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Buttery Crackers

These started out as the "Little Salted Biscuits" from Bernard Clayton's Breads of France.  But then I messed with them a bit, starting with using a mix of whole grain flours, increasing the milk, and using malt in place of part of the sugar to give a more nuanced sweetness. 

You can see my illustrated primer on making crackers here.

Oven 400 degrees F      Time 10

Mill together (coarsely):
  200 grams soft wheat berries
  75 grams brown rice*
  75 grams whole corn (field corn OR popcorn will work here)
  1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour PLUS  1/2 cup rice flour PLUS 1/2 cup freshest whole cornmeal (total about 2 1/4 cups flours)
2 tablespoons malt powder
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk
2 teaspoons salt

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup water

Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients.  Stir in the butter until the mixture is uniformly crumbly.  This is where I let my kitchenaid go to town, with the paddle attachment, until the mixture really is a smooth, crumbly dough. 

Starting with about 1/4 C, stir in water until the mixture just holds together enough for rolling out.  You may need another couple of tablespoons of water to reach rolling consistency.    On a silicone baking sheet liner, or a floured board if you're not going to roll directly onto the baking sheet, roll 1/3 of the dough about 1/8"-1/16" thick.  Prick the dough with a fork all over, or use a rolling docker if you have it.  Use a pastry roller or sharp knife to cut the dough into about 2" squares.  

Slide the prepared baking liner onto your baking pan, or place the squares (and the funny edge pieces, too) on ungreased baking sheets, and bake until the edges are golden (about 10' in preheated oven).  Especially if they're separated, you'll most likely have a few that will bake faster; don't be afraid to pull the sheet out of the oven, scoop the done ones off, and quickly return the rest to the heat.  If you're baking the unseparated crackers rolled directly onto the baking liner, the center ones will not get very crisp, but don't worry about that yet.

The secret to maximum, uniform crispness is to bake them twice, like biscotti.   Bake them until they turn golden brown, but remove them from the over before they get darker brown.  You can leave them on the baking tray, or transfer them to cooling racks; for this purpose it doesn't matter.   Bake the entire batch this way.  When they're all finished, turn the oven temp down to 150-175 degrees, and when it has cooled down to this point (check first!), return all the crackers to the oven.  You can scatter them over a single backing sheet, and don't worry if they overlap a bit.  You're going to leave them in long enough that it won't matter.   Check them after an hour or so, and if even the thicker ones seem nicely crisp,, then turn the heat off and leave them in there until they're completely cool.  Store them carefully to maintain that wonderful crispness; I find I eat them up so quickly that they don't have a chance to get soft or stale.

*The rice or rice flour adds crispness, but you can get a nice cracker using all a mix of wheat plus corn flours.

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