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Homemade Crackers

Posted Oct 23 2009 10:07pm
I am working on a series of posts comparing the ingredients of popular store-bought foods to homemade versions. Having a child with severe food allergies, it is important that I make the food we eat in my own kitchen, where I can control what is actually in it.

Knowing what is actually in the foods you eat is very important. Many times successful marketing tricks consumers into believing a food is healthier than it actually is.

Here are some examples:

Triscuit Crackers Baked Whole Grain Wheat Rosemary & Olive Oil

The words baked, whole grain, and olive oil might make them sound healthy, but here are the ingredients: WHOLE WHEAT, SOYBEAN AND/OR PALM OIL, MALTODEXTRIN, SALT, SPICES (INCLUDES ROSEMARY), MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE (FLAVOR ENHANCER), ONION POWDER, NATURAL FLAVOR, OLIVE OIL.

Olive oil is listed as the very last ingredient. The oils actually used to make the crackers are soybean and palm oils - two of the cheaper and unhealthier oils on the market. The crackers also contain maltodextrin to make them crispy, MSG to enhance the flavor, and "natural flavors", which can mean just about anything.

Wheat Thins Crackers - Hint of Salt

Ingredients: ENRICHED FLOUR (WHEAT FLOUR, NIACIN, REDUCED IRON, THIAMINE MONONITRATE {VITAMIN B1}, RIBOFLAVIN {VITAMIN B2}, FOLIC ACID), SOYBEAN OIL, WHOLE GRAIN WHEAT FLOUR, SUGAR, DEFATTED WHEAT GERM, CORNSTARCH, MALT SYRUP (FROM BARLEY AND CORN), HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, MONOGLYCERIDES, SALT, VEGETABLE COLOR (ANNATTO EXTRACT, TURMERIC OLEORESIN), SOY LECITHIN.

The first ingredient is enriched wheat, despite the fact that the packaging makes you think they are using quality wheat. These crackers include sugar, malt syrup AND high fructose corn syrup, as well as ingredients to make them a more appealing color and emulsifiers to make it all mix better.

Throwing together a batch of homemade crackers takes less than five minutes and helps you avoid eating all of those unhealthy ingredients. Here is what you need:

1 cup organic flour (I have used whole wheat and spelt flour, but any type would work)
1/4 t. yeast
a dash of baking soda
salt (as much as you like)
1/2 cup water
1 t. butter or the oil of your choice
any spices or flavors you prefer (rosemary, garlic salt, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, pepper, seeds, etc.)

Combine the flour, yeast, baking soda, and salt. Add your spices. I like to use rosemary and/or garlic salt. Then add the water and either butter or oil. (Remember not to use extra virgin versions while baking if you are going to use olive oil. Learn why here.)

Roll the dough onto a cookie sheet and score it with a pizza cutter or knife. You can also use cookie cutters to make fun shapes for kids. Sprinkle extra salt if you like your crackers salty.

Bake for ten minutes or until crispy at 400 degrees.

















And there you have it! Organic, preservative-free crackers in less than fifteen minutes. They taste to me like a cross between the two crackers listed above - they have the flavor of the triscuits (if you use rosemary as an ingredient), with the texture of a wheat thin.

Enjoy!

- Jessica
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