Talk about frustrating. The only crackers I could find are something like $4 a box, and when you have a teenager who can practically eat a whole box in one sitting? Ouch. I've bought them less, I've stocked up on them when they are on sale, and finally I considered making my own.
For a long time I scoffed at the thought of making my own. We stopped buying a lot of packaged/processed food in an effort to eat better, but once we reduced the amount of sodium we were eating it became a must. Processed food is just too salty for our tastes now and we can't stomach most of it. Crackers are the one packaged food that I continue to buy, because dammit, I like them! I just want to buy a box! Making my own crackers seemed too....Martha-ish. It's summer now though and I have long, lazy days with time on my hands, so I found this recipe over at The Kitchn and decided that I would try it, at least once.
Wow. These are so good I think I'll be making them a lot more often. There are lots of ways you can customize them, but just considering economics, it's crazy cheap. This recipe makes 2 boxes of crackers, and want to know what's in them?
Flour, water, salt, sugar, and olive oil.
That's it. Nada. Nothing more. Unless, of course, you want to top them with sesame seeds or something. Who knew that crackers could be so simple and have so few ingredients? Who knew that they didn't need to have that ton of weird ingredients that you find in the packaged ones?
Oh, baby. Let's make crackers.
Things you will need:
-dough scraper (pictured below)
-large cutting board
3 cups of flour (I used 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat. You can mix and match your own blend of flours)
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
Toppings: 3 tbsp sesame seeds, poppy seeds, fennel seeds, or some cracked pepper, salt... be creative!)
Pre-heat your oven to 450 F and set a rack to the bottom 1/3 of the oven.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, and salt. Stir in the water and olive oil gradually, while stirring with a wooden spoon. A ragged dough will form, and if there are still bits of flour all over the bottom of the bowl you can still add water, about a tablespoon at a time, until it's all incorporated.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and bring it together with your hands, giving it a good few kneads to turn it from a ragged dough to something a bit smoother. Divide the dough in half.
Sprinkle the cutting board well with flour. First, pat on of the halves of the dough into a square with your hands. Then using the rolling pin, roll the dough into a rectangle shape about 1/8 inch thick or thinner, if you can.
Lightly brush the dough with water and sprinkle with 1 1/2 tbsp each of the sesame seeds, fennel seeds, and a little bit of salt.
Using either a sharp knife, pizza cutter, or even a pasta cutter, slice the dough into shapes. I did it into rectangles of about 1x2 inches. They will be a little rustic on the ends, but that's okay.
I found it a bit of a challenge to get the crackers off the cutting board. The best tool ever is this dough scraper that I bought at Coopers Foods for about $.99. This is why you had to flour the board well.
Place your crackers on a lightly floured baking sheet, and prick them all with a fork once or twice so they don't puff up too much. Bake the crackers in the bottom 1/3 of the oven. The reason for this is while you want the bottoms to brown up a little, you really don't want the tops to become too toasted. Bake them for about 10-12 minutes. Don't worry if they still seem a little soft, they will crisp up when they cool. Transfer the crackers to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat all the above steps with the other half of the dough you set aside.
When the crackers are cooled, transfer the crackers to a sealed, airtight container and enjoy them with cheese, dips, or just eat them on their own.
Makes about 450 g of crackers
Adapted from The Kitchn (which is a wonderful site, I suggest you go take a look!)