This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was crackers! We were charged with making two different crackers using different methods (rolling pin, pasta roller, chilled & sliced). I opted for a chilled & sliced and the pasta roller for my two methods. I’d only attempted crackers once before and they turned out like cardboard, so I was a bit apprehensive at first. Out of these three recipes, I’d say the semolina crackers were the most cracker-like and they kept best, too.
Polenta parmesan crackers
This recipe was adapted from includingcake. The original recipe included nutritional yeast , but I can’t get it here and my crackers didn’t need to be vegan anyway, so I switched it for parmesan. I ended up baking them twice as long as the original recipe, because they just wouldn’t crisp or brown much. They got there in the end with the oven turned up slightly and the fan on.
1/2 cup fine polenta
2 cups water
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup parmesan, finely grated
olive oil for greasing
In a medium saucepan, mix polenta with water and salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously, until mixture thickens to the consistency of porridge (oatmeal). Stir in parmesan.
Lightly oil a small loaf tin or other mould and pour the polenta into it, smoothing the top as much as possible. Allow to cool to room temperature, then firm up in the fridge for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Once firm, remove the polenta loaf from the mould and, using a sharp knife, slice as thinly as possible, laying each slice on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-30 mins, depending on the thickness of the slices. If, after 30 minutes, the slices are not yet crispy in the centre but the edges are done, flip them over, allow to cool and then re-bake for a further 10 minutes, or as long as necessary. When done, transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature.
Tomato & herb semolina crackers
I reduced the original recipe from hungrycravings by 1/2 because I only wanted enough for dinner. I also replaced a bit of the water with tomato paste and added oregano, basil and marjoram. These kept really well and the leftovers were still crisp after three days in a sealed container.
85g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tsp salt, divided
1 tsp dried herbs
80ml warm water
2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
Combine the semolina, flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt and the oregano in a large bowl. Add the water, tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of the oil and mix until a rough dough forms.
Transfer to a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, kneading in more flour as needed until smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for about half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Cut the dough into 4 pieces, keeping the pieces you aren’t working with well wrapped. Using a pasta roller, roll out dough into long, thin sheets (down to the third-last notch on the roller). Cut in half if they get unwieldy.
Transfer the sheets to a parchment-lined baking tray. Lightly brush with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the remaining salt.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown on top, then flip over and bake for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature. Break into irregular pieces and serve.
Parmesan ice-box crackers
This recipe was adapted from yummysupper and they were super scrumptious! I probably could have sliced them thinner – they were crunchy enough after they cooled, but they were quite soft by the next day.
175g parmesan, finely grated (approx. 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
55g cold butter, cut into pieces
approx. 4 tbsp ice water
Put cheese in a large bowl/bowl of a stand mixer/food processor. Stir in flour, salt and paprika.
Add butter a piece at a time, mixing with a fork/wire whisk attachment/pulsing until dough is like breadcrumbs.
Slowly drizzle about 4 tablespoons of ice water into dough while mixing. Stop adding water as soon as dough comes together in a ball.
Turn dough ball out onto bench and use hands to roll into a log about 3cm across. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 180°C.
Unwrap dough and use a sharp knife to cut slices about 2mm thick.
Place crackers on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in the top third of the oven for 8-12 minutes until golden. Transfer to a rack and let cool to room temperature.
Daring Bakers Blog-checking lines: Our July 2012 Daring Bakers’ Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana showed us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.
Download the printable .pdf file here.