Week Eight: Crackers
Note: I am out of the country starting today, and for all of next week. I did actually make all these breads, and made a valiant effort to write insightful and descriptive posts for them all, but I didn’t quite make it. I hope this will suffice until I get back!
I had such high hopes for this cracker. I love unusual grains, which spelt certainly is. Spelt is a relative of the common wheat we use in baking, which means that it will produce gluten. I discovered this after making the crackers, and rolling them out to within an inch of their lives in a misguided effort to make them thin and crispy. I would definitely like to try these again, and would certainly take more care with this aspect next time.
Since spelt has an ever-so-slightly nuttier flavor than regular wheat, which I decided would be nice with some dried mint rolled into the dough. It certainly turned out pretty, and the flavor was nice; but man, were they tough! So, lesson learned: they are delicious, but the dough needs to be handled as carefully as any other “normal” wheat dough. There’s very little that’s as disappointing as a food you had high hopes for, turning out not up to par! So mind those rolling pins!
Adapted from the Hungry Ghost, via the New York Times, via Smitten Kitchen
Makes 1 large cracker sheet
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour, plus more for flouring surface
Coarse sea salt and seeds of your choice
1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Dissolve the salt in 1/2 cup of cold water. Stir in the spelt flour until combined. Knead the dough a few turns until a ball forms.
2. Flour an overturned 12-by-17-inch cookie sheet and roll out the dough on top of it, using as much flour as needed to prevent sticking, until the dough covers the sheet from edge to edge. Do your best to get them as thin as possible, because the thicker parts become quite hard when baked. Using a spray bottle filled with water, spray the dough to give it a glossy finish. Prick the dough all over with a fork. If you choose, sprinkle with sea salt or seeds. For neat crackers, score the dough into grids.
3. Bake until the dough is crisp and golden and snaps apart, 15 to 25 minutes. (Check after 10 minutes to make sure it does not overcook.) Break into pieces and serve.
1. White spelt flour can be found at Whole Foods, or your favorite local natural foods grocery.
2. Don’t roll this dough out too thinly! It will get tough!