Want to make fresh, homemade crackers from scratch? With this simple and tasty recipe from Mother Earth News editor in chief Cheryl Long, you can save money (compared to "natural" or "whole grain" options sold at the store) and make a delicious snack that will be a hit at any gathering of family and friends. For an extra treat, check out our Easy Cheese Recipes, for step-by-step instructions on how to make three simple cheeses at home. They're great on crispy homemade crackers!
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These whole-grain crackers are delicious and stay crisp for months. They are baked as 6-inch circles, with holes cut in the center so they can be kept out on the table on a special wooden plate that has a dowel in the center to hold the stack of crackers. I’ve read that in days gone by, households would bake up big batches of this durable, nutritious “hardtack,” thread the circular crackers through a cord and store the hardtack out of reach of rodents by hanging it near the ceiling.
I usually make the crackers for the holidays using an assortment of seeds to flavor them — caraway, fennel and sesame are my favorites. Everyone always asks for the recipe.
1 pint of buttermilk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1 tsp. salt
7/8 tsp. baking soda
Coarse rye flour
Caraway, sesame, fennel or other seeds if desired
Mix the ingredients with enough flour to make a very thick dough. Roll the dough into a ball and cut into quarters. Roll each quarter into a 1 1/2 to 2-inch cylinder. Cut a cylinder into 6 slices. Press each side of each slice into whatever seeds you choose. Sprinkle rye flour liberally on the counter, then roll each slice out on the flour as thinly as you can — about an 1/8-inch thick and about a 6-inch circle. Cut a small hole in the center with a lid from a condiment bottle if you want. Place each cracker carefully on a baking sheet. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. The crackers will be best if you let them brown slightly, but they can quickly become too brown. Watch carefully until you get the timing right for your stove — the browning is hard to see since the rye dough is already brown. — Cheryl Long