Crunchy crackers: Good as store-bought... maybe even better!

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Watch out, Dr. Kracker – the King Arthur test bakers are on your trail.

You know about Dr. Kracker crackers, right? They’re these tasty ULTRA-crunchy crackers, full of seeds and fiber and whole grains. They come in a bunch of sizes, shapes, and flavors, with a few common attributes – they’re different, and delicious…

…and higher-priced than your usual box of Ritz.

Which means, to any baker worth his or her salt, that Dr. Kracker crackers are ripe for a homemade clone.

Sue Gray, a long-time fellow baker here at King Arthur, feels the same way I do about Dr. Kracker crackers: love ‘em, but can’t afford ‘em on a regular basis. So last year, Sue and her colleague Andrea decided to make a Dr. Kracker clone.

They worked on the cracker itself: too thick, too thin, and too hard eventually became just right. And the toppings: sunflower, flax, and sesame were the perfect combo.

Except that I went ahead and tried my own version, using our artisan bread topping (pictured above): flax, toasted sesame, black caraway, midget sunflower, poppy, and anise seeds. Plus golden flax seeds, just because I like their look and taste.

And, after customers commenting on the recipe decried the crackers’ “cardboardy” taste, I added sea salt to the topping.

As my MIL is wont to say, “NOW you’re cooking with gas!”

In other words, you’re on the right path. And, if you know and love Dr. Kracker crackers, and compare our Crunchy Crackers with Dr. Kracker’s, I think you’ll agree –

Dr. Kracker, we’re on your trail!

Dr. Kracker crackers are (barely) sweetened with organic barley malt syrup. Our recipe uses non-diastatic malt powder, a sweet derivative of roasted barley. It’s easy to use and, being non-liquid, doesn’t affect the crackers’ texture.

And here are two more of our favorite ingredients: golden flax seed on the left, and milled golden flax on the right.

If you’ve never had this golden version of traditional brown flax, give it a try. We did taste tests with groups of our customers, and as our marketing director, Tom Payne, reports, “Up to 87 percent of consumers rated our new flax products as ‘excellent’ in freshness, taste, texture, appearance, and bake-ability, compared with only 47 percent for their current flax.”

At last! Let’s go crackers.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

7/8 to 1 cup lukewarm water*
1 1/2 cups King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons non-diastatic malt powder or sugar
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt

*Start with the lesser amount in summer, or when it’s hot/humid; the greater amount in winter, or in a cold/dry environment.

Use the flat beater to mix everything together…

Then switch to the dough hook, and knead until fairly smooth and quite stiff.

See how the dough above formed separate pieces? That means it’s a bit too stiff. I kneaded in another tablespoon of water.

Next, add the following:

2 tablespoons whole milled flax or whole flax seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds or whole flax seeds, preferably golden

I used 4 tablespoons flax seeds; but feel free to use whatever combo of sesame and flax you like.

Knead in the seeds and/or meal.

Put the dough in a lightly greased bowl, or an 8-cup measure, as I’m doing here.

Cover the container, and let the dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it’s expanded a bit.

Divide the dough in half.

Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a rectangle approximately 14″ x 9″, a generous 1/8″ thick.

This is best done on parchment paper; you’ll see why in a minute.

As you roll, the dough will probably fight back; give it a 10-minute rest, then come back and roll some more. It may need two rest periods to allow you to roll it thin enough.

Now for the topping. Combine the following:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, midget preferred*
1/4 cup sesame seeds*
1/4 cup whole flax seeds,* golden preferred

*Substitute 3/4 cup artisan bread topping + 1/4 cup whole flax seeds for the sunflower, sesame, and flax seeds, if desired; that’s what I did.

Spritz the dough with water.

Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the topping seeds.

Cover the dough completely.

Lay a piece of parchment on top, and press the seeds in with a rolling pin.

Turn the dough over, peel off the parchment…

…and repeat the process with another 1/4 cup of the topping seeds.

The dough is now covered with seeds on both sides. And with all the rolling, it’ll probably have stretched to about 15″ x 10″; though if not, don’t worry about it.

