Crackers have been on my list of things to make for a long time. I don't ever really buy crackers because I think they are always a little disappointing. They are either way to salty or have that terrible after taste from all the ingredients I can't pronounce. Besides, I figure if I can tackle bread on my own, why should crackers be any different.
With Summer well under way, and the weather finally starting to stay pleasant around here, there are always lots of impromptu visits from friends and family. Having a batch of crackers stashed in your pantry for these visits, makes an easy snack to have around before dinner is ready, especially when paired with homemade hummus or dip.
These crackers are really good. They have the perfect amount of spiciness paired with a great crunch. They are thin, but substantial and strong enough for a hearty dive into thick, creamy hummus without any breakage. I think the cornmeal taste is very subtle and you would never know they are made with whole wheat flour. I couldn't stop snacking on them as I broke them apart! Keep it simple and informal served with dip on the side, or get a little more fancy and top each as a spruced up h'orderve with hummus, radish, and parsley for a party. So easy, but looks like you spent all day, right.
You don't want to over mix the dough for these crackers, or they will turn out tough. You should really let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. Or you can chill the dough overnight if you'd like, and bring it to room temperature for 10 minutes to loose its chill before rolling. The edges of my crackers did start to brown a little more than I would have liked before I thought the centers were finished baking, but there always seems to be at least one person around who actually likes things with a little bit of a burned taste, so I was fine with it.
Spicy Cornmeal Crackers
Adapted from The Baker's Dozen
about 12 servings
about 12 servings
1 cup cold water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt or fleur de sel, for topping
In the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the water and oil. In another bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, fine sea salt, and red pepper flakes. With the machine on low speed, add the flour mixture all at once and mix thoroughly, but just until the dough comes together.
On a lightly floured surface, pat the dough into a thick rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap, and refigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Before rolling the dough out, place the rack in the center of the oven. Place a baking stone on the rack and preheat the oven to 500˚F.
Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut the dough into 2 equal pieces. Lightly flour the work surface. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out the dough into a very thin 16 x 12-inch rectangle. If the dough resists and retracts as you roll it out, set it aside and let it rest for a few minutes. To transfer to the baking sheet, roll up one sheet of dough onto a rolling pin and unroll onto a baking sheet. Repeat with the other piece of dough. Poke each sheet of dough thoroughly with a fork. Mist the dough with water and sprinkle with the coarse sea salt.
One sheet at a time, bake for 10 minutes, or until the dough is set. Flip the dough over and bake until browned, another 4 minutes. Transfer to a rack, still on the parchment paper, to cool. Repeat with the other sheet of dough.
Cool completely. Break the sheets into irregular shaped crackers. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.