Gourmet Soda Crackers
Prep: 15 to 20 min | Bake: 10 to 15 min | Yield: about 45 crackers
- 1 1/2 cups Italian-Style Flour
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 tablespoon King Arthur Easy-Roll Dough Improver (optional) but helpful
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Gourmet salt, your choice of flavor; we like Sarah's Tuscan Sea Salt or smoked salt
- Whisk together the flour, yeast, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar, dough improver, and sugar. Set it aside.
- Put the water, butter, and oil in a microwave-safe cup, or in a saucepan. Heat gently just to melt the butter. Remove from the heat, and cool to 120 degrees F to 130 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer, this will feel hotter than lukewarm, but not at all uncomfortably hot; it'll be cooler than your hottest tap water.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients. Beat at medium, then high speed for a total of about 90 seconds, to make a soft dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 18 hours. It won't rise much; the bowl can be small.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to rest for about 15 minutes. Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Lightly flour a work surface (a silicone rolling mat works well here), and remove the dough from its rising bowl. It won't feel like normal yeast dough; it'll be more clay-like. Shape the dough into a 3 x 5 inch rectangular block; pre-shaping it like this will help you roll it out evenly. Roll it into a rough 13 x 15 inch rectangle; it'll be quite thin. Be sure to keep the rolling surface well-floured, to avoid sticking.
- Starting with a shorter side, fold the dough in three like a business letter.
- Roll it out again, this time to an 11 x 19 inch rectangle, or thereabouts. The dough will shrink when you stop rolling it; your goal is to end up with a rectangle that's about 10 x 18 inches.
- Sprinkle the dough with your choice of salt we like an herbed or smoked salt and gently press it in with the rolling pin.
- Using a rolling pizza wheel (easiest) or a baker's bench knife, cut the dough into 2-inch squares. Note: If you're using a silicone mat, cut very carefully - you don't want to damage the mat. We like to use an acrylic-blade pizza wheel.
- Transfer the crackers to two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets; you can put them fairly close together, as they'll shrink as they bake, rather than spread. Prick each cracker once or twice with the tines of a fork.
- Bake the crackers for about 10 minutes, until they're a very light golden brown. Watch them carefully towards the end of the baking time; they can darken very quickly.
- Turn off the oven, and open the door completely. Leave the crackers on the oven rack; they're going to cool down right in the cooling oven, in order to preserve their crispness. Keep your eye on them for the first couple of minutes;
if for some reason your oven isn't cooling off quickly, and the crackers are continuing to brown, pull the rack out partway.
- When the crackers are completely cool, remove them from the oven, and wrap airtight, to preserve their crispness.