This homemade cracker recipe is easier than you might think, and tastes as good as it looks. Both rustic and elegant, it’s a free-form affair topped with fresh herbs and crunchy flakes of sea salt.
It’s a nice change from baking cakes and cookies and even bread, and aside from some rolling pin work, not very difficult even for amateur bakers. It does call for yeast, and for “00” flour, more commonly seen in fresh pasta. It makes for especially crisp, thin crackers, but you can use all-purpose flour instead and these will still be delicious.
Antimo Caputo 00 Flour, $7.98 from Amazon
Worth adding to your pantry for homemade pasta, crackers, and thin pizza crusts.
Here’s how former Chowhound photographer and author of this recipe, Chris Rochelle, originally introduced it:
I have a confession to make: I spend a lot of time on the King Arthur Flour blog. I’ve found some fantastic recipes there; this one for Gourmet Soda Crackers, by PJ Hamel, was a springboard for the recipe here, Free-Form Herb Crackers, and for Nacho Cheese Crackers. I designed the herb crackers to serve with cheese; the nacho cheese crackers were the result of a fantasy about merging Cheez-Its with jalapeño rings—sort of a high-low thing. Here’s part one, the classy crackers.
KitchenAid Artisan Tilt-Head 5-Quart Stand Mixer, $379.95 from Sur La Table
You can make this dough by hand, but a stand mixer makes it easier.
What You Need to Make Homemade Crackers
Makes 2 (10-by-12-inch) sheets
- 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 7 tablespoons warm water (110°F to 115°F)
- 1 1/2 cups “00” flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
- Fresh herbs (I used rosemary needles, sage leaves, and sprigs of tarragon)
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
Maldon Sea Salt Flakes, 2 8.5 oz packages for $16.71 from Amazon
Once you try this flaky, crunchy salt, you'll sprinkle it on everything, including dessert.
Steps to Making Homemade Crackers
1. In a small bowl, mix the yeast and sugar with the warm water. Set aside to let the yeast come alive and froth, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the measured flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and measured salt. Set aside.
3. Gently heat the butter and measured vegetable oil until the butter is just melted. Add to the yeast mixture.
4. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients. With your stand mixer’s paddle attachment, mix on low till just combined, about 60 seconds.
5. At this point, the dough will look wet and won’t clump together well. That’s good! Just scoop it all out and, with your hands, form it into a ball. Place the ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
6. Let rise for 2 hours at room temperature.
7. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
8. On a lightly floured work surface, flatten the dough ball with the palm of your hand, then pat it into a rough rectangle. Use a rolling pin to roll it out to a larger rectangle, approximately 10 inches by 15 inches. Fold each of the short sides in toward the center until they meet—you should have a rectangle measuring approximately 6 inches by 13 inches. Turn the dough 90 degrees, then roll it out again to a 10-by-15-inch rectangle.
9. With a knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough in half to yield two 10-by-8-inch pieces.
10. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a piece of dough on each. Scatter the herbs all over the surface of the dough pieces, sprinkle with sea salt, and gently press the herbs and salt into the dough using the palm of your hand—not all of the herbs will stick, but that’s OK. To keep the dough from puffing too much as it bakes, prick the surface all over with the tines of a fork.
11. Bake until the surface takes on a light brown tint, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door completely. Let the crackers sit in the oven for 1 hour. They’ll keep cooking and drying out, becoming crispy. Break by hand into irregular pieces and serve with cheese.
These crackers are really a beautiful blank canvas; you can sprinkle with something like za’atar before baking instead of the salt and herbs, or even mix additional seasonings directly into the dough before rolling it out, depending on what you want to serve them with.
Photos and animated GIFs by Chris Rochelle