Olive Oil and Seed Crackers Recipe

If you’ve been on the fence about getting a pasta roller — either an attachment for your stand mixer or a hand-cranked one for your biceps — I may be able to offer the justification you were hoping for: a pasta roller proves handy for homemade crackers, too.

You see, to make good crackers, you need to roll the dough out thinly, for optimal snap, and evenly, so that they’ll bake in a uniform fashion, without doughy or burnt spots.

It’s a kitchen activity that ranks high on the fun-o-meter: rolling pasta or cracker dough never fails to remind me of my play-doh days, and I could spend all afternoon doing just that.

And as I learned from my talented friends at Hidden Kitchen (see their blog), a pasta roller is the ideal tool to achieve that. You’ll use the first roller only, the one that’s just two cylinders facing each other and rolling inward, and switch from narrow to narrower, exactly like you would for pasta, until you have a super thin strip of dough, ready to be baked.

It’s also a kitchen activity that ranks high on the fun-o-meter: rolling pasta or cracker dough never fails to remind me of my play-doh days, and I could spend all afternoon doing just that.

My cracker recipe is quite simple: regular flour and semolina flour (the latter provides a slightly more rustic texture), some seeds (I use sesame and poppy seeds), a bit of salt and olive oil, and enough water to bind into a dough that will be smooth but not tacky (or it will gunk up your pasta roller).

The crackers you get in return for your efforts are impeccably crisp — sturdy enough to scoop up stuff, but thin enough to shatter under your bite — and will remain so for a few weeks.

This is a good thing because the recipe makes quite a bit, but as long as you’re taking out the roller and preheating the oven, you might as well bake a good batch. And really, once you have them around I don’t think you’ll run out of things to eat them with: hummus, roasted eggplant and yogurt dip, anchoïade, muhammara, peacamole, cashew cheese, you get the idea.

The recipe is naturally open to variations, so you could add the spices and dried herbs of your choice, and possibly some grated hard cheese to the dough. If you decide to play around with the seeds, though, I recommend you stick to teeny ones, or they’ll get in the way of the thinning of the dough.

Sourdough starter note: If you maintain a sourdough starter, you can use up some of your excess starter in this recipe, according to the same conversion rule I’ve described before: here, I’ve been using 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) 100%-hydration starter, and lowering the amount of flours to 125 grams (4.4 ounces) each and the water to 75 ml (5 tablespoons).

Olive Oil and Seed Crackers Recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 7 minutes

Total Time: 27 minutes

Makes about 150 7-cm (3-inch) square crackers.

Olive Oil and Seed Crackers Recipe

Ingredients

  • 150 grams (5 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour (I used the French T65)
  • 150 grams (5 1/3 ounces) fine semolina flour (if you can't find semolina flour, just use all regular flour)
  • 20 grams (3 tablespoons) toasted sesame seeds
  • 15 grams (2 tablespoons) poppy seeds
  • 7 grams (1 1/2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) water

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Divide the dough into 8 pieces of (roughly) equal size, and cover with a kitchen towel.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200°C (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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. (If you don't have a pasta roller, perhaps you can borrow one from a friend? Otherwise, roll up your sleeves, whip out your rolling pin, and roll the dough out as thinly as you can.)
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Transfer to a cooling rack, and repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Notes

The crackers will keep for a few weeks in an airtight container.

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  • http://www.thethinchef.com Katie

    Oh, how fabulous! I’m making these ASAP…they looks lovely. And I’m always up for finding new uses for “uni-taskers” (as Alton Brown calls them).

  • http://www.dessertfortwo.com DessertForTwo

    My homemade crackers have been missing that snap…it never occurred to me to use my pasta roller! Thanks :)

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    Wow! I have been thinking about buying a pasta maker expressly for making crackers, and now I see your beautiful recipe. You may have just put me over the edge! What brand of pasta maker do you recommend?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I have a KitchenAid mixer, so I got the attachment that works with it (I found a good second-hand deal) and I’m really really happy with it so far.

  • Caroline

    I’ve tried both methods, and I find the rolling pin easier than the pasta machine. The trick is to roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment paper. Then you just transfer the bottom sheet with the rolled-out dough to a baking sheet and score it with a knife or pizza cutter. No clean-up, and you can get it just as thin (see mine).

  • http://sarahplusparis.blogspot.com s.

    perfect! my crackers are always lumpy and terribly on the thick side.

    this should work out nicely.

  • http://www.gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    Pasta Roller?? Genius!

    I wish I had known that before last week when I made lavash crackers

  • http://open-window.typepad.com Claudia

    Can’t wait to try this!

