightly brushed with water, then topped with a nutty combination of sesame seeds, poppy seeds, caraway seeds and a couple pinches of salt. To make sure that topping firmly sets itself in, we took a rolling pin and rolled it back and forth a couple times. You don't want to put much pressure on it, just let the weight from the pin do its magic. With a fluted pastry wheel, we then cut the dough into cracker-like shapes, lifted them onto a baking sheet and baked them off while we moved onto the rosemary dough.

I wondered if the rosemary was going to cause a headache by tearing the dough when we used the pasta machine, but it worked just as well as when we did the plain dough! To keep this version clean with the fragrant rosemary leading the charge, we again brushed the top with water, but this time topped the dough with just tiny sea salt crystals.

With both sets of crackers, you'll want to stick close to the oven and keep your eye on them - since they are so thin, it takes them just minutes to go from pale to golden, and even quicker to go from golden to burnt. These crackers were just what Jeff was after - thin, with fantastically snappy crunch, and plenty of flavor flowing through each one. I asked Jeff which he liked better, the seeded or the rosemary, and he just said "I have to choose?! I can't stop eating either of them, isn't that good enough?". Yes, I think it is! We've found a winner!


  1. These sound fantastic! I made homemade lemon-rosemary salt to give as gifts this year, and I think it would work great in this cracker...can't wait to give it a try.


  2. they look awesome! was it messy using the roller at all???

  3. Courtney - I love the salt idea!

    Tia - Nope, not really!

  4. Made these for an office carry-in today, and they're really good! The pasta machine makes it a no-brainer. And I used my little pastry mini-roller (it's sized so you can roll the bottom of a pie shell while it's in the pan) to press in the seeds. That worked really well.

    I served them with a poached steelhead trout and a mayo-coarse mustard-sour cream sauce. Quite yumalicious.

    Thanks, Joe!

  5. k - Thanks for the feedback!

  6. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I tried a batch yesterday and could not stop eating them while I was driving. I rolled it out by hand and baked it as a whole piece. There were a lot of big bubbles. Are they meant to be? How can I prevent it from happening?

  7. Calvin - Mine had a few little bubbles, but nothing very big. Perhaps you could dock the dough with the fork before baking to prevent them?