This is a new one for me at least - crackers. I have tried unsuccessfully to make good crackers in the past. Each time, they were not quite there. What can I say, crackers are seemingly easy to make, but if you don't watch out for the little things, then somehow they just don't make it. So, I experimented and have come up with a formula, sort of. Of course crackers have to be crispy, and therefore have a relatively high amount of oil (or equivalent). But not too much or they become crumbly. And also, like pie-crust, don't work the dough too much to develop gluten. This is a cracker, not bread.
Here is a recipe for a fairly basic cracker, with just a hint of flavor that is both easy to make, and also has great keeping quality. It is based on a recipe from The Baker's Companion, by King Arthur Flour truly a tremendous baking resource everyone should have in their kitchen. But only if you're serious about baking.
Here's What You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1 Tbs. dry milk powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce
about 1/2 cup water
1/4 cup margarine
Here's What You'll Need To Do:
1. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a food processor, mix the dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking soda, milk powder, cumin) until evenly distributed.
2. Add the Tabasco sauce and tomato paste, and mix.
3. Add the margarine, cutting it in small pieces and continuing until crumbly.It should resemble the pea-sized pieces you get when making a pie-crust.
4. Gradually add the water adding just enough to make a rough dough. Form it into a ball, then knead it just enough to make a workable dough.
5. Divide the dough into two pieces keeping one piece covered while working with the other.
6. Roll one piece out until very thin, about 1/8 inch (2 or 3 mm). Cut the dough into cracker-sized pieces. I used a fluted pasta cutter, but a sharp knife would work just as well. Or a circular pizza cutter. Using a fork pierce each cracker a few times. This prevents them from puffing up during baking. Move the crackers with a spatula to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
7. Heat the oven to 350F (180C). Bake the crackers on parchment paper for about 20 minutes turning them around halfway through, until a nice golden brown. These crackers smell amazing while baking because of the cumin. If you wish, you can change the spices to whatever you wish using this recipe for a basic formula for crackers.
8. Cool on a rack, and store in an air-tight container. Bon appetite!