Another week spent in the Caribbean, it must be my day to post my bread baking adventures for the week. I promised myself on New Year's Eve that I would be trying to learn more as a bread baker, and if possible to cook through the"The Bread Baker's Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread" book. I brought three cookbooks with me to my island adventure. The "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" book was one. It is now week five of my island adventure, and here is week SIX of my bread baking experiences.
Crackers??? What??? You can make crackers??? OK, why not, but why would you want to? Then I read the detailed instructions and found out the answer to why make your own crackers...
SPICES... You pick just about any that you like. In depth readers (those that read my sister blogs, Daily Photos in St. Thomas and A Kansas Foodie in the Virgin Islands know that I recently got a care package from home with several dozen different spices! So, this was going to be fun!
And easy! The dough only has a single rise of 90 minutes. No over night proofing. Start to finish was about 2 and a half hours, but most of that was the rise and me falling asleep as the 90 minutes was finished. Actual hands on effort is probably 20 minutes... Not to spoil the outcome, but the best 20 minutes you will spend this week!
Here's what I did...
1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 teaspoon instant Yeast
1 TBS Maple Syrup (actual recipe calls for honey, but I was out)
1 TBS Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Water
- Mix everything together to form a ball.
- Move to a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes
- Lightly oil a bowl and drop the ball into the bowl. Turn to coat all sides. Cover and allow to rise to double the size ... About 90 minutes, but can be 2 hours if you fall asleep.
- Now it's time to form the crackers... Mist the counter with spray oil. Take the dough and form into a rectangle with your hands. Use a rolling pin to get the dough thin. Paper thin will get a very crisp cracker, 1/8th inch thickness will get a slight center chewiness around the crisp.
- lift the dough and wave a bit. cover with a towel and let it rest for 5 minutes.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Time to flavor the crackers... First, take a pizza cutter and make a few wavy cuts. I didn't want a square cracker, but you can easily cut into squares... I wanted a cracker strip. Since this was the first time I was making these, I did different spices in rows to test what I liked. and what worked for others... the first layer is a black and white sesame seed mixture, combined with a little sea salt. Next was some sweet paprika, next some mustard powder and finally some fresh cracked pepper.
- Bake for 17 minutes, until you get just a bit of brown on the edges...
And wait for the ohhhs and ahhhs! These were really good. I mean really really good. They take very little time, and are well worth the effort. The best taste came from the Sesame Seed mixture. The cracked pepper was next, but you have to like the taste of cracked pepper. The baking process with the spices on top makes them pop in flavor. Stronger than what you would imagine. Kind of like toasting a spice seed before you grind them. Filled with incredible flavors.
But wait, I had enough dough left to try a second batch...
These were made for me... Garlic Flakes at one end, Onion Flakes at the other, Cracked Pepper in the Center and a sprinkling of Chipotle Pepper Spice over the entire thing.
OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
Oh My God!
Tonight I am making another batch, along with some kind of a cheese dip... Any Caribbean cheese dip recipes?
I am so loving this book, and incredible collection and certainly belongs on every cook's shelf. This recipe is so easy and so much fun. From little cracker squares to fancy pretty crackers fit to be served at the fanciest of restaurants. Such a winner!
The book is LARGE, lots of photos, and information. Filled with dozens of recipes and easy to follow step by step directions. And now Amazon is selling this for nearly half price (less than half if you want a used copy. Folow the link above and order TODAY!