Friday, April 10, 2009

Homemade Graham Crackers

Finally the long awaited graham crackers of glory. Feel free to bask in their glow...
Since last week I have had several emails and questions on the crackers. I am so excited to finally make it an official tutorial on the blog. It means that the class went well, and also that the response was so positive I felt like it did in fact merit a posting. I may do that more often just to test the waters.
Stephanie's Homemade Graham Crackers

1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
6 1/2 cups whole wheat cake flour or graham flour if you can find it.(approx, may need a little more or less depending on the moisture content of flour). In the case of chocolate graham crackers...which are just a staple around here, use 6 cups flour, 1/2 cup baker's cocoa..

mix together:
1cup milk (*vegans? use soy milk, omit egg and use 1 1/2 cup soy milk for liquid)
3 T vinegar (I used balsamic here)

Add 1 cup vegetable oil or melted butter. I like it with butter a little too much. Yes, I know that my butter statement reveals a lot.

2 cups brown sugar or 1 cup dark honey (if you use honey, reduce milk by 1/2 cup)
1 T vanilla
2 eggs, or 4 whites for no cholesterol ones (1/2 cup)

Whip it. I had an advanced pastry instructor, Tracy Flower, who used to say, " whisk them passionately". I always saw myself in one of those movies --before sound, dramatically whisking while the hero tried to wooo me. It sure did make for a fun class. Ironically I didn't meet my husband in school. Probably because I was a bit too "Anne Shirley" for most of the boys. Did you see the red hair? That's all I have to say about that.
Oh, for those just joining me, I do divert now and then. It's part of my random thinking that keeps me sane. If that makes any're just as crazy as I am.
Once the dry stuff is combined:

Add the passionately whisked wet ingredients to the dry stuff. Wet over dry.

Combine well but don't over mix. Allow to sit 5-10 minutes so the dough has time to relax. Sometimes I even put the dough in the fridge for the night. Just for fun. Even graham dough needs a trip to the spa sometimes. Massage. Little minglin' with the yogurt and cheese souffle. It's good for it...

Now. I know this isn't rocket science. I know it isn't. Divide the dough into 4 balls of dough. Each ball is enough to do a full sheet pan (I have a cookie sheet without edges and found it works quite well.)

Right on the lightly oiled sheet pan...

press the dough into a rough rectangle.

Roll with care. It will seem like a very delicate dough. If it sticks too much sprinkle lightly
with a little flour--or mist with a little oil. Continue to roll until dough fills the sheet pan.

About 1/8th inch thick. Or, thicker if you want it more cookie-like.

Prick the dough with holes. I use a fancy chef-type-dew-hickey-tool...
I think some of you may have one of them.

The secret to crispy crackers and sugar/cinnamon that stays on the cracker...a light mist with water. It also helps my kids to stay in one place, but for a totally different reason. No. I don't really hose down my kids...most days. Then I lightly sprinkle with some sugar...the raw stuff looks soooo cool.

If you have the opportunity to also dust with quality cinnamon, I highly recommend it.
It just adds so much flavor. Not to mention a good photo. Oh, and anytime you want to see a bigger version of these pictures, just click right on the picture and it will go full screen.

Final step...cut out the crackers. I happened to have a girlie pink bucket of cutters. The only pink accessory box I have in the house. It just doesn't seem right to store flower shaped cutters in my son's Spider Man numb-chuck foot locker. No. He doesn't use them. He has very good bow staff skills though. You can also use a pizza cutter and just do square or rectangle crackers.

I just scored them with the cutter and then baked them. No need to remove the extra dough. I just use it for crumbs later.
Do you seriously believe there are any left for "later use". Little crispy chocolate wafers?! In my house?!

Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, or until light brown.

Stack up once cooled and store in an air locked container--my mouth is air locked. Enjoy.
Yield: 2 1/2 lb crackers.
There you go.
Now I am also listed with :
Graham Crackers on Foodista


Sanitation Station said...

These look wonderful! Would WW Pastry Flour be the same thing as WW cake flour?

Chef Tess said...

WW Pastry flour and cake flour have different protein contents, however, in the case of the crackers, the pastry flour would work fine. I wouldn't use the 100% whole wheat from hard wheat (bread flour), as it is too high in protein and very hard to get a tender cracker. Thanks for visiting and the very pertinent question.

Tamster said...

Thank you sooo much. I've got to try that.

Tamster said...

Oh, ? What do they do to make cake flour or pastry flour or bread flour? Is it just a different kind of wheat or what? I'd prefer to just grind my own wheat, but you said that wouldn't work... or does it just depend on which kind of wheat I have to grind? The point for me of making my own crackers is to not spend the money at the store because I have wheat, so I hate to have to go buy a special kind of flour. Does that make sense? Anyway, just wondered if a certain kind of wheat would work, or if there's something special they do to it. Sorry, I'm rambling.
Thanks, Steph! :-)

Chef Tess said...

Check out the label "flour making day". Hard wheat is bread flour. It has a higher protein content than pasty flour. If you want to make the pastry flour but don't want to buy soft wheat (which is what I use for pastry and cakes if I don't use barley with the wheat). Good whole grain all purpose would be 2 parts hard wheat, 1 part barley or oats in your mill. You can also use regular all purpose flour if it is just a matter of using your food storage and you're not particularly caring about whole grain or not.

Tamster said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! :-)
You're awesome, as always! One more question: Is it okay to use my Bosch to mix it, or does it need to be done by hand so it doesn't get over-mixed? It doesn't sound too hard to do by hand anyway, but I just wondered. Thanks again! :-)
By the way, did you receive some mail from me? ;-) I just wanted to make sure you got it. Thanks. :-)