We’re betting that crackers are one food you’ve probably never even thought of making yourself. Why bother when you can pick up a box at the grocery store?
We’ve got three good reasons to make your own crackers. First, it’s much easier than you think, especially if you keep these tips in mind. Second, you can customize them any way you like. Finally, your crackers will be on par with the delicious array of cheeses you serve.
Plus, when your guests ask, “Where did you get these crackers?” you can reply, “I made them myself,” and watch their jaws drop. How fun!
Homemade Crackers: Rolling the Dough
No matter what recipe you use, it’s essential to roll the dough thin. Thin crackers are crispy crackers. King Arthur Flour recommends rolling your dough to 1/16-inch. If you can’t get it that thin with a rolling pin, they suggest using your pasta roller. It may take extra time to run sheets of dough through the roller, but you can be sure your crackers will be thin and crispy.
Another smart tip from King Arthur Flour is to roll your dough on parchment paper sprinkled with flour. Restless Chipotle also recommends this method. Not only does it help prevent your dough from sticking, the parchment paper transfers easily to your baking sheet.
Finally, if your dough is fighting you as you roll it, The Kitchn recommends letting it rest for five minutes. It should roll more easily once the gluten has had a chance to relax.
Homemade Crackers: Cutting the Dough
You can use a pizza cutter, pastry cutter, or even cookie cutters to create your cracker shapes. Whichever tool you choose, keep your crackers uniform in size so they will bake evenly. Toss the leftover scraps of dough; they will bake up tough, not crispy, if you try to roll them out again.
Homemade Crackers: Topping the Dough
Before you start sprinkling seeds and herbs and seasonings over your rolled and cut dough, take a moment to be sure they’ll stick. The Kitchn opts for brushing the surface with water while Restless Chipotle advises using an egg wash. The egg wash will help make the surface of your crackers shiny and add a bit of crunch. Either way, use a pastry brush to keep from tearing the thin dough.
Homemade Crackers: Before Baking
After you’ve rolled, cut, and topped your dough, gently separate the unbaked crackers. This helps the edges bake up crispy. Then carefully prick each cracker with a fork to let steam escape while baking. Your crackers may still puff up in spots, but that’s to be expected. Take a look at a sleeve of Saltines or a box of Cheez-Its: you’ll see plenty of crunchy little bubbles.
Homemade Crackers: After Baking
Once the edges of your crackers have browned in the oven, they are ready to come out. The parchment paper comes in handy here too; you can simply slide it from the baking sheet onto the cooling rack without losing a cracker. You can also turn off the oven and let the crackers cool while they’re still inside. Just open the oven door slightly to vent. While the weather is quite cool and dry right now, keep this tip in mind for warm-weather baking.
If you don’t eat all of your homemade crackers at once, store them in an airtight container. Unlike store-bought crackers that are full of preservatives, your crackers will lose their crunch more quickly when exposed to air.
Homemade Crackers: Recipe Recommendations
We would start with this recipe from The Kitchn that they’ve called “foolproof.” We always love cooking with their recipes because of the step-by-step photos. You can top these crackers with anything you like, but be sure to have plenty of parchment paper on hand.
We’re also feeling pretty confident about the recipes on King Arthur Flour. They’ve been tested and perfected, and there’s a variety to choose from. Try the soda crackers or the sourdough crackers which use leftover sourdough starter.
Once we’ve mastered the basics, we’ll be ready to try Ree Drummond’s homemade cheddar crackers. They look almost identical to Cheez-Its. We’d roll the dough slightly thinner than she does, but we will definitely poke a hole in the middle of each cracker with a wooden skewer for authenticity. Try using a pastry cutter to achieve fluted edges similar to the ones Cheez-Its have.