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Monday, 16 September 2013

We’re Cracking Up! (BBB September 2013)

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BBB: Let's Get Baking summary: recipe for Yeasted Multigrain Crackers; a Bread Baking Babes project; submission for YeastSpotting and BYOB; (click on images to see larger views and more photos)

Bread Baking Babes (BBB) September 2013

I wasn’t going to be THIS late today. Really I wasn’t. But it’s not entirely my fault. Our internet connection was severed this afternoon for a while. Fingers crossed that now that we’re re-connected, we stay online now.

crackers This month, our fearless leader Tanna (My Kitchen in Halfcups) chose the BBBabes’ project and decreed that because we’re crackers, we’d might as well make crackers. :-)

Cracking Good!

Cracker noun

  1. a person or thing that cracks.
    • an installation for cracking hydrocarbons [...]
    • a person who breaks into a computer system [...]
  2. a decorated paper cylinder which, when pulled apart, makes a sharp noise and releases a small toy or other novelty: a Christmas cracker
    • a firework that explodes with a sharp noise.
  3. a thin dry biscuit, typically eaten with cheese: the sausage is delicious on hot toast or crackers
    • a light crisp made of rice or tapioca flour:prawn crackers
  4. British informal a fine example of something: don’t miss this cracker of a CD
    • an attractive person, especially a woman: you look a cracker

-oxforddictionaries.com, definition of cracker in Oxford dictionary (British and World English)

And so we did. Thank you, Tanna!

Crackers diary:

8 August 2013 12:47

I’m on holiday sneaking in here (I have about 10 minutes per day on the computer “JUST TO CHECK MAIL DON’T GO ON FACEBOOK OR CHECK YOUR BLOG OR START CHATTING”) to say that I love this cracker idea!
 
-me, email to BBBabes

12 September 2013 11:44 Tanna had a good idea to try using the pasta maker to roll out the dough. But, if the dough seems too hard to roll out thinly, I’m thinking I might use my handmade tortilla pressing method with the cake tin. (I’m afraid of getting seeds caught in the rollers of the pasta machine.)

I think I’ll be making these on Saturday. I was going to make them Friday but I just noticed that tomorrow is Friday 13th. I don’t want to tempt fate!

13 September 2013 10:23 I’m writing down the recipe: whole flax seeds. Hmmm. Aren’t those hard to digest? I’m putting on my thinking cap to think of other seeds that I could use.

I’m writing it down because the computer guy is coming in to replace the computer’s operating system entirely. Planned obsolescence strikes again. Yup. I’m still running XP and while I was using the Chrome browser last Monday, Chrome crashed the computer, producing the black screen of death. That’s right. The black screen. Everything off. Irrevocably. And no ability to turn the computer on again. I haven’t seen a crash like that since Windows 95. I had to unplug the computer entirely, waiting for several hours before turning it on again. With fingers crossed.

The finger crossing worked. Mostly. I managed to get the thing to turn on. On the all-white desktop with a big yellow triangle with and exclamation mark in the middle was a notice saying that Windows had closed unexpectedly (well, duh…) and the desktop settings were not available. Did I want to restore them? (Again: well, duh…).

With a lot of shrieking, I finally got the desktop to return, backed up all the files, looked at my bank account, sighed, and understood we’d have to bite the bullet and replace the OS that is about 5 years old.

Old. 5 years. Can you beat that? In my world, 5 years is like the day before yesterday. Clearly, I’m old. :lalala:

Enough whining. Here’s hoping that everything goes smoothly this afternoon and that all my programs and files can be transferred (and readable) on the new computer.

(Have you noticed how hard it is to type with crossed fingers?)

8.) Bake [at 350°F] for 20 minutes, until the crackers are a medium brown. Turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes, then open the oven door a couple of inches and let the crackers cool completely in the turned-off oven. When they’re completely cool, break apart, if necessary, and store airtight.
 
