ROSEMARY GARLIC CRACKERSMakes ~9 dozen 2” crackers.
I like to use my pasta machine to roll the dough out, but a rolling pin also works well (but is a bit more effort). The most important things are that the crackers are rolled thinly and thoroughly dried out after cooking. If necessary, turn down the oven a bit and cook the crackers until crisp.
~3¼ cups (14 ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, minced or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, minced very finely
1 to 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2¼ teaspoons (or 1 package) dry yeast
¼ cup (1¾ ounces) olive oil
~¾ cup (6 ounces) water, hot from the tap
In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups of the flour, rosemary, garlic, sugar, baking powder, salt and yeast. Stir in the oil and water, and mix to combine. Knead the dough on a lightly-floured surface or in a mixer with a dough hook just until it's smooth. The dough should be somewhat stiff – add the remaining flour or more water, a tablespoon at a time, as necessary. Cover the dough and let it rest for 1 to 2 hours or, for added flavor and an easier time in rolling out the crackers, put the dough into an oiled zip-loc bag and refrigerate it overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Divide the dough in half and, on a well-floured or lightly-greased surface (if using a rolling pin, I roll it out directly on top of a piece of lightly oiled parchment paper), roll each half into an ~18”x12” rectangle ~1/16” thick. The thinner the dough, the more delicate the finished crakers. If the dough starts to shrink or tear, cover it and allow it to rest for a few minutes before continuing. Alternately, you can cut the dough into quarters, flatten each piece, lightly flour and run it through a pasta machine until it is 1/16” thick. Transfer the dough, before
cutting it into individual crackers, onto a parchment paper-lined or a lightly-greased half-sheet pan.
Prick the dough all over with a fork or a dough docker (this will keep it from bubbling up while cooking). Cover the dough and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, then cut it into squares using a pizza wheel, pastry wheel, or a sharp knife. Don't worry about separating the crackers; they'll break apart easily along the "scored" lines when cool. Brush or spray the dough with water and sprinkle lightly with coarse salt. Bake the crackers at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes or until the crackers are golden and dry. Remove the crackers from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air-tight container.
You can also vary these crackers by replacing the garlic and rosemary with other flavorings – pretty much anything will work as long as it is powdered or very finely minced. Replacing half the flour with other flours (whole wheat, rye, chickpea flour) is also another variable. Plus you can add more fat (oil, butter, shortening, cheese) for a more tender cracker.
rwtye’s favorite version is Chili-Onion: 1 tablespoon mild chili powder (or hot if you want your crackers spicier), 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1 tablespoon toasted onion powder (or regular onion powder, but the toasted really adds a great taste – I get it from Penzey's Spices) and ½ teaspoon ground chipotle pepper.
Other variations I brought to the picnic:
Jack and Dill
Rye with Caraway Seeds
Cheddar with a touch of cayenne
If you would like exact ratios for any of the above variations, please PM me. BAGUETTESMakes three ~16”x2” loaves
This recipe uses a poolish, which is a commercial yeast starter. Since the poolish needs to ferment for over 12 hours, be sure to start this recipe the day before.
The wetter the dough, the larger the holes in the crumb (which is a good thing!). Since very wet doughs are tricky to knead, using a machine for kneading is the easiest way to make this recipe.
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
⅛ teaspoon dry yeast
1 cup water, hot from the tap
1 cup water, room temperature
~3¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
In a mixing bowl or the bowl of a mixer, mix the 2 cups flour with the yeast and then add the water. Beat vigorously to mix together well, cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow the poolish to ferment for 12 to 16 hours at room temperature.
The next day, add the water to the poolish and mix until smooth. Mix in 3 cups of the flour, the yeast and salt and let the dough rest for 10 minutes for the gluten to start to develop. Knead the dough by hand or with a mixer with a dough hook for 5 minutes adding the reserved flour only if the dough is noticeably wet and is sticking excessively (I rarely add any extra flour). If using a food processor, mix with the steel blade for 15 seconds. Place the dough in a large bowl (or back in the mixing bowl or leave in the mixer bowl), cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 45 minutes. Gently remove the dough from the bowl and fold in half twice. Do not knead.
Return the dough to the bowl and, in 45 minutes, repeat the folding in half twice, then let rise for 1 hour after second folding (for a total of three rises so far).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured surface and gently (you want to keep the dough as puffy as possible) divide the dough into thirds. Shape each piece into an ~16” log, place on a piece of parchment paper, cover with lightly-oiled plastic wrap, and let shaped dough rise until almost, but not quite doubled, ~2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. For the best results, place a baking stone on the top shelf of the oven and a second stone on the bottom shelf. If only using one stone, put it on the bottom shelf.
Just before baking, place a heavy metal baking pan in the bottom of your oven (or on the top shelf if using an electric oven) and pour in ~1 cup of hot water. Slash the tops of the loaves with a sharp knife or a single-edged razor blade and spray or brush the loaves with water. Bake the loaves on the baking stone (leave the loaves on the parchment paper) or on a half-sheet pan on the lower rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the loaves are a deep golden brown. Cool completely on a rack before eating.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour baking class handout
M. K. Tye