Tuesday, December 29, 2015

KAF Vermont Cheese Crackers



Homemade Cheese Crackers. Salty and fabulous.
I know a lot of these look burnt, but that's the way I prefer them. Yum.

I really think that PJ Hamel over at King Arthur Flour's blog, Flourish, said it best:  "I love cheese crackers. LOVE LOVE LOVE cheese crackers. Cheez-Its, Cheese Nips, even Cheetos fall into that same delightful category of cheesy CRUNCH." PJ and I are kindred spirits on this matter. 
I've been known to make myself nearly sick on Cheez-Its and Crunchy Cheetos. I just can't stop sometimes. I'm a sucker for salty snacks in general, but cheesy salty snacks are probably my favorite. These here crackers are very salty and very satisfying. (Skip the salt on top if you want to avoid some sodium.)
These crackers aren't as light and crisp as a store-bought cracker, but they do have crunch and great flavor, especially with the addition of a little Pizza Dough Flavor. I'll definitely be eating all of these, and I'll try to pace myself. 
Glad I finally gave this recipe a go.

KAF Vermont Cheese Crackers
   --adapted from kingarthurflour.com

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Vermont cheese powder (I used Cabot Cheddar Shake)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling, if desired
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 7-9 tablespoons ice water
Instructions:
  • In a medium or large mixing bowl, place the flour, cheese powder, pizza dough flavor, yeast, salt, and baking powder. Mix thoroughly with a whisk.
  • Add the vegetable shortening and cut in with a pastry blender until incorporated and mixture is crumbly. 
  • Add ice water 1-2 tablespoons at a time and mix until a cohesive dough forms. Try not to over mix. Knead the dough just enough to get it into a ball, cut in half, and then shape each half into a small rectangle, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Wrap each rectangle in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • After dough has chilled, roll out one piece of dough at a time on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper. Try to roll as close to 1/16 inch as you can.
  • Using a pizza or rotary pastry cutter, cut dough into 1 1/4 inch squares. Then pierce each square once with a fork (to prevent pita-like puffing).
  • If you'd like additional salt on top of your crackers, use a water spray bottle to spray a fine mist of water over the tops of the crackers and then immediately sprinkle with a little salt.
  • Either place pan in oven or slide parchment onto a baking stone or baking steel if you have them. On the pan or the stone, bake at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes, or until edge pieces are well browned. If you're using a baking steel, then check your crackers at 5 minutes (sooner if they're super thin).
  • Remove crackers you consider dark enough to a cooling rack, separate the remaining crackers, and return to the oven for another 3 minutes to further crisp the crackers. (If your crackers are relatively thick, you may need to lower the temperature to about 325 and bake for 10-12 more minutes to dry them out. I would do this after you've baked the second batch though.)
  • Repeat with remaining dough. 
  • Cool crackers completely on a cooling rack and then store in an airtight container.
Makes about 160 crackers, plus edge pieces, fewer if your crackers are thicker


This reminded me of the counties map of Iowa.
These got rolled pretty darn thin.
I only remembered to salt the second batch. I like the salted ones better.
The baking steel baked these much faster than I anticipated. I love the burnt ones though.
This is all of them--minus a bunch of the burnt edges that I already ate.





 

3 comments:

  1. Fantastici,da fare,grazie,buon 2016

    ReplyDelete
  2. How did you know that my weakness is Cheez-Its?? Well, anything salty & crispy, but cheese makes everything better. These will be on my hit list as soon as my elbow is back to baking form!
    Baking Buddy Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, Baking Buddy! I think we actually did discuss Cheez-Its in Vermont. From what I recall, you do not enjoy the extra toasty ones. Is that right, or am I thinking of someone else? And yes, I have had several Cheez-It conversations with several people. ;)

      Delete

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