Crackers from scratch

These are the world’s best crackers!

This is something really special – everybody loves these crackers, and they’re so easy to make! They’re much cheaper than store-bought crackers, and they have less fat and less salt. Plus did I mention everybody loves them? I start pretty much every evening of cooking by making crackers, and then everyone has something to dip salsa into while the rest of the dinner is cooking.

But you have to knead them!

The first time I made these crackers, I didn’t really knead them, and they came out like sand, all crumbly. Inedible. Make sure you knead them for at least a minute. And, if they don’t come out right the first time, try again.

How to make crackers:

Preheat the oven to 425F. In a medium size mixing bowl, mix three cups of flour (dump another 1/4 cup on the counter so your dough won’t stick to it later). Add a large pinch of salt, 1 cup of water, and 1/3 cup of olive oil (I do the olive oil first so the water will wash out last bits of oil from the cup).

I usually use plain white flour, but whole wheat and rye, or combinations, also work fine. You’ll need to add a little extra water. You can make them with chickpea flour too, but they’ll be a little more fragile without the gluten to hold them together.

Mix with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about twenty seconds. Dump the dough on to the counter and knead it for at least a minute.

Separate the dough into two balls. Use a rolling pin to roll out each ball until they are about 1/8 inch thick, and about big enough to cover a cookie sheet. Whenever the dough begins to stick to the rolling pin, or gets hard to roll, flip it over. You’ll need to flip it over three or four times. Then gently lift the dough and put each piece on a cookie sheet (you’ll need two cookie sheets).

Sprinkle with seasonings – more salt, or pepper, or sesame seeds, or chopped rosemary, or chopped thyme, or some combination. Press the seasonings in a little with the palms of your hands so they won’t fall off.

Use a pizza wheel or a sharp knife to slice the crackers into cracker-size pieces, about 1 1/2 inches on a side. Don’t cut all the way through, or you’ll scratch your pan. Just score them, and you can break them apart later.

Put both cookie sheets in the oven and bake about ten to fifteen minutes, until even the center crackers are beginning to brown. If your oven heats unevenly, you may need to turn the cookie sheets halfway through.

When you take the crackers out, let them cool five minutes before eating them, or they’ll burn you. Now stop that! Leave those alone! See, I told you they would burn you. As a starter, serve with salsa, or with chopped liverparsley boniet, guacamole, baba ganoushhummus, or gefilte fish. Or for a main course, serve with lettuce soup, or any other soup.

Vegetarian or vegan

Mmm, naturally vegan crackers! Enjoy 🙂

Can I keep these for later?

Yes – these miraculous crackers keep well for a few days in a bowl on your counter, if you can keep people from eating them. To keep them longer, put them in a plastic bag like a breadbag and freeze them. They’ll keep for two or three weeks. You don’t even need to defrost them – they’re so dry that a few minutes in a bowl on the counter is enough to defrost them.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

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