I made that!

Back to the Basics

Posted in Don't BUY it, MAKE it!, I Like Salt Too, The Creamery by brandi on February 28, 2011

Some things are so simple that I hesitate to share. But today, I’ve got a little snack that is making me a very happy girl. It is inspired by a dinner I had at Frankie’s on my last visit to NYC, and I can honestly say that it was the most memorable thing I ate there. The “it” I keep mentioning was a bruschetta, with a giant mound of fresh ricotta on top, drizzled with honey and a healthy shower of black pepper. I was in heaven. Sure, I’ve been known to sing the praises of ricotta to anyone willing to listen, particularly the homemade kind (because let’s face it, most of the stuff you get in a tub at the grocery store tastes like canned air). The truth is, I try to work in fresh ricotta whenever possible: gnocchi, galettes, pasta, cakesfritters, we’re even serving a ricotta and blood orange dessert at Delancey right now. I LOVE RICOTTA. But even I sometimes have a bowl of delicious fresh ricotta in my fridge and the feeling of “there’s nothing to eat in the house”. I will say this no more, because the “honeyed and peppered ricotta cracker” is my new go-to. Try it, you’ll see what I’m talking about. I made them last night for the Academy Awards and I think I might have eaten 10 while no one was looking.

While the first time I tasted this combo was on bruschetta, I’m now a convert to serving it on crackers. And when I say crackers, I would hope it’s obvious at this point in our relationship that I’m talking about homemade ones. I know it sounds annoying to make your own crackers, especially after I just smacked down store-bought ricotta. But if I can find the time while working at Delancey and starting a new business, then I swear, you can do it too! Did I mention that it’s actually quite soothing? The dough is super easy, and I’ve found that I can make rather large batches in my KitchenAid mixer, freezing for later what I don’t need at the moment. Then whenever I need crackers, it’s as simple as rolling them out and baking them fresh!

I’ve been tweaking this recipe for over a year, getting the balance of flours and salt just so, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. But feel free to adjust to your own personal taste! The sea salt is great with the ricotta and honey topping, but I would never turn down a cracker with seeds and other yumminess. Get crazy, you’ll thank me! My one piece of advice: resist the urge to pull them out too early, this is your chance to get back at all those pasty bland crackers at the store. Color is flavor my friends!

Olive Oil and Sea Salt Crackers Recipe:

Yield: 50 crackers

1 lb AP flour

6.75 oz semolina flour

4.5 oz whole wheat flour

2 1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups warm water

3/4 cup olive oil

extra olive oil and sea salt for topping crackers.

– Whisk together the flours and salt in a stand mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Mix the water and olive oil and add to the flours. Mix the dough at medium speed for about 5 – 7 minutes, until smooth. The dough should be just a bit tacky, but not difficult to work with. Add a bit more water or flour if needed.

– When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball and rub with olive oil. Place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour to relax the gluten.

– Preheat your oven to 475 degrees.

– Cut the dough into equal-sized pieces roughly the size of a billiard ball and flatten.

– Using a pasta machine, roll into a flat strip of dough, starting with the widest setting and working your way up to number 5. Lay the sheet of dough on a floured surface and cut into whatever shape you like. Set on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush each cracker heavily with olive oil. Top with sea salt and bake until golden.

– Cool completely.

Ricotta Recipe:

6 1/2 cups whole milk

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 cups cultured buttermilk

1 TBSP salt

– Combine everything in a large pot and cook over medium heat. When the mixture forms curds and the whey separates and becomes clear, turn off heat. Let it for 30 minutes for the curds to strengthen.

– Set a strainer over a container and line with 2 layers of cheesecloth. Pour ricotta onto cheesecloth and let strain until a desired consistency is reached.

– Stir in salt.


27 Responses

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  1. Susan said, on February 28, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Is it possible to make these crackers with a rolling pin? My pasta machine is no more. Please say I can, because these look amazing.

    • brandi said, on February 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      Of course! Just try to get them as thin as possible.

  2. Dana said, on February 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    What a great idea, using a pasta machine to roll the crackers out! These look delectable. (And ricotta on top? To die for!)

  3. Paula said, on March 4, 2011 at 8:27 am

    I don’t see your recipe for homemade ricotta and wanted to know if you can give me the recipe. I have been obsessed with it. Thank you!

