get crackalackin’ or DIY crackers

Though last week’s bacon jam has yet to meet a food it doesn’t improve, it was meant for a party and simply screamed to be partnered with goat cheese and homemade crackers.

ready to party

ready to party

Which meant I needed to bring my cracker-making A-game to the kitchen. Past experience with DIY crackers has yielded tasty results, though the baked crackers always seem softer than what you’ll find in stores. I wanted crisp, so this seemed perfect opportunity to give cracker making another shot.

The Homemade Pantry, Alana Chernila’s collection of all things DIY kitchen, was the book I turned to for my recipe. Her humbly named Wheat Crackers–basic and ΓΌber-healthy–seemed just the thing to balance bacon jam. Ingredients were gathered and dough was made, rolled, and baked. I focused on rolling the dough to exactly the 1/8-inch thickness given in the recipe, as I’m guessing the softer crackers I’ve made hadn’t been rolled thin enough.

1/8 inch thick

1/8 inch thick

Using olive oil instead of butter also gave them a slight crunch and the uncooked millet added to the texture further. Because I can’t seem to do “pretty” or even “uniform” when baking, the crackers came out looking a bit disheveled. They were still delish and some would say their slightly ragged appearance adds to their charm. (You would say that, wouldn’t you? πŸ˜‰ )crackers in bowl

Following Alana’s suggestion of adding garlic or rosemary to the dough would have given them more flavor; I’ll make this change next time. Still, these crackers were paired with that bacon jam, which has enough flavor for them both.

wheat cracker, goat cheese, bacon jam

wheat cracker, goat cheese, bacon jam

These were good crackers and making them reminded me of how easy a process it is. I’ve featured Homemade Pantry before along with Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese. These books deserve another shout-out as they’re fun reads (Reese is lol funny) and offer recipes for so many basics: pudding, bread, yogurt, pop-tarts (that’s a basic, right?), pasta, lemonade, Kahlua, fruit roll-ups, marshmallows, etc. You don’t need chef’s training to make any of it and food always tastes better–and usually costs less–when you make it yourself. (Excepting A-1 Steak Sauce and ketchup–I tried making both and am sticking with store versions.)

If you’re reading this, my guess is you’re already on the DIY bandwagon, but if no, I encourage you to pick something–anything–and give it a shot. (Butter, for instance, is nothing more than overwhipped cream. You can make butter; no churn required.) If you’re well versed in from-scratch kitchen arts, would love to hear your stories. Please share in comments!

Wheat Crackers

from Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Pantry

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 1/3 cup uncooked millet
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 5 medium cloves garlic, minced and 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary, if desired
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Freshly ground pepper

Heat oven to 350Β°F. In medium bowl, combine flours, millet, flax, baking powder, salt, and garlic and rosemary, if using. Add oil; mix with fork. Slowly add water, mixing with hands as you go. Add more water (up to 1/4 cup) as needed until dough holds together.Β  Knead in bowl 2 minutes or until smooth and workable.

Turn dough out onto floured surface; press into flat disk. Roll with rolling pin until 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. For square crackers, use pizza wheel or sharp knife to cut dough into 2-inch squares. For round crackers, use 2-inch biscuit cutter. (Or to make it food for fun-style, attempt to cut diamond shapes with sharp knife, realize it’s not going so well, but transfer dough to baking sheet anyway.)

Transfer dough to ungreased baking sheets with spatula; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 20 to 22 minutes, rotating baking sheets midway through, until crackers are hard to the touch. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Makes about 50 crackers.

44 thoughts on “get crackalackin’ or DIY crackers

    • They’re both fun books, Ada. Make the Bread runs cost and time comparisons between making and buying an item. And she’s funny with her comments. Homemade Pantry is a more thoughtful, pretty book. Both worth owning. (though neither have a recipe for Avocado Banana Bread!)

      Thanks for coming over. Will raise a glass of Kahlua to toast your being here. (once I make it, of course πŸ˜‰ )

  1. Woohoo! That is crackalackin! Liz, I have to confess that until right now I didn’t notice that your logo is an eggplant. Or perhaps I did but then forgot. Goooooo aubergine!

  2. “Crackalackin”? I get new recipes and new words? I swear you are the bearer of multiple gifts my friend. I’m definitely going to make these…you rock ❀

    • Crackalackin’ is not mine, Mimi. Found it over @ BoFN in Dave’s Funny Names in the News (you know the ones where he’s frenetic and corybantic?). Do make them, then circle back. (put them on deLiz facebook πŸ™‚ ) I like their slightly flaky crunch–they taste like a nutty, hearty, whole-grain pie crust. Thanks, Mimi!

  3. Liz, once again you have inspired me to venture into the kitchen and to explore my DIY cooking ability. Not quite sure that I will meet the required A-grade cracker making standard…..but the thought of eating that truely magical bacon jam on those crackers is too good to refuse! Otter option……do you airfreight to Australia? If not, I think a global DeLizious eatery beckons! Cheers, Steve

    • Thanks for your kind words, Steven. You seem to never run out πŸ™‚ No airfreight and no Eatery, but I’m handing out the recipe! It wouldn’t take much to top my cracker-making skills–especially in the appearance department. That has not been my gift. (But I’m giving myself points for perseverance and pluck πŸ˜‰ ) Always happy to have you here.

      Now. A word about your posting schedule: I hopped over last night to find I’d missed THREE posts. Didn’t you say you were going to slow down? πŸ˜‰

      • Yes, the plan was to slow down a tad, but my company has asked me to write blog posts for their newsletter so I thought I’d add a couple of pertinent ones. I also write them when I’m travelling….fills in the time when sitting on a plane!

