Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rye Crackers

If you tell people that you make your own crackers, they'll be amazed. But really, crackers are simple.

If you're making them for company, you can make them well ahead of time. As long as they're completely dry, they store really well. Maybe not as well as commercial crackers with preservatives, but you'll probably eat them faster, anyway.

The last time I made crackers, it was a bit if a cheat. I was making breadsticks, and just lopped off a bit of the dough to use for some little crackers. Crispy breadsticks are sort of like crackers, since they're cooked until they're dry. So the recipe works both ways.

Really, though, a lot of bread recipes make good crackers, but don't tell anyone I said that. Let people think that crackers are difficult and mysterious and that you are a kitchen genius.

The breadstick recipe is here. After you finish reading that, come back here for the rest of the instructions.

Follow the breadstick recipe until it's time to start rolling.

Since you'll roll the crackers a lot thinner that breadsticks, if you're using the whole breadstick recipe for crackers you'll probably want to divide the dough into quarters.

Roll the dough out until it's about the thickness of a dime. Yes, that's very thin. The crackers puff a bit when they bake, so they'll be fine.

Since the edges of the dough always end up thicker, I suggest trimming the dough so that it cooks evenly.

Might as well square it off while you're at it, so all your crackers are square. You can add the trimmed pieces to your next piece of dough.

The dough also needs to be docked to keep it from puffing. You can do this with a fork, with a rolling docker, or with any implement that works for you. Some of the crackers might puff a bit, even with the docking. You can carefully deflate them when you check on them while you're baking, or just leave them be.

This time around, I used a fancy rolling pin. The nice thing using the pin was that the pattern made it easier for me to cut the crackers into somewhat even pieces.

But that's not necessary. Sometimes I cut them randomly so I have a variety of interesting shapes.

Transfer the uncooked crackers to a baking sheet. You can line it with parchment if you like, but these aren't prone to sticking.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or so, checking them regularly and rearranging them as needed so they cook fairly evenly. You'll always have a few that are more brown and some that are pale, but as long as they're crisp and dry, they're done.

If you want them all browned, you might need to pick off the ones that are more brown while you let the rest cook, or you could end up overcooking some. Once they start browning, they get dark really fast, so keep an eye on them once they start browning.

Let them cool completely on a rack before you store them.

Just for the fun of it, here re two crackers, one puffed, one not:

The flat ones are what you're after, but the puffy ones aren't all bad.

This has been submitted to Yeastspotting.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

Wow! You were busy this week. I love both kinds of crackers, they look really tasty.

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