Make Ahead

Peter Reinhart's Crispy Rye and Seed Crackers

March 31, 2014
5 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 4 pans of crackers
Author Notes

Very lightly adapted from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day. The original recipe is for exclusively rye flour; I've substituted white whole wheat flour for part of the rye. —Nicholas Day

What You'll Need
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 3 tablespoons flaxseed
  • 6 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 3/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/3 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon salt)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • Sesame seeds and poppy seeds for garnish
  1. In a spice grinder or blender, pulse the sunflower and pumpkin seeds until they form a fine powder. Pulse judiciously: you want a powder, not a nut butter. Transfer the powder to the bowl of a stand mixer or a mixing bowl. Then pulse the flaxseeds until they too form a fine powder and transfer it to the same bowl. Combine these with the flours, the whole sesame seeds, salt, oil, honey, and water. If using a stand mixer, mix it all with the paddle attachment on a slow speed for 1 to 2 minutes. If mixing by hand, stir with a large spoon for 1 to 2 minutes. It should form a firm, unsticky ball. (If not, add flour or water as needed.) Then transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead very briefly to make sure the dough holds together and the ingredients are distributed throughout the dough. The dough will feel very slightly tacky but not sticky.
  2. Heat the oven to 300° F. For every pan of crackers that you want to make now -- well-wrapped, the dough will hold for a week in the fridge and up to three months in the freezer -- line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Working on a well-floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is relatively thin (Reinhart suggests 1/16 of an inch). The dough may stick in the process, so check it frequently, lifting it up to see if it needs more flour or flipping the whole thing over. If the dough pulls back instead of obediently rolling out, let it rest for a few minutes and then begin again.
  4. Separate the egg and whisk the white with 2 tablespoons of water. (Save the yolk for something else.) Then paint the dough's surface with the egg wash and sprinkle it with sesame seeds and poppy seeds. Using a pizza cutter or a metal dough scraper, cut the dough into your preferred cracker size and shape. Then gently transfer the shapes to the prepared baking sheet. (Reinhart notes that because the crackers won't spread or rise, they can almost touch.)
  5. If you are making multiple pans, you can bake them all at the same time. (Bake for ten minutes and then rotate the pans; bake for another ten and rotate again.) After approximately 25 or 30 minutes, depending on how thin you rolled the dough, the crackers should be about done, which means bordering on golden brown, well-dried, and crisp. (If the crackers are still pale, increase the heat to 325 once they begin to crisp.) Leave the crackers on the baking sheet so they crisp up more. They should snap when cool. (If they don't, return them to the oven for a few more minutes.)
  6. Let the crackers cool for at least 15 minutes. They will keep in an airtight container on the counter for a week (or in the freezer for far longer).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Janet Nagy Hanley
    Janet Nagy Hanley
  • Änneken
  • nannydeb
  • Alice Gardner
    Alice Gardner
  • chris
I'm the author of a book on the science and history of infancy, Baby Meets World. My website is; I tweet over at @nicksday. And if you need any good playdoh recipes, just ask.

12 Reviews

Janet N. May 4, 2019
Skip the egg, oil, honey... make it healthy. Use yeast.
Debbie June 26, 2016
Can you add full rye flour instead of the whole-wheat flour?
Dillybean January 22, 2016
Are the seeds roasted or raw?
Beth100 February 8, 2015
Tender yet crisp, delicious! If eating these alone, without a salty cheese, they need more salt, either in the dough or sprinkled on before baking, which we did, with smoked sea salt, and can heartily recommend it!
Änneken August 2, 2014
I made them last week and brought them to work because these are so good you want to share them with others! I also thought that the flavors really started to shine two days after I made them. Will definitely make these again!
nannydeb June 22, 2014
I made these yesterday and can't stop eating them! Easy recipe with great results. I will make these again!
Em April 14, 2014
Try the scrumptious crackers that are much easier to make using the “no rolling required” method perfected by Alice Friedemann, detailed in Crunch! Whole Grain Artisan Chips and Crackers: Low-Fat, Low-Sugar, Low-Salt Snack, Garnish or Croutons.
burns W. April 13, 2014
Nice one! Its great to see others making crackers - and this is a very nicely evolved recipe - lots of good protein. There's also plenty of wiggle room - both for adding and taking away ingredients - as Alice notes. I would definitely do what Chris suggests and use a pasta roller. But equally important, the hydration (like all crackers) will need to be at 60% (i.e. 60g wet ingredients to 100g dry). If its not you will need to keep adding flour until it behaves itself (and it will be 60%). the great thing about a pasta roller is that the whole sheet then can transfer to the parchment paper, then wash it with egg white/oil etc. and THEN you cut it.
Alice G. April 12, 2014
I rolled them out between 2 pieces of wax paper and transferred to the baking sheet. I skipped the egg white and just sprinkled with kosher salt. They turned out great!
chris April 10, 2014
This sounds like an excellent project to make with my granddaughter's preschool class. I'm going to try running the dough through the attachment for making lasagna noodles. (Yes, before I take it on the road!)
ArtoriusRex April 10, 2014
Could you roll this out, cut, and transfer on parchment and not have to worry about it sticking?
This'll be a great use for a bunch of rye flour I bought to experiment with.
AntoniaJames April 10, 2014
Can't wait to try these! Hope to do so this weekend, or one evening next week. ;o)