  • http://www.cookingworld.biz/best-stainless-steel-cookware/ Pam @ Best Stainless Steel Cookware

    I have to try this recipe with olive, I have tried to make crackers before, but they do not seem to have crunch, I am going to try and see if this works out better. Thanks.

  • http://www.morethancarrots.com Cheftometrist

    What a fabulous idea! I love using my pasta machine for pasta, but would have never thought of other ways to use it. And I’ve really been meaning to make some crackers, actually…

  • http://www.30minutedinnerparty.com/ Gabi @ 30 Minute Dinner Party

    I have been putting off buying a pasta maker, but now that I’ve seem your recipe, I think I need to put it on my wedding registry.

    I can’t imagine how impressed my dinner guests would be to have homemade crackers! Two questions though:

    (1) How long do your think the whole process of making the dough and rolling it out takes?

    (2) Can you keep extra pieces of dough in the fridge or freezer if you don’t have time to bake them right away?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      It’s always hard to give an indication of time for that sort of thing because different people work at different speeds, but for me it’s probably a 1-1/2-hour project from start to finish.

      As for keeping extra pieces of dough in the fridge/freezer, I’ve never tried it, but don’t see a reason not to — I would set aside the balls of dough, not the thinned out pieces though. And be sure to let the dough come back to room temperature before using, or it will be brittle.

  • http://www.parisbreakfast.com parisbreakfast

    I certainly loved playing with Play-doh…would making crackers really be as much fun? Why not!
    Love the way they stack up so nicely…

  • http://fabfoodblog.blogspot.com/ fab

    These look great. Nice extra way to use the pasta machine, and it all sounds like fun! :-)

  • http://sendfood.wordpress.com jodye @ ‘scend food

    These look like the most perfect, crisp homemade crackers I’ve ever seen. That certainly is justification for buying a pasta roller! Thank you for the recipe!

  • http://www.GlobalTableAdventure.com Sasha @ Global Table Adventure

    I love this idea! I was just looking at my pasta maker the other day, dreaming about using it again.

    Unfortunately it is 104F here(!!!), so I probably won’t be cooking crackers (or pasta) for a while… but I am going to store this in my memory banks for fall/winter. :)

    I wonder if you could place a basil leaf between two sheets, run through the maker again, and then bake? I’ve seen it done with ravioli, but I think it would be splendid with crackers!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The basil idea is an intriguing one — thanks for sharing, I’ll have to try it!

      • Kathy

        I tried using black pepper, lemon rind and then rolled parsley leafs folded in the center ~ they came out wonderful.

        Thank you for the methodology!

  • http://purplefoodie.com Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

    Using a pasta roller for crackers is simply genius. Thank you so much for giving me another reason to invest in one =) Also, I’ve been listening to the podcasts you suggested a few posts ago and am absolutely enjoying them! Have learned so much.

  • http://egobsd.org/log/ candice

    My grandmother uses a pasta maker to roll out dough for filled fig cookies that they make en masse for St. Joseph’s day every year.

    I may just use mine to make crackers some day soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com Paula

    I have been looking for a recipe for olive oil crackers for over a year now. Thanks so much. Will give it a try.

  • http://www.remedialeating.com molly

    Genius!!! I had no idea a pasta roller could be used for crackers. My pin-rolled attempts have always been a bit hefty, but we had our hand-cranked pasta maker out just this week. Oh, hooray! We’ll so try this… Thanks!

  • http://butterandonions.com Liz @ Butter and Onions

    I’ve been borrowing a friend’s pasta maker for probably a year now, and this looks like the perfect excuse to finally use it!! The last time I tried making crackers it was a total flop.

  • Jacqueline

    Just made these, yum! They were fun too, I like using the pasta roller a lot more than the rolling pin. One thing to note though, if you find yourself feeling creative – take into account that the seeds you put in have to fit through the pasta roller too! (Hint: pumpkin seeds do not fit and quinoa seeds only make it through up to setting 4.)

  • Betty

    thanks, clotilde, for this post. you inspired me to actually try making crackers. i got a pasta roller for $17 so what’s not to like. it worked and I had fun making the crackers. i got snap, though i also burnt a few.

  • http://sickofood.blogspot.com/ Matilda

    I’ve always thought that crackers necessarily called for yeast… nice surprise they do not! I am going to try this soon.

  • Donna M.

    Read that you are not too crazy for oatmeal. Have you ever had Scottish oat crackers with cheese. It balances so right. Home made are very easy to do as they are more like a cookie.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks Donna! I do love oatcakes and oats in baked goods in general, I’m just not a fan of oatmeal prepared as a breakfast-style mush. :)

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