Last night was a light dinner, a mediterranean mezze if you will. I keep doing these lately, I’m gonna be burned out by the time summer rolls around and traditional mezze ingredients are actually in season. But they’re so goooooood… Anyways, I’ve been trying out different cracker recipes and this time I finally think I got it right. I REALLY want to conquer the cracker. Fresh crackers are just so lovely, way better than anything you could get packaged. And I like being able to spice them up to compliment whatever I’m serving them with.
I was being indecisive about which direction to take the flour in, so I ended up doing a mix. I just bought a bag of freshly milled (right in front of me!) local whole wheat flour from Eatwell Farm and knew that HAD to go in. And I saw a few recipes calling for semolina flour, so wanted some of that too. But I didn’t want it to get too crazy, so I wanted a bit of all purpose flour, as a base. I totally made that up, but it seemed to have worked, so I’m going with it.
Crackers are super easy. You literally mix your flour(s), water, oil and salt. Then you knead them until they’re nice and stretchy, like 5-10 minutes (depends on how gluten-ey your flour of choice is). I cut them up into some manageable chunks and let them rest for a while, to relax all that gluten I created.
Then I just ran each chunk through the pasta machine, until I got strips that were around 1/16″ thick. It was the simplest thing I’ve ever done with my pasta machine! Then I started loading my strips up with all the Mediterranean(ish) spices that I had: cumin seeds, ground coriander, ground paprika, sesame seeds, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. I smashed them all in, to keep them from falling right off once baked.
Then I baked the dough for around 10 minutes at 400 degrees, just until they looked all browned and crispy.
And they were perfect (you know, in the way an ugly kid is perfect only to their parents). Not that they were ugly… I’m just saying that I’m glad someone invented the word “rustic”. I broke my strips into chunks and dipped them in Pantea’s fresh made hummus & some feta with fresh herbs. One word: Yum.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup semolina flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup water
2 tsp salt
– Mix it all up and knead it by hand or in a machine for 5-10 minutes, until it’s nice and stretchy.
– Cut it into 8 pieces and let sit (covered) at room temperature for an hour or two, to relax.
– Run each piece through a pasta machine, starting at the thickest setting and work your way to the 4th or 5th setting, depending on how thin you want your crackers.
– Lay the dough sheets on a parchment covered baking pan and spray with water to moisten. Then sprinkle whatever you like. Get crazy. It’s a cracker – it can do anything. At this point, if you are going for a more “refined” cracker, you an use a pizza wheel to cut out geometric (or not so geometric, who am I to judge) shapes.
– Bake at 400 for roughly 10 minutes, but keep checking after 8 minutes, because it goes from perfectly toasty to burnt really fast.
– Let cool completey before breaking up into hand dipping size.