Monday, February 26, 2007

Homemade crackers

Crackers are kind of like mayonnaise. I know there's no secret ingredient that commericial manufacturers use, but why can't I make a cracker as thin and crisp as those saltines that come from the package?

The recipe I used goes like this:

4 cups of flour
1 cup of fat (I used half butter and half lard - mind you, this isn't healthy eating!)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 generous teaspoon of baking soda
extra salt for top

Cut the fat into the flour, then mix the vinegar, baking soda and salt into the milk and pour it over the flour, then work until it's a soft dough. Roll very thin, prick all over, lightly salt the top and bake at 375 for 10 - 15 minutes.

It's very simple, and I liked the results... but it's not the same. It tastes a little like salty pie crust.

Does anyone have a good recipe for plain saltine crackers? If you don't want to post it in a comment, you can email me through my profile. I will be eternally grateful!

12 comments:

Terre Parker said...

Hi Pat,
I don't know of any recipes for homemade crackers, yet maybe if you try some searches on UK websites you might find some. The Brits call crackers something else - I want to say "biscuits", yet I'm not quite sure.

Through your site or one of your links, I invested in a pot of "stone soup" on Sunday night. Yummy! I threw in bits of the smoked chicken I had shredded off of a store bought roasted chicken, with a base of frozen leftover canned tomatoes and then later added whole frozen corn and whole potatoes and a bit of fatty bacon I had given up on cooking. I added whole garlic cloves, a bit of dried herbs...cumin, onions, parsley, etc.

My son came home and apologized for already eating supper!

Good luck on the crackers search. Terre

Pat said...

Terre, I came up with a couple more recipes to try. We're going to be eating a lot of crackers around here for awhile! :)

Helen South said...

Trans Fats.

Trans fats give you the crispness. Hydrogenated vegetable oil. That's why almost all the commercial biscuits you buy have 'vegetable fat' (vegetable shortening, margerine) in them rather than butter. Butter also can have a reasonably high water content - I wonder if clarified butter (ghee) would work?

Biscuits are any kind of cookie/cracker but I think the use of 'cracker' for savory biscuits (I mean coookies... argh!) is fairly standard.

http://www.greatbritishkitchen.co.uk/recipes_result.asp?name=waterbiscuits

Pat said...

Ah, ha! Helen, I think you've hit the nail on the head. I'm going to make some ghee and try it and hope it works. I don't want to use trans fats, so if I doesn't work, I'll just eat "noncrisp" crackers.

Thank you!

Gigi said...

I make home made mayonnaise all the time; it is our preference. If you are not happy with your results, I am guessing it is the oil. Unfortunately, I have tried many types of cracker recipes with no success. I have thought about this and decided that I might try using yeast. After all, pita chips and hard pretzels are very crispy. I have also purchased flat bread crackers. They are all just dried out bread.

Pat said...

Gigi, would you mind sharing your recipe for mayonnaise? You can email me through my profile page if you like. I looked on a cracker box and yeast is listed as an ingredient. I haven't made the ghee yet so haven't tried that. I'm determined to make a good cracker! :)

Anonymous said...

Pat, if you find a good homemake cracker, PLEASE share the recipe. Found your blog while searching for a recipe for homemade saltines. I love saltines, but having discovered they contain trans fats, have banished them -- along with half the contents of my pantry! I am missing a lot of the things I enjoyed eating, but saltines are right at top of the list. Bought Zesta Fat Free Saltines today, and they are one tough cracker. Taste stale, but expiration date is months from now. Assume the toughness and kinda stale texture is likely due to their being fat free, and more specifically free of hydrogenated oil. I don't especially want to bake my own crackers, but it's looking like that's only option for saltines. I foolishly thought I could scare up a recipe for a good homemade substitute without much difficulty. I can live with some butter in the crackers or trans-fat free oil. I found two simple Homemade Saltine recipes at Cooks.com to try, and a High-Protein Crackers recipe at Mother Earth News site (made with whole wheat, rye & soy flours). The latter is not a saltine, but sounds good; I am hoping it will make good cracker. I have found at least one OK transfat free commercial cracker, the multigrain by Milton (Canadian product distributed out of California). But making crackers would put the quality and nutritional control in MY hands, and not make me dependent on finding specific storebought brands. That would be a good thing I am thinking.

Rachel R. said...

Actually, according to this page: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=714397 there IS a "secret ingredient."

I'm with you; I haven't been able to find a decent substitute. Honestly, I don't even care if they're saltines; I just want some sort of cracker I can make with whole wheat and no hydrogenated oils that I can spread peanut butter or layer cheese on!

Rachel R. said...

I just found this: http://nikas-culinaria.com/2007/12/07/buttermilk-saltines/

The crackers in her photo actually LOOK like saltines, and the recipe includes yeast, so maybe this is it? :) (Hoping! I haven't tried them yet.)

Pat said...

Great finds, Rachel, thanks! I"m still on a quest for the perfect cracker, but I'm eating the experiments! :)

Mary Lou said...

I came across your blog looking for homemade saltines. My son is autistic and we have gone to a yeast-free diet. On the subject of trans fats, I found a good product by Spectrum in the health food store. It's called Organic All Vegetable Shortening and it says "Non-hydrogenated" because it's made from palm oil which is naturally somewhat solid at room temperature, like shortening. (Palm oil is the good fat; palm kernal oil is the bad fat.) I use it to make biscuits which my son likes a lot. He also likes saltine crackers.

Pat said...

That's interesting. I'll have to look for it, thanks!