When I gather with friends for a glass of wine, I often plan to prepare something crunchy to eat before the main meal or rather until everyone gathers. And if we are planning a meeting in the park, then such food is mandatory because it is dry and easy to transport, does not require cold storage, and we all love it, especially when there are cheeses. These gatherings usually take place during the summer period and I would say that I miss them already. However, this does not mean that I have to wait for the summer and the picnics we organize to prepare some of my favorite crackers with cheese and herbs.
This type of crackers has been tested with different types of yellow cheeses, prepared and stored in all situations and conditions, and always with a wonderful result. Crackers are very crunchy on the day of baking, and are addictive to the spread of aromas of butter and cheese, so I prepare a wick or some of the dough, which I store in the refrigerator or freezer for longer and bake in small doses during the day, for who I want them.
Apart from different types of yellow cheeses, with which these crackers can be prepared, I decided to enrich the dough with fresh herbs, focusing here on thyme and rosemary. At the next stage it occurred to me that I can use a part of wholemeal flour, instead of white – for a more crispy texture, for extra flavor of roasted seeds and nuts that wholemeal flours carry in such pastries and of course with the idea of richer nutritional value.
Preparing the dough for crackers is easy. Its preparation is then to form it into a wick, from which thin circles are cut. The wick itself is rolled into seeds in advance, in this case sesame and nigella, but feel free to use what you have. Nigella can be replaced with black sesame (which will match only the color, without replacing its slightly spicy taste). Flaxseed, poppy, sunflower seeds can also be used.
Crackers with cheese and herbs
I adapt the recipe from the book Breaking Breads with some changes I made over time. In the recipe, author Uri Scheft uses equal parts gouda and parmesan. From my practice I learned that other yellow cheeses can be used – one or more types. Some options are listed in the recipe below, but feel free to use available types. This is a good way to make use of small amounts of cheese left in the fridge. At a later stage, I replaced some of the white flour with wholemeal flour, preferring spelled or einkorn, but wheat can also be used.
The dough and its shape for the crackers can be done in advance. Store up to 3 days in the refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months. From the wick can be cut the required number of crackers to bake at the moment (then they are the most delicious and crunchy), and the rest of the wick can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. That is why the doses can be increased and you can have chilled or frozen wicks from the dough.
When cutting crackers from dough stored in the freezer, it is made immediately after removing it, and the crackers themselves can be baked immediately. If slicing the frozen dough is difficult and it breaks, then leave it for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator or for a while at room temperature to relax and be comfortable to cut, but without allowing it to soften too much.
For about 50 crackers.
- 80 g wholemeal einkorn or spelled flour
- 100 g of white flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 180 g butter, soft
- 160 g wholesale grated semi-hard or hard yellow cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, asiago, engraving, parmesan
- 1 egg
- ¼ to ½ teaspoons of salt (the amount will depend on the salinity of the cheese and personal taste)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 20 g sesame seeds + 10 g nigella seeds for rolling
In a bowl, mix the wholemeal and white flour and the baking powder.
Beat the butter with a mixer until fluffy and light. Add the grated cheese to it and beat again. Add the egg and beat until absorbed from the mixture. Season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and herbs. Finally, add the flour mixture and knead everything until it comes together into a dough. The dough is formed into a wick about 4 cm thick.
A piece of stretch film is placed on the countertop and the seeds are spread on it. The wick is placed on them and rolled, while forming. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30-40 minutes or refrigerate overnight. It can be prepared in advance by storing in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
The oven is heated to 180ºC with the option of upper and lower reotan. The cooled wick, whether from the freezer or the refrigerator, is cut into crackers 3-4 mm thick. If the wick has been stored for a long time in the freezer and it is difficult to cut crackers from it, then leave it in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes or at room temperature until it relaxes slightly, but should not soften.
Arrange the sliced crackers in a tray on baking paper and bake immediately on medium heat in a preheated oven for 14 minutes or until golden brown. Once removed from the oven, leave in the pan for 5-6 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled. Store in a box at room temperature.