Thursday, February 4, 2016

Rye Crackers


Those of you about to embark on a weekend of Super Bowl frenzy, keep these words in mind: When life gives you football games, make snacks.

Last night I taught a Swedish Small Plates cooking class at the American Swedish Institute and it was a blast! Our menu included rye blinis and roe butter, cheese-filled olives soaked in Gamle Ode Dill, gravlax with pickled mustard seeds and oranges, shrimp fritters, smoked herring salad, juniper bison meatballs, and licorice ice cream. We piled some bites on rye crackers and skåled with flights of local aquavits.

Since the demise of RyKrisp, I've been trying to perfect a copycat cracker. Thankfully, the RyKrisp recipe was recently purchased by a small company embarking on reestablishing the deliciousness that is RyKrisp. Meanwhile, I've found a decent recipe online, and we made a few batched in our class last night. Add these knäckebröd to your Super Bowl menu and celebrate a win (or mourn a loss) with a few shots of aquavit.

Rye Crisps (Knäckebröd)  
Makes 30 crackers

1 cup dark rye flour
1 cup whole wheat flour, plus more for rolling
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground caraway seeds
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
½ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon molasses
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons caraway
½ teaspoon coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper. In a food pro­cessor or large bowl, combine the rye flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and ground caraway and pulse or whisk to combine. Add the butter and pulse or rub with your fingers until the butter is in tiny pieces and the mixture resembles fine cornmeal, 15 one-second pulses.

In a measuring cup with a spout, combine the milk and molasses and stir until the molasses completely dissolved. Gradually add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and pulse or stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together into a ball.

On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth, about 25 strokes. The dough will be slightly sticky; add flour only as necessary. Divide the dough into two balls, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to this point and stored in the refrigerator, tightly wrapped, for up to 2 days.)

Pat one ball of dough into a small rect­angle and roll it out on a lightly floured surface until the dough is 1/16-inch thick, lifting the dough and rotating occasionally to make sure it’s not sticking, and adding flour only as necessary.

Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, cut the dough into strips; reserve any scraps. Transfer the strips to a prepared baking sheet and repeat the process of rolling and cutting with the remaining dough and scraps. Brush the crackers lightly with the beaten egg and sprinkle them with the caraway seeds and coarse salt. 

Bake until the crackers are golden brown around the edges and no longer pliable, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets once from top to bottom and from back to front while baking. Watch carefully to make sure the crackers do not burn. Cool the crackers on racks and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Recipe adapted from Swedish Caraway Rye Crisp recipe at foodrepublic.com.


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