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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Multi-seed Crackerbread

This is a wonderful cracker bread to be server prior to dinner as an appetizer or as a snack with some drinks or tea. I visit an Italian restaurant nearby and one of the things that I enjoy most is the bread basket that the bring out once  you are seated. The bread basket comes with sourdough bread and multiseed crackebread which is sprinkled with Parmesan cheese, which is lightly browned. The crackerbread is absolutely delicious. I have searched in the bakery section of may stores, but unfortunately have never come across it. So, it made me very excited when I came across a multiseed cracker bread recipe in a King Arthur Flour cook book. This recipe came very close to the one I enjoy in the restaurant. The main difference is that the one in the restaurant is made of all purpose flour while this is made with whole grain flour. This is definitely the healthier version and was enjoyed by everyone at the last dinner party we had. Serve it with butter and it makes a perfect accompaniment to warm soup.

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup ragi flour
1/2 cup whole yellow cornmeal
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1/2 cup assorted seeds - like white sesame, black sesame, poppy, fennel, caraway, anise and cumin
(adjust the ratio based on your preference.)
2 tbsps assorted dried herbs like rosemary, basil, dill, taragon and thyme
(adjust the ratio based on your preference.)
1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Mix the assorted seeds, herbs and cracked pepper in a bowl and keep aside.

Take a large mixing bowl, and add the flours, salt and olive oil to it. Adding a little water at a time, mix the ingredients till the dough is formed. The dough should be stiff and not crumbly. So make sure to add a liittle water at a time till you get the desired consistency. If the atmospheric conditions are humid, you may need less water versus making this recipe in dry weather. Knead the dough till it is well mixed and supple.

Divide the dough into small pieces (about 8-10) and cover this with a slightly damp cloth or plastic wrap.
Take one piece and flatten it into a disc. Sprinkle some of the seeds, herb and pepper mixture on to the rolling surface. Press the dough disc into the seeds and roll it out. If the dough starts to stick to the surface, pick it up, sprinkle a few more seeds and continue rolling. Roll the dough as thin as possible, about 2 mm in thickness. Try to roll it into a rectangle, which will make it easy to cut the dough into triangles. Cut this into small triangles about 4 inches in length and 2 inches in width at the largest side.

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Arrange the crackers on a baking sheet and place on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes till the top is medium brown.

Store in airtight container after all the crackers are completely cool.

The original recipe called for pumpernickel or whole rye flour instead of ragi flour. However, I didn't have this, so I used ragi flour instead. The recipe also called for 1 tbsp of coarse salt to be added to the mixture of seeds, herbs and pepper. However, this made the crackers quite salty and so I skipped it in subsequent batches. If you do want to have a salty feel on the outside of the cracker, then reduce the salt that is added to the dough. You can grate and sprinkle some parmesan cheese on the crackers after they have been baking for about a couple of minutes. If you add the cheese at the beginning, it may burn. You can also add shredded cheddar cheese.
Alternately, you can add the cheese and toast the crackers in the oven just before serving, heating the crackers till the cheese has melted and turned a golden brown.
When baking, the initial few batches will take longer, but as the process continues, the subsequent batches will get baked faster. So keep an eye on the crackers and remove them as soon as they are medium brown.


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