You can buy bread, cookies and cakes at the grocery store, and even so, many home bakers make them themselves anyway. So why, when we think about all of the incredible baked goods we can create, crackers are often left behind? Like cookies, crackers are incredibly easy to make. Full of ingredients many of us have in our cupboards, most recipes can be made in under an hour and serve as the perfect appetizer no matter the event you're hosting. From sweet to savory and salty, the many different kinds of crackers you can make are endless. So, whip up a batch of sweet and colorful Animal Crackers for your kid's birthday party, or make these Everything Crackers to enjoy on game day. Whichever recipe you choose, this guide to baking crackers is sure to help. Full of tips, tricks and precautions, it's ideal for individuals learning to bake crackers for the very first time.
Tip # 1: Don't Take Cracker Baking Too Seriously
If you've baked cookies or a cake before, then you can certainly bake homemade crackers. While store-bought crackers can be found in several flavors and styles, they're often not the healthiest option. By making crackers at home, you can create a fresher, tastier and more nutritious snack than you can buy. Not to mention, your friends and family will surely be impressed with your baking skills. The easy-to-mix and make doughs will leave you eager to create this recipe weekly.
Our team is often asked, "what's the hardest part of baking a cracker," and almost all of us agree that it's rolling the cracker dough to the right thickness. But don't worry, below we'll cover how to master rolling thin crackers as well as creating a perfect shape. The tips in this article will help you create a variety of crackers with ease.
As we cover how to bake homemade crackers successfully, it's important to note that not all store-bought crackers are unhealthy. If you're in a time crunch and want to pick up a pack of crackers on the way to your event, we understand! However, we'd advise reading the ingredient list to ensure it's full of wholesome ingredients before purchasing. Bob's Red Mill Sesame Oat Crackers are made with a handful of simple ingredients like quinoa, oats, almonds and flaxseeds. Their thin and crispy style (which we'll teach you how to achieve at home) is paired with an irresistible flavor perfect for dipping, topping and dunking. Enjoy them by the handful, or use them as inspiration to make crackers at home.
Tip # 2: Mix the Dough Properly
Mixing the dough properly is the first step in perfectly baked crackers. When mixing dough, you don't need any special equipment or advanced baking skills. And while a food processor will make the job a bit faster, it can also cause you to easily overmix the dough, creating crackers that are a bit too tough. When making most cracker recipes, you'll want to start with the dry ingredients. Once the dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, it's time to add the fats (butter, oil, cheese) before gradually adding liquid. Next, slowly add the liquid and mix it into the dough until all the ingredients are combined. Depending on the recipe, you may need to knead the dough before shaping it. Following this process and any steps noted in the recipe will help you create cracker dough that is the perfect mix of crispy and crunchy.
Tip # 3: Roll the Dough Right
As we mentioned earlier, achieving the perfect cracker texture requires rolling the dough out relatively thin with a rolling pin. While allowing your dough to rest isn't often noted in cracker recipes, it does help make it easier to roll out.
To properly roll cracker dough, you'll want to start by using a large and hard surface—we use the counter! Begin by dusting it with a light layer of flour, lay parchment paper on top, and then dust it with a little more flour. Parchment paper is vital when creating thin dough as you don't have to worry about it sticking to the counter when using a rolling pin.
Another option when baking crackers is to use a pasta roller to help get the dough thin. Depending on the recipe you're making, you'll want to first test a small piece of dough by running it through the pasta roller machine. Moist dough works well with most pasta rollers, while drier dough often crumbles as it's processed through the roller.
Tip #4: Give Your Crackers the Right Shape
When baking crackers, many individuals consider the shape and style of a cracker to be the true sign of perfection. If you're a stickler for a great-looking cracker, there are a few steps you'll want to follow before baking your cracker recipe. Instead of baking the dough once it's been rolled, take the time to score and mark it to ensure that each cracker creates a uniform shape. This can be done using several tools, including a knife, razor blade, pastry wheel and pizza cutter. First, you'll want to choose the shape you'd like to make. While most crackers are created in the form of a square or rectangle, there's nothing that says you can't mix it up a bit. With a quick online search, you'll find that several small fun-shaped molds can be used for cracker cutting. No matter what tool you decide to use, be sure to reroll the scraps to ensure that you get the most out of your dough.
Tip #5: Bake Crackers Slowly
Even if you've mastered all of the steps above, the result will be inedible if your crackers are not baked correctly. When cooking crackers, it only takes minutes to take your crackers from perfectly baked to burned. Because of this, you'll want to make sure you've completed all of the steps above correctly and triple checked the temperature of your oven.
To bake crackers, most recipes recommend starting with a hot oven that's usually set to around 400°F. The oven's high temperature will help pull the moisture out of the dough and create a crispy cracker result. The more time the crackers spend in the oven, the darker they'll become. Once you notice that the crackers have changed to a golden brown color, you must watch them closely and pull them out before burning. If it looks like your crackers might burn before they've fully cooked, then you'll want to reduce the heat and leave the door of the oven slightly cracked until they've finished cooking. Doing so will simulate a dehydrator and pull the excess moisture out, allowing them to bake thoroughly. Once the crackers come out of the oven, top with sea salt, dried herbs or any other type of seasoning to finish them off.
Bonus Tip #6: How to Store Crackers
Now that you know how to bake crackers successfully, you should also know how to store them afterward. When creating any cracker, the goal is usually to create a crispy texture. This being the case, you'll want to keep the crackers away from moisture as much as possible. If the crackers are placed in a humid environment, they will go soft and stale in just a few days. To protect your crackers, store them in an airtight container or wrap them and place them in the freezer. Doing so will help prolong their life and prevent you from biting into a soggy snack. Now, if you do find that moisture has crept into your crackers, you can always spread them out on a baking sheet and let them dry out in the oven again.
Recipe to Try: Cheese Crisp Crackers
Whether you're a novice or advanced baker, these Cheese Crisp Crackers and the perfect treat to bake. Savory, gluten free and oh-so-delicious, they're full of good-for-you ingredients that you can feel good about serving to family and friends. In this recipe, sharp cheddar cheese and butter are used to create a savory flavor that snack connoisseurs will love! And instead of all-purpose flour, brown rice flour and organic coconut flour are used to achieve a mild and agreeable taste that allows these crackers to pair perfectly with dips, jams and charcuterie. Or, you can enjoy them alone and soak up the sharp cheddar cheese flavor one bite at a time.
The next time you get an itch to bake a batch of delicious crackers, take the time to review these tips first. By following the tips and tricks listed above, making the perfect crackers is as easy as pie—literally. At Bob's Red Mill, we have several cracker recipes to choose from to begin your baking journey. We can't wait to see which you choose. From our family to yours, happy baking!
Have a tip or trick that you always use when making crackers at home? We'd love to hear what it is. Share your cracker baking secrets with us in the comments below.