Homemade Wheat Thin Crackers (soaked)

I am still playing around with cracker recipes! I have never eaten so many crackers in my life. But we all know that I am an absolute cheese-oholic. And what better to place under my cheese, then a nice crispy cracker. Why bother making them yourself you ask? This is the ingredient list from a regular box of plain Wheat Thins:

  • Enriched Whole Wheat Flour- enriched because they strip and extrude the grain at extremely high temperature and pressure, killing every vitamin and mineral naturally found in wheat. So synthetic  vitamins are added back in to try and fool you. I personally doubt that we absorb much, if any, of these synthetic vitamins.
  • Soybean Oil- from GMO soybeans. Don’t even get me started
  • Cornstarch-from GMO corn
  • Malt Syrup-sweetener made from GMO corn
  • Sugar- made from GMO sugar beets
  • BHT- added to the packaging to “preserve freshness” This is a fancy way of saying, “you are eating a rancid food and we added a deodorizer to the box so it doesn’t stink when you open it.

Sound appetizing? These crackers are really very easy to make. And the soaking step is ridiculously simple. I hate to shop, so for me this is actually a much easier option than going to a store and buying a box of premade crackers. Ha!

Homemade Wheat Thin Crackers (soaked)

1 1/4 cup organic wheat flour (freshly ground if you can)

1/4 cup water + 2Tbsp

4 Tbsp butter (unsalted)

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt (plus more for salting before baking)

  • Combine flour, sugar, salt, and paprika.
  • Cut in the butter. I used a food processor, but you don’t have to.
  • Add water and stir to combine.

Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in a very warm location. Mine took a nice long nap over night on top of the fridge. The ideal temperature would be between 110 and 130 degrees. Maybe the oven with the pilot light? And ideas? Between baking and letting it sit out for 8-24 hours you are breaking down a very large portion of the phytic acid and pre-digesting the gluten. I also like soaking because it breaks your recipes up into two seperate days, which to me feels like less work for some reason….If you don’t care about soaking, then carry on with the baking right now!

Flour your counter top and roll out the dough. You want the crackers to be very thin, so they will be crispy. Transfer the dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Score the crackers deeply with a sharp knife. I make mine exactly the size of my mouth 🙂 Sprinkle with a small amount of extra salt. I over did it the first time and they were too salty, so beware.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Check them after 5 and remove the crackers that are smaller or thinner and are browning too fast. You’ll know the ones….cool. break. eat.

For the sake of the experiment I actually “borrowed” some wheat thins from a co-worker and brang them home. I ate a real wheat thin and a homemade wheat thin and they tasted EXACTLY THE SAME. I made Rob test them both with his eyes closed and he couldn’t tell the difference. Success!

For the absolute best nutritional value, grind your flour fresh. I have not squeezed the grain mill into my budget yet, but I am almost there. I can’t wait!

P.S If you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, you can buy a very inexpensive attachment for it that will grind fresh grain! I wish I had one…..but I am still using a good old fashioned wooden spoon 🙂

Advertisements

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Parmesan and Garlic

Crackers have been on my list of things to make homemade for almost a year. I kept putting it off because I thought it would be hard. Trust me, this took 15-20 minutes tops. They are also delicious! My favorite snack is cheese and crackers. Now I have cheese in the cracker, and cheese on the cracker. What could be better than that?

I have been playing around with this recipe all weekend (yes, we have a lot of crackers to eat).There are endless variations to this recipe. As long as you keep the measurements the same, you can use any cheese or spice that you like. I would stick with whole wheat flour though. White flour would probably end up a more doughy, soft cracker. These are crispy and delicious. Enjoy the experiment!

Parmesan Garlic Crackers

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

4 Tbsp butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 onion powder

1 tsp parsley flakes

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly flour a cookie sheet, or cover with parchment paper.

In your food processor (with the grating blade) grate the parmesan cheese. Leave the cheese in the food processor and change the blade to the regular cutting blade. Add flour, salt, spices and butter. Pulse to cut in the butter (this will also make the cheese finer, which is what you want).

Add 1/4 cup of cream. You may need an additional 1 or 2 tablespoons of cream. The dough should barely stick together, and not be wet or sticky at all.

Dump dough on to a lightly floured counter top. Roll out very thin. 1/4″ max. (if you like a soft, chewy cracker you can make them thicker)

Cut your rolled dough into a square. Place the square on to the cookie sheet. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough into bite size cracker pieces. Don’t worry if it doesn’t cut all the way through, just deeply score them.

Roll out the remaining dough, until you have used it all up. Sprinkle the pan of crackers with sea salt.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12 minutes. Crackers should be light brown on top, and a darker brown around the edges. Don’t over bake or the crackers taste scorched. It is better to under bake and let them crisp up on the hot pan, then to burn them.

This makes one quart-size freezer bag full of crackers. Serve with Salmon and Yogurt Cheese Cracker Spread or any sort of raw cheese.

Honey Whole Wheat

So what cheese/spice combo are you going to try? Here are my future cracker experiments:

Blue Cheese and Rye Crackers

Cream Cheese and Carmel Crackers

Sesame Seed and Garlic Crackers

Swiss Cheese and Rosemary Crackers

Garlic and Basil Crackers

Cayenne and Cumin Crackers

Chile Powder and Sweet Onion Crackers

Sun Dried Tomato and Gorgonzola Crackers

Any other ideas?

Cracker Spread with Salmon and Yogurt Cheese

I love cheese! In fact I tend to go overboard with dairy because I can’t help myself. Ever since I purchased my Viili Yogurt starter from Cultures for Health. I have had so much fun experimenting with all the different ways to use yogurt. Having a yogurt that cultures at room temperature and requires zero effort has made this a joy.