Prick the dough all over with a fork, to prevent the crackers from puffing up in the oven.

Sprinkle with some sea salt or flavored salt, if desired. Crush the sea salt between your fingers or grind it in a salt mill if it’s very coarse.

Cut the dough into rectangles, whatever size you like. Pick up the parchment, and lay it on a baking sheet.

Note: If you don’t have parchment, do your rolling on a rolling mat or on a very lightly floured or lightly greased work surface; and transfer the seeded, uncut crackers to a lightly greased baking sheet. Cut right on the sheet.

Pull the crackers apart just a bit; you don’t need to separate them completely.

Repeat the whole process with the remaining piece of dough.

Cover the crackers with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let them rise for 30 to 45 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350°F; they’ll get just a bit puffy.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the crackers are a medium brown.

You don’t want them to be very brown at all. Turn off the heat, wait 15 minutes, then open the oven door a couple of inches and let the crackers cool completely in the turned-off oven, checking occasionally to make sure they’re not getting too brown.

I think these are just right: rich, mahogany brown without any burned edges.

When they’re completely cool, break the crackers apart, if necessary.

Serve in all their plain-but-beautiful glory; or with cheese, or spreads, or dips; and accompanied by much positive feedback from the Dr. Kracker fans among your family and friends.

Store airtight (of course). They’ll keep well for weeks when stored properly.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Crunchy Crackers.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. peaceinbaking

    Would using the convection setting in my oven cause these to brown too quickly? Any suggestions would be great.

    I made these with some success a while ago and would love to master them. So much tastier and healthier than store bought!
    Your convection oven could be contributing to this as it will cook things faster because of the constant circulation of hot air. You might try lowering the temperature of your oven by 25 degrees. ~Amy

    Reply
  2. twyla

    In a few recipes recently, you’ve given flour variations depending on weather. Most often you comment on hot/humid and cold/dry weather. What if you live in a climate that’s hot/dry (100+ and under 10% humidity in the summer) and that’s often cold and wet in the winter (our rainy season).

    It’s the humidity that makes a difference, Twyla, rather than the heat/cold. Flour is like a sponge; it absorbs moisture from the atmosphere. So when it’s humid, use less liquid in your recipe; when dry, use more, no matter the season. Hope this helps – PJH

    Reply
  3. lishy

    I was one of the lucky testers for your new flax products and made this recipe with them as soon as I received the samples. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the new golden flax, both the meal and the seeds, and I know use them in so many more ways than before. I made raspberry lemon muffins that had the golden flax combined with white whole wheat, and I put the meal into smoothies and fruit crisp topping. I love it, and I especially loved it in these amazing crackers which I make fairly often since they are always a hit with whomever tries them. Thank you for the great products and recipes as always!
    Thank you for posting your feedback here. It is great when a product suddenly becomes more versatile in your world. The uses for flax are broad and plenty. Have fun! ~Amy

    Reply
  4. "Chris F"

    To save money I am trying to make all our snack foods and would love to try these. I want to use up my jar of malt syrup before buying powder. Could you please provide substitutions? Thanks.
    HI Chris,
    You can use malt syrup 1:1 for malt powder in recipes. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. lsmcclure

    I’m thankful for the opportunity to test out the milled flax products too and I enjoyed using them in many bread & muffin recipes. I also sprinkle them generously on pancakes just before flipping them. When I made these crackers, instead of using a rolling pin, I thought about using my pasta attachment for rolling out the thin dough. It worked quite well and I was able to make the dough as thin as possible. Just a tip for those who have it. Thanks for all the ideas, tips and recipes that you post on this blog. I love KAF products!
    Thanks for sharing that tip! Glad to hear your are enjoying the flax and taking advantage of adding it in when you can. I love our recipe for flax pancakes, so I’ll have to try your move with sprinkling some seeds on next time! ~Jessica

    Reply
  6. "Cindy Leigh"

    I was a tester, too, and loved the golden flax.
    I, too, thought about using the pasta roller for the crackers, but haven’t tried it yet. Went on a low carb diet!
    Good luck with the new diet Cindy Leigh. Let us know if you do give them a try. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Jackie

    Thank you for this. I always pause to admire Dr. Kracker from afar because the crackers look so tasty and beautiful but they’re just a bit too pricey for my grocery budget. Recipes like these are what keep me coming back to your blog.