-BBB September 2013 recipe

Lien mentioned that her crackers weren’t very crackery. Hmmm, I think I’m going to try twice baking them instead of doing this “turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes” thing. Instead, I’ll remove the baked crackers, turn them on their sides, turn DOWN the heat to – let’s say 250F – and bake the crackers again for about 10 minutes. Then I’ll let them cool completely.

(I’d really like to be able to type with my fingers uncrossed. It’s so much more pleasant.)

15 September 2013, 08:16 My fingers are uncrossed!! Whoohooo! Almost everything is in place on this new computer (it was touch and go for a couple of hours but then T saved the day and fixed every problem I was having – and THEN he cooked great dinner too. How lucky am I?)

So. Here I am, just under the wire again. I just finished mixing the dough for the crackers. I made an executive decision to make just half the recipe. While in executive mode, I also decided to add some rolled oats and buckwheat flour to make up for the fact that we don’t have any white whole wheat flour and had to replace it with unbleached all-purpose. Perhaps I should have added some wheat germ too. Too late!! The dough is mixed and kneaded and in its bowl in the oven with only the light on. Yup. It’s on the brisk side in our kitchen this morning. It’s lovely but clearly summer is waning fast.

And about that bowl that the dough is rising in, some of the BBBabes will be thrilled to hear that I Didn’t Wash The Bowl. That’s right. Their evil influence erased Julia Child’s instruction to always wash the rising bowl. (Even now, my hair is standing on end thinking about it and if I weren’t too lazy to go back down to the kitchen, I’d race in to remove the dough, wash and dry the bowl and put the dough back into a clean bowl now.)

Now I’m trying to decide what other things besides sunflower seeds and sesame seeds I’ll use for the topping. I must keep up with the Jones’s: the other BBBabes have been most creative – one using barley, another almonds, and another using pecans, another using….

And looking at the other BBBabes crackers, suddenly, all I can think about is that I sure hope I can roll the dough out thinly! I’m a little worried that maybe I used too much water. I’m not sure that the dough I made is considered to be stiff.

Oh dear. Now my fingers are crossed again.

10:20 I guess I should probably check the dough, shouldn’t I? After all, it has been resting/rising for over 2 hours now. Duh… I’m REALLY not cut out for bread making :lalala:)

13:10 Ha. Of course, the dough had hardly budged after only 2 hours. I waited until after noon to roll it out. And was it ever easy to roll. (See?? There was absolutely no need for any finger crossing!)

Still in executive mode, I reached for the pepitas and threw some of those into the seed mixture. As I was starting to scatter the seeds, I noticed that I had forgotten to add sesame seeds. Oops!

No matter, it was easy to scatter them on. While I was at it, I suddenly decided to add some chia seeds too. Wheeeeee!

The pizza wheel was the perfect implement to cut the rectangle into squares(ish). The only problems were when the wheel hit a pepita, causing the dough to buckle. But it was an easy matter to straighten out.

15:01 They’re baked! And by a miracle they’re not burned. Luckily for me (I think) my favourite timer fell a couple of weeks ago and doesn’t always ring. I suddenly started to worry that maybe the time was up. But looking at the timer still ticking away, I saw there were still 5 minutes to go.

What made me look at the oven dial?! I don’t know. But I did and freaking out, opened the oven. The crackers were just on their way to being overdone. I hadn’t notice that the dial was set to 375F instead of 350F. Oooops!!

So. There was no need to bake the crackers twice! I followed the final instructions and turned the oven off, leaving the crackers in the oven for about 10 minutes before taking them out of the oven to cool completely.

