It was a pleasant surprise for me to discover that crackers are easy to make at home. I have been an enthusiastic baker for a long time, and I have made everything from cinnamon buns to multi-grain sandwich bread to pie crusts to the notoriously fickle sourdough hearth bread but until now, I never even considered making crackers. Last week, as I stood in the aisle of my local health food store holding a $4.00 box of crackers in my hand, I suddenly realized that I could make these myself! I put back the box and vowed to go home and figure out how to make healthy and delicious crackers for my family that would not break my budget.
Luckily for me, I own the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook, so it was an easy matter to look up a recipe and give it a try. I chose the Wheat Thin crackers which have only 7 simple ingredients and baked up quick, easy and delicious. As a bonus, my kids were completely amazed by the idea that their mom could actually make crackers that they thought were delicious! Hooray for me!
Now I am all fired up to try other flavors and styles of crackers. My next batch will be a flatbread with rosemary and olive oil and after that I have to try my hand at graham crackers.
Wheat Thins from the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Additional salt for topping (optional)
To Make the Dough: Combine the flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it in thoroughly, using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer or a food processor. Combine the water and vanilla, and add to the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
To Roll and Cut the Dough: Divide the dough into 4 pieces; keep the other pieces covered while you work with one at a time. Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin and roll the piece of dough into a large rectangle which should be at least 12 inches square when trimmed. Keep your pin and the surface of the dough evenly floured. Flip the dough frequently to keep it from sticking, but too much flour will make it difficult to roll. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can get it without tearing, at least 1/16 inch thick. Trim the dough to even the edges and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the pieces into squares approximately 1 1/2 inches wide. Transfer the squares to a prepared baking sheet; you can crowd them together as they don’t expand while baking. Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt, if desired. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Save the scraps under plastic wrap and and reroll them all at once just one time.
To Bake the Crackers: Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 5 to 7 minutes. If some of the thinner crackers brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking, These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely – even 3o seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast! Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a plate; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for several days, but are best stored in airtight containers.
Have you ever made crackers at home? If you have any tips, tricks or advice I would love to hear it. Please feel free to comment below.
This post is participating in Real Food Wednesdays at http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2011/10/real-food-wednesday-1052011.html and in the Patchwork Living Blog Hop at http://www.attainable-sustainable.net/patchwork-living-blogging-bee-8/