Rye Crackers, perfect for the economic crunch

Posted on 25 May 2010

When our friend Julie returned from her Peace Corps stint in Colombia, she and her mother went shopping for housewares for her new apartment. Her mother pointed out an attractive serving spoon, which Julie examined closely. “It’s nice,” she said. “But do you know how easy it would be to make this?”

This recipephany is hardly the Peace Corps, but it did forever change my buying behavior. This recipe makes crispy, tasty artisan crackers like those I drool over at specialty foods stores. The kind that sell for fancy European prices. But do you know how easy it is to make them?

So I simply can’t buy crackers anymore. Not when I can impress my friends with these, or munch on them guilt-free when nobody’s around. So save your crisp dollars—these delicious, easy-to-make snacks are perfect for today’s economic crunch.

Rye Crackers from Recipephany

What makes these great

Stack them with cheese, dip them into hummus, or snack on them plain. They have a nutty whole-grain natural sweetness –  oddly, you probably won’t even recognize the rye. I suppose you could make them with whole wheat, but why bother when the rye tastes so good? Get rye flour and store it in the freezer, where it keeps beautifully for as long as you want.

Rolling these out is easier than making pie crust or sugar cookies, since the dough doesn’t get sticky. My daughter even uses the pasta maker. The thinner you roll them, the more delicate the snap. And they keep for months in an airtight container.

This recipe is adapted from Marion Cunningham’s recipe in The Supper Book.

Rye Crackers

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup rye flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold butter
  • 2/3 cup milk, or more if needed (can use skim)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425º F.

Blend flours and salt in a large bowl using a fork. Cut the butter into small bits and add to the flour mixture, using fingertips or a pastry blender. The mixture should resemble coarse meal. Slowly add the milk, stirring with the fork, until it forms a ball of dough that pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add drops of milk if it seems too dry, but don’t get it wet or sticky. It should feel soft and pliable.

Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a rough square with your hands. Dust a board with flour and roll out the first piece into a 14” square. It should be very thin, 1/16 inch or so. Trim the edges so they are neat. Roll the dough onto a rolling pin and unroll onto an ungreased baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to score the pieces into 2½-inch squares, cutting almost through so the finished crackers will break apart neatly. With a fork, prick each square in 3 places. Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt evenly over the dough. (For faster and more even baking, you can cut the dough into quarters and separate them on the sheet. Crackers in the middle take longer to bake.)

Bake about 10-14 minutes (more or less, depending upon your oven), or until edges are nicely brown. Some will be ready sooner than others, so watch to make sure they don’t burn, and remove crackers as they turn brown. Slide off the baking sheet and cool on a rack. They will get crispier as they cool. Break apart.

Meanwhile, repeat the process with the other rough square.

Store crackers in an airtight container.

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