I must say, they taste pretty good. But they’re just a bit too much like healthfood. Maybe I should have added a bit of oil… Having said that, I think the crackers will be great goat cheese and a big bowl of squash soup.

crackers Here is the BBB September 2013: Crunchy Crackers recipe. And here is what I did to it:

Yeasted Multigrain Crackers
adapted from King Arthur Flour’s recipe for “Crunchy Crackers”

makes one cookie tray worth of crackers

  • 110 gm water at 90F ¹
  • 2 gm (0.5 tsp) active dry yeast ²
  • 1 Tbsp non-diastatic malt powder
  • 15 gm flax seeds, ground
  • 70 gm unbleached all purpose flour ³
  • 60 gm 100% whole wheat flour
  • 5 gm buckwheat flour
  • 3 gm (0.75 tsp) Kosher salt
  • 10 gm rolled oats
  • 7 gm brown sesame seeds

topping

  • 35 gm sunflower seeds
  • 14 gm brown sesame seeds
  • 7 gm flax seeds
  • 5 gm chia seeds 4
  • 10 gm pepitas
  • coarse sea salt
  1. Mixing In the morning of the day before you will be baking the crackers, pour the 90F water into a medium sized mixing bowl. (why 90F??) Whisk in yeast until it has dissolved.
  2. Whisk in the malt powder and ground flax seeds. Dump the flours and salt into the yeasted water and stir together with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be relatively stiff.
  3. kneading: Knead the dough in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Once it’s smooth, knead in the rolled oats and sesame seads. Do the unprecedented and leave the mixing bowl unwashed and sitting on the counter. Stay calm as you skipping over the usual step of washing the rising bowl.
  4. Put the kneaded dough back into the (Gleeeeps!!) UNwashed mixing bowl. Cover it with a plate and leave it on the counter (or in the oven with only the light turned on) for an hour or two until it rises to one and a half times. 5
  5. shaping: Cover the cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Using a rolling pin, roll it into a thin (about 0.5 cm) rectangle that is roughly the size of your cookie sheet. If the dough pulls back as you roll, let it rest for 5 minutes or so before rolling again.
  6. Put the rolled out dough onto the parchment covered cookie sheet. Liberally spray the rectangle with water then evenly scatter al the topping ingredients except the salt onto the rectangle. As you are typing out the recipe for others to follow, notice the following instruction lay a piece of parchment on top, and press the seeds in with a rolling pin. Turn the dough over, peel off the parchment, and repeat. Set the seeded crackers on a baking sheet
     
    -BBB September 2013 recipe
    and think, “Oh!! That explains why the seeds on my crackers want to fall off!” 6
  7. Scatter the top evenly with coarse seasalt. Then, using a fork, poke holes all over. Use a pizza wheel to cut the rectangle into squares. Don’t worry if the edges of the rectangle are uncut. Cover with a clean tea towel and allow to rest/rise for about an hour. They should puff up a bit.
  8. baking Preheat the oven to 350F. When the oven is preheated, bake the crackers on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Turn the heat off but leave the crackers in the oven for about 10 minutes with the door slightly ajar. 7
  9. Remove to a footed rack to completely cool before breaking them apart and storing in a wax-paper lined tin.

Notes:

1.) Water: Please do not use water from the hot water tap. Instead, heat the water in a kettle or microwave. To create lukewarm water, add cold water until it is the correct temperature of 90F (32C). (If you are allergic to using a thermometer, you can do the baby bottle test on the back of your wrist.) Please note that before the yeast is added, the water temperature must be BELOW 120F (49C) because yeast begins to die when the temperature is higher than 120F.

2.) Yeast: The BBB recipe calls instant yeast. Instant yeast can be substituted measure for measure with active dry yeast. But any yeast will do. If you are using fresh yeast rather than dry, rub the yeast into the flour before adding the water and salt.

To convert recipes calling for fresh compressed yeast to instant yeast; Use 0.32 times the weight; or, for 1 packed tablespoon (21 grams) fresh yeast, use 2 teaspoons [6.4gm] instant yeast.
 
-Rose Levy Beranbaum, “The Bread Bible”, p.562

3.) Flours The BBB recipe calls for white whole wheat flour and whole grain wheat flour. I don’t even know what white whole wheat flour is… so I used a mixture of unbleached all-purpose flour, 100% whole wheat, buckwheat, and rolled oats.

