Saturday, 23 May 2015

Savoury crackers

I think that there is nothing more satisfying that a humble supper of either bread or crackers and cheese. If there's a bit of chutney lying around and some salad even better, but this is my go-to dinner if my other half is out at a working dinner, or I am on my own and have arrived back late from my travels with work. And travelling far and wide is something I do far too often for my liking.

I used to buy crackers but always felt disappointed that they did not quite hit the spot, or give the cheese a run for its' money. That is until I was browsing through Niki Segnit's "The Food Thesarus" (one the few books that has space in my tiny kitchen). I couldn't believe why I had not thought of making my own before. The recipe below is taken from her book, but adapted for my poppy seed take on her fennel seed crackers.

I've since branched out and now make a wide variety, caraway, cardamom, sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seed. When making the pumpkin or sunflower ones, I tend to put three quarters of the seeds in when mixing the dough and press the rest into the top of the crackers just before placing in the oven.

They are really easy and quick to make and I would urge you to give them a try. Unlike store bought, you know exactly when is in them and can adapt to make more salty/peppery etc to suit both your individual taste and cheese. And doubling or trebling the quantities below makes no difference at all, in fact I often do it at Christmas or for family gatherings where the meal is a relaxed grazing affair.

This recipe makes approximately 24 crackers, more if you roll the dough thinner. Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees or gas mark 3 and have baking sheets lined with either Bake O Glide (or equivalent) or greased.

125 grams of plain , not bread, flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Now add your flavourings of choice in the following quantities:

2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
2 teaspoons of either fennel, caraway, cumin or seaame seeds
2 teaspoons of whole cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon of ground caradmom seeds
1 tablespoon of either pumpkin or sunflower, with another tablespoon for topping

To finish:

25ml of olive oil
Up to 125ml of water, added in increments of 15ml

To make:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl or food processor bowl with the dough hook attached. Add the seeds of choice and mix thoroughly.

Add the olive oil and 45ml of the water. Start to mix, adding more water as and when required to achieve a soft dough like consistency. depending on your flour you may need more or less water. Mix until well combined and tip out onto a floured surface.

Roll out to a thickness of approximately 5mm, remembering to ensure that both the work surface and rolling pin are well floured to avoid sticking. Then use a 5cm cutter to stamp out rounds and place on the baking tray(s). Re-roll any excess and continue to stamp out rounds, although the first rolling provides the best results.

Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for 25 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. When cool, place in an airtight box. The picture below shows a selection of poppy and fennel seed crackers.

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