A perfect recipe
But this recipe for crackers caught my attention, and I'm delighted to add it to my repertoire. No yeast, no rising, only four minutes in the oven. The crackers are extremely thin yet resilient. They stay crunchy even if left out for a while. They're pretty even if you break them. You can play with flavorings. They are somewhat healthier than other snacks. And, completely addictive.
So really, a perfect recipe: easy, original, tasty, not fussy, somewhat healthy, the crackers store well, and lend themselves to variations.
For those who don't have gadgets...
Susan and I both used the pasta roller attachment to our Kitchenaid to roll out very thin sheets of dough. I went as far as level 6, I believe she made hers even thinner. I was happy to use my new toy, and yes, it makes the rolling out process a little faster.
The crackers after rolling out, brushing with oil and sprinking with salt. Rolling out with the pasta roller lets you make such thin sheets the dough can get a little wrinkly. But the wrinkles only add hand-made charm to the crackers.
However, you do not need a pasta roller. I tried rolling a few crackers by hand and had no difficulty, as you can see here.
The dough is easy to handle, and barely needs a dusting of flour for rolling out by hand.
The two crackers on the left -- marked with herbs -- were hand-rolled. The two on the right were machine-rolled.
The front two crackers were hand-rolled.
I did bake the crackers on a preheated baking stone. I should have tested without the stone, for readers who don't have one. But I imagine preheating a cookie sheet in the oven and placing the crackers on it to bake would probably have a similar effect.
Finally I used my pizza peel to slide the crackers onto the stone, but that really isn't necessary. Just put a piece of baking paper on the back of a cookie sheet, then use the cookie sheet to slide the crackers with the paper onto the preheated stone or cookie sheet in the oven.
I played with a few variations, sprinkling the crackers with pepper, grated cheese and rosemary. The pepper was good for those who like spicy crackers. The cheese very tasty too, though I kept it light (this isn't pizza!). The rosemary did not adhere to the crackers, so I can't say it added much. I tried rolling some rosemary leaves in with the dough, but this caused tearing.
I also substituted a good portion of whole-wheat flour for the all-purpose flour, and the result was great. Once I didn't have enough semolina flour, so I substitued corn meal for part of the semolina. I liked the result very much, though it made them a little grainier.
A cracker sprinkled with grated cheese (Gruyère). Next I'll try parmesan.
I tried reproducing the photo Susan took but hers is better, do have a look at her post
Sometimes when I was a little too quick to roll the dough, it tore a little. But even with tears, the crackers hold up very well. I find it gives them a lacy effect
Recipe: Sesame-Semolina Flatbreads
Source: Wild Yeast
(adapted from “Sardinian Crackers” in Savory Baking from the Mediterranean by Anissa Helou)
Yield: 12 large flatbreads
* Mix/rest: 45 minutes
* Roll/bake (total time for 12 flatbreads): 25 minutes
* 150 g flour
* 150 g semolina
* 22 g (2 T.) black sesame seeds
[Susan used black sesame seeds (I only had white), which makes the crackers even more visually appealing.]
* 6 g (1 t.) salt
* 170 g lukewarm water
* olive oil for brushing
* coarse Kosher salt for topping
1. Preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 450F.
2. Mix flour, semolina, sesame seeds, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Add water are stir to incorporate into the dry ingredients.
4. Turn dough onto an unfloured counter and knead for 3 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
5. Knead for another 2 minutes. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
6. Divide the dough into 12 or more pieces and form them into balls.
7. Cut a piece of parchment paper the approximate size of your baking stone.
8. Roll a ball of dough through a pasta roller, starting with the thickest setting and adjusting the thickness setting down with each successive pass, to the desired thinness. Alternatively, roll out as thin as possible with a rolling pin.
9. Place the rolled flatbread on the parchment. Repeat with as many flatbreads as will fit on the parchment.
10. Brush the flatbreads lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a small pinch of Kosher salt.
11. Transfer the breads, parchment and all, onto the stone. Bake until the edges are nicely brown and rippled, and the tops have golden brown patches, about 3 – 4 minutes.
12. While one batch is baking, roll out the next batch.
13. Cool on a wire rack. Break into pieces to serve.