Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{31 Days} Cooking from Scratch: Homemade Crackers

Okay, friends – this week is probably what motivated me to do this 31 Days series in the first place!  We’re talking snacks.  Simple, nutritious and delicious ways to feed your family’s snack craving from scratch. 

Sure, stocking your pantry was essential, and breakfasts are the key to a good start to the day, and heck, even lunch with homemade bread or tortillas is good – but snacks.  Oh, my.  That’s my weakness in the grocery store. 

I love ‘em.
Especially those little orange cheesy crackers.
But the ingredients. Urg.
Don’t make me think about them.

Instead – I’ll share my favorite homemade cracker recipes with you today.  Tomorrow – we’ll talk homemade dips, and before the weekend is over, we’ll tap into granola bars & {hopefully} homemade graham crackers.  I hope you are excited! 

Why make homemade crackers?

Homemade crackers are filled with basic ingredients – flour, salt, and a little oil/butter, as well as herbs & seasonings as desired.  Can’t beat that!

Homemade crackers are easy to make
Homemade crackers are fun to make with kids.
Homemade crackers taste amazing.
Homemade crackers freeze well – so make a big batch for later. 

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Three Simple Tips for Making Homemade Crackers

(1) Roll crackers thin enough!  Use that rolling pin.
(2) Watch your crackers carefully as you bake them; they can go from under-done to burnt likidy split. 
(3) Cut crackers using a pizza cutter.

Our Favorite Cracker Recipes

1. Whole Wheat Crackers
2. DIY Wheat Thins {they really taste like the real deal}
3. Herbed Butter Crackers

While these three cracker recipes make appearances often in our kitchen, our #1 FAVORITE CRACKER RECIPE goes to…..

Whole Wheat DIY Cheese-Its

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 C white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt {+ more for garnish}
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2/3 C water
  • 1 C extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated & at room temp

Directions

Combine the flour (2 C flour – divided between whole wheat & white whole wheat flour, if desired) together with 1/2 tsp. sea salt in a large bowl.  I use the bowl of my stand mixer. 

Add in the 2/3 C water (room temp or cold is just fine), and 2 T olive oil. 

Add to this the shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (1 C) that is at room temperature. 

Then, either by hand, or using the dough hook on your mixer, knead the dough for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth & well mixed. 

At this point, find a clean work surface.  Lay out a towel, and place 2-3 cookie sheets on top of those towels.  If desired, you can place parchment paper on each cookie sheet. 

Divide the dough in half, or in thirds (depending on how many cookie sheets you have. 

Roll the dough out on the cookie sheet, rolling as thin as you can – about 1/8th inch thick.  Pay close attention to getting the middle thin too! 

Use a pizza cutter and cut the dough into crackers about 1 inch by 1 inch in size.

Prick each cracker with a fork, and sprinkle the entire tray with sea salt, if desired.  If you do sprinkle the crackers with sea salt, gently press the salt into the crackers with your hands.

Bake each tray of crackers at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  Set the buzzer for 10 minutes and then for every 3-5 minutes after that. 

This is really important the first time you make crackers so you know how your oven cooks these little guys.  The last few minutes are crucial, and you may find you’ll need to pull the tray out, use a metal spatula to remove some of the crackers from the edges and return the tray to the oven to get the middle crackers cooked all the way. 

When lightly browned and crunchy, remove the crackers from the oven.  Cool slightly on the tray before using a metal spatula to remove them.  If you’ve used parchment paper, this will be quite easy. Even if you placed your crackers right on the tray, a metal spatula will pop them right off. 

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.  Store crackers longer by freezing them. 

Have you tried making crackers?  Any favorites at your place?  What kind will you make first?

Linked to: These chicks cooked,

13 comments:

  1. The only food I tend to buy in a box is wheat thins, cheese its, or ritz. I will be makeing this and the wheat thin recipe!

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  2. it never ever crossed my mind to make a homemade cracker. i am up to the challenge, i can't wait to try it out!

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  3. Homemade crackers are SO good!! I love to make cheese crackers at home, too. They actually taste like cheese, a unique concept that the boxed kind just hasn't figured out yet. Maybe I'll make a batch of crackers for my daughter to enjoy after school today :)

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  4. I am a sucker for cheez-its too, and I was just thinking about making homemade crackers - something I've never done before. Great timing.
    2 questions:

    1. Could I use a mixture of whole wheat flour and plain white instead of white whole wheat?

    2. Is the link to whole wheat crackers more like a saltine or a wheat thin? I'd love to find a good whole wheat saltine...

    Great post! -liz @ carpeseason.com

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  5. @ Liz -

    I am in the quest of trying to make a saltine or club-like cracker.... I think I'm close, but not quite there just yet. I'll be sure to share when we find a recipe that works!

    In answer to your questions:

    1) Yes, you can use a mix of whole wheat & all purpose flour.

    2) The whole wheat cracker is more like a true whole wheat cracker -- they are not sweet like a wheat thin. I think of these more as a cracker for cheese slices, or a cracker for pepper jelly, or a dip. They are more of an elegant cracker excellent paired with something.

    Does that help?

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  6. I am amazed! Thank you the recipe. I am excited to know that I now can make my own crackers.

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  7. This looks SO delicious...I've been wanting to make my own crackers for a while now, I’m book-marking this to make later! I found you via “This Chick Cooks Link Party”. I’m your newest follower and would love a “follow back”!

    Have a great week,

    Jillian @ www.foodfolksandfun.blogspot.com

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  8. I'll be honest. Homemade crackers scare me. Actually, I take that back. Any kind of yeast or bread hook recipes. I am totally amazed at your ability. Your series has been great so far. I have learned so much. :)

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  9. This is a wonderful thing! They look great! I've never made homemade crackers and have to give it a go. Can't wait to try it!

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  10. I've been making my own crackers for a couple of years now. One of the ways I switch them up a bit is to add different herb combinations. After rolling the dough out, brush lightly with water. Then sprinkle on your herbs. I have used homemade ranch dip, italian herbs, green can parmesan cheese, granulated garlic with basil and sea salt,b etc. Then I cut with the pizza cutter. I also roll out directly on my silpats...I kept having a problem with the crackers sticking to the parchment.

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  11. I LOVE CHEESE-ITS! This just might help my craving. My two girls and I are about to try this recipe. Cant wait!

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    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoyed it! These are delicious.

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  12. Making my own prevents me from eating gmo grains! thanks!

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Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you; especially how you're finding JOY in your kitchen.

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