Thursday, April 19, 2012

Home Made Wheat Thins - better than the boxed version

This is another recipe from the Whole Grain Baking book by King Arthur Flour that I used for my Knead the Book column on Serious Eats.

I loved these crackers, and thought they'd be worth sharing here, as well.

I buy the commercial Wheat Thins once in a while. There's nothing wrong with them, but I think they're best as a vehicle for something like cheese. But these home made crackers are snack-worthy all by themselves.

If you're making them for a party or you're serving more than a few people, I suggest making a double batch. These recipe makes a lot of crackers, but they're small and thin, so it's easy to eat a lot of them.

The recipe suggested adding salt to the top of the crackers, if desired. If you're a salt fiend, that would be okay, but I thought these were great without added salt. Sesame seeds would be an interesting addition, though.

Wheat Thins
From Whole Grain Baking by King Arthur Flour

1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) whole wheat flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
1/4 cup (2 ounces) 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 it to the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 400˚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 your 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 piece 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 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 30 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.