Easy-to-make homemade crackers that taste exactly like white cheddar cheez-its!
Thin and crispy with salty, sharp cheddar dominating every bite. They don’t look like anything like real white cheddar cheez-its but looks don’t matter when they’re homemade.
Trust me when I say they’re just like them, only better because you know what’s in them. Real ingredients you can easily pronounce.
Not too long ago these were a staple in my life. It was normal for me to wake up and crack open a box of cheez-its for breakfast. Eww. All those chemicals and preservatives. I wonder if they even put real cheese in them. The thought makes me shudder now.
The dough easily comes together using flour, instant yeast, a small amount of butter and oil plus a pinch each of salt, sugar and baking powder. There’s a downside and an upside. The downside is the dough has to be refrigerated overnight and the upside is that even though there’s yeast in the mix there’s no rising time involved. Just refrigerate overnight and let come up to room temperature the next day when you’re ready to bake them.
Even though the dough is a little on the sticky side I found it easy to work with. For the best results use plenty of flour and roll the dough out really thin, almost paper-thin. Don’t forget to dock them! Poke them a few times with a toothpick or skewer to allow steam to escape otherwise they’ll puff up like balloons with hollow centers. Still good but not what we’re looking for.
You only need a bit of cheese on each one to bring in the white cheddar flavor, if you overload them they won’t crisp up as easily and the cheese will melt right off in a molten puddle. Because the dough isn’t salted, a sprinkle of coarse salt and pepper on each one is important for making that cheesy flavor sing.
If you told me five years ago I’d be making my own crackers someday I would have scoffed at you. I didn’t even know it was possible to make crackers from scratch without an industrial machine. Duh. My culinary prowess has grown by leaps and bounds since then. Can you tell how excited I am to have this recipe! My life will never be the same. I have my beloved cheez-its back along with endless possibilities for flavors.
This uses a basic soda/saltine cracker recipe that you can add your own flavor twist to. I did make two other versions but these were the standouts. There were a salt and pepper version and a Parmesan and Tuscan herb version. They didn’t stand a chance. I can’t say enough good things about them!
I’ll be making them at least once a week.
A double batch.
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 + ½ teaspoons instant yeast (I like Saf )
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon white vinegar
- ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
- about 4 ounces extra sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded from a block (not pre-shredded)(I like Cabot)
- coarse salt
- black pepper
- In a medium bowl whisk the flour, yeast, salt, baking soda, and sugar together.
- In a small saucepan bring the water, butter, and oil to a simmer, stir to melt the butter. Remove from heat and let cool
- Add the vinegar to the water then pour it over the flour mixture and stir until combined. The dough will be soft and sticky.
- Grease a medium bowl and set the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- The next day bring the dough to room temperature.
- Line 2 large baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Divide the dough in half and on a heavily floured work surface use a rolling pin to roll one out to about a 6 x 4 rectangle. Think of the rectangle in thirds - fold the left third over to the center then the right third over that. This will help make flaky layers.
- Turn the dough and roll it out until it is almost paper thin. Use a pizza cutter and ruler to cut into 3 or 4-inch squares. Use a bench knife or thin spatula to transfer them to the baking sheet.
- Poke each one all over with a toothpick about 5 - 6 times. Sprinkle each one with a little cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Bake 10 - 14 minutes - until lightly golden. You can pull a cracker out to test - blow on it to cool - it should crunch when you bite into it.
- Repeat with the remaining dough until all the crackers are cooked. Let them cool completely and don't cover them tightly for a few hours - it will help them stay crunchy. I just laid a piece of parchment over mine to protect them. Then store in a tightly covered container up to 3 days.
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