Saturday, June 7, 2008

Multi-Seed Crackers

OMG, I've discovered how EASY it is to make crackers! Thin, crispy, whole grain, multi-seed, delicious crackers! Who knew?? Not me, but I do now, thanks to the fine folks at the King Arthur Flour Co., and their fabulous Whole Grain Baking cookbook. If you are at all interested in whole grain baking, you really ought to get a copy of your own. It's full of enticing recipes for such things as:

I made these last weekend based on half-recipe quantities for the Whole Wheat Lavash on page 156, with a few changes: I used a combo of whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, and spelt flours; honey instead of sugar; light olive oil instead of butter; active dry yeast (don't have instant), and a little orange juice for extra liquid.

Hmm, now that I look at it again, I see that I changed almost everything. Still, a very similar recipe, and the proportions and process are from the book. I'm totally confident that if you make your lavash the KA way yours will be delish, too. BTW: I rolled these out round on parchment paper and baked them on my pizza stone, which worked great so I'm gonna keep doing 'em that way.

Makes two sheets of very yummy crackers, quantities can be doubled to make more:

1/2 C EACH: whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, and spelt flour
3/4 tsp salt
scant tsp active dry yeast, proofed in 1/3 cup warm water with 1 tsp honey
2 TBSP olive oil
1/4 tsp EACH: cayenne pepper, ground cumin, dried thyme
2 T orange juice (if extra liquid is needed)
mixed seeds for topping*

* I used a combo of roughly equal parts white and black sesame, poppy, caraway, and fennel seeds; about 1 TB of the combo per cracker sheet.

Stir the honey and yeast into the warm water, and set aside to proof.

While that's going on, measure the flours and dry seasonings into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (KA book says use dough hook, but for this quantity the paddle worked better).

Add the proofed yeast-water and the olive oil and mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. If the dough seems very dry and crumbly, add the 2 TB orange juice (or more water). Mix two more minutes at slightly higher speed. The dough should be very stiff and may look crumbly (the paddle will keep breaking it up as you mix), but it should hold together when you gather it up into a smooth ball. Divide the dough into two pieces, pat each one into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

When you're ready to bake, preheat the oven and your pizza stone to 425 (book says 450, but 425 was just right for my oven with the p-stone). Unwrap one piece of the dough (doesn't need to warm up, cold from the fridge is fine), and roll it out on a piece of bakers parchment as thin as you can get it. One dough-disk, i.e., half this recipe, rolled out to almost completely cover my 15" pizza stone (which is a circle with a diameter the width of a sheet of parchment paper, very convenient).

Brush the top of the dough with water (I used a spray mister), sprinkle it with the seed mix, and roll again to press the seeds into the dough. If you want pre-cut crackers, use a pizza cutter to cut the dough. Or leave it whole, and break into irregular pieces after it's cooked, if you prefer. I did the pizza cutter thing: be warned, it makes removing the done ones from the hot oven a little tricky, as they slide all over.

Slide the dough (on the parchment paper) onto the hot baking stone and bake until lightly browned (edges may be darker). This only takes a few minutes, so keep an eye on 'em! Roll out and top the second batch while the first is baking.

Remove to a cooling rack when done.

Try not to eat them all at once.

These were so yummy hubbie and I ended up eating an entire sheet of them with Walnut-Artichoke Dip (see next post) for dinner. We just could not stop until we'd gone too far. Needless to say, the second sheet are long gone by now, too. Hubbie wants me to make more, which I am happy to do. Gonna mix up the dough just as soon as I've finished posting this.

Big questions: Do I dare make an entire batch? Can we adequately restrain ourselves from a total and complete cracker pig-out? If I make these regularly and keep them in the house will we become inured enough for it not to be a diet-disaster? I mean, whole grains are all very well, but at a certain point (which, alas, is likely to come well before we stop reaching for another of these) too many is too much, no matter how healthy the ingredients.

Try 'em if you dare. Awesome with WALNUT-ARTICHOKE DIP (coming right up...)

1 comment:

PJH said...

Hey Java - glad you liked them! I do, too. And doesn't making your own crackers make you feel so, well, accomplished? Thanks for your enthusiasm, and I'm betting you'll find a lot of other recipe in Whole Grain Baking you'll lkike- PJ Hamel, King Arthur Flour baker