Did you know that almost any loaf of crusty bread can be turned into a cracker?
For a fine, uniform texture use dense breads like European rye. For an elegant open texture use bubbly breads like ciabatta or baguette. The trick is figuring out how to slice them thin with the tools you have on hand, which is especially difficult for the open-textured breads. If you partially freeze the loaves you should be able to slice them cleanly with a serrated knife, or a meat slicer.
Cut the bread into slices roughly 1/8″ thick. The open-structured breads may need to be on the thicker side so that they can support the weight of whatever is garnishing the cracker.
Once cut, line the slices up on a sheet pan and brush or mist with oil. Most spray bottles should have no problem misting oil. Sprinkle the bread with a bit of salt then bake in a 350°F oven until lightly browned and crisp.
If you’re feeling gamesome you can even bake the loaf of bread yourself. Consider Raincoast Crisps. I hope that the lady who invented these (Leslie Stowe) has made her fortune, because imitations are now everywhere I look: supermarket shelves, online recipes, restaurant cheese plates, as well as my kitchen.
Raincoast Crisps are made by baking a loaf studded with dried fruit, nuts, and herbs, then thinly slicing that loaf and baking it for a second time to make crackers. Like I said, recipes abound online. Mine is below. I make these around Christmas to be eaten with cheese and potted pork.
The whole loaf freezes well. I always bake two at a time and freeze one so I can make crackers on short notice. You know: for unexpected guests.
That last part especially sounded like a Good Housekeeping line. I’m okay with that.
Dried Fruit and Nut Crackers
- 340 g all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp (12 g) baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp (5 g) kosher salt
- 460 g buttermilk
- 40 g dark brown sugar
- 90 g honey
- 110 g dried cranberries
- 60 g chopped walnuts
- 70 g roasted pumpkin seeds
- 35 g flax seed
- 35 g roasted pumpkin seeds, ground up in a blender
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary (the fresh rosemary is what makes this cracker…)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl combine the buttermilk, brown sugar, and honey.
- Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add the dried fruit, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, flax seed, and rosemary and stir until just until blended.
- Pour the batter into a ceramic terrine that has been sprayed with non-stick spray and lined with parchment. Bake until golden and springy to the touch, about 45 minutes. Remove from the terrine and cool on a wire rack.
- Freeze the bread.
- Remove from the freezer and let stand five minutes at room temperature. Slice the loaves on a slicer to a 1/8″ (3.5 mm) thickness. Place the slices in a single layer on a bake sheet lined with parchment. Bake in a 350°F oven until deep golden brown, roughly 12 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking. The crackers might not be crisp when you take them out of the oven; they will crisp as they cool.
Substitutions. To make these dairy-free replace the 460 g buttermilk with 430 g dairy alternative such as oat milk and 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar.
Cheese and Crackers for Grown-Ups