Week 3 of Bread: Herb Crackers
I think I might have to officially declare today “Idiot Day”. I can’t disclose the full details of why I’ve made this official declaration since it has to do with my professional life and apparently somewhere along the way someone coerced me into signing a document that said I wouldn’t blab on the internet anywhere about topics concerning my job. I suppose this agreement is ultimately in my best interest too, so let’s just leave it at this: my day isn’t going so smoothly.
But enough of that; my time is limited today. Let’s move promptly along to a much more pleasant topic – making your own artisan crackers at home. Crackers are, after all, a form of unleavened bread, so I thought I’d sneak them in here during our last Week of Bread together. I got my inspiration from Rebecca over at New Old Fashioned Gal when she submitted the recipe to last week’s Carnival of Recipes: A Menu.
The possibilities of these crackers are endless, since you could very well use a limitless combination of seasonings and probably not have to make the same kind twice for a year if you really put your mind to it. You could also get fancy with the edges and shapes, using special cutting wheels and cookie cutters. I see my next batch as being round with wavy edges…
So I mulled over my choice of seasonings for quite a few days before making my first foray into cracker crafting. I settled on giving priority to some of my dried herbs from the farm on this first go-around since they really are the best seasonings in my pantry – superb flavor and quality. To keep the dill and oregano company, and mostly because I somehow think everything is better in three’s, I threw in coarse black pepper at the last moment. Boy, did that pepper make them pop!
I don’t think these would necessarily make good soup crackers – I mean, they might, but why bother smothering them in soup unless it’s rather bland and needs a cracker with seasoning. My bag was quickly consumed by scooping up soft goat cheese and just plain snacking while I watched – gasp – the Knight Rider network movie on NBC Sunday night. It didn’t take a genius to know that piece of entertainment wasn’t going to offer any Emmy-winning performances, but I was blissful in my viewing with my nostalgia and homemade crackers to keep me amused.
Sadly, I’m now all out of crackers. It’s comforting to know - especially on a day like today - that when armed with a nearly idiot-proof recipe like this , I can easily make some more. What combination of seasonings do you think you’d like to try first?
Artisan Herb Crackers
Adapted from A New Old-Fashioned Gal
2 ½ c. flour
3 t. dried herbs/seasonings*
1 t. salt
4 T. olive oil
¾ c. cold water
coarse salt for sprinkling on top
*I used dill, coarse cracked pepper, and oregano. Other tasty combinations might include parmesan, basil, rosemary, sage, cumin, cayenne, garlic salt, and onion powder.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl being sure to get everything well blended. Add the oil and half of the water and begin mixing. Add more water as necessary to form a rough dry dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until it comes together into a cohesive ball.
Divide dough into even quarters. On a silicone mat or piece of parchment paper, roll dough as thin as possible until it’s nearly the size of a baking sheet. Cut the dough into squares or other desired shape and use a fork to prick each square two or three times. Sprinkle with course sea salt.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown, turning the sheet once half way through. While the first batch is baking, roll out another quarter of dough. Let baked crackers cool before breaking apart. Store in a ziplock bag.
(makes about 5 cups of crackers)