first attempt - crackers

While I do make flatbreads and lavash crackers, I haven't done much in the classic cracker realm.  But, since I'm aiming for more food independence, I thought I"d give it a try.  Also saw a post on Chiot's Run the other day on using a pasta maker for crackers, which I thought was brilliant!  I love to find new uses for tools I have already.

I perused a few recipes, and settled on an one from the King Arthur whole grains book.  I had all the flours on hand, and it made a pretty big batch.

Multi-seed cracker bread, adapted from Whole Grain Baking:

1 cup each, all purpose and whole wheat flours
1/2 cup each, rye and cornmeal
2 t salt
2 T (or a couple of generous glugs) olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup grated parmesan.  Note: not in the original recipe, I had this leftover from pizza night, but it wasn't in the original recipe.

1/2 cup assorted seeds (poppy, sesame, etc)
2T assorted dry herbs.  I used garlic powder, just to keep things simple
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 T coarse salt

I blitzed the first set of ingredients in my food processor, then tipped it into a bowl and used my hands to pull it together.  I separated the dough into orange-sized pieces, and let them rest a bit while I gathered the seeds etc., turned on the oven to 400 or so, and lined some pans with parchment paper.

I treated the dough much like I do pasta: I "kneaded" using the largest opening on the pasta maker, folding it in half and re-feeding it about 5 or 6 times.  The first pass or two was pretty messy, but it quickly turned into a nice soft dough--and I didn't need to add much flour to keep it from sticking. Then I continued rolling it, turning down the thickness of the machine. Because I used a fairly coarse grind of cornmeal, I did hit a point where the grains started tearing the dough. (That just told me it was a good time to stop!)  At this point, I sprinkled the seed and herb mixture on top, and gave all the pieces a last roll with a rolling pin to press it all together.  I cut everything into rough squares with a pizza cutter, and baked them for 7-10 minutes. 

The pasta roller made them very uniform, which helped a lot with baking evenly.  But, this is definitely a recipe where it pays to watch carefully: they can go from toasted to overly browned pretty rapidly.

I ended up with about a pound of crackers in not-too much time.  I think it will go faster next time, and there's a million varieties to try: next time may involve butter, sourdough and more cheese! These were tasty though, and very healthy--though I'm embarrassed to say how empty the jar is already...

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