Introduction: Simple Seeded Crackers
These crackers are a great snack, either to tide you over before meals, or to munch on during a good movie night. With very few ingredients they're fairly easy to make, just requiring a bit of time and muscle.
They can be made with whichever seeds you prefer, though my favourite is cumin, and served with whatever dip you have lurking in the fridge.
Step 1: Ingredients and Equipment
- 275 g plain flour
- 60 g vegetable shortening
- 1 1/2 tbsp seeds (cumin, coriander or fennel are all good choices)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup water
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups/scales
- Measuring spoons
- Small sharp knife (a pizza wheel would also come in handy)
- Rolling Pin
- Baking parchment
- Baking trays
- Oven heated to 200 C/400 F/Gas 6
For anyone without scales, a good weight to volume conversion guide can be found here.
Step 2: Prep
First toast the seeds to release the flavour. Do this by putting them in a small saucepan over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring frequently. You should be able to smell when they are toasted. Leave to cool.
Measure the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixing bowl. Add the seeds and mix it all together. Cut the shortening into small cubes and add it to the flour mix.
Step 3: Making the Dough
Rub the fat into the flour with your fingertips until it is all combined, and the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Now add the water. You might not need the whole cup, so add it slowly, in small doses. As you add the water, mix it into the flour to make a fairly stiff dough. You can use a flat bladed knife to combine the dough, or just use your hands if you don't mind getting a bit messy.
Once the dough has come together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead it briefly. Do this for a few minutes, until the dough is fairly smooth. (This is a good website to demonstrate kneading technique, if you are haven't worked with dough much)
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for at least half an hour to rest.
Step 4: Rolling Out
The key to moreish crunchy crackers is to roll the dough out as thinly as possible. (I have a suspicion that a pasta machine might make this job a whole lot easier, but until then I have to rely on the strength of my muscles.)
Take the dough out of the fridge and cut off about a third, put the rest back in the fridge.
Roll the dough out as thin as you can get it. I find the simplest way to do this is to roll it out straight onto the baking parchment, just keep going, rolling out from the middle. Once you have a thin layer covering the parchment, trim off the edges to make a rectangle of dough and move the parchment onto your baking tray.
Use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to mark out the dough into crackers. You can make these any shape you want, but I usually keep it simple and cut it into small rectangles.
Step 5: Bake & Finish
Bake the crackers for about 7-10 minutes, until golden and crunchy. Watch them carefully, they can go from golden to burnt very quickly.
Tip onto a cooling rack or into a bowl to cool off. Re-roll the scraps into the remaining dough, and cut off another chunk to roll out. Roll, cut and bake until you've used all the dough, or until you get bored (this makes a lot of crackers!). The raw dough will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, if you prefer to bake it off in batches.
Serve with your choice of dips. I use hummus or a goo chutney with cumin seed crackers, while fennel works well with a cream cheese spread.
Keep the crackers in a airtight container. They should have a fairly long shelf life, but I can only reliably guarantee them for a few days, since that's all the time they last around my flatmates.