The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Going crackers over crackers

breadsong's picture

Going crackers over crackers

Hello, I'm not sure if what I actually made today is considered a cracker or a biscuit, but here goes:

Danish Rye Biscuits (Crackers?):

Flaky layers inside the biscuit: 

RonRay posted his wonderful Sourdough Crackers recipe recently. These crackers were delicious (thank you Ron!).
As part of Ron's post, Daisy_A responded with a rye cracker variation. Her crackers sounded great too.
Then today I was reading in Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery about dark rye meal, and the dry crispbreads of the Scandinavian countries...she notes, "Among the most delicious of those which I have eaten are the biscuits or rye-cakes made on the Danish island of Bornholm". I was curious to see what these biscuits were and if they looked good, if I could create something similar at home.

I found reference on Google to Bornholmske Rugkiks, a 27-layer rye cracker flavored with caraway, and a recipe here. (This page may need to be translated into English). The ingredients called for rye flour (rugmel in Danish) and "siftings" (sigtemel in Danish). There is reference to sigtemel on TFL in this post from Daisy_A; based on that information I substituted equal portions of 75% sifted whole wheat and rye flours for the "siftings".

This is my version of this Danish rye biscuit, changing the ingredients so that the fat and water content of the cracker/biscuit dough approximates that of flaky cream cheese pastry (made with 3 turns for 27 layers; post is here).
I was hoping my dough, when baked, would provide a biscuit similar to the 27-layer rye biscuit as it was described.
I didn't have any cream cheese, & didn't necessarily want to use cream cheese in this dough anyway, so made an all-butter dough.
I used anise and fennel instead of caraway, loving the flavor combination (as used in Karin's lovely Dinkel-Walnussbrot bread).

Danish Rye Biscuits (or Crackers), (unfortunately not sourdough like Ron's!)

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds

Toast in dry pan until lightly toasted. Transfer toasted seeds to mortar and pestle and grind. Set aside to cool.

Cream together (I used a stand mixer with paddle attachment):
164 grams unsalted butter, room-temperature-soft (70F)
2.1 grams salt
3/4 tsp of cooled, ground spice mixture

Mix in:
61 grams whole rye flour
32 grams medium rye flour (I used 75% sifted rye)
32 grams sifted whole wheat flour (I used 75% sifted Red Fife)
6 grams milk powder
58 grams milk

Mix just until you have a cohesive dough.
Lay out some plastic wrap on counter, place dough on plastic wrap, cover, shape into disc, chill until thoroughly cold and firm.
Lightly flour counter. Take dough from fridge and unwrap.
Roll to 12" x 8" approximately. Do a business letter turn, brushing excess flour from the dough as you fold the dough over. This is your first turn to create 3 layers.
Roll to 12" x 8" approximately. Do a business letter turn, brushing excess flour from the dough as you fold the dough over. This is your second turn, you now have 9 layers.
Roll to 12" x 8" approximately. Do a business letter turn, brushing excess flour from the dough as you fold the dough over. This is your third turn, you now have 27 layers.
This was what the dough looked like (the third roll, then the third turn):

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and return to fridge to chill for at least two hours.
Take dough from fridge and unwrap; place on piece of parchment paper cut to fit your baking sheet.
Roll out dough on the parchment paper to 12" x 8" approximately. Cut dough into squares or rectangles (I used a fluted pastry wheel to do this). Dock the dough with a fork. Slide parchment onto baking sheet, loosely cover with plastic wrap, return to fridge to chill dough while the oven preheats (20 minutes or so.)

Preheat oven to 425F convection.
Remove baking sheet from fridge and remove plastic wrap.
Brush tops of biscuits with cream and sprinkle kosher salt over.
*Reduce oven temperature to 375F*, place biscuits in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Check for browning after 15 minutes; I baked for 4 minutes longer.
(I preheated the oven a bit hotter hoping the temperature boost at the start of baking would help the biscuits rise up and puff a bit).
Remove to cooling rack to cool when done.

These little biscuits are buttery, crisp and flaky, and I love the flavor.
Thanks to Ron, Daisy_A, the blog writer who provided the basic recipe and Ms. David for the inspiration for these biscuits.

Happy baking everyone!
from breadsong

EvaB's picture

or cookie rather than a cracker to me crackers are very flat, and nothing I like better than really really flat rye bread the Kavli brand in particular, those are so thin, its like eating sharp glass when you bite into them. These look so nice and crispy although fluffy with the layers.

breadsong's picture

Thanks so much, Eva.
Instead of a cracker I didn't know whether these might be considered a biscuit, rye-cake as Ms. David suggests, perhaps a flatbread or even a type of quick puff pastry, just made with rye and whole wheat flours...
I loved the texture and flavor of these - I think I may try out this dough as a base for savory appetizers
(hansjoakim's beautiful tomato flans come to mind...!)
Thanks again from breadsong

EvaB's picture

and I can see a lovely savoury tart of some type made with them.

I enjoy crackers and always have, the crunch satisfies something in my craving center. Much better to crunch a rye cracker over a bag of potato chips.

ananda's picture

I love the look of these Breadsong.

A winning find from Ms. David's archives.

I've done a few laminated doughs for crackers before.

Try the following ideas: crumb butter with flour, scatter this on the dough and laminate as your process.

Have you rolled out the final time too thick?   Your process looks great to me; if you rolled out thinner, maybe you'd get the cracker instead of the biscuit?

Either way, I love the flaky layers

Best wishes


breadsong's picture

Hello Andy, I agree with you - the mention of these by Ms. David was a winning find!
I'm so glad you liked these biscuits.
I appreciate your tip on laminating - this may make it more like a true 'quick' puff pastry.
I wish I'd paid more attention to what thickness I'd rolled the dough out to
(here is a photo taken just before baking - can't see very well how thick the dough is):

I thought about weighting the dough with a second baking sheet to keep them flatter during the bake, but didn't as I wanted to see how this dough might rise in the oven given the use of rye and whole wheat flours.

I should have really paid credit to Nancy Silverton for her mixing/rolling/folding technique in my post, so will do so now. I am amazed by the flakiness that results due to the folds.

Thank you for your input and advice, and next time I will try rolling these thinner.
:^) from breadsong