The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Crackers!!

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Atropine's picture
Atropine

Crackers!!

Tried my first batch of homemade crackers today.  Used half of this recipe:

5 cups flour
1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon salt

 Kneaded by hand as my dough hook was in the dishwasher lol.  Rise, deflate, then rolled out on the back of a jelly roll pan which had had aluminum foil on it (my pans are rusty) that had been lightly oiled.  Baked in a 450 degree oven for about 10-14 minutes (two pans, so they took a bit longer).  Docked one, left the other undocked.  Buttered the undocked and salted both with kosher salt.

Results are acceptable but need work.  I am not worried about the flavor at the moment (though it was a fine flavor, though I think a tad salty), as much as the texture.  It was more "pita" or "thick tortilla" texture.  Acceptable for a pita, but too chewy for a cracker.  I am trying to get CLOSE to saltines (I know I cannot get exactly, but my plan is to get close enough so that I do not have to buy crackers....trying to get to as simple of food as possible.).

 

Couple of thoughts....

1)there was no soda in the cracker--make a difference?  If so, what?

2)I needed to roll it out even thinner.  I thought I did fairly well, but I think that I need to be going for "paper thin".

3)Are the crackers I am trying to make actually more of a quickbread?  I can get a very tender crumb out of my biscuits...wonder if I need to not do yeast and do more biscuit?  Or a hybrid?

4)Was the dough TOOO smooth?  TOO dry?  Wonder if I had more of a "spreadable" dough instead of a "rollable" dough if that would be better?  Too much gluten production?  OR do I need to add more gluten and work it longer to get a very SUPER elastic dough?

 

Any input would be GREATLY appreciated!

Atropine's picture
Atropine

Ok, not that this seems to be of much interest to anyone lol, but just in case there is a cracker-making lurker out there who is interested hee hee!.....

Tried two more recipes today.  One was the same recipe as above, though the water level was GREATLY increased--to batterlike consistency and spread on the foil.  Halfway through spreading I remembered that I had NOT greased the foil xsighx.  Oh well.

First thing was that there was TOO MUCH SALT in this recipe.  Ugh.  And I am one who used to dip my chicken nuggets in salt, instead of sauce.

Even though the crackers did stick to the aluminum foil, once I peeled the foil off, that side of the crackers were SHINY.  As if they had been glazed or something--REALLY shiny.  That was kinda cool.

The texture of the well done portions (brown) was a bit....hard and brittle.  But not bad.  The texture of the less well done portions was a very nice bread.  However, there seemed not to be a happy medium--either bread or brittle, not cracker like.

Now, the BISCUIT dough--there is where the success lay.  Still needs a bit of tweaking, but the reports from the peanut gallery (the kids at the breakfast bar) was that those crackers were really good.  I thought so as well.  They were not smooth, but the texture was MUCH better than either of the tries I had done with yeasted bread dough to make crackers.  They were more flaky and pleasant to bite. 

I am thinking of trying the biscuit recipe with just a bit of yeast and see what that does.  Also, I would like to find a way to make a cracker with my biscuit recipe but not use butter or shortening (butter is pricey, though I only used two tbls, and I am trying to stay away from shortening).  That might be a bit of a challenge.

I would also like to tweak the biscuit cracker so that it is more smooth, perhaps, though I will gladly give up form for function if they taste good and work well! :)

 A.

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Fear not!  We are here.... Lurking as you have guessed.  :)

You are right! ...also think recipe at top should read 2 teaspoons, max.  Soda also sounds interesting, think I would dissolve it in the water before mixing or how about Bubbly mineral water?  Soda and Salt are both salts so might be good to reduce salt when using soda. 

