November 13, 2009

Homemade Crackers... really?

Oh the things we do to save a few bucks.

I cook and bake just fine but I wouldn't say its one of my passions. Perhaps because of the cleaning aftermath. But as I was preparing my grocery list last week I was looking to see where I could cut corners and what I could get away with not buying.

Kids are big snackers, at least mine are. Which is probably my fault. I'm a big snacker. Anyway, we only go grocery shopping every two weeks so I had to be careful with what I decided to do without. Eventually I decided to skip buying any crackers for the kids, and I usually get three boxes.

It occurred to me that I could just make my own at home!

Hence, the reason I bought my first ever rolling pin, as mentioned earlier.

I did my google research and pulled up the first ten recipes that were listed. Of those I chose the easiest two.

My kids were anxious to help... or rather, anxious to get to use the cool rolling pin.

I should have known something was funky about the first recipe when it called for 1 tbsp of salt in only 1 1/4 of flour. But I had never made crackers before so, I did as instructed.

After I made the dough, which looked nasty and was a very strange texture, I gave it a taste.

EEWW! It was like licking up straight salt! Wow, it was nasty! But then I told myself that maybe there's something about making crackers that required this much salt. So we pushed forward.

And all the kids got a turn.

The dough was SO stiff I told them they could cut out little shapes. But it was rather difficult because of how hard the dough was.

Still undeterred, I put them in the oven. Once they were done, I pulled them out for a taste.

NOPE! Cooking did nothing to approve the saltiness of the dough. They weren't even crunchy! Just very, vary hard.

In the end, the kids just drew faces on them with crayons before I finally threw them away. Either the person who posted that recipe made a typing mistake, or has some really messed up taste buds.

I was nervous to try the other recipe but seeing that it only called for 1/2 tsp. of salt, I decided to give it a try.

The dough consistency was SO much better and the dough tasted okay too! It rolled out pretty well and I cut and cooked them.

The kids didn't make disgusted faces when trying them and they are almost gone today so, I would count this as a winner!

Not bad for my very first time!

But I will say that it is quite the upper body workout to get the dough rolled out thin enough! Whew! Give me a couple weeks making crackers and I'd take down any one of those weeny bodybuilders in an arm wrestling match any day. (I would have inserted a picture of my bicep here but didn't want to embarrass any of the guys out there reading this.)

Anyhow, here's the recipe if you're interested. It calls for sesame seeds and has a pretty strong sesame taste. I bet you could skip then and they would taste more like a wheat thin. I think I'm going to try that next time, maybe Luke would like them better.

Thin Wheat Crackers

1 cup (4.25 ounces) unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup (5 ounces) whole wheat flour or white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup (1.25 ounces) sesame seeds
1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) butter
scant 1/2 cup (3.75 ounces) milk
Coarse salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 325F.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, sesame seeds, sugar and salt. Cut in the butter (use a pastry blender or two knives), then stir in the milk, adding just enough milk to form a workable dough.
Divide the dough into three pieces and roll it out ultra-thin, one piece at a time- 1/16 inch, if you can manage it, the thinner the better.
Sprinkle with a bit of coarse salt, if desired, and use the rolling pin to press the salt into the dough.
Cut the dough into 1 x 2-inch rectangles. Transfer the crackers to baking sheets and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until they begin to brown. Cool on a rack.
Yield: About 8 Dozen Crackers
I went ahead and cooked mine on greased aluminum foil so they wouldn't stick to the pan. And be careful not to cook them too long. The last batch I cooked was a deep brown color and tasted a bit burnt.

I'll let you know if I decide to ever try any of the more complex cracker recipes... but don't count on it.

I'm thinking graham crackers next. Except, I have to buy graham flour. Honestly, I didn't even know there was such a thing.

11 super cool people speak:

Emily C said...

I haven't tried this recipe yet, but it looks yummy. I love doing searches so I can see what other people say about the recipes.

We just started making our own crackers, too. I really like Alton Brown's wheat thins from his baking book; he has a saltine recipe, too. (I found the book at the library)

Valerie said...

Wow! I'm impressed. I think your crackers look great--the second batch. :) And so funny that your kids drew on the first ones. I've never tried making crackers. Congrats on using your rolling pin!

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Ooooh, thanks Emily! That cheese cracker recipe looks SO easy! I think I'm going to make some tomorrow!
You know, I've never thought to look for a cookbook at the library. But I'll see if I can find that one. I'd LOVE to be able to make saltines!
Thanks again!

Haha, thanks Valerie! I bet if you made crackers, they'd turn out amazing!

Heidi said...

You never thought to look at the--oh I can't finish that! :-) Congratulations. That's neat. I do love baking, so I'd love to try this some time. Especially as crackers are a weakness of mine.

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Sorry Heidi. (bowing my head in shame)
Do I redeem myself at all if I tell you I take the kids to the library every Friday?

Darryl said...

This story takes me back to when I was learning to cook by following the directions on a tin of cocoa. I was eight years old and wanted to make cocoa. I misread one of the ingredients (yes it was salt and put 1 tbsp of salt in instead of 1 teaspoon). No reasonable amount of sugar, cocoa or milk could make up for the salt. After much protesting, my mom did aloow me to throw it out. I learned that day that salt is one item you check and double check before you put it in the mix.

Darryl said...

Make that 11 years old not eight - my mom was not Kathy Lee Gifford (smile).

Kira said...

I cut wheat thins with a pizza cutter after I transfer.

Mama Smith said...

Emily: I went to that Heavenly Homemakers BLOG! LOVED IT...One thing I picked up from that blog is to cook our Thanksgiving TURKEY days ahead of time...saving precious time and oven space on the day of Thanksgiving...NEVER ever thought of doing that...CHECK IT OUT...I think I am going to spend a little time on that blog and see what other neat tips she might have...(smile) And Sarah...when I finally get a kitchen, again...I am going to try making crackers...your dad LOVES crackers...I will use the SESAME seeds...cause I LOVE THEM! Because of my friend, Joanna Ebanks, I have learned how to use MANY different types of flours....Prefer using using different ones...over wheat...but, grinding your own wheat flour is the cheapest...but, try grinding and using other flours...mix and match...MARVELOUS tastes...(smile)

Heidi said...

Oh yes! Weekly trips to the library trump almost anything!

Elizabeth said...

Hey Serene,

I just made these! YUM!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...