4.) Seeds: The BBB recipe simply calls for sunflower, sesame and flax seeds. I decided that pepitas and chia would be fun additions.

5.) Parchment Paper Note that parchment paper can be re-used at least 3 times. But, if you don’t have parchment, roll on a rolling mat or on a very lightly floured or lightly greased work surface; and transfer the seeded crackers to a lightly greased baking sheet.
 
-BBB September 2013 recipe

6.) Rising The BBB recipe says to allow the dough to rest/rise for about an hour until it has “puffed” or “expanded a bit”

7.) Oven Temperature I actually baked our crackers at 375F for 15 minutes (it was a mistake with the dial…). But I think the lower 350F temperature and longer baking time would be wiser. The BBB recipe suggests allowing the crackers to cool completely in the oven. (Our oven was required for something else, so the crackers had to cool on the counter.)

crackers I know that I said they were a bit too much like healthfood. But, as Jamie mentioned to the other BBBabes, “these crackers are addictive”.

Yes, indeed. They are. Excuse me while I go get another.

Thank you, Tanna!

Bread Baking Babes BBB: Crunchy Crackers

Tanna (My Kitchen in Half Cups) is the host of September 2013′s Bread Baking Babes’ project. She wrote:

I baked this almost two months ago for the first time and was enchanted. I’ve taken no photos so can’t show you anything. It’s a cracker … and it would be just a nice cracker … except for the topping opportunities.

Even though crackers aren’t bread, we were all excited to try making them.

We know that you too are cracked and want to make crackers!! To receive a Baking Buddy Badge to display on your site: bake crackers in the next couple of weeks and post about it (we love to see how your bread turns out AND hear what you think about it – what you didn’t like and/or what you liked) before the 27 September 2013. If you do not have a blog, no problem; you can also post your picture(s) to Flickr (or any other photo sharing site) and record your thoughts about the bread there. Please remember to email the Kitchen of the Month to say that your post is up.

For complete details about this month’s recipe, the BBB and how to become a BBBuddy, please read:

Please take a look at the other BBBabes’ September crackers:

YeastSpotting
Yeastspotting - every Friday (wordle.net image)

Each week, Susan (Wild Yeast) compiles a list of many bread-specific recipes from across the web. For complete details on how to be included in the YeastSpotting round up, please read the following:

Bake Your Own Bread (BYOB)
BYOB is a monthly event that was hosted by Heather (girlichef) and has now been taken over by Carola (Sweet and That’s It). Heather wrote:

[BYOB] encourages you to start (or continue) getting comfortable baking bread in your own kitchen. Anything from simple quick breads to conquering that fear of yeast to making and nurturing your own sourdough starter. All levels of bakers are welcome to participate.

And Carola, changing the name to “Bake Your Own Bread – Il Cestino del Pane” wrote:

Homemade bread is healthy! As healthy as you decide: choose the best ingredients (if you can afford it, organic and GMO free) and you’ll be surrounded by the most delicious scent and fascinated by the most delicious taste.

Let the adventure continue!

Sweet and That's it - BYOB For more information about BYOB, please read the following:

 


multigrain crackers (BBB September 2013)

 

 

8 Comments for We’re Cracking Up! (BBB September 2013)” »

  1. Comment by Lien — 17 September 2013 @ 05:57 EDT

    Love your crackers with the pepitas, very nice! We both have to make them again and roll them out thinner :)

    Thinner, Lien? I’m not sure I’ll be able to. I think we should bake them twice – like biscotti. And yes, don’t forget the pepitas. They’re a great addition. -Elizabeth

  2. Comment by Baking Soda — 17 September 2013 @ 09:43 EDT

    Oh I really need to do them again and roll them thinner (and not forget to prick them) I hear you on the computer stuff. You and me both! Ours is being renovated, rejuveniled – and probably botoxed :-D – and this morning I hijacked my sons laptop because I couldnt get a post done typing on the tablet.

