Italian Crackers

After making sourdough crackers a while ago, I thought they were just pretty good. Not amazing or so incredibly easy that they basically make themselves or so different than anything you can buy in the store.  They were just good.  They were also a pain to bake since they baked unevenly and had to be checked constantly.
Then I chatted with a friend of mine who had one of those comments that made so much sense. “Why don’t you spread them out a little?”  DUH.  Why don’t I do that??? Have I even baked before???

So I did, this time with italian seasoning instead of herbs de provence.  It didn’t even take 30 seconds to rearrange them on the sheet pan after cutting. Then I put them in the oven and walked away. No prodding. No taking the outer ring of crackers off. No fussing. Just a quick pan rotation halfway through.

Tada! Perfect crackers. They were…delicious. I can see a homemade cracker problem developing in my future.

I also ended up making yet another batch of these and turning them into breadsticks to go along with a pasta meal. 

  

Herbs de Provence Crackers

  
Crackers?  I never really considered making them myself since I have a pretty mean addiction to cheezits.  I came across this recipe for Sourdough Crackers over at King Arthur Flour when I was looking for ideas for my starter.  The ingredients were pretty minimal and I’d never made crackers before…so, why not?

 

  
I grabbed the ingredients and then pondered herbs.  Oregano? Rosemary?  Then I found this jar of Herbs de Provence–something I hardly ever use.  The topping called for sea salt or kosher salt but since I was feeling FANCEE, I grabbed my jar of Fleur de Sel salt.

  
The dough was incredibly easy to bring together and, after a rest in the fridge, rolled out easily.  I was skeptical I’d be able to roll a wheat dough out so thinly since my usual sourdough bread doughs are so stretchy and elastic.  This dough rolled out in a jiff and I set to work brushing it with olive oil, sprinkling on the salt and cutting it into squares.  The last step was to prick the crackers with the tines of a fork but, next time, I’ll do this before cutting.  My fork kept grabbing the dough squares and lifting them off the parchment.

  
Baking them was…interesting.  The edge crackers brown well before the center ones are done.  I found myself removing the pans and pulling off the outer ring a couple of times.  It made the bake time longer with so many interruptions but if I had left them all in until the centers were done, the edges would have been inedible.

  
These are quite delicious and surprisingly easy to make. Nice and crisp and a great way to use up some herbs (and sourdough starter) that otherwise would either be discarded or languish until expired.  I could see these being  a regular thing around here with different herbs mixed in.  I bet this dough would make excellent long thin crispy breadsticks for pairing with italian meals.

 

Fancee Crackers

1 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup unfed sourdough starter (mine happened to be fed and they still turned out fine)

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tablespoons Herbs de Provence or other dried herbs

olive oil for brushing

Fleur de Sel or other coarse salt–about a tablespoon

Mix together the flour, salt, sourdough starter, butter, and optional herbs to make a smooth(not sticky), cohesive dough.  I ended up adding about an extra tablespoon of flour to get mine to the non-sticky stage. Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a small rectangular slab. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a couple of hours, until the dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Very lightly flour a piece of parchment, your rolling pin, and the top of the dough.

Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough to about 1/16″ thick. The dough will have ragged, uneven edges; that’s OK. Just try to make it as even as possible.

Transfer the dough and parchment together onto a baking sheet. Lightly brush with oil and then sprinkle the salt over the top of the crackers.

Cut the dough into 1 1/4″ squares and prick each square with the tines of a fork.

Bake the crackers for about 20 minutes, until the squares are starting to brown around the edges.  I checked mine at 18 minutes and started removing outside crackers every minute or so until the interior crackers were finished.

When fully browned, remove the crackers from the oven, and transfer them to a cooling rack. Store airtight at room temperature for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.