Jan is hosting the Dean’s Lunch and I am making crackers and schmears (1, 2, & 3). For the non-Vegans, I am making my cream crackers, but one of the deans is a Vegan. I decided to try my had at a Vegan water cracker.
Warning!: This recipe produces enough dough for one cookie sheet of crackers. Be careful, they are extremely addictive. Do not make more than one batch at a time, if you value your waistline.
After Lunch Note: Jan told me they really liked these, even better than the ones Jan calls CRACK-ers.
Karl’s Thyme Water Crackers
1 cup flour, AP
1 tsp. French thyme, dried
½ tsp. baking powder
¼+ tsp. fleur de sel, separate uses
2 Tbs. olive oil
1. Put the flour, thyme, baking powder, and a quarter teaspoon of salt in a bowl and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
Note: My sister, Grace, sent me a bunch of spices for Christmas, one of which was French thyme from Penzeys. Although it is a dried herb, it is much more fragrantly “thyme-y” than even my fresh thyme in the garden. This is the same spice that makes my water crackers so good (soon to be posted).
2. Stir in the half cup of water until the dough forms a ball.
Tip: The dough will be fairly soft. Mix until the flour has just been absorbed.
3. Form the dough into a ball and dust the outside with flour.
Tip: The dry flour keeps the dough from sticking to the plastic wrap.
4. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and let it rest for ten minutes.
Tip: This rest gives the flour time to completely hydrate.
5. Knead the dough just 5 times.
Tip: You are trying to completely mix the dough, but not form too much gluten, which would make your crackers tough.
6. Move the oven rack to the top position and preheat the oven to 425° F.
Tip: If you have a pizza stone this would be a good time to use it. If not, a cookie sheet will do.
Note: The stone retains heat and cooks the cracker more evenly, quickly, and more crisply.
7. On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out the dough as thinly as you can.
Tip: You will need at least 2 tablespoons of flour to keep the dough from sticking to the paper and the rolling pin. Be generous with the flour.
Note: You want the crackers out to an eighth of an inch thick or slightly less. It’s all good, but if you dough is a quarter of an inch thick would then be “hardtack.”
8. Preheat oven to 425º F.
9. Cut the crackers to any size that pleases you.
Tip: A sharp paring knife will do, but a rolling pizza cutter, or a zigzag ravioli cutter is better.
10. Brush the tops of the crackers lightly with olive oil and sprinkle some salt on each cracker.
Tip: This is where the parchment paper really comes in handy, even though the crackers are separated, they can be transferred all together by sliding the paper onto a cookie sheet. If you are using a pizza stone a quick “shove and jerk” will slide the paper onto the stone.
11. Bake crackers until they are starting to have some golden brown spots, about 15 minutes.
Tip: Rotate the tray about half way through the baking time.
Note: Do not over bake. If the edges start to get dark brown they will taste burnt.
12. When done remove the crackers to a wire rack and let the crackers and the oven cool down.
13. Turn the oven down to 300º F.
14. Break the crackers apart and scatter them onto a lipped baking tray.
15. Toast the crackers a second time for 10 minutes.
Tip: Baked only once the crackers will be tough and chewy. Baking them a second time makes them crisp and brittle.
16. Let them cool a second time and try not to eat them all immediately.
Tip: Once they have cooled completely, you may store any that are left in an air tight plastic bag.
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