A few years back I had a collegue who was always eating organic speltcrackers for lunch. I was always quite curious but never got around to trying because they were only available in biostores and I didn't have one in my neighbourhood back then. In the end I totally forgot about spelt, until I got Sophie Dahl's cookbook Miss Dahls Voluptuous Delights for my birthday last year, she mentiones spelt here and there. So off I went to the biostore near my home only to discover speltcrackers are insanely expensive, they charge three euro's for only eight crackers! Look, I like being organic and all but I'm a student. Which is basically equivalent to always broke. So I had to get creative and decided I'd just bake my own speltcrackers. Which is better anyway because now I decide what they look like and how they taste. And no creapy or suspicious ingredients, all natural. And way cheaper, which was my motivation. Being organic sounded so much better.... Ah, well.
As it turns out, baking crackers is one of the easiest things you'll ever bake. I'm not an experienced baker, all I've made before is bread. And the muffins I tried years ago tasted like bread, too. Which was not the way they were supposed to taste. Long story short, if I can do it, you can do it too.
I've used two recepies, one by Smitten Kitchen and one by I made that and adjusted a little bit to my own tasting.
- Water (my guess is you already have this)
- Olive oil
- Something for topping. I've tried coarsely grinded sea salt, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds and tonight I'll make parmesan crackers. Just play around with whatever you like.
- Cling film
- Baking paper
I've used 200 grams of spelt flour, (about) 50 ml. water and a teaspoon of salt. This will make more or less 12 crackers, depending on how small you break them. Knead ingredients into dough and knead for a little while. Your dough should be a little tacky, but not so much that it clings on your hands while you're kneading. If it's too sticky, add some flour. If it's to dry, add some water. You can also do this by wetting your hands, this way you make sure the dough doesn't get too wet.
Roll dough into a ball and wrap in the cling film, leave to rest for an hour to relax the gluten. Apparently, they get really stressed out by all that kneading you just did! I didn't know that, either. After an hour, divide the dough into 6 pieces and cover a cutting board in flour. You need the flour to prevent the dough from sticking to the cutting board or your rolling pin. Roll out each piece into an oval. Meanwhile, preheat oven at 180 degrees. The thinner you roll them the quicker they'll bake. Prick the dough all over with a fork. With the back of a spoon spread some olive oil on the crackers and apply your choice of topping. I chose pumpkin seeds.
Bake them for about 15 minutes, until they have a nice golden color.
Instead taking a little ball of dough and baking the crackers in ovals, you can also roll the dough out in one big sheet. You can either score the sheet into grids before you bake or just break up the sheet afterwards.
How long you need to bake the crackers depends on both your oven and how thin you made them. Mine usually need 20 minutes. They're done when they have a nice, golden color.
Break into pieces and enjoy!
PS: I can imagine you're wondering, 'why spelt?' Mainly because I like trying new things, but I've also heard it's healthier than regular flour. Also I've found it has a strong, nutty flavour I really like. I'm not an expert on dieting or healthissues so I wont get into that for fear of posting nonsense, but you can check more information here. You can buy speltflour in biostores, I paid 1.80 euro's for it. If you can't find it, you can use whole wheat flour as well. I'm sure the crackers will still turn out delicious!
Update: I had some dough left so I baked another stash of crackers and tried just leaving them in the baking tin instead of taking them out after ten minutes and baking them on the grid (as I did the first time) and it turned out fine. Apparently, my oven is not as difficult as I think it is sometimes. I've adjusted the recepy.
Lovely alternatives are:
- Freshly grated parmezan cheese and lemon zest
- Cinnamon and brown sugar. After ten minutes, put some butter on top and bake them for another 10 minutes. It's so good. I couldn't stop eating them. And I'm on a diet! The butter makes it so crumbly, it's insane. Perfect companion for a cup of tea!