  4. First off, DROOL! Those look fantastic. Secondly, I love the comment you inserted in the recipe about the diamond shapes, caused a near tea disaster for my monitor. Lastly, the idea of adding rosemary, delish!

    • Awwww, Fannie. You are also so kind with your wording. A food bloggers goal is to make people drool and you even capped it πŸ™‚

      Also, glad you caught the editorial in the recipe directions. Never sure how many people are actually reading the recipe. We will have to have these whenever it is that we all join up for the movie night. Surely they’ll go with at least one Hollywood Cocktail.

  5. Liz!!! Those look amazing!!! I was impressed already, and then I read your response to Mimi’s comment about how they taste like a whole grain pie crust, and now .. well, now we’re at a whole new level of yumminess, my friend πŸ™‚

    Also with Fannie’s sentiments above and loving how you decided to go for it, food for fun style, no matter what happens! You know how much I love your attitude in the kitchen – I think the worst culinary disasters happen when we take ourselves too seriously! πŸ˜€

    • Hey, thanks for coming by, amb. Especially on your big debut day! You better get serious with those (colored) markers and pencils and make yourself a crackalackin’ spreadsheet so you know when you’re going to be posting what where.

      Wonder how the crackers would be with a gluten-free flour. Would subbing in the gf flour affect texture?

      Yes to your thoughts on “taking ourselves seriously.” My husband’s sister thinks she’s supposed to follow all the rules in the kitchen, and she hates cooking. There you go: follow rules, fun disappears. πŸ˜‰

  6. the goat cheese puts it absolutely over the top. i always cook with my class and one of our things is we make our own class thanksgiving dinner, homeade butter and all. they love to take turns shaking the cream until it magically turns into butter. what i want them to learn, cooking is magical and fun )

    • you teach kindergarten, right? I love that you have wee ones making butter!!! So young and already DIY πŸ™‚

      My 11-year-old daughter and I teach quarterly cooking classes at a local grocery store and we made muffins and DIY butter at the last one. Both the cooking school director and one of the students remembered making butter–just as you’d explained it–when they were that young in school. So, you, dear Beth, are making lifetime memories for these kids!! So awesome.

      Bet that butter would go extremely well on these crackers.

      • oh yes, i have the 4 and 5 year kinders, and i try to cook with them as much as possible. it really teaches a lot of life skills and they will eat pretty much anything they’ve cooked themselves. they take a lot of pride in the process and have so much fun ‘being chefs.’ the thanksgiving feast is all from scratch, cornbread with real corn, turkey rolls with cranberries, pumpkin pies, etc. – truly some of my favorite times with them. we also make a huge fairy tea party with peach tea and finger sandwiches and little cookies and treats at the end of our fairy tale unit. they are so excited to sit down for the tea party, they can hardly contain themselves. how cool you did that class and glad you are hearing about these kinds of activities from the older kids, means it’s working somewhere. i also bring in all kinds of exotic fruits and veggies for them to try and they are always amazed and they love to shock their parents with the foods they’ve tasted. that butter on those crackers does sound good –

        • !! Thanks for sharing, Beth πŸ™‚ You teach at the coolest school ever: nap time has not been replaced by a college-level math class (or anything else) and also you work with lots of hands-on food prep. These kids are going to be in good shape!

  7. I also love home made pantry staples! Good notes/tips about crackers. I’ve been making all kinds of dough from scratch, bread, pizza, flammkuchen, and it’s so much fun! Bacon jam is next, it’s been on a post-it note on my work computer: write report, make bacon jam. πŸ˜€

    • knew you’d be on board πŸ™‚ Though your pantry staples are a cut above mine: flammkuchen? Awesome. Love that you put “make bacon jam” on your to-do list. Woohoo!

  8. It was a real eye-opener the first time I made my own crackers. They tasted so much better than any I’ve ever bought. Your recipe sounds much more flavorful than the ones I made and I really would like to give them a try. Thanks for sharing, Liz.

    • agreed–eye-opening experience as it’s such a simple thing and only takes flour, salt, etc. The millet adds a great bit of texture–would highly recommend. Would love to to hear back if you make a batch. Thanks for coming over, John! Hope you circled back to the bacon jam as well as that seems your thing.

      Thinking that a drizzle of your new honey would go very well with cheese and these crackers πŸ™‚

  9. Pingback: get crackalackin’ or DIY crackers | bharathkbhat06

    • tapanade sounds fantastico! You should make a batch of crackers for sure. I know I’ll never buy packaged again. Thanks for stopping over πŸ™‚

  10. I too have suffered from my homemade crackers being soft. Each recipe I try (so excitedly!) has yielded rather sad results. I will have to give this recipe a try to boost my cracker confidence. Looks super tasty with the goat cheese and bacon jam too! yum!

    • you get it, then, J! To make a batch of scratch crackers, then have them be breadlike….major disappointment. These were flaky and slightly crisp. Certainly not soft. And I liked that they had healthy ingredients: millet, flax, whole wheat flour, olive oil. Balances out the brie and bacon jam.

  11. Never made crackers! Never been that gutsy in the kitchen!
    Could I have some of your crunchy, crispy, good lookin’, fresh outta oven crackers, please? πŸ™‚

    Very flavorful recipe πŸ™‚

    • Thanks for your kind words πŸ™‚ No need to be gutsy to make these crackers–easier than making bread as there’s no yeast to care for. You’re welcome to help yourself to the crackers you see here, but until I can figure out the space-time continuum thing, I can only offer virtual edibles πŸ˜‰

  12. Great crackers, I love, love, love DIY and really need to get the Homemade Pantry, its been on my wish list for a while! Love “crackalackin” too, great word!

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