I heard his voice whispering, “really, Jen” as I set out to make these. He used to tease, and ask when I was going to make my own water. While some items are rather elusive to find easily, good quality saltine style crackers are not one of them. For years I’ve bought the Suzie’s brand at the health food store. They’ve been completely acceptable until this point, and since my kids plow through these new homemade saltine crackers faster than I can make them, I don’t imagine I’ll stop buying them, either.
So, yes, making saltines is perhaps not a necessity, but it has been on my baking bucket list for years now. I first tried making them some time ago. The recipe I found online was fussy, and didn’t yield the flavor I was trying to recall from my childhood.
Then I was tasked with developing a recipe for oyster crackers for a recent cookbook project. After the first few nibbles of those crackers, it occurred to me that I was onto something. I could manipulate the recipe with little effort, and maybe, just finally, cross homemade saltines off my list.
As I hovered over the counter, pricking the squares with little marks, just like the ones in those packs we all love, I realized I might’ve slipped across the line into insanity. Do you need to poke the 9 to 12 holes I did in each one? Probably not. Do they need to be as uniform as my tendency for perfection pushed me? Definitely not. A few randomly placed pricks with a fork would be fine—it tamps the dough down to avoid air bubbles while the crackers bake.
Whichever method you settle on, I know we can agree that these homemade saltines are incredibly easy to make, trust me on this. We tend to use them for everything—to accompany cheese plates, crush and serve with soup, slather with some peanut butter (or nutella, if you’re my girls). If you want to add some oomph, you can toss some fresh herbs in the food processor before giving the flour a whizz. A drier herb, like rosemary, thyme, or oregano would all be wonderful. I’d suggest dried basil over fresh for a more intense flavor, and as I write that, I imagine some sundried tomatoes might be nice, too (truly dry ones, not packed in olive oil). Hope you all enjoy, and if you try any of these variations, please do share your results with the rest of us.
Homemade Saltines Crackers
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 pieces
- Sea salt flakes (like Maldon)
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190Cº). Line an 11-inch by 17-inch (28 cm by 43 cm) baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to blend. Add the butter and pulse about 10 times, until the flour resembles a coarse meal. Add ⅓ cup cold water, and pulse until it forms a scraggly-looking dough.
- Lightly flour a counter or cutting board. Scrape the dough onto the counter, and knead a few times to form a smooth dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- On the same counter or cutting board, roll dough out into a ⅛-inch thick sheet. Cut dough into 1 ½-inch squares. You can re-roll the scraps once. Place the cutouts on the prepared pan. Use a skewer to prick little marks in the top, like you see on crackers from the grocery store, if desired. Sprinkle lightly with some salt flakes.
- Bake until the crackers are barely golden around the edges, 14 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Store crackers in an airtight tin for up to 1 week.