Thin, crunchy homemade crackers can take a cheese platter from plain to extraordinary. These rustic, free-form yeast crackers call for “00” flour—pizza-makers’ go-to for its powder-fine texture and crisp results—and a scattering of herbs and coarse salt. Getting them thin calls for a little work with the rolling pin (you have to book-fold the dough, as for puff pastry), but the results are worth it.
What to buy: You can find “00” flour at well-stocked markets. We like the one from King Arthur called Italian-Style Flour.
To watch an animated GIF of the folding and rolling process, check out our Make Your Own Free-Form Herb Crackers project.
- Yield: 2 (10-by-8-inch) sheets
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 2 hrs 20 mins
- Active: 1 hr
- 1 (1/4-ounce) packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 7 tablespoons warm water (110°F to 115°F)
- 1 1/2 cups “00” flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
- Fresh herbs (rosemary, sage leaves, sprigs of tarragon, etc.)
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling
- In a small bowl, mix the yeast and sugar with the warm water. Set aside to let the yeast come alive and froth, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the measured flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and measured salt. Set aside.
- Gently heat the butter and measured vegetable oil until the butter is just melted. Add to the yeast mixture.
- Add the liquids to the dry ingredients. With your stand mixer’s paddle attachment, mix on low till just combined, about 60 seconds.
- At this point, the dough will look wet and won’t clump together well. That’s good! Just scoop it all out and, with your hands, form it into a ball. Place the ball in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let rise for 2 hours at room temperature.
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On a lightly floured work surface, flatten the dough ball with the palm of your hand, then pat it into a rough rectangle. Use a rolling pin to roll it out to a larger rectangle, approximately 10 inches by 15 inches. Fold each of the short sides in toward the center until they meet—you should have a rectangle measuring approximately 6 inches by 13 inches. Turn the dough 90 degrees, then roll it out again to a 10-by-15-inch rectangle.
- With a knife or pizza wheel, cut the dough in half to yield two 10-by-8-inch pieces.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place a piece of dough on each. Scatter the herbs all over the surface of the dough pieces, sprinkle with coarse sea salt, and gently press the herbs and salt into the dough using the palm of your hand—not all of the herbs will stick, but that’s OK. To keep the dough from puffing too much as it bakes, prick the surface all over with the tines of a fork.
- Bake until the surface takes on a light brown tint, about 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the door completely. Let the crackers sit in the oven for 1 hour. They’ll keep cooking and drying out, becoming crispy. Break by hand into irregular pieces and serve with cheese.