Monday, July 30, 2012

July Daring bakers Challenge - Crackers

Cracker Crazy!

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.

When the challenge to make crackers came out this month, I thought I might be too busy to be able to do it. But reading through the suggestions and recipes, I felt better about tackling this project. I love crackers. I never thought to make them because, frankly, I am not picky about crackers. I like them all. But now that I have tried the recipes listed here, I may never buy another cracker. They are that good and that easy. I usually tweak the recipes a bit for the challenges but my creative karma was directed elsewhere. I followed the recipes as written and they both worked perfectly. I froze half the dough of each because the recipes make a lot of crackers and I was not showing any self control in eating them.
I am tardy about the posting(it was supposed to be last Friday) but since it is still July, I am hoping to be given grace. I am looking forward to getting creative with the ingredients and of course I will keep you posted! For those of you who come for Thanksgiving at my house...I hope you like crackers!

Spicy Pepper Jack Crackers with Cool Gazpacho
Pepper Jack and Oregano Crackers (Roll with pasta rollers or by hand):
Servings: Approximately 80 crackers
1⅔ cups (400 ml) (235 gm) (8¼ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
2¼ cups (540 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) grated pepper jack cheese, firmly packed
2 teaspoons (10 ml) (1 gm) dried oregano
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (3 gm) salt
½ teaspoon (2½ ml) (½ gm) black pepper
½ cup (120 ml) (4 fl oz) vegetable oil
½ cup (120 ml) (4 fl oz) water
Spice topping
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1/8 gm) cayenne
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (3 gm) kosher salt
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar

Ready to Mix
Dough Fresh from the Processor
Interesting Cuters make Interesting Crackers

Ready to Bake!

1. Combinethe spice topping and set aside.
2. Grate the cheese and put in the bowl of a food processor with flour, oregano, salt and pepper and pulse to combine. This can also be done by hand.
3. Add the oil and pulse until the consistency of wet sand is reached.
4. Add enough water for the dough to come together.
5. Form the dough into two disks, wrap with cling film and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
6. Heat the oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
7. Working with a quarter of the dough at a time, either use a rolling pin or roll out in your pasta rollers to 1/8 of an inch (3 mm) thick. If you use pasta rollers, ensure the dough is well floured so as not to stick.
8. Cut the strips into cracker shapes or cut out using a cookie cutter.
9. Transfer to a parchment lined cookies sheet and sprinkle with the spice mixture.
10. Bake for 20-25 minutes until medium golden brown.
11. Store in an airtight container and eat within three days.

Health Crackers with Goat Cheese and Pastis

Health Crackers (Roll these by hand):
Servings: Approximately 80 crackers
3 cups (720 ml) (240 gm)(8½ oz) rolled oats
2 cups (480 ml) (280 gm/10 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup (240 ml) (80 gm) (2¾ oz) wheat germ
3 tablespoons (45 ml) (40 gm)(1½ oz) sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6 gm) salt
¾ cup (180 ml) vegetable oil
1 cup (240 ml) water
1 large egg white
Cracker topping:
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, nigella (onion) seeds, salt
Salt sprinkling

1.Mix the oats, flour, wheat germ sugar and salt together in a large bowl or bowl for the stand up mixer.
2. Combine the water and oil and stir into the oat mixture until it comes together and a dough forms.
3.3. Form dough into a disk and allow to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes but up to a day if you are making the ahead.
4. Preheat the oven to moderate 325°F/160°C/gas mark 3.
5. Divide the dough into quarters and work with one piece at a time, allowing the remaining pieces to stay in the fridge as you proceed with rolling out the crackers.

6. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/16 inch (1½ mm) thick and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet by carefully wrapping the dough around the rolling pin7. Brush the dough with the egg white mixed briefly with a tablespoon of water and sprinkle with seeds and salt of your choice.
8. Cut the dough with a pizza wheel and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned. Crackers that are not crispy once cooled may be returned to the oven.

9. Store in an airtight container and eat within two weeks.