This cracker dough is made a bit like rough puff pastry, with lots of shredded cheese added through a series of folds, which make it insanely flavorful and super flaky. Whole wheat pastry flour makes a more tender cracker than traditional whole wheat, while also lending a nutty flavor to these addictive crackers. —Erin McDowell
Test Kitchen Notes
For more on how to make crackers, see the full article. —The Editors
about 3 dozen bite-size crackers
(96 g) whole wheat pastry flour
(60 g) all purpose flour
(2 g) fine sea salt
(2 g) freshly ground black pepper
(1 g) smoked paprika
(1 g) cayenne pepper
(50 g) finely grated parmesan cheese
(113 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
(170 g) cold whole milk
(28 g) cold water
1 1/2 cups
(170 g) coarsely grated sharp white cheddar
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk the whole wheat pastry flour, all purpose flour, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and parmesan together to combine.
Add the cubed butter and toss to separate the cubes from each other and coat each piece in flour. Use your fingers or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour until the pieces are about the size of walnut halves – don’t overmix!
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the milk and water to it. Toss the mixture with your hands a few times to begin to combine it, then gently knead it just until it is fully combined.
Form the dough into a square about 1 inch thick, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes – 1 hour.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a square about 1/3 inch thick. Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cheese over the dough. Fold the dough into thirds (much like you might fold a standard piece of paper to fit into a business envelope). First, divide the dough visually into thirds. Fold the right 1/3 of the dough over onto the middle 1/3, then fold the left 1/3 over onto the middle 1/3.
Repeat this process two more times, using 1/3 of the cheese each time and folding the same way.
Wrap the dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes more.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ¼ inch thick. Use a pastry wheel to cut the dough into 1x1 inch squares.
Transfer the squares to a baking sheet – they won’t spread, so they can be quite close together. Dock each piece once with the tines of fork.
Bake until the crackers are evenly (and deeply!) golden brown, 10-13 minutes. Cool completely.
I always carry three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's pie. My first cookbook, The Fearless Baker, is out on October 24, 2017.