    Botox!! Why didn’t we try that first? I bet it would be cheaper. :stomp: -E

  3. Comment by Jamie — 18 September 2013 @ 13:45 EDT

    Your “diary” – your adventures always crack me up!! But I love getting an insight into how you are thinking and how you interpret instructions and approach a recipe. Too much fun! And your crackers (you look a cracker! :-) look terrific, much crispier than mine! I want yours! I definitely want to make them again (ahem…with warm tap water) and add ground flax or something and different seeds. And more seeds. These were easy and fun to make a so yummy, even chewy. Fun post as always!

    Ha! And I want yours, Jamie. (The cracker is always more cracking on the other side of the ocean.) You’re going to make them again with warm tap water? You ARE crackers! -Elizabeth

  4. Comment by Katie — 18 September 2013 @ 14:02 EDT

    Gorgeous crackers…. I use to make crackers, but none that looked this good. Mon mari’s computer is still on XP (fingers crossed) Bonne chance!

    I don’t believe that your crackers didn’t look this good, Katie. I bet they looked and tasted fabulous. What’s this?! Now I’m feeling like we gave up too soon! Although… the old computer was XP built onto a former Win2K machine purchased in 2001, so maybe it was a good move after all. This new computer is way faster! -Elizabeth

  5. Pingback by Bread Baking Babes make seedy crackers — 18 September 2013 @ 16:09 EDT

    [...] Crunchy Crackers anyone? [...] Tanna, of My Kitchen in Half Cups and our host kitchen this month, has a fantastic cracker recipe. [...] Elizabeth’s Crackers [...]

  6. Comment by Heather @girlichef — 20 September 2013 @ 19:34 EDT

    Oh man, I can feel your pain…and then do ya one better. My cpu is entirely gone and I lost everything that I’d been “meaning” to back up, but hadn’t. So frustrating…and slightly heartbreaking. But I am up and running with a new laptop now (and getting used to Windows 8), thank goodness.

    I think I need to make a batch of crackers using buckwheat flour. I have some, that I bought for some reason (don’t remember), and need to use it. Seriously, I never know what to do with it! I also had white whole wheat flour, so. ;) Your crackers look great!

    Aaaaughhhhh!! Heather, I feel YOUR pain! Losing data is horrible. That has happened to us twice (we’re slow learners) so this time round we decided to replace the computer before it keeled over and died.
     
    As for buckwheat, I never thought of using only buckwheat! Like you, we have buckwheat on hand all the time. Unlike you, we have no difficulty deciding what to do with it. Crepes! Make crepes! Crepes with creamed ham and spinach! Mmmm… buckwheat crepes. (I hope you have access to some decent sparkling apple cider.)
     
    -Elizabeth

  7. Comment by Ckay — 22 September 2013 @ 09:20 EDT

    I really love reading your blog, the way you always describe your adventures in the kitchen is so helpful and funny… Even “baking tragedies” are magically turn into fun :-).
    These crackers were absolutely yummy (and I was so glad I could “undust” my pasta maker)
    Many thanks Elizabeth for linking up your delicious crackers to “BYOB”.

    Thank you C! I’m so happy to hear that my long-winded diarie entries make you laugh. (And cool! You used your pasta maker to roll out the dough!) -E

  8. Comment by MyKitchenInHalfCups — 23 September 2013 @ 03:38 EDT

    (sigh) Elizabeth you are crackers, a cracker and you do crack me up.
    I guess since we’ve been at this more than a couple of years, we’re bound to have computer breakdown stories like we have car breakdown stories, both are equally threatening it would seem.
    Buckwheat, yes! So good.

    I guess you’re right, Tanna. And I’m echoing your sigh. It’s our acceptance of computer break down stories after “more than a couple of years” that is so disheartening. Why… in MY day, things were made to last! :stomp: :stomp: -Elizabeth

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