Frustrated by the price and frequency at which we were buying crackers, I resolved to learn how to make the dang things myself. Homemade crackers may sound intimidating, but they are actually quite simple, especially rustic crackers like these Olive Oil Crackers. This cracker recipe is wonderfully simple and adaptive to any favor you would like to explore. Some toppings I’ve tried are: toasted sesame seeds, fresh rosemary, coarse salt or herbes de Provence. Inspired by the Ines Rosales Tortas de Aceite, I am excited to try a sweet version with anis and coarse sugar very soon.
The trick to these crackers is a pasta maker, a gentle hand and some patience. It’s important to get them thin and fairly even so that they crisp throughout. Have your sheet pans ready and lined with parchment before you start rolling the dough as you’ll want to set them down as soon as you’re done rolling.
These crackers make large rustic shapes that will look beautiful next to a cheese platter on your next dinner party. This recipe was developed by Heidi Swanson and published in her blog 101 Cookbooks here.
Rustic Olive Oil Crackers
1 1/2 cups semolina flour or whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
Cornmeal for dusting
Topping of choice (optional)
1. Add flours and salt to your standing mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. At low speed, add the water and olive oil in a slow steady stream. Mix the dough at medium speed for about 5 – 7 minutes. Alternately, feel free to mix and then knead by hand on a floured counter-top. The dough should be just a bit tacky – not too dry, not too sticky to work with. If you need to add a bit more water (or flour) do so.
2. When you are done mixing, shape the dough into a large ball. Now cut into twelve equal-sized pieces. Gently rub each piece with a bit of olive oil, shape into a small ball and place on a plate. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 30 – 60 minutes or up to a day.
3. While the dough is resting, preheat your oven to 450F degrees. Insert a pizza stone, if you have one, otherwise, line two sheet pans with parchment and set aside.
4. When the dough is done resting, flatten one dough ball. Using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, shape into a flat strip of dough – I can usually get down to the 4 setting on my pasta machine w/o trouble. Pull the dough out a bit thinner by hand (the way you might pull pizza dough). You can also cut the dough into whatever shape you like at this point. Set dough on a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet.
5. If you will be topping the crackers, lightly wash water over the cracker with a pastry brush. Sprinkle your topping of choice and slide into the oven (onto the pizza stone). Repeat the process for the remaining dough balls, baking in small batches. If you don’t have a pizza stone, bake crackers a few at a time on baking sheets. Bake until deeply golden. Slide the crackers from the cookie sheet onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Makes a dozen extra large crackers.