Did you know that you can make crackers at home? Crackers that are completely natural, have no funky or suspicious ingredients and also don’t cost more than pennies? And addressing my pet peeve: crackers that are actually firm enough for you to spread cheese and other deliciousness over?
I bet you think I am talking crazy [I almost said “crackers” — see how I restrained myself there?] but for once, I’m not. This astoundingly simple recipe for crackers accompanied an article in last weekend’s New York Times Magazine about spelt versus farro and how some people mix them up but they’re quite different… and so on. The story is cute, but for me, the real gem was this recipe.
And I hope you’re sitting down for this but the sum of the ingredients are salt, water and flour. Seeds are optional, but I wouldn’t skip them since even the best flour, salt and water aren’t going to taste a whole lot on their own.
Now, I know the first questions I am going to get are a) where do I get spelt flour and b) can I use [insert your flour here] instead? So, to nip these in the bud, I got my spelt flour at Whole Foods, but know that it is also available from Amazon, King Arthur Flour and I have no doubt, your local health food store. As for trying other flours, I haven’t yet, but will. In the meanwhile, I encourage you to and let us know how it goes if you did.
That said, should you be able to find spelt, I really enjoyed what it offered: a surprisingly rich wheat aroma and a touch more flavor than plain white or whole wheat flour. I used a combination of seeds and dried onion one would find on my favorite bagel, the glorious everything bagel but you can use anything you have on hand.
Tune in tomorrow and I’ll tell you about the awesomeness we scooped up with these.
Cracker-like things, previously: Crisp Rosemary Flatbread
One year ago: Latke, Redux
Two years ago: Winter Panzanella
Spelt Everything Crackers
Adapted from the New York Times Magazine, 11/28/08 who adapted it from the Hungry Ghost in Northampton, Mass.
If you check out this video from a kitchen even smaller than mine, you can see one of their recipe testers making these at home. It’s seriously that easy.
Makes 1 large cracker sheet
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour, plus more for flouring surface
Coarse sea salt, dried onion bits, poppy seeds and sesame seeds (for the everything bagel effect) or a seed combination of your choice
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Dissolve the salt in 1/2 cup of cold water. Stir in the spelt flour until combined. Knead the dough a few turns until a ball forms.
2. Flour an overturned 12-by-17-inch cookie sheet and roll out the dough on top of it, using as much flour as needed to prevent sticking, until the dough covers the sheet from edge to edge. Do your best to get them as thin as possible, because the thicker parts become quite hard when baked. Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the dough to give it a glossy finish. Prick the dough all over with a fork. If you choose, sprinkle with sea salt or seeds. For neat crackers, score the dough into grids.
3. Bake until the dough is crisp and golden and snaps apart, 15 to 25 minutes. (Check after 10 minutes to make sure it does not overcook.) Break into pieces and serve.