Gluten-Free Tuesday: Crackers
Have you ever made crackers? Even though my love of crackers began at an early age, I'd never made a batch until I started baking gluten-free. I don't know why, but making crackers seemed mysterious to me. Turns out, it isn't mysterious at all!
Making the dough is easy, especially if you have a food processor. You just need to cut the fat (butter or shortening) into the dry ingredients. Like making a pie crust, this creates little layers of fat that leave the crackers flaky when baked. But crackers need a little more than just cutting the fat into the flour to achieve the correct texture.
After a few batches, I realized the key to making crackers is rolling the dough thin. Really thin. If you don't get the dough thin enough, the crackers resemble a savory shortbread more than a true cracker.
Enter parchment paper! When you roll the dough between two pieces of parchment, you can roll it super-thin without any hassle. After rolling, slide the parchment, dough and all, onto a baking sheet. Then just pull the top piece of parchment away and score the dough. Since the crackers are baked on the parchment, they break apart easily once baked. (And if this technique seems familiar, it's because we used it to make graham crackers this summer.)
Made with a combination of brown rice flour and sorghum flour, these crackers remind me a little of Wheat Thins, only better. They'd be perfect with any cheese you might be serving on New Year's.
Want flavored crackers? Add about one tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs (rosemary is nice), a teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper or even a little chili powder—I'd start with one teaspoon and then adjust to suit your taste.
3 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) sorghum flour
3 1/2 ounces (3/4 cup) brown rice flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons butter or shortening, chilled and cut into four pieces
6 tablespoons cold water
Kosher salt for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 400 ° F. In bowl of food processor combine sorghum flour, brown rice flour, granulated sugar, salt, and baking powder. Pulse to combine. Add butter. Pulse until no large pieces of butter remain. Mixture should resemble a coarse meal.
2. Add water. Run food processor until dough comes together, about 15-20 seconds.
3. Turn dough out onto a 12x16 parchment piece of parchment paper. Press dough into a rectangle. Lightly dust dough with brown rice flour. Cover dough with a second piece of parchment paper.
4. Roll dough until it almost covers the entire piece of parchment. It should be about 1/16” thick. Peel top piece of parchment away. Using a pizza wheel or knife, trim uneven sides of the dough. Slide parchment and dough onto a 12 x 18 baking sheet
5. Score dough into rectangles. A pizza wheel works best for this task. (I cut my crackers into 1 x1/2-inch pieces.). Prick dough all over with a fork. Sprinkle dough lightly with Kosher salt.
6. Bake until crackers are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Some of the crackers on the edge might over-bake.
7. Remove pan from oven. Allow crackers to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.
Makes about 100 small crackers
This piece first ran at SeriousEats.com as part of Elizabeth's ongoing Gluten-Free Tuesday column.