Homemade crackers: all they’re cracked up to be

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With the name of this site being Crispy Bits and all, you’d think I’d have more recipes and commentary about crispy foodstuff. Somehow that’s turned out not to be the case. Here’s my attempt to remedy that.

The dough is similar to that used in the kale and caramelized onion tart I wrote about awhile back, but all the amounts are halved and, proportionally, uses slightly more olive oil.

Ever wonder why saltines, Cheez-Its, and most other crackers have holes in them? It’s to keep the cracker from puffing up and becoming hollow inside. The process is called docking, and it’s the same technique used when making pies, thin-crust pizza, and other flat doughs. If you look at a cracker up close you’ll notice that the blistered, slightly browned spots are in areas where the cracker wasn’t docked. The holes allow for steam to escape during baking, which prevents the dough from puffing up (and in the case of a cracker, from becoming one large puffed-up pocket of air). Otherwise, the moisture from the steam would seep back into the cracker after it’s out of the oven, preventing it from keeping that crispety-crunchiness we all expect from a cracker.

Pizzerias and restaurants use a special rolling pin-like tool to do the job, but at home you can pierce the dough all over with a fork and get the same results. The holes won’t be as uniform as those on a saltine cracker, but uniformity is boring, don’t you think?

Olive oil crackers

Yield: Makes 20-30, depending on size

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • extra flour for sprinkling
  • extra olive oil for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, then add the water and olive oil. Stir until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  2. Knead with your hands directly in the bowl until it is smooth and no longer sticks to the sides, 3-5 minutes. The dough should feel slightly tacky to the touch.
  3. Roll the dough into a ball and rub it all over with a small bit of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangular shape as thin as you can get it.
  6. Prick the dough all over with a fork, then cut into squares or whatever shape and size you desire.
  7. Place the crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.
http://crispybits.com/recipes/appetizers/homemade-crackers-all-theyre-cracked-up-to-be/

Posted in Appetizers, Snacks

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