Lately, I’ve been looking for extra ways to reduce the amount of product packaging I bring home. I’m also trying to cut down on artificial sweeteners and preservatives in my diet. Baking my own breads and granola from scratch certainly has helped to make a dent.
But I still splurged on store-bought crackers—complete with too much packaging and some of the very ingredients I’d rather avoid.
I’d been wondering just how tricky making my own crackers could be. Then I came across Crackers and Dips: More Than 50 Handmade Snacks by Ivy Manning. While Manning’s clearly a whiz in the kitchen, I’m decidedly not. Even so, I was able to adapt a simple recipe for homemade crackers with great success.
Want to whip up your own cheesy, savory treats? Here’s how.
Weights & Measures
Whether you try this adapted recipe for homemade crackers or a different one, attention to detail really counts. For best results, measure the dough ingredients by weight rather than by volume. Also, when it’s time to form each cracker, you should use a ruler to ensure uniform thickness.
The equipment and ingredients you’ll need include:
- mixing bowl and a fork (or a food processor)
- scale (optional)
- ruler (optional)
- parchment paper
- large, sharp knife
- baking sheets
- 255 grams (2 cups) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 115 grams (1 cup) grated Parmesan cheese
- 120 ml (1⁄2 cup) olive oil
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 60 ml (1⁄4 cup) water
- black pepper (to use as topping before baking)
Preparing the Dough
First, combine all the ingredients in the above recipe for homemade crackers (except for the water and black pepper) into your mixing bowl. Thoroughly mix with your fork. At this point, the dough will be rather crumbly.
Next, add only the water. Mix just well enough so that the dough is somewhat crumbly but sticks together well.
Separate the dough into two parts. Place the first half of your dough onto a large sheet of parchment paper. Use your hands and the parchment to form the dough into a narrow tube. (See image below for reference.) Ideally, the tube should measure about an inch-and-a-quarter in diameter.
Tear off a second sheet of parchment paper and repeat these steps with the remaining half of your dough. Now, refrigerate both tubes of dough for two to three hours.
Slicing & Baking
Many cracker recipes call for rolling the dough out into uniformly thin sheets. (You may also be able to use a pasta-making press for this.) However, this particular recipe for homemade crackers requires neither of those.
Instead, I pulled the dough tubes from the refrigerator and simply cut them into cross sections. (This is also about the time you should preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.)
To start, unwrap the chilled dough and slice through the end using a back-and-forth sawing motion. (If you try to cut by pressing the knife blade straight down, you’re more likely to distort the shape of the dough.) I found it easiest to cut my dough into quarter-inch slices.
Then I used the side of my knife blade to further thin and flatten each sliced section.
Next, place your disks of dough onto the parchment-covered baking sheets. (Since these crackers won’t rise like other baked goods do, you can crowd them in fairly close to one another.)
Before popping them in the oven, top with a small pinch of black pepper. Gently press the pepper into the dough with the back of a spoon.
Bake the crackers for 15 to 20 minutes. (I turned my baking sheets around halfway through to account for any hot spots in my old oven.) This recipe should deliver golden brown homemade crackers with a satisfying crunchiness to them.
Just don’t expect them to keep as long as their store-bought counterparts. Stored in an airtight container, these crackers should stay crisp for three to four days. Fortunately, you can also make this dough ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator or freezer to bake later.