    • Andrea said, on March 7, 2011 at 7:16 am

      I second this request!!

    • brandi said, on March 8, 2011 at 10:09 pm

      just posted it!

  4. Lauren said, on March 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    I made these this week! They were fantastic. We’ve been topping them with hummus, marscapone (my favorite) and even nutella (my husband’s idea). I do wish I had a pasta roller only because it was hard to get a consistent thickness. Thanks for the recipe!

  5. Joan Dahlbeck said, on March 21, 2011 at 10:11 am

    What is AP flour?

    • brandi said, on March 21, 2011 at 3:37 pm

      AP stands for “all purpose”.

  6. Joan Dahlbeck said, on March 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I am making the crackers and they are so tasty. I found that they get bubbles in them when they cook. Why is that happing?

  7. Lauren said, on March 25, 2011 at 10:22 am

    Just made the ricotta..yum! Thanks for the easy recipe. I was wondering how you go about storing it? For how long? I made way too much than I can use! Thanks!

  8. emily said, on April 10, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I’ve been looking for a homemade cracker recipe for a while and stumbled upon this post. I tried the recipe this weekend but used a rolling pin in replace of the pasta machine. After baking, a lot of my crackers had air pockets in them (you can see on my flickr page). Just wondering how you got them to look so nice and flat!


    • brandi said, on April 25, 2011 at 7:44 am

      I think the key to getting them to not have big air bubbles is rolling them super thin, which unfortunately is hard to do without the help of a machine…

  9. Rivertree kitchen said, on April 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    I just made my first batch of ricotta, but I used only whole milk, lemon juice and salt. The flavor was fine, but the texture was unpleasantly dry and crumbly. I’m a bit heavy-cream-phobic (I know, I know), but that’s probably what makes the difference, yes? I’ll try your version next. The crackers sound amazing too–many thanks.

    • brandi said, on April 25, 2011 at 7:43 am

      I do think the fat in my recipe helps with a creamier ricotta, but the problem could also have been that too much whey was drained out. It took me making ricotta a dozen times until I could find the right moment to stop straining.

      • Rivertree kitchen said, on April 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm

        Thanks, Brandi, that’s really helpful. I’ll give it another try.

  10. overgrownwaltz said, on April 28, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Not to butt in, but heating the milk too quickly and over-stirring can also lead to crumbly homemade ricotta. Maybe that helps too?

    When you say to get your pasta maker down to thickness “5”, I’m wondering how many numbers total you have on your? Mine is a cheapy and starts at “7” for whatever reason, so 5 isn’t all that thin. I’m not sure if the numbers are discretionary by brand or if their universal across all pasta makers?! Sorry for the random question, I’m really looking forward to making these!

  11. wendy said, on May 8, 2011 at 1:29 am

    I just made the ricotta over the weekend and loved it! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. I have also made the crackers and will try them together with honey and pepper tonight…mmm

  12. Quora said, on May 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    What are some good recipes with ricotta cheese?…

    neil – i always knew ricotta means recooked. my italian is good enough – but the recipe i linked to above at serious eats for example follows the raw milk recipe. i doubt they are incorrect. sounds like ricotta can mean more than one kind of cheese (sa…

  13. anita said, on June 14, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    I’m wondering at what point in the process you can freeze the cracker dough. After the one hour rest? And how long will it last in the freezer? Thanks for your posting!

  14. Julie said, on June 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make these crackers for a while, but I don’t have a kitchen scale, and the Internet doesn’t seem to agree on how many cups of flour are in 1 pound. Can anyone out there help me out with “cups” measurements instead of ounces/pounds for the flours? (I know the scale is best, but it’s not in the cards for me at the moment). Thanks in advance!

  15. Lisa Silver Mirecki said, on October 7, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Brandi,

    I just attended your cheese making class at The Pantry and LOVED this recipe! Am dreaming about it daily – my poor husband. Am writing to ask permission to use link and picture from this post on my blog SundayPizza.blogspot.com on my new regular series “Sunday Pizza Toppings”. Please let me know if this is ok. Sorry to use comments for this question, I couldn’t find a different way to contact you.

    Best and keep up the great work!

    • brandi said, on October 7, 2011 at 9:20 pm

      Hi Lisa! I’m so glad you like this recipe, of course you can share it!

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