Is it odd to admit that, though I will never bat an eye when it comes to baking my own bread, it never really occurs to me to make my own crackers? In our house, at least, there is not much separating a cracker from a slice of bread in terms of utilization. Both crackers and bread get topped with some sort of cheese, or eaten with fruit, or spread with almond butter. Crackers, though more crisp and tiny, are, like bread, a combination of flours, a leavening agent, and some liquid, so why my indifference about making them at home?
To be quite honest, I rarely make crackers at home because, unlike homemade bread, I have a difficult time making homemade crackers taste as good as crackers I buy. Homemade bread is always a treat, even if I end up making a loaf (or two) that ends up sort of squat or misshapen, the bread always tastes phenomenal, and the experience of making bread always makes me feel soothed and comforted. Making crackers just makes me want to get back all the time I just spend laboring over something that tastes underwhelming, with a texture that is never quite cracker-ish enough.
You know where this is going, right? You can all stop the presses, because here, right now, I have for you the very best homemade cracker recipe you’ll ever find. With a magical combination of rye flour, whole wheat flour, and wheat bran, the texture of these crackers is just about perfect. The taste, slightly nutty from the mixture of flours, is pumped up ever-so-slightly with a dose of light brown sugar, a spoonful of tiny seeds, and a nice undertone of butter. The dough is a dream to work with, and it comes together to form the most perfectly crisp, yet sturdy, crackers that make a delightful pairing with cheese, nut butter, or even just a cup of hot tea. As an added bonus, these crackers are a huge hit with kids. Formed into many an animal shape, the crackers are a perfect weekend afternoon project for kids and adults alike, and, though I am not the type to shoo a child away from a cookie, making crackers and eating them is, if you’re looking for some encouragement, a slightly more virtuous endeavor than turning out a few sheets of cookies. Not that it will matter, though. These crackers, I swear, are just about good enough to choose over a cookie, any day of the week.
Last Year: Tomato Tartlets with Rosemary
Homemade Multigrain Crackers Recipe
Inspired by a recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, by Deborah Madison
¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup dark rye flour
½ cup wheat bran
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk or soured milk
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar.
In a small bowl, beat the egg into the buttermilk, then set aside.
Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix it in using your mixer’s paddle attachment, or by rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingers. Stir in the egg and buttermilk mixture until evenly distributed. The dough should be quite combined and sticky at this point, but if it appears to be a bit dry and crumbly, add in a few more drops of buttermilk and continue to mix the dough until it clings together. Stir in the sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the slightly chilled dough until it is about 1/8-inch thick. Cut out the crackers using a 2-inch biscuit cutter, or several cookie cutters. Combine, reroll, and recut any remaining scraps of dough. Prick the tops of each cracker with a fork, then place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake, one sheet at a time, in the center of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned. If you have cut your crackers into very small shapes, bake them for only 10 minutes at first, then check them for doneness.
Makes about 5 dozen 2-inch round crackers. Makes substantially more crackers if you cut them using tiny cookie cutters.