I've made crackers with a similar recipe but they were fried in oil, like in an electric fry pan, first rolled and then pulled out with the fingers and not allowed to rise.  Think it was called Navaho bread.  Also tried to make graham crackers.  Saltines are also referred to as soda crackers.  Also day old bread, sliced thin and dried can be crackers.  Brushed with garlic & oil and toasted in oven.  Another thought, instead of one bulk rise, try knocking it down every 30 minutes to create fine bubbles in the crumb, 3 times and 4th time, shape.  Biscut dough makes me think of pie dough, both are blended quickly.  I remember mom used to spread out the left-over pie dough and bake into crackers.   We could also be looking at a combination: like batter crepes fried on a dry pan and then baked (or hung on the racks) in oven to dry out: crispenize.  :) --Mini  

Airfun's picture
Airfun

I wanted to let you know, I'm a cracker-making lurker out here as well :) I haven't had much success, trying the biscuit type crackers, haven't tried using any yeast. Wondering if you had tried any with a bit of yeast and how that turned out?

This site is great, I've been haunting it! :)

Chris

bluezebra's picture
bluezebra

How goes it in the cracker wars?

jssc_bs's picture
jssc_bs

I am going to try a couple cracker recipes I found at 'fooddownunder.com', I am really excited. I'll let you know how it goes, maybe even take a picture: )

 

This is a fabulous recipe resource.

Airfun's picture
Airfun

I started another attempt yesterday, King Arthur Flour has a couple of recipes (Soda Crackers and Cheese Crackers) that seemed likely. These seem to differ from the original recipe in this thread by having soda and tartar, but also maybe being drier to start?

I did torture the recipe, sortof cutting the Soda Cracker recipe in half, but ground up a couple tablespoons of flax and a couple tablespoons of a nice smelling dried veggie flake mix. It needed more liquid so that got added yesterday, then more today, it was still dryish, (I used a mix of wheat to get all purpose, scraps from the freezer to fresh milled) I think it would like to be a little more slack. I separated it into 3 portions to roll out and bake, rolled out very thin, folded in 3, rolled again, brushed on olive oil mixed with a few drops of a garlic sauce and soy sauce, sprinkled with roasted sesame seeds and a wee bit of salt. Left the cookie sheet sit for a while (1/2 hour maybe), baked at 350 for ~7 min, turn, bake for a couple more. Forgot to poke the last sheet, they got puffy in the oven :)

It's fun to experiment, the last batch in the oven was the best, it had sat out of the fridge longest (3 hrs maybe), the brush on oil mix had been tweaked a bit. next time I will bring the bowl out of the fridge, let sit a few hours. Might try grinding the dried veggies then soaking them in the water rather than grind and add with the flour.

The texture is getting closer to where I want it, nice layers, open puffs, still a bit short, hoping additional noisture to start will help that. Trial and error, the dogs love the worst of the errors :)

Chris

umbreadman's picture
umbreadman

Lurking! Lurking!! There are people I live with who are trying to figure out how to make crackers, and now I've been caught up in the search. If we ever try anything with any success, I'll post it. Hopefully someone gets something good...mmmmm.....saltines.....

ejm's picture
ejm

They were pretty grainy - but we really like grainy crackers.

And definitely, thinner was better. But it's REALLY easy to burn them...

The yeasted ones (from discard after building up sourdough starter) we made could be revised to come closer to the plainer cracker that you're looking for. 

with yeast: http://etherwork.net/blog/?p=370#recipe

without yeast: http://etherwork.net/blog/?p=335#recipe 

 

-Elizabeth 

Windischgirl's picture
Windischgirl

On the road today, I was munching on rosemary crackers from Trader Joe's.  Delicious!  But I thought, how hard could it be to make them?  The texture is very much like a saltine but with dried rosemary in every bite, and topped with a light sprinkling of coarse salt.

I thought about how it resembled a recipe I had read about: "Carta di Musica" or think cracker-like sheets of dough resembling sheets of music.  I just did a search and came across a recipe for a rosemary version on The Telegraph (UK newspaper) 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/recipes/9236911/Carta-di-musica-with-rosemary-oil-recipe.html

I have a crazy work week ahead of me but maybe next weekend...?