"The only real stumbling block is the fear of failure. In cooking, you have got to have a what-the-hell attitude." ~ Julia Child

Crackers: You can make them yourself! (If you’re not me, I mean)

by Julie Tilsner on July 5, 2010

in Sugar and Spite

Crackers The first day I flipped through Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything I noticed it. Crackers. As in, make your own. I've been meaning to try since, oh, 2002?

And I did it tonight. To OK results.

What did you expect? Success on the first try? Remember who you're reading here, people.

Now, I know home bakers everywhere are having a good chortle at my expense. All this fuss because she mixed flour and butter and milk and made her own crackers? I might as well be patting myself on the back for successfully making ice cubes.

But once again I have to point with exasperation to from whence I came. I didn't know there was any kind of cheese apart from American Kraft singles until I was 16. I ate rice out of a box. and made PB&J's out of Wonder Bread, Peter Pan peanut butter and diet Smucker's jam.

Diet jam.

Nobody made a damn thing from scratch at my house. Not unless you count Toll House cookies.

So it's not so much the cracker itself as it is the notion of making your own. It's like rediscovering the wheel. My God, you can make that stuff in your own kitchen? Think of the possibilities!

Bittman says it's easy, and dog gonnit if he ain't right. Here's the recipe. It took all of 10 minutes to mix and 10 minutes to bake.

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter.

1/4 cup water, or milk if you want to make cream crackers (which I did.)

Of course, being the Bad Home Cook, I didn't read all the instructions before starting, and so when I substituted milk for water, I didn't notice that I was supposed to up the butter to four tablespoons, but whatever. The result was still fresh, crackers, ready for avacado spread and what not. At least I had the foresight to season expertly with sea salt.

Anyway, this was a lot of fun, and really so simple I can try it again and again and again until I master the finer points. That and pilfer some kitchen herbs to try and incorporate. Wonder what lemon zest would do in a cracker? 

Note to self, though: Next time, remove the turquoise ring first. Hard to pick cracker dough out with a tootpick.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Hmc July 7, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Hey, I’ve never really seriously considered making homemade crackers and I’ve been using Bittman’s book for over ten years. Thanks for the motivation and letting me know it’s easy!


Bad Home Cook July 8, 2010 at 10:13 am

Thanks, HMC – give it a try – It’s super easy – so easy I only screwed up a little bit, and next time I try, probably not at all (unless I’ve had more than three beers…)
Glad to hear Bittman inspires us all so…


Emmy July 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Wait, you said that it must be baked for 10 minutes but you failed to mention what temperature the oven must be in =)


Mrs. Puddle August 2, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I thought we baked them at 350. Don’t we cook everything at 350? I do anyway, instructions be damned!


Abs August 3, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I tried this recipe and though they tasted OK, they weren’t very crackery – no crunch! Not sure what I did wrong.


Bad Home Cook August 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm

ABS: that’s because I botched them, typically. There’s more butter involved if you’re gonna use milk. If you email me directly I’ll send you the exact recipe from Bittman. They definitely have potential!


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