The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Rolling crackers evenly

Felila's picture

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 :(



yy's picture

One inexpensive option to help with even rolling is to buy rubber rings to fit at the ends of a rolling pin:

Or get two thin wood strips from the hardware store. Lay them far enough apart to roll your dough but close enough for the rolling pin to straddle them. The strips will help you keep the thickness even.



possum-liz's picture

I use my pasta machine for making crackers more than for pasta. Lay the rolled dough on your baking sheet and use a pizza cutter to cut, there's usually no need to separate the crackers. Make sure your dough isn't sticky or you'll end up with a mess. I put the sesame seeds or other flavorings in the dough so there's no need to top.

Felila's picture

I realize that I saw just this technique on a Korean historical TV serial (K-drama) that I've started watching on DVD. Dae Jang Geum is palace intrigue plus Iron Chef (Korean court cuisine edition). One of the head cooks showed a novice how to cut tofu easily. Put square chopsticks on either side of the block of tofu and by running the knife along the chopsticks, you get thin, perfectly even sheets of tofu!

So all I need are two 1/16th inch strips of wood or those rings -- which look like less work to find. Thanks!

BTW, no bread in Dae Jang Geum so far. Just flour to make dough for dumpling wrappers. I don't think the Koreans were doing bread in the 16th century.



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

would be to roll the dough in sesame seeds before rolling out the dough.  This reduces the surface stickiness letting the dough roll out easier, don't be afraid to use the seeds instead of flour to prevent further sticking while working.  

As you are working with a very wet dough, my advice would be to reduce the hydration of the dough (and if needed add longer rise times.)  

Have you thought about extruding the wet dough onto the cookie sheet?  :)

Nickisafoodie's picture

RE parchment, yes it is expensive by the roll at your local store.  But you can buy 100 retangular sheets at a restaurant supply store.  They are 12" x 16" and fit perfectly into a standard 1/2 size baking pan. And no curling!

You can buy 100 for $4.69. Figure double the cost after shipping.  But while you are visiting the site you likely will find a few other things that are very cheap compared to typical retail outlets. And get two packs as you will go thru these faster than you think!  This site has some of the best prices on the web...   Check it out!  I'm a happy customer and have no affiliation with the company.

jcking's picture

I'm not sure why you've decided to use a ciabatta/wet dough when cracker dough is usually drier. Aside from that. Using rustic dough why not a rustic cracker? If your cookie sheets have a rim, flip 'em over. Roll out the dough into rustic looking sheets using what ever method from above to achieve an even thickness, don't cut them. After baking you'll have rustic looking sheets that can be broken at will. It's fun when entertaining to let your gueats break and dip. And with a little creativity imagine how they could be displayed.


Janknitz's picture

where they have the baking utensils and equipment.  I have found very inexpensive silicone baking mats.  They are not the fancy "SilPat" mats, just silicone mats about 1/8" thick that I use for rolling things out (they have raised measurements on the side and rings for pie crust measuring) AND baking on.  I think I picked up 2 for under $10. 

naschol's picture

You can also get Old Stone Oven Super Parchment.  It's not really cheap (about $6/sheet), but you can use them for a LONG time.  I have had my set of 6 for over 5 years and they look and perform like new.  I have a friend who uses hers on a pizza stone quite often to cook pizza and they have gotten a little darker, but still perform well.