Crackers have been around since the 18th century when they were an important staple for many and not just a vessel for cheese. Nowadays, there are many types and flavours of crackers out there to sample but I believe there is something extra special about making your own at home. Here are two recipes, one for a more British-inspired variety and another for a traditional American inspired ‘snap’ one.
Nowadays, there are many types and flavours of crackers out there to sample but I believe there is something extra special about making your own at home.
Text by Eileen Smith
Savoury Gruyère ‘Shortbread’ Crackers
Makes 30 crackers
114g butter, at room temperature (must be soft)
85g Gruyère cheese, grated
160g all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons chopped, fresh rosemary leaves
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2-3 tbsp of cold water or heavy cream (depending on dough)
Preheat your oven to 175C°. Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix until creamy or beat in a bowl with an electric hand mixer. Add the Gruyère, flour, salt, rosemary and pepper. Add water (or cream) 1 tbsp at a time until the dough is combined. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured board and roll into a 13-inch (33cm) long log. Wrap the log in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight or place in the freezer for 30 minutes to harden.
Remove log and allow to warm up a little, about 5 minutes. Cut the log crosswise into ¼ to ½ inch thick slices (1 – 1 ½ cm). Place the slices on a sheet pan and bake for 20- 22 minutes. Do not over-bake! Delicious on their own or with a little star-tip piped cream cheese.
Crisp Seeded Spelt Crackers
Makes 1 baking sheet pan
¼ teaspoon salt
160g white spelt flour or 175g of wholemeal spelt flour, plus more for flouring the surface
Coarse sea salt, dried onion bits, flax seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds or a seed combination of your choice.
Preheat the oven to 175C° degrees. Dissolve the salt in the cold water. Stir in your choice of spelt flour until combined. Knead the dough until a smooth ball forms. Add more flour if necessary. Cover and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Flour the underside of a baking 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. Really try to get them as thin as possible. If you have dough that overhangs from the sheet pan, simply trim it off and reform into a ball for later. Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the dough to give it a glossy finish. Prick the dough all over with a fork. Sprinkle with sea salt, onion bits and your choice of seeds. For neat crackers, score the dough (with a pizza roller or knife) into desired size grids.
Bake until the dough is crisp and golden and snaps apart, about 10 to 20 minutes. (Check after 10 minutes to make sure it doesn’t over-bake!) Break into pieces and serve. Store in an airtight container.