I took a quick trip to Chicago last weekend to reunite with some good girlfriends of mine. I spent a good 48 hours overindulging in gossip, food, and drink. So the last thing I wanted to do this week after I got back was to make or eat anything too unhealthy. Homemade wheat crackers were in order. They are made with wholesome ingredients like whole wheat, millet, flax seed, and olive oil, and taste better than any store bought crackers that I’ve ever had.
I realize that getting out your rolling pin and making crackers yourself isn’t always an option, but when you can, it is a really wonderful treat. The wheat crackers are nutty and crisp, with a flavor that reminds me of Wheat Thins, but really there’s no comparison. These are in a league of their own.
I have to thank one of my favorite cookbooks, Alana Chernila’s The Homemade Pantry, for the recipe. When I first flipped through the pages of Alana’s book, I felt a connection to her right away. She approaches food in such a real and honest way and has convinced me that I can be the type of person who makes things like butter, yogurt, and cheese in my own kitchen. While I’m not quite there yet, I would say that I’ve been heading in that direction for a while now—making everything I can from scratch and rarely buying packaged foods.
Alana’s book and recipes remind me that almost anything you buy at the grocery store can be made at home, often with less costly, better for you, and more delicious results. These crackers are definitely proof of that and I look forward to trying more recipes that can expand the list of foods that I make instead of buy.
Homemade Wheat Crackers
Adapted from The Homemade Pantry
Alana also includes a garlic-rosemary variation and instructions for making a gluten free version in her book. The recipe below is the basic wheat version.
1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 cup (4.75 ounces) spelt flour or whole wheat flour (4.5 ounces) (I used whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup whole, uncooked millet
1/3 cup ground flax seeds (I used golden flax seed meal)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup water
Freshly ground pepper for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, millet, flax seed, baking powder, and salt. Then add the olive oil and mix with a fork until combined. Slowly mix in a 1/2 cup of water, working it in with your hands. If needed, add up to 1/4 cup more water until the dough holds together. Knead the dough in the bowl until it is smooth and easy to work with, about 2 minutes.
Dust a clean surface with flour, dump out the dough, and press it into a flat disc. Use a rolling pin and roll out the dough until it is 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (the thinner crackers crisp up a little more in my experience). Cut the crackers into 2-inch squares or circles, rerolling the dough as needed.
Carefully transfer the cut crackers to ungreased or parchment paper lined baking sheets, and sprinkle each cracker with a little salt and pepper. (I also poked holes in mine with a chopstick, which is totally optional). Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the crackers are crisp and hard to the touch. Transfer the crackers to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Makes about 50 to 60 crackers.