September 27, 2013

When It Comes To The Crunch, And I get Crack-ering! – Crunchy Savoury Seed Crackers

n some things my husband and I are quite opposite when it comes to our tastes in food. When he gets hungry or the craving for a snack strikes, he will reach out for something sweet nine times out of ten. I, on the other hand, stretch out for something savoury and preferably a little spicy.
It’s rarely that I see a real good recipe for crackers and I’m not tempted to make them. They’re great to munch on but they’re also usually very easy to make. Knead some dough,  season them with whatever takes your fancy at the given time, roll them out real thin, mark/ cut them out and bake them till done. That’s really all the effort it takes.
So when the Bread Baking Babes decided to bake some Seed Crackers this month, I knew I was with them on this one. Tanna (the Babe for the month) picked these Seed Crackers for them and some of us to bake. I liked that the recipe uses whole wheat flour also and a selection of seeds to top them.

I did adapt the recipe to suit my tastes a bit. The original recipe seemed a little on the blander side for my taste buds which have been subjected to the variety of Indian spices so I added some toasted and crushed cumin seeds as well as a bit of crushed black pepper.
I used only powdered flax seed in the dough and left out the whole seeds because I felt the seeds would prevent me from being able to roll out the dough as thin as I wanted it. From my past experience with making crackers, I know that dough that’s not rolled out thin enough gives you chewy crackers! And crackers are meant be crisp, that’s why they are called crackers!!

Use the measurement of the various seeds for the toppings as a guideline rather than an absolute measurement. I used a lot less of flax seed and sunflower seeds (which I think of as parrot food!), and more of sesame seeds and melon seeds.

You might find that these crackers will not be good on the shelf for too long because of the seeds, as the oil in them will give off a rancid taste after about 4 to 5 days (at least in my kind of hot tropical weather).
Crunchy Savoury Seed Crackers
(Adapted from King Arthur Flour)
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp roasted and crushed cumin seeds
1 to 1 1/2 tsp freshly crushed pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 tbsp sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tbsp powdered flax seed (golden or brown)
1/8 cup oil
1 cup (approx.) lukewarm water 
For the topping:
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
1/4 cup whole flax seeds, brown or golden
1/4 cup melon or pumpkin seeds
Put all the ingredients for  the dough into the processor bowl and knead until you have a reasonably stiff dough. If the dough feels dry, then add a couple of tbsp. of water (one at a time) till you get the desired texture of dough.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover and let it rise for about an hour and a half until it has risen quite a bit.  
Divide the dough into three (or two depending on the size of your baking sheets) portions. Working with one portion at a time, roll out each into a rectangle about 12” by 8”. The dough should be quite thin. If you find the dough shrinking back as you roll it tout, let it rest for 10 minutes. Then roll it out again.
The best way is to roll the dough out on parchment paper of a size that will fit your baking sheet. Spritz or generously brush the top of the rectangle with water (it should be damp but not soggy) and sprinkle the seeds uniformly over it. Use your rolling pin to press the seeds down into the dough.

Slowly lift the parchment with the seeded dough and place it on your baking sheet. Dock the dough rectangle with the tines of a fork so that it doesn’t bubble up while baking. Using a pizza/ pie wheel cut the rectangle into squares, rectangles or triangles. You don’t have to cut right through, but deep enough that you can break them once they’re baked.
Repeat with the other two portions. Let the dough rectangles rise for about 30 to 45 minutes. They will look a bit puffy.
Bake them at 170C (340F) for about 20 to 30 minutes till they’re done and golden brown in colour. Turn off the oven, open the door a little and let them cool down in the oven.

Once they have cooled, break them and store in an airtight tin. This recipe makes three 12” by 8”.  sheets of crackers. The number of crackers would depend on how you cut them. I cut mine into long rectangles (about 3” by 1 1/2" approx.) and got 18 crackers from each sheet.

These Crackers are going off to be YeastSpotted!