by A.J. Coltrane
For future reference and before the notes evaporate — the cracker recipe for Iron Chef Leftovers’ big dinner party.
These crackers were served with three cheeses and three chocolates selected by ICL. I wanted to go for a cracker that would have good initial crispness but would have a small amount of chewiness as well. They also needed to taste good on their own but not compete with the cheese and chocolate. I think that overall the crackers fulfilled those goals.
This particular recipe is an amalgam of a bunch of different recipes that I looked through online. I ended up choosing this Alton Brown recipe as a loose template, though they’re still very different:
|Ingredient||This Recipe||Alton Brown|
|AP Flour||8 oz||4-3/4 oz|
|Wheat Flour||1-1/2 oz||5 oz|
|Semolina Flour||½ oz|
|Table Salt||1-1/2 tsp|
|Kosher Salt||1-1/2 tsp|
|Aluminum Free Baking Powder||1-1/2 tsp||1-1/2 tsp|
|Olive Oil||3 TBP||3 TBP|
|Water||6 oz||6-1/2 oz|
|Poppy Seeds||1/3 cup|
|Sesame Seeds||1/3 cup|
1. Knead until the dough *just* comes together and the flour is incorporated. (AB calls for kneading “4-5 times”.) Do NOT knead any further — the goal is develop as little gluten as possible. (More gluten = a chewy cracker, and not in a good way.)
2. Rest 15 minutes. (So that the flour has a chance to hydrate.) Preheat oven to 450 F.
3. Cut off 1/8 of the dough. Lightly dust the back of a sheet tray with semolina flour. Roll out the dough as thin as you can. Poke the dough all over with a fork. (So that it doesn’t puff up very much when baked.) Using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into cracker-sized pieces.
4. Bake for 6 minutes on the first side. Rotate the pan and flip the crackers over. (Work quickly.) Bake 4-6 minutes on the 2nd side. Spread the crackers on a cooling rack to cool. Note that they’ll get crispier as they cool.
When we did these we used three sheet trays — one would be baking on the first side, one would be baking on the 2nd side, and one we’d vigorously wave around to cool it off, then prep the next dough to go into the oven.
Don’t overwork the dough.
Roll it out super duper thin.
Keep practicing. The recipe makes many batches. By the time you’re on the 5th batch some things will start making more sense and you’ll likely have an “aha!” moment. And then you’ll be done.
Even the less than ideal ones will still taste good.
Feel free to add sesame seeds or poppy seeds or cheese or coarse salt or spices or whatever to make them more interesting. Lightly sprinkle the “topping” over the dough when it’s rolled out and pat it in a little bit. Again, these crackers were intended to be complimentary and not try to hog attention from ICL’s dinner, they’d be somewhat “plain” as-is if eaten solo.