Monday, September 16, 2013

Crispy Crackers for September


Many people who know me have this illusion that I can easily do anything I put my mind to, mostly because I often am successful when I try something new. There are times, however, when I'm miserably unsuccessful, even after a few attempts. Making my own crackers has been one of those areas. If you check past posts you will see very few crackers...a clue...and when I have posted crackers they have usually be somewhat thick and not crisp, or the toppings fall off, or both.

 The Bread Baking Babes are a lively group of baking women and one of the liveliest and loveliest is Tanna, our Kitchen of the Month. I have to admit that when I read that our September recipe was for crackers that I became nervous right away. Would this be another case of not-quite-what-I-wanted crackers? The original recipe came from King Arthur Flour, which was encouraging since their recipes usually work well. Tanna's version used grams for many of the measurements, another plus since weighed ingredients are usually in better balance than ones made up of cups and half cups. Best of all the second batch can be made another day, so if one batch doesn't work out I get a second chance. OK, guess it's time for crackers...with seeds.

 For my version, I decided to use some King Arthur Flour Irish Whole Meal Flour that I had in the fridge, plus some all-purpose flour. For the topping I used poppy seeds and chopped pecans.

Guess what? I actually made crackers that were crisp and crunchy and behaved like crackers instead of shortbread. Sweetie loved them, especially the second pan that I left in the oven to dry. Those turned a deep brown and were just this side of burnt and very crunchy, indeed. I like the flavor that the Irish flour added and I loved the toasted nuttiness of the pecans.
 
 
 
I think the key was that I rolled them out very thin. Although I started out rolling half the dough, after the first rolling out to about 1/4 inch, I divided that dough in half and rolled each piece even thinner, to about 1/16th of an inch, on a sheet of parchment paper.

 Now it's your turn. Bake these, take some photos, and send Tanna an e-mail with a short description of your baking experience and a photo, so that she can include you in the round-up at the end of the month and send you a Buddy Badge. Hurry, you have until Sept. 29th to do that, plus these are so good, no time to waste.

 Sending these over to Susan at Wild Yeast for her excellent Yeast Spotting weekly event. Check it out!

 Last, but never least, do visit my fellow Bread Baking Babes to see how they went crackers...er, made crackers this month. If they have not posted yet, check back. Sometimes we have computer troubles that hold us up.
 
 

 Kitchen of the Month - Tanna, My Kitchen in Half Cups

Bake My Day - Karen
Blog from OUR Kitchen - Elizabeth
Girlichef - Heather
Life's a Feast - Jaime
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies - Natashya
Lucullian Delights- Ilva
Notitie van Lien - Lien (who also creates the beautiful badges!)
Paulchen's Foodblog - Astrid
Provecho Peru - Gretchen



Crunchy Crackers
Recipe By: KAF
Yield: 2 cookie sheets

Summary:
This recipe mimics an extra-crunchy, seed-topped whole-gain cracker you may find at your supermarket. These are great for spreads and dips of all kinds.

Ingredients:

198 to 227g lukewarm water
170 g King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
120 g King Arthur Whole Wheat/Spelt
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder or sugar - I used malt syrup
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
30 g whole ground flax
14 g sesame seeds
*Substitute 28g golden flax seeds for the flax and sesame, if desired.
topping
71 g sunflower seeds, midget preferred*
28 g sesame seeds*
28 g whole flax seeds,* golden preferred
sea salt or your favorite flavored salt, if desired
*Substitute 3/4 cup artisan bread topping + 1/4 cup whole flax seeds for the sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds, if desired.
(I used poppy seeds and chopped pecans instead of the toppings above.. I didn't measure them, but the dough wasn't covered thickly. I also added some sea salt on top of one roll out of dough.)

Directions:

1) To make the dough: Mix and knead together all of the cracker ingredients (except the seeds) to a smooth, fairly stiff dough. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of water if the dough is dry.


2) Knead in the seeds.

3) Let the dough rise, covered, for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's expanded a bit.

4) Divide the dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, roll it into a rectangle approximately 14" x 9", a generous 1/8" thick. This will probably require you to roll the dough until it fights back; give it a 10-minute rest, then come back and roll some more. It may need two rest periods to allow you to roll it thin enough.

5) For easiest handling, turn the dough onto a piece of parchment paper. Spritz the dough with water. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the topping seeds, lay a piece of parchment on top, and press the seeds in with a rolling pin. Turn the dough over, peel off the parchment, and repeat. Set the seeded crackers on a baking sheet, and repeat with the remaining piece of dough.

6) If you don't have parchment, roll on a rolling mat or on a very lightly floured or lightly greased work surface; and transfer the seeded crackers to a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle each sheet of crackers with some sea salt or flavored salt, if desired. Crush the sea salt between your fingers or grind it in a salt mill if it's very coarse.

7) Prick the dough over with a fork, and cut it into rectangles, whatever size you like. Pull the crackers apart just a bit; you don't need to separate them completely. Let the crackers rise for 30 to 45 minutes. while you preheat your oven to 350°F; they'll get just a bit puffy.

8) Bake for 20 minutes, until the crackers are a medium brown. Turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes, then open the oven door a couple of inches and let the crackers cool completely in the turned-off oven. When they're completely cool, break apart, if necessary, and store airtight. 

Two balls of dough ... why bake them at the same time.  Put one in fridge for the next day.  Fabulous.

8 comments:

Claire said...

Wow, your crackers are really thin!! And the deep brown colour looks lovely. Cannot wait to try these!

Elizabeth said...

Did you ever roll them out thinly! They look spectacular. Well done on overcoming your cracker-making phobia.

Anonymous said...

I have some KAF Wholemeal flour. I'll use it, too! So glad I read your post.

Lien said...

Wonderful thin crackers, Next time I'll have to make them thin as yours! Love the nuts in the topping too

Baking Soda said...

I had my second ball of dough in the fridge and that gave it a nice edge in taste as well. Never thought about the fridge... you are right!
Nice crackers and so thin!

Jamie said...

Ooooh wonderful! I was going to do that next time too - cut the dough into thirds instead of half so I can get them really thin. Yours are amazing!! They are mouthwatering!

Katie Zeller said...

They're so pretty - and so very cracker-like.... Well done!

Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez said...

Hooray for crunchy crackers! I would love to get my hands on some Irish wholemeal flour! I love the deep color in those crackers.