This spread is a huge hit! The smoke flavor mixes so well with the creaminess of the yogurt. Its tangy and delicious. You can also add half yogurt cheese and half cheddar or whatever your little heart desires 🙂

Smoked Salmon and Yogurt Cheese Spread

8 oz yogurt cheese (need a step by step tutorial on how to make this? Visit Cultures for Health)

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp onion minced fine

1/2 tsp prepared horseradish

16 oz Smoked Salmon cooked and flaked

1/4 pecan or almonds crushed

1 Tbsp dry parsley

Mix all in a bowl and press into a pretty serving dish, surround with your choice of crackers or mixed vegetables. Full of good fats, healthy beneficial bacteria, vitamins and minerals. You can’t go wrong here. Yogurt cheese also makes an excellent spinach and artichoke dip.

Homemade Yogurt at room temperature

my favorite breakfast

I have always loved yogurt. I already posted how to make yogurt in the crock pot. For those of you who found that method time consuming or who don’t have a crock pot you will be excited to learn that Cultures for Health has several yogurt cultures that grow just fine at room temperature.

I have purchased many products from Cultures for Health, and I am always so excited when they come in the mail. My most recent purchase was a Viili Yogurt culture from Finland.

Viili cultures at 68-78 degrees, right on your counter-top. It has a mild taste, and is moderately thick. The beautiful part is you only have to purchase the culture one time. After you make yogurt, reserve a small amount and use it to start the next batch. You can make yogurt indefinitely with just one purchase.

I love anything that helps me save money! Because of its taste and consistency it is also a good substitute for sour cream in any recipe. It makes a delicious frozen yogurt (I like it with dark chocolate or carob chips). I also strain some of the yogurt through cheesecloth until it is very thick. Then you can flavor it with any herb or spice that you like. It makes the best cream cheese cracker spread I’ve ever eaten. Now you never have to buy yogurt, ice cream, sour cream or cream cheese again. Isn’t that cool!

Viili Yogurt Instructions

Place culture in milk at a ratio of 1 Tbsp per cup of milk

Leave in warm room for 12-18 hours

Remove 1/4 cup of yogurt to use for the next batch and eat the rest!

The flavor is really good, mildly sweet. Perfect over blueberries. No additional sweetener is required.

Full of many probiotics including Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis biovar. diacetylactis, Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris.

Questions? Just leave a comment and I’ll try to help. This post featured Make it Yourself Monday and Mix it Up Mondays

Real Food Nacho Cheese Sauce

I love nachos! It am a bit of a cheese addict I must admit. But us real foodies love to read our labels don’t we? That means no more cheese sauce out of a can 🙂

Real Food Nacho Cheese Sauce

1/2 cup yogurt cheese

1 cup raw cheddar cheese, cubed

1 1/2  cups raw whole milk

splash of hot sauce

1 jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped

half of a small red bell pepper, diced

1/4 raw whole milk

2 Tbsp flour

In saucepan melt cheddar and yogurt cheese. Add hot sauce, peppers and half of the milk (3/4 cup) Stir until incorporated well. Add remaining milk and stir.

Mix 1/4 cup of milk and flour, whisk to remove lumps. Add this to your cheese mixture and boil gently until thick.

Now if you really want to impress someone you can make your own tortilla chips in a hurry. I take the leftover homemade tortillas that are a little on the stale side and cut them into triangles. Fry them in a cast iron skillet in really hot oil. It doesn’t take long, maybe 2-3 minutes. I use beef tallow and they are so delicious. I love me some beef fat! 🙂

This recipe freezes and reheats very well. If you want to make a large batch, go ahead! Stores in the fridge for 1 week, or in the freezer for 3-6 months.

 

 

 

Making Yogurt in the Crock Pot

I am a huge fan of yogurt, but I don’t like any of the store-bought kinds I have ever tried. Even expensive organic yogurt is too sweet for my taste. I thought that making yogurt myself would be really hard, and require a lot of patience and messing with specific temperatures and formulas. I thought I needed to go buy a yogurt maker.  None of that turned out to be true. Here is the easy way!

Easy Yogurt in the Crock Pot

1 gallon milk (not ultra-pastuerized)

1 small container organic yogurt. Plain un-flavored

Pour milk into the crock pot and close the lid. I use raw milk from a local farm, but the healthiest milk you can get your hands on is fine. Ultra-pastuerized milk (it will say that right on the container) is heated to a very high temperature and doesn’t culture well.

  • Turn crock pot on HIGH and leave it alone for 2 hours.
  • Turn crock pot OFF and leave it alone for 2 hours
  • Pour in the container of yogurt and stir. Replace lid.
  • Place whole crock pot into your oven and wrap it up in 2 or 3 layers of bath towels or a thick blanket. Turn on the oven light.
  • Leave crock pot alone for 6  to 8 hours.

That’s it! You now have a whole gallon of yogurt and you didn’t have to do hardly anthing!

Now take 1/2 cup of this yogurt and put it in a container in the fridge and label it (so nobody eats it). Now you can use this yogurt to make the next batch, and you will never have to buy store-bought yogurt again!

My cost, even using expensive raw milk at $7.00 a gallon is only .05 cents per ounce.

I eat some over blueberries for breakfast. I use a piece of cheesecloth or a fine colander and strain the whey out of half of it to make greek yogurt. I use half of the greek yogurt and strain it even further, with a weight on top and make yogurt cheese. I use all that whey to ferment various other recipes. Amazing all the uses out of a single gallon of milk!

Homemade Yogurt Cheese

If you need a great resource for yogurt, kefir or sourdough starters, check out Cultures for Health. They have excellent tutorials on their site!

%d bloggers like this: