I had completely forgotten about this recipe until the week of Christmas when I was thinking about some last minute food gifts. I adore anything crispy and the first time I made these crackers I was thrilled with the outcome. They are perfect dipped in a cheese spread, but I could eat a basketful all on their own. I’ve added fennel seeds to the mixture in the past which added a subtle anise flavor along with a little extra crunch. I have to say though that they can cause the dough to tear as it goes through the pasta machine so this time I left them out.
The recipe calls for using a pasta machine and although you could substitute a rolling pin, I think it would be hard to roll the dough thin enough. My only piece of advice is to stand guard once you put them in the oven. I found that they go from being not quite done to burnt just like that. Last time I ended up trashing one whole pan.
Olive Oil and Seed Crackers from Chocolate & Zucchini
5 1/3 ounces all-purpose flour
5 1/3 ounces fine semolina flour (if you can’t find semolina flour, just use all regular flour)
3 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 tablespoons poppy seed
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup) water
Place the flours, seeds and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the olive oil and stir it in with a fork. Add the water and mix it in.
When the water is absorbed, turn the mixture out on a clean work surface and knead the dough gently to gather into a smooth ball. Add a touch more water if the dough feels too dry to come together, but the consistency you’re shooting for is smooth, not at all sticky or tacky.
Divide the dough into 8 pieces of (roughly) equal size, and cover with a kitchen towel.
Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare two baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicon baking mats — this is so you can bake two batches of crackers at a time, but if you only have one baking sheet, that’s fine, too. If you have a rectangular or square bread stone, place it in the oven as it preheats; you’ll need only one baking sheet in addition to the stone then.
Take one piece of dough (keep the others covered to prevent them from drying out) and flatten it into an oval disk between the palms of your hands. Set a pasta roller on the widest setting, and slip the disk of dough in the roller to thin it out. Fold the strip of dough in half so the two short sides meet, and slip the dough into the roller again, fold in first. Repeat 3 or 4 times until the dough feels supple; you are essentially kneading the dough in the process. If it gets sticky at any point, dust it with a little flour.
Switch the pasta roller to the next (= narrower) setting and slip the dough in (just once this time) to thin it out. Repeat with the subsequent settings until you reach setting #5, and get a thin, long rectangularish sheet of dough. Place it on one of the prepared baking sheets, or a flour-dusted peel if you’re using a bread stone.
Repeat with more pieces of dough until there is no room left on your baking sheets. Using a dough cutter, a pastry wheel or just a knife, score the sheets of dough into square or triangular pieces so they’ll be easier to break off.
Insert the baking sheets into the oven (or, if you’re using a pizza stone, slide the dough in using the pizza peel) and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until golden to golden brown. It’s nice to bake each batch of crackers to a slightly different shade of golden because that will result in slightly different flavors.
Transfer to a cooling rack, and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
The crackers will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container.