Our July 2012 Daring Bakers' Host was Dana McFarland and she challenged us to make homemade crackers! Dana shows us some techniques for making crackers and encouraged us to use our creativity to make each cracker our own by using ingredients we love.
Because I am a weenie, I began by making the simplest-looking crackers in the list of recipes Dana compiled - Health Crackers. With only a few ingredients, and basically only 1 step (mix), these looked like something I may be able to dominate relatively easily. We were just short on wheat bran, so I substituted what I was missing with whole wheat bread flour, used olive oil instead of canola oil and Splenda for Baking instead of sugar, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly.
After a spin through the stand mixer, the dough is chilled and divided into fourths. I used this opportunity to try a few different takes on toppings. The first (pictured above) was sesame seed and sea salt. There is no "after" picture of this batch because I promptly grabbed a jar of peanut butter and ate them all. The slightly sweet, slightly salty crackers taste identical to Wheat Thins, but mine were slightly thicker.
For the second batch, I used dried, minced garlic and sea salt. The garlic caramelized nicely but left an oh-so-slight burnt aftertaste. Still delicious.
And, the poor 4th batch was a mish-mash of random toppings. I was running out of ideas, so I divided the dough and used the opportunity to try a few different toppings. Curry power on some, Paula Deen's "House Seasoning" on some, and sprinkle cheese (the popcorn topping) on some.
My overall conclusion is that the dough is an awesome basic recipe with so many possibilities for mix-ins and toppings. I'd love to try an "everything" topping or mix fresh herbs into the dough. Regardless, this has forever changed my view on crackers and I love that these have so many whole ingredients without added preservatives.