Think about different types of crackers you enjoy eating. What do they have in common?
They be thin. They be salty.
The key to great crackers is to make them thin and don’t spare the salt!
Why Make Homemade Crackers?
It seems that more than anything else, people want healthy alternatives to packaged snack foods. It’s the toughest category to find a healthy recipe upgrade for, in my opinion, because you need things that can hang out in a diaper bag or a desk drawer for days or weeks. Cheese and yogurt that’s homemade just don’t fit the bill!
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Packaged crackers are notoriously unhealthy, between the often used trans fats, the even more often used polyunsaturated oils, the high salt content and the white flour. In whole grain crackers, you have the problem of extruded grains (Triscuits) which may damage the fats under high heat and pressure, or the phytates issue with unsoaked whole grains.
This homemade cracker recipe will satisfy even the pickiest cracker eater, if that picky cracker eater would go near Wheat Thins. It also is a true “real food” recipe with some slight modifications. It’s THE perfect whole wheat cracker recipe to start with. Believe me, I started with some that were solidly in the “too healthy” or “too tasteless and bland” categories.
Printable Homemade “Wheat Thins” Style Crackers Recipe
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking CookbookPrint
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking Cookbook
- 1 1/4 c. whole wheat flour (can use spelt flour, traditional whole wheat or white whole wheat)
- 1 1/2 Tbs. sugar (or honey)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- 4 Tbs. butter
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/4 tsp. vanilla
- for topping
- Mix ‘em: Combine the whole wheat flour, sugar, salt and paprika in a medium bowl. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter thoroughly into the dry mixture until it looks like large crumbs, no bigger than a pea. Some people use a food processor to cut in the fat, but I prefer to save dishes and keep it all in one bowl. Combine the water and vanilla in a measuring cup, plus honey if using, and add to the flour mixture. Mix well until combined and dough forms, but only as long as necessary for the most tender crackers.
- Prep ‘em: Use parchment paper, a lightly greased cookie sheet, or an ungreased baking stone. For crackers, I would HIGHLY recommend using a baking stone (I love my Pampered Chef Rectangular Stone), or at least parchment paper or a Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat. I roll the dough right out on the stone or mat, after flouring it lightly, and bake them. Yep, right on the stone. That way I don’t have to worry about rumpled crackers as I move the fragile dough. People say, “Those are homeMADE?” because most of my crackers have perfect shape and are sooooo delectably thin.
- Roll ‘em: Only use one fourth of the dough at a time. Cover all your surfaces with flour and roll the dough as evenly as you can. You might flip the dough to make it easier to roll, but I don’t always have to. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as humanly possible without tearing. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife and cut the dough into squares or triangles, about 1 1/2 inches each. Fork pokes make them look extra authentic. If you want all beautifully square crackers, you can trim the edges square. I skip the trimming and just deal with weird shaped crackers. Those go to the toddler right away! (Note: be sure you don’t cut your silicone mat!)
- Bake ‘em: Make sure your oven is preheated to 400 F. If you have used a mat or parchment paper, just slide it onto a cookie sheet. If you don’t have either, you’ll have to move each cracker individually. Sprinkle the squares lightly with real salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
- Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned, 5 to 10 minutes. (If you want to do two trays at once, you can put one on top and one and bottom and switch them halfway through the baking time.) If some of the thinner crackers on the edges brown too quickly, remove them and return the remaining crackers to the oven to finish baking. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely – even 30 seconds can turn them from golden brown to toast!
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Are they done? You want them to be almost crispy, but not totally breakable to deem them “done,” because they will crisp up a bit as they cool. You’ll learn after a tray or two the difference between “too soft” “done” and “oops”. They’re still tasty when they’re soft, just not so cracker-y. Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan or on a rack; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for many days but are best stored in airtight containers.
For extra crispy crackers, If you have space and baking stones to suffice, simply turn the oven off a minute or two early with the crackers still inside. They’ll crisp up just lovely as it cools down. NOTE: Do not use this method with an electric oven – it continues to create heat even once it’s off.
The printable recipe with even more tips and tricks is in my snacks eBook right HERE – Healthy Snacks to Go is in the hands of over 5,000 happy snackers and is available via PDF, Kindle, and print versions. You’ll love the homemade granola bars and 15 flavors of homemade Larabar-style fruit-and-nut bars.
This tomato-basil version from the sourdough eCourse is Yum-O!
Soaked Grain Variation on These Crackers
Catch up on the Kitchen Stewardship® exploration into soaking grains exploration HERE. When you soak these crackers, it hardly changes the taste or texture, if at all, and it maximizes the nutrition without adding but a minute to your workload. (The cliff’s notes: What is soaking grains?)
To soak these crackers, you just make the dough as directed above except add 1 tsp. to up to the entire 1/4 cup of whey to the water. Allow to sit at room temperature 12-24 hours. Salt may inhibit the soaking process, so you can add the salt right before rolling out if you choose. Simple!
I’ve been making my sourdough cracker recipe even more often lately to keep my sourdough starter going strong. We weren’t sure we liked them the first time I made them, but I’ve since decided they must be good when the neighbor girl and her friend demolished half my stash last time they babysat!
If you’re curious about sourdough, you may want to check out this sourdough online eCourse for over 20 weeks of multimedia presentations. You can see a video to see how I roll out the crackers, too. The price will surprise you!
More Make-it-from-Scratch Foods:
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