Making my own crackers came about almost by chance. Some time ago I was looking for a gluten free cracker for my son that did not taste like cardboard and have the texture of polystyrene. I came across some seed crackers in the health food aisle of my local supermarket. They were delicious, full of nutty flavour, and crisp in texture. The only downside was the exorbitant cost. Even in the world of gluten free foods, they were eye-poppingly expensive. So they were only purchased for special occasions. Recently, however, I saw a blog post for home-made seed crackers, which looked very similar to these crackers and decided to attempt making them. They turned out to be really easy to make, and so much more economical than buying them. I never thought I would be a woman who made crackers, who would have the time and energy to devote to a task that could be argued was a waste of time, but these are so worth the small investment of time and effort required, that henceforth, I will be a constant baker of crackers.
I discovered that seed crackers are a traditional Norwegian food, called knekkebrød, although the traditional recipes also seemed to have rye flour as an ingredient. A gorgeous blog, called North Wild Kitchen, gave me some great background on knekkebrød. “A Norwegian breakfast and lunch is never complete without a slice of bread or a type of knekkebrød. These ‘crisp breads’ or ‘breaking breads’ which are flat and dry, resembling a cracker, probably originated in Scandinavia close to 500 years ago. Some sources say that crisp bread was a staple of the Vikings as they could store them for long periods of time. These crisp breads would have been baked on hot stones, while today’s knekkebrød is baked in the oven. Baking them in the oven is what makes these crisp breads so different from the Norwegian flatbrød, which is baked on a flat griddle, much like lefse. Once considered a poor man’s diet, knekkebrød has become widely popular boasting a healthy lifestyle with numerous variants from slightly sweet to nutty to herby & salty. They are easy to make, forgiving, and require only a few ingredients, which can be interchanged depending on what you have available in your cupboards. All one needs is a little imagination and water.”
I created my recipe using this blog’s recipe as a base, removing the flour and using chia seeds soaked in water to bind the seeds together, which seems to be how most of the other flour-less recipes make the seeds into a mixture that could be bound. I think the combination below is a good one, but you could use poppy seeds instead of some of the sesame seeds, or add a few more flax seeds. You could also add spices such as whole cumin seeds, or even dried chilli flakes. I like them plain, and enjoy eating them with a scoop of avocado, some sliced tomato, and a sprinkling of soft feta and pungent coriander, or with hummus, shaved carrot and mint.
Makes about 40 crackers
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 cup sesame seeds (a mixture of black and white is nice)
1/2 cup flax seeds
1/3 cup chia seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon honey
1 1/2 cups water
Preheat oven to 170 C. Place all the seeds, the salt and the honey in a medium sized bowl. Pour in the water and mix to combine. Leave for 15 minutes for the chia and flax seeds to soften and to thicken the water. Tip out on to a large oven tray lined with silicon baking paper, or divide between 2 medium sized trays. Spread out as thin as possible, firstly using the back of a spoon, and then using a smaller oven tray to press the mixture really flat (after covering with another piece of baking paper. You will get the best results if the mixture is spread really thin and there is still some room on the tray to separate the crackers during the cooking. If in doubt, use 2 trays. Bake for 20 minutes. Take out of the oven and cut into into crackers, what ever shape you like, and carefully turn them over. Return to the oven to cook for another 20-30 minutes until crisp and golden. Place on a rack to cool then store in an airtight container.