Wednesday, April 18, 2012

crackers without the crap

I love a good cracker.  Really, in general, crunchy is my favorite food texture.  It's gotta be crunchy peanut butter or I'm not interested.  Crisp, fresh vegetables and fruits.  Chips are my weakness.  Wheat-thins or Triscuits have been staples of our pantry for a long time, but I started to get sick of buying them for a couple of reasons.  For one, it was impossible to find a cracker that had a simple, short ingredient list.  (Actually, original Triscuits are pretty simple:  whole wheat, soybean oil, salt.  But I hate soy and am trying as hard as I can to eliminate it from my diet.)  Two, crackers are expensive!  Even for the off-brand "wheat thins," I was paying three or four dollars for a box that didn't even last a week. 

And yet, making crackers seemed like an impossible feat.  How would I get them thin enough?  How could they be extra crispy?  I don't have an industrial kitchen! 

Turns out it's super simple.  An added bonus is that I can soak the flour overnight in yogurt, which produces a more tender cracker and also helps make the grain more disgestible (and therefore, the nutrients more easily taken up by my body).  Soaking grains and legumes is one of the small steps I've started taking toward cooking more traditional and wholesome foods.  In general, I love making things for myself and my family because I have total control over the quality and source of the ingredients.  This recipe is very adaptable:  you can use whatever kind of flour you please (whole wheat, spelt, plain all-purpose, etc - extra credit for being super fancy and grinding it yourself) and whatever herbs you think might go well together - or none at all if you're a purist.

We've been gobbling these up.  The baby especially loves to teethe on them.

Homemade Crackers

1 1/2 C flour (pretty much any variety)
1/2 C whole-milk yogurt (not Greek - you need all the whey from the regular kind)
1/4 C butter, plus more for brushing
2 t garlic powder
1 t fresh minced dill
salt and pepper

Stir together flour and 1 t salt in mixing bowl of your stand mixer (or just in a large mixing bowl).  Add the yogurt and knead with the dough hook (or your hands) until a ball of dough forms.  Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let the dough rest at room temperature for 8 - 24 hours. 

Preheat oven to 450 when you're ready to bake.

Remove the towel and add 1/4 C butter, garlic powder and dill.  Use the mixer attachment and beat it all together until it's well incorporated.  If the dough seems too wet, add a little more flour until it comes together into a pretty firm ball.  Divide the dough into two balls.  Turn one ball out onto a floured pizza stone and roll it out very thin (~1/8 inch).  Brush the dough with melted butter and use a fork to dock it (poke little holes in it) about thirty or forty times all over.  Use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut into whatever shapes you desire.  Bake for eight minutes or until they are lightly brown and crisp.

Once those crackers have cooled a bit, repeat the process with the other ball of dough. 

Yields about eighty crackers, depending on how small you cut them. 

1 comment:

Emily said...

oops - should have added that the butter needs to be *softened*