I ask myself why it's taken me so long to get on board the whole-grain train! But there's no time like the present, right?
While I've been using more whole wheat and white whole wheat flour in my breads and rolls, I hadn't yet embraced the wonderful array of whole grain flours available these days. This photo of the vast selection of Bob's Red Mill products alone can make one's head spin!
Whole grains are better for you. Period. Gluten or not, the whole grain contains the germ and bran which are where the important nutrients are. And the fiber! Yes.
Making your own crackers is a satisfying project, plus you can vary your toppings and additives depending on your whims. Cool.
This recipe is my variant of Peter Reinhart's crispy rye and seed crackers from his book artisan breads everyday.
As you see in the photo above, we've got pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseed meal, just to name a few. You might notice my spice grinder in the upper right - I'll be grinding the pumpkin and sunflower seeds for this one.
Here we go.
- Grind 43 g (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds and 43 g (1/4 cup) pumpkin seeds in a spice grinder. Pulse and don't blend too long or you'll have seed butter.
- Use 29 g flaxseed meal like I did OR grind 29 g (3 tablespoons) flaxseeds separately.
- Combine the above seed powders with 57 g (6 tablespoons) sesame seeds, 227 g (1 3/4 cups) rye flour or whole wheat or white whole wheat (in my case, I used the latter), 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon honey and 170 g (3/4 cup water) in a mixing bowl.
- Mix either in a mixer with the paddle attachment or by hand with a large, sturdy spoon for 1-2 minutes. The dough should form a ball quickly.
Divide the dough into four pieces. Each piece provides enough for one 1/2 sheet of crackers.
Heat the oven to 300ºF. Line sheet pans with parchment (one pan for each quarter of dough you plan to bake).
Roll out one portion of dough on a lightly floured surface, lifting the dough and re-flouring as needed to prevent sticking. The dough may resist so give it a few minutes rest before continuing, to achieve a thickness of about 1/16th inch.
Once you're happy with the thickness, cut your crackers in a shape that appeals to you. Diamonds are always nice (you know what they say about diamonds). Think about any garnish you might want to add to the top. You'll need a wash of some sort so that your seeds or herbs of choice stick to the top. Options are an egg white wash made by whisking one egg white with 2 tablespoons water or a sweet wash made by whisking 1 tablespoon honey with 3 tablespoons water.
I went for the sweet wash and a garnish of sesame and poppy seeds.
Bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pans and bake for another 10 minutes. You may need another 5 or 10 depending on how thinly you rolled your crackers and your oven. They're done when they've turned a rich, golden brown and are dry and crisp. The beauty is that you can always return them to the oven to crisp them up.
These are lovely - not at all sweet, although a hint of honey comes through - crisp, seedy and subtle. Good.
I chose to bake a couple of sheets this go around. Just wrap the unused dough and either refrigerate it for a week or freeze it for several months. Reportedly the flavor improves after a couple of days in the fridge. I have 2 portions in my freezer as we speak. Maybe I'll bake them for the New Year!
Give it a try. It's fun.