A person new to the gluten-free diet recently said to me, "You know what I really miss? Saltines. I'd give anything for a good cracker. Since going gluten-free I eat potato chips instead of crackers and it's just not the same." I understood her longing. Before going gluten-free, the humble saltine was my go-to snack.
When I went gluten-free, however, I soon realized that gluten-free saltines were not commercially available. Being without saltines was not an option, so I created a recipe for them.
Interestingly, the technique for making saltines is similar to making a pie crust: fat (either butter or dairy-free shortening) is cut into a gluten-free flour mixture. You can do this by hand or with a food processor. After adding the cold water, the dough should be firm but workable. If the dough is dry, add a splash more water. (I usually need to add about a tablespoon more water when I make these crackers with shortening instead of butter. Start with the amount of water the recipe calls for and go from there. You don't want any dry flour at the bottom of the bowl.)
While the dough comes together quickly, it takes a few minutes to roll it out to the appropriate thickness. This is time well spent. Thin dough ensures a nice, crisp cracker. You want the dough about 1/16 inch thick. To make this easy, roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper.