Rolling crackers evenly
I just spent the whole #@$%@#$% afternoon turning my regular ciabatta recipe into crackers.This was a pain in the #@$%@#$%. If it's going to be this hard, perhaps I should buy my crackers.
Actually, it was a two-day process, I made a poolish, then made ciabatta dough the next day, added spices that I ground in my new spice grinder, and retarded the dough in the refrigerator overnight. When I first added the spices (cumin, coriander, fennel, and peppercorns) they seemed much too strong for the dough, but after a day in the refrigerator, the wholewheat flavor had developed further and the spices blended nicely. So far so good.
I pulled out a lump of dough and rolled it out as thinly and evenly as I could on the plastic mat that I use for piecrust and cookies. I didn't want to use parchment paper (expensive) and I don't have silpat mats (expensive) so at first I rolled, cut out squarish crackers and transferred them one by one to a lightly oiled cookie sheet. I brushed them with a honey glaze, sprinkled sesame seeds on them, and docked them with a fork. This took forever and the crackers baked unevenly. Some of them were thin and crisp, others were still doughy.
I then started rolling the dough into thin flat sheets and transferring it to the cookie sheet, where I put on the wash, sprinkled it with sesame seeds, then cut and docked it. It stretched as I moved it, so that I again had problems with uneven baking.
I suppose I should have been doing two cookie sheets at a time. That would have cut the time down a bit. I'm wondering if I could have rolled the dough ON the cookie sheet; then it wouldn't have stretched when transferred.
Or perhaps I should just give up on the idea of crackers until I can afford some silpat mats. But I might still have the problem of uneven rolling.
I'm wondering if a pasta maker, set for lasagna strips, would help with the rolling. I'm also intrigued by something I found online -- a baker who used an electric, non-stick pizelle iron to make big, lacy cookies. She said it was a lot faster than rolling crackers.
Not that I have the money or space for a pizelle iron either :(