Foolproof crackers

ABOUT A YEAR ago, Sherry and I were in a small town in Minnesota staying at a Residence Inn. It was your typical chain hotel with nondescript rooms. But this place had quite the happy hour. It wasn’t the friendly service or copious amounts of alcohol that impressed us the most, though.

It was the batch of homemade crackers they would serve, fresh from the oven.

We returned to our home in Los Angeles and I had a new mission: Find out how to make the perfect crackers. I have experimented with many recipes, including rye, whole wheat, cheese and have had some success.

But the most foolproof recipe I have come across (and modified slightly) is one for “saltines,” which in my case are saltless saltines (yes, this is a thing in the grocery stores).

You can find the original recipe by Tiffany Bendayan here.

And here is my slight alteration, which leaves out the salt and swaps out the oil used to coat the crackers:

  • White flour: 2 cups (250 g)
  • Baking powder: 1 teaspoon (5 g)
  • Water: 1/2 (0.5) cup (120 ml)
  • Olive oil: 1/4 (0.25) cup (60 ml)
  • Egg whites: 2 tablespoons (30 ml)
  • Sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds: 2 tablespoons (10 g) each
  • Onion powder, garlic powder: 1 teaspoon (5 g) each
  • Pepper or other seasonings (rosemary, thyme): Up to you!

Combine the flour and baking powder. Add garlic and onion powders. Add half the sesame and poppy seeds to this dry mix. (Save the remaining for coating the crackers in a bit.)

Add the oil and water. Mix and knead this to a dough for approximately 10 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for 20 minutes or so.

Roll out the dough. You’ll want the dough to be about 1/16th of an inch thick (about 1 mm. to 1.5 mm.). I use a pasta lasagna roller to get a consistent thickness. But a rolling pin will work just fine.

Cut the dough into whatever cracker shape you prefer. Pierce the individual crackers with a fork or skewer.

Place the individual crackers on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Be sure to leave ample room between the crackers.

Brush the tops of the crackers with egg white and then sprinkle the additional seeds and seasonings.

(NOTE: You can omit this step and just cook the crackers without a coating, or you can use the original recipe which calls for coating with oil. I have found egg whites to provide a good base for the seasonings to adhere onto the cracker tops and the coating provides an extra crispiness to the cracker.)

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool.


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