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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Pretzel Crackers

Pretzel Crackers
Did we skip September this year? I have no idea how it's already the sixth day of October...the sixth day and the first Tuesday...and that means it's time for another edition of Twelve Loaves! Our host this month is Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla, and our theme is Crackers, Crisps, and Flatbreads. Pretty fun, right? I think so.

I actually knew what I was going to make the minute Camilla announced our theme. I've had these pretzel crackers sitting on the backburner of my brain for a couple of years now, so what better time to finally get around to making them. You may know that I am one in a family of pretzels lovers—because I've talked about it numerous times in the past. And while I've made my fair share of soft pretzels in the past, I've never ventured into making my own hard pretzels.

I guess I can't say that today is any different since I'm not technically making hard pretzels, but I am making crackers that have the taste and crunch of hard I'm one step closer. I've slightly adapted a recipe from one the most-loved cookbooks from my shelves, Pretzel Making at Home. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to bake my way through that entire book before too long (it's also where I got the genius recipe for these pretzel croissants).

So, I guess you're probably wondering how the crackers actually tasted? They tasted like thin, crispy pretzels, so - INCREDIBLE! The batch didn't last much longer than 24 hours. The key is rolling the dough out very thin so that that they will be crisp all the way through. I used some of them to as a base for the Apple-Cheese Spread that I made last week, but they're also good just as they are.

Don't forget to scroll down past the recipe to see more cracker, crisp, and flatbread recipes from this month's Twelve Loaves bakers!

Pretzel Crackers
This homemade pretzel cracker recipe gives you that classic pretzel taste in a thin, crisp, buttery cracker.
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Pretzel Crackers
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes (includes resting time)
Cook Time: 12 to 15 minutes
Keywords: bake appetizer snack vegetarian

Ingredients (48 crackers)
  • 255 grams (~2 cups) all-purpose flour + more for work surface
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons ice water
to finish:
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons baked baking soda (see notes at bottom)
  • coarse salt, for sprinkling
Whisk the flour, brown sugar, and salt together in a medium-sized bowl. Drop in the diced butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the mixture, much like you would when making a pie crust, until you have crumbles the size of rice.

Add the water and use a rubber spatula to stir until it comes together in a shaggy mass.

Turn out onto a work surface and knead until all of the flour is incorporated, working as quickly as possible so that you don't melt the butter pieces. You will have a dough that is slightly tacky, but not sticky.

Cut the dough into two equal portions, then wrap each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Put the 1 cup of water into a small spray bottle, then set a funnel over the bottle and add the baked baking soda. Put on the lid and shake gently until all of the baking soda has dissolved. Set aside for now.

If you have two racks in your oven, place one in the upper third of your oven, and the other in the lower third. If you don't, just leave your rack in the middle and bake in two batches. Preheat oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Lightly flour our work surface. Working with one portion of dough at a time, roll out into a thin rectangle that is roughly 10" x 16" and between 1/8" and 1/4" thick (I found the thinner you rolled it, the more pretzely they were). Use your hands to gently pull and stretch into form if need be (you can also trim and straighten the edges and corners with a metal bench scraper). Brush any excess flour off of the dough.

Give your spray bottle a gentle shake, then evenly spray a fine mist of the solution over one of the sheets of parchment paper that you've set on a baking sheet. Gently pick up your sheet of dough, using your rolling pin to help, and lay it on the sprayed sheet of parchment. Try to do this evenly, because it's really hard to reposition the dough once you've set it on the wet parchment.
Pretzel Cracker Dough
Use a metal bench scraper or pizza roller to cut the dough into 24 even rectangles.
Pretzel Cracker Dough
Spray the top of the dough evenly with a fine mist of your solution, taking care to coat the entire surface. Any part that isn't wet will not turn that dark, burnished pretzel color when baking.
Pretzel Cracker Dough
Sprinkle coarse salt over the wet dough. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Pretzel Cracker Dough
Slide into preheated oven and bake until brown and crisp, 12 to 15 minutes. If you're baking both sheets at once, rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking. If just baking one pan at a time, rotate the pan so the back is in the front halfway through baking.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store cooled crackers in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

To make baked baking soda, preheat the oven to 250° F. Scoop about 1/4 cup of baking soda onto the bottom of a pie plate and shake to spread evenly. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool completely, then store in an airtight container at room temperature indefinitely. You can make more or less in the same manner. Use this to replace the lye that is called for in pretzel-making recipes.

-slightly adapted from Pretzel Making at Home by Andrea Slonecker
Pretzel Crackers

#TwelveLoaves is a monthly bread baking party created by Lora from Savoring Italy and runs smoothly with the help of Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen, and the rest of our fabulous bakers.

Our host this month is Camilla from Culinary Aventures with Camilla, and our theme is Crackers, Crisps, and Flatbreads. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month's mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves enter last month's #TwelveLoaves Seeded Breads!

If you'd like to bake along with us this month, share your Crackers, Crisps, and Flatbreads using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!