May
28
2010

  Cuckoo For Crackers

I made my first successful batch of crackers nearly two weeks ago, and I haven't looked back. My first unsuccessful batch was earlier than that. I tried using my master recipe whole wheat dough, and rolled it out with a rolling pin. But I couldn't get it thin enough, and wound up with little puffy rocks instead of crackers. Practically inedible. That's when I decided to try using my pasta machine.

The first batch I made with the pasta machine turned out great:

But these are crackers that are really best with some sort of topping like cheese or hummus. Next I wanted to move on to snack crackers-- crackers that were really delicious on their own.

One of the ladies in our baby group forwarded the link to this recipe, so I tried it. Well, kind-of tried it; T brought home mild white cheddar from Integral Yoga. It was made without rennet, so it wasn't particularly cheese-y in my opinion, but I figured it would be fine in a cracker. It was, but I knew the crackers could be even better.

I brought home some real, sharp cheddar the other day, and changed the recipe a bit. I used 4 oz shredded cheese, 4 oz white flour, 4T butter, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. I did NOT sprinkle salt atop the crackers, I put all the seasonings right in the dough. I baked them at 450F for 7 minutes, but probably could have gone a touch longer. Or not, the crackers on the edge were thinner than the ones in the middle, and they were cooked to perfection. It was the ones in the middle that never got entirely crisp.

This method is so incredibly fast and easy, I've pretty much been making a batch a day. Unlike the homemade bread, I don't have to wait two hours from the time I decide I want the food until it's done. More like 15 minutes.

Here's the breakdown. At 10:35pm I decided I wanted crackers. I went into the kitchen and turned on the oven to preheat. Then I took out the food processor and kitchen scale. I measured out the cheese and flour (4.2 oz each instead of 4 oz, just to use up all the remaining cheese), and blended them. I saw a little bit of tomato pasta sauce in the fridge that needed to be used up, so I added it instead of water (about 1/4 cup). Tonight I omitted the butter completely, to see if the crackers would still be acceptable with a lower calorie recipe. I did not add any seasonings, since the pasta sauce already had salt, pepper, and garlic.

I rolled the dough out right on the cookie sheet. This part took a little while, since I think my cookie sheet is warped and that was making the dough thicker in some places and thinner in others. I just did my best with it.

The crackers were ready to put in the oven about 10:45pm, and I baked them for 7 minutes. Again, I probably could have gone longer, since only the crackers on the edges where they were thinnest cooked very crisp. During the 7 minutes the crackers were in the oven, I was able to hand-wash all the parts of the food processor and put them away, and clean up the crumbs from making the dough. While the crackers were cooling on a rack, I was able to wash the pan. So by 11pm, I had a batch of freshly made cheddar-tomato crackers, with no evidence of the activity left in the kitchen.

I might try using goat cheese tomorrow, I've got a lot of it since I got a giant log at the Sam's Club (for the same price as those tiny logs at the grocery store). Mmmm, fancy crackers!