Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Seedy Crackers

This morning as the girls and I rode bicycles to school the dark sky began to lighten and the tiny little sliver of the almost new moon glowed in the east. I find great comfort in the regularity of the moon.

It would be easier to drive the girls to school in the morning, but I am trying to stay in the habit of bike riding. We have to rush and rush, but being outside, seeing the moon, feeling the different temperatures from day to day centers me. The kind crossing guard gets us over to the elementary school. I kiss Nora, then Rose and I make the nearly two mile bike hike around the corner, down the street, over the train tracks and a little way further to the middle school. It surprises me that so few kids bike to school. We watch the sky change from black to grey to pink and peach. The school bus lights flash and shine like Christmas. Rose occasionally deigns to give me a kiss, but always says goodbye, I love you, even when we have shared cross words earlier in the morning.

This morning I whizzed the two miles back home, poured another cup of coffee, made myself an omelet, then got to work on the many bowls of bread and pizza dough waiting for me in the bakery.

Lately I have been making lots of crackers, having fun with Kamut and spelt. I thought i would share with you the recipe for my most popular experiment so far. Crackers are a pain to make in bulk, but not that difficult. Considering all the unhealthy ingredients found in store bought crackers, it is worth the while to experiment. Doesn't everyone like a little something crunchy and tasty to enjoy with goat cheese? Or tuna fish? Or chicken salad? Or plain old snacking in the afternoon?

I hope you will give them a try sometime. Be patient with yourself. The rolling out gets easier with some practice. And be CAREFUL not to burn too many. I burned one tray today because I walked away from the oven must a few minutes too long...

3/4c freshly milled spelt flour (I use organic, from Montana)
1/2 c freshly milled kamut flour (Ditto)
1/3 c sesame seeds
1/3 c sunflower seeds
1/3 c flax seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt (I use Redmond's Real Salt)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (I use aluminum-free)
3 TBSP coconut oil (I use organic, from a source in Mexico)
1/2 c-3/4 c water
Mix all the dry ingredients. Add oil. I use an amazing organic, non-hydrogenated coconut oil. When it is completely incorporated with the dry ingredients, add the water, but bit by bit, because you may or may not need all of it. Stir it in until the dough forms a ball. Let the dough rest 15 minutes or so. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Divide dough into 8 pcs.
I use a french rolling pin (thank you Stewart) and roll each piece out as thinly as possible. To make these crackers it is best to get the dough even thinner than pie crust. But do the best you can. I aim for a rectagular shape, but if you aim for something akin to Brazil or Texas, that will be fine, too. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into squares or whatever shape you wish. Place on cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned around the edges. You have to be SOOO careful, because these crackers are not nearly as good burned as they are lightly browned.

After your crackers are done, let them cool, then store them in a giant glass pickle jar, the gallon size, or in a ziploc bag. They should stay fresh for a week or two, but I doubt they will stick around that long. Some of you may not have a grain mill or access to cool grains. Try to find a friend with a mill if you can and work out a trade. The freshly milled grain is so much more nutritious and delicious. But if not, experiment with whatever cool kinds of flour you can find from the grocery store. Isn't it amazing the options out there? I am thinking these crackers would be great with quinoa. Or rye. Or add a little millet.

If there is one series of lessons I wish I could teach folks when helping them learn cooking skills, it would be to have fun, learn the basics, then don't be scared to go improv every once in awhile.

If you learn to make a good cracker, you will be very popular at the next wine and cheese party. Really.

Well, I had better hit the sack. The dark morning and dark moon won't be waiting for us for long. I will be glad when the time changes back even if the evenings are darker.


Anonymous said...

Those early morning rides to school sound great, what a memory maker that is for those girls, you too.

Chris said...

I love seeing dawn, a daily meditation for me. I have a friend that makes great "Quackers" that she cuts with a duck cookie cutter. :)

Jean Dabbs said...

where do you purchase the coconut oil? Internet or local?

gingerhillery@mac.com said...

Thanks, guys! Jean, I get the organic coconut oil from a company that has an office in New Braunfels, not too far from where my sister lives in Austin. So I can get in by the 5 or 10 gallons at a time.