    Reply
  8. nikkeitsu

    Based on the comments, I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for regular whole wheat. I let the dough sit out overnight to rise and develop flavor. With those changes, rolling out the dough was effortless, the texture was perfect and flavor very good. I prefer to roll to 1/16 of an inch for a lighter cracker. I also include chia seed instead of flax. This style of cracker is extremely expensive at Whole Foods so I appreciate having this simple and inexpensive alternative. Baking times worked out great for me at 20 minutes.

    Reply
  9. Cassandra

    These look great, but my husband is a diabetic and as such, is really sensitive to any sugar added to baked goods (in that he thinks everything tastes sweet and is therefore, bad)…can the malt and/or sugar be completely left out or greatly reduced without effecting the crackers? I’d love your thoughts. =)

    Cassandra, I’d say you can leave it out; since sugar does have some softening qualities, add a couple of tablespoons of butter instead, OK? I think that would work fine… Good luck – PJH

    Reply
  10. Nay

    I just made these with adaptions because I live in Australia and can’t get your products. I used 1 Tbs of sugar and 1 Tbs of Maple Sugar and used fine celtic salt in the dough and then mixed a small amount in the seeds. The seeds I used were plain ol’ linseed, sesame, poppy and sunflower. Next time I’m going to add either hot paprika or cayenne to the dough for a bit of a kick. However, the resulting crackers are F-A-B! Very impressed and even Mr 5yo ate them happily and will be able to take them to preschool as a healthy snack!
    @ Cassandra, with sugar/diabetes an issue in my family I’d like to suggest that your husband do some more reading about his disease. Diabetics need to eat low GI (Glyceamic Index) rather than rush away from sugar. There is a great new book out here in Australia about this and apparently a low GI diet can help more with maintaining your diabetes. Hope this is of help.

    Thanks for sharing your recipe adaptations for all to see (and use!). Happy Baking! Irene @ KAF

    Reply
  11. Meredith

    I was taught the whole flaxseeds are preety much undigestible because they are so hard. I always grind mine before using. I would love to know otherwise!

    They don’t need to be ground, Meredith, but then do need to be cracked open. Thorough chewing should take care of cracking most of the seeds when you leave them whole… PJH

    Reply
  12. chinchillalover

    YUM!I made your recipe for traditional soda crackers gluten free and when it came time to fold over the dough i put pizza toppings on,I cut them into squares and baked them and they puffed up.Voila!Gluten free pizza rolls.

    Reply
  13. margethoele

    Hi,
    I made these crackers this week-end for a party of 13 people, we loved the taste but our crackers were very tough, hard to bite into , the flavor great. I didn’t look at the pictures of the procedures, but I do know that they didn’t rise like yours did, my yeast is good (I’ve used it a lot lately) so I would appreciate any suggestion about them. I am an experienced baker, but we can all make mistakes. I love all your recipes on the website. Thank you.
    Marge
    Could there have been too much flour in the dough, Marge? Or were there any substitutions made? Drop us an email here to our Baker’s Hotline with your question, and one of our Bakers can help troubleshoot with you! ~Jessica

    Reply
  14. Felecia

    I tried making these and they didn’t come out crunchy. Even after putting them back in the oven for another twenty minutes. Although maybe it was because I tried the cheddar pumpkin seed variation… Any suggestions?
    If the dough is not rolled thin enough, they will not become “crack”ers. Try rolling them thinner next time, Felecia. Elisabeth

    Reply
  15. Nibs

    Would it work to substitute with spelt flour?
    I think spelt flour would be a fine substitute for the whole wheat. ~Amy

    Reply

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