Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thyme and Onion Wheat Crackers

Crackers have been a hot topic at my house lately.  My favorite whole wheat cracker seems to have been discontinued, and I've seen a variety of recipes in the past few months, but I barely bake, and I certainly don't make crackers - right?  Well, it turns out they're fairly easy to make.

I like a cracker that is robust enough to be eaten independently, but not so much that it might clash with my hummus or the ridiculous feta-spinach spread I've been into lately, or whatever other application I might want to use it for.  This cracker does that.   I also want a cracker to be made of real food - this cracker does that too.

It's based on a number of recipes that have floated by lately, plus enough savory flavor to stand on its own, with some extra wholesome mixed in.    

This is where I started: whole wheat flour, bread flour, wheat germ, flax seed, onion powder, black pepper, honey, thyme, salt and olive oil.

I got the dry goods together (everything above except olive oil and honey).  I preheated the oven to 375.

And mixed in the wet.  I put a cup of warm water in a bowl and mixed the honey into that, then added the olive oil and merged it with the dry goods.

I mixed it by hand, just until it came together, split it in half, and rolled it out onto parchment paper.  Many recipes I've seen call for running the dough through a pasta press.  I don't have one, but I can totally see why you might want to use one.  I got it to a pretty consistent 1/6th of an inch thickness, but if you can go thinner, you'll notice the improvement. I cut it into crackers (about 3/4 inch squares, mostly) with a pizza cutter.  The really rough edges got recycled into the second batch.  

I made fork-pricks in the tops and sprinkled on some additional sea salt. 

And moved the parchment to a baking sheet. The crackers went into the oven for about 30 minutes, rotating halfway and with some fairly obsessive checking in the last 10 minutes.  The crackers around the edge of the pan browned around the edges more quickly than those in the center, so they were pulled out at about 22 minutes.  The crackers are done when they're crispy all over and just starting to turn golden on top.  Timing will vary based on the thickness of the crackers.

These should keep for a few days in a sealed container.  I happened to have a good bit of frozen thyme on hand from last year's CSA haul, but these would be good with a number of different flavors - garlic, rosemary, sesame seeds, etc.

As in the past, I've tagged this vegan and it does include honey.  You could swap that out for some sugar or another sweetener.

Have a great tip for rolling out dough super-flat?  Ideas for cracker variations?  Expertise with cracker storage?  Let me know in the comments. 

This recipe is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.

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Thyme and Onion Wheat Crackers
Crispy, savory crackers in under an hour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup flax seed
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons thyme, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup warm water
Preheat the oven to 375.Mix flour, flax seed, wheat germ, onion powder, thyme, black pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt together.Dissolve honey in warm water and add that and the olive oil to the dry ingredients.Mix with a fork, then hands until combined. Divide dough in half.Roll half the dough out to 1/4 inch thick (or so). Cut into 3/4 inch squares with a pizza cutter. Dot the tops with a fork. Sprinkle on additional salt.Repeat with other half of the dough.Bake 10 minutes at 375, then rotate the pan. Bake another 10 minutes, and check the edges of the crackers. Remove any crackers that are already crispy and golden. Keep an eye on it, baking another 10 minutes or so until all cackers are done.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 100 crackers

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