The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Whole wheat crackers not crispy

shansen10's picture

Whole wheat crackers not crispy

Several times I have made whole wheat crackers, based on a recipe in Piano Piano Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant:

1/2 c leftover sludge from capturing wild yeast (I use leftover sourdough sludge)

1/4 c sesame seeds

1/2 c WW flour

1/2 c AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes

1/4 c poppy seeds

1/2 c flax seeds


1/2 c olive oil

Mix all together into a ball, refrigerate 1 hour.  Roll out between sheets of parchment as thin as possible.  Cut into squares with a pizza cutter, prick with a fork.  Bake on top shelf at 350F for 20-25 minutes.  The crackers are delicious in flavor but tough and chewy, not crispy, except at the edges. 

Can anyone give me advice on how to make them crispy?


Doc.Dough's picture

You need to treat the crackers like you are making melba toast and dry them out in an oven that won't brown them (much).  If you would like them to be uniformly golden brown try baking them at 300°F for a couple of hours (I don't think you need to prebake them at 350°F, just use the lower temperature for a longer time).  If you want them to have brown edges try your 25 min at 350°F first then drop the temperature to 300°F. 

They sound very good.  I may try that formulation. I gather that the sourdough "sludge" is just a source of lactic acid, and the water is just there to hold it together until it is in the oven.  I suspect that it is dry enough to use a pasta machine to roll them out and "knead" them so that the dough has some strength though it might need a higher gluten flour than AP to use the mechanical roller.  One pass will tell.

shansen10's picture

I've never made melba toast; will have to try it.  Do you have a good recipe?  And I'll try baking the crackers longer and at lower temperature, as you suggest.  Not owning a pasta machine, I'll keep rolling by hand.  I do have a good heavy stone (marble? quartzite?) rolling pin which does the job.  Thanks for your suggestions.

EvaB's picture

but as far as I know Melba toast is simply dried bread. You place the bread onto a cookie sheet, and into a low oven until the bread is lightly toasted and shrunk. It won't look like commercial stuff since you are slicing the bread at home and using your loaf recipe, but its simply a way to keep bread longer. You can then use the toast for dipping in soup, or whatever. My mother always made it for her poached eggs in milk (shuddering here as I hated it and still can't think of eating that) putting the toast in the bottom of the bowl and the poached egg and hot milk on top.

shansen10's picture

Thanks, bennykrik,

I've been to busy to try the crackers lately, but will do them soon.  I'll try rolling them out thinner, and leaving in the oven to dry.  The next time I do them, I 'll try baking between two sheets.  We'll see what happens.


honeymustard's picture

Hi Sue,

I make crackers fairly regularly in the kitchen now, but I initially found them quite frustrating too for the same reasons! But I would definitely take Alex's advice and roll so thin you can barely stand it.

I've made this process easier, albeit not very graceful, by doing two things: a) sprinkling cornmeal liberally over the cookie sheet I'm baking on, and then rolling the dough out directly on the sheet. (My cookie sheets have rims, so I use an old, clean wine bottle as a rolling pin; this is the bit that lacks in grace.)

Hope this helps!


shansen10's picture

Thank you for your suggestions, Amelia.  What a cool idea to use a wine bottle!  Luckily I do have a heavy stone rolling pin.  But I will roll THIN and use the cornmeal.  Can't wait to try it.