Homemade Caraway Rye Crackers – Recipe

Homemade Caraway Rye Crackers

I’ve been obsessed with the flavor of rye lately. It had been on my mind and I ended up improvising a loaf of rye bread with a salt crust that came out amazing and I’m kicking myself because I didn’t write anything down, so now I can neither reproduce it nor share it with you, at least until I have another try at it. Anyhow, I think rye has an amazing flavor that deserves to be more widely used. I’ve got in mind to try rye crepes, and maybe a rye crumble for an apple crisp. Those are experiments for another day, but for today let me show you how to make simple and flavorful rye crackers.

Now oddly, I’ve never made crackers before. I remember a friend saying they had been making their own, and another friend saying, basically that there are perfectly fine crackers at the supermarket and they can’t imagine why any right thinking person would do it themselves. Naturally I took that as a challenge! And I think there are good reasons to make them yourself, at least occasionally. They taste fresher and better than most anything you can buy. And compared to the price of the best grocery store crackers, you certainly save a lot of money.

I based my ratios for these crackers on Lucy’s lovely looking semolina crackers. When I went to look at her about page and book, I realized her publisher is Harvard Common Press too. What a small world!

It took me 3 batches to get these coming out the way I saw them in my mind’s eye (tasted them with my mind’s tongue? that doesn’t sound quite right). The keys are (1) get them really, really thin (2) brush with a generous amount of olive oil and sprinkle on a generous amount of salt, (3) bake them until quite deeply brown. These details make the difference between a brutish, somewhat underflavored cracker and one that has a bright snap and a pop of rye, caraway and salt. I ate the whole batch in a day.

Homemade Caraway Rye Crackers
Yields about 36 big crackers
  • 1 cup (128 grams) rye flour
  • 1 cup (128 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (150 grams) warm water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (22 grams) + more for brushing
  • 2 tablespoons caraway seeds (11 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (5 grams)
  • Maldon (aka the world’s greatest salt) salt for sprinkling
  1. Combine rye flour, all-purpose flour, water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, caraway seeds and kosher salt in a stand mixer outfitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium low-speed, scraping down occasionally, until a dough forms. Switch to the dough hook and knead on medium-low for about 8 minutes. (You can also mix and knead this dough by hand.)
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside at room temperature for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 F, using convection if available.
  3. Divide the dough into 3 parts and wrap 2 of them back up in plastic. Place the first piece of dough between the smooth side of two silpats. You could also use parchment paper cut to the size of your baking sheet. Roll out until very thin. It should cover about 80% of the surface area of the silpat. Remove the top silpat and transfer the bottom one to a sheet pan. Brush generously with additional olive oil and sprinkle on Maldon (aka the world’s greatest salt) sea salt to taste, breaking the crystals up between your fingers as you sprinkle.
  4. Bake until deep golden brown, about 8-10 minutes. Cool on a rack and then break up into random-sized crackers.
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Posted by Michael Natkin on Monday, February 20th, 2012 in Baking, Recipes, Vegan or Modifiable.

15 Responses to “Homemade Caraway Rye Crackers – Recipe”

  1. Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 9:56 am #

    These look like the perfect vessel for your spicy cabonata!

  2. Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    UGH. I know I do that all the time. You just don’t know how good it’ll be until it’s finished…then you wish you had written it down.

    Those look awesome.


  3. Reply
    February 21, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    Saw these yummy crackers on foodgawker. These look delicious. A variation could be using corn flour – these could make nachos, will surely try.

  4. Reply
    February 26, 2012 at 1:34 pm #

    Making rye bread at home works best with sourdough starter – and growing that is an interesting experience. It is a kind of pet, really.

  5. Reply
    February 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm #

    I agree about the flavor of rye, and I also made some rye crackers that I really liked recently. They were thicker and a bit flakier than I imagine these being, with some added crunch from Turbinado sugar. If you’re experimenting with crackers and rye, the recipe I used is here: link to emmycooks.com And I look forward to trying your variation, which look like they’d make a righteous vehicle for a white bean dip!

    I am a new reader and I am excited to have found your blog, but now that I’ve seen your recipes and read a few posts I am REALLY excited to learn that you’re planning to open a restaurant in our shared fair city. Congratulations on your big plans, I look forward to dining at the Herbivoracious restaurant!

    • Reply
      February 26, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

      Hey Emmy – nice to hear from you, and your crackers look quite delicious too. Thanks for sharing! Stay tuned for restaurant news in the summer.

  6. Reply
    March 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

    Lovely color and texture on the photo. It’s as if i could almost taste it. Do you think it would go well with dips and spreads like guacamole, salsa, etc. and use them for parties?

    • Reply
      March 2, 2012 at 7:25 am #

      Good question. I think the flavor of rye (intentionally) comes through quite clearly, so you would want to serve them with things where that is complementary. Cheese is a no-brainer, and I think a beet or cream-cheese based dips would be good. Seems to me that guacamole would work too although the combination is a little more unusual. I probably wouldn’t serve them with salsa.

  7. Reply
    March 24, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I made these crackers very successfully yesterday, of course I had to change the recipe a little bit, I’ve never been known to follow a recipe exactly. I used some fresh herbs rather than caraway seeds, mainly because I had fresh herbs and didn’t have caraway seeds. I suspect next batch will have a pinch of chilli in it or maybe a garlic flavoured olive oil will be used. Who knows, experimentation is half the fun of cooking..

    I think I did one mildly clever thing – I used my pasta roller attachment for my Kenwood Chef to roll out the dough. It took seconds with no physical effort and perfect thinness was achieved.

    • Reply
      March 25, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

      Absolutely, the pasta roller is an excellent idea!

  8. Reply
    July 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    I love the flavor of rye and have used different types of rye: whole rye, light rye, medium rye and am wondering which type of rye flour you are using in this recipe. Please let me know! All the best…..Leah

    • Reply
      July 9, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      To the best of my recollection it was about a medium rye.. but any would be good.

  9. Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    Okay, here’s a challenge for you – I am looking for an old fashioned rye cracker recipe WITHOUT wheat flour, or any substitute thereof.

    A good friend’s mom, when I was a kid, made delicious rye crackers with rye flour and buttermilk – nothing else. I have searched but have yet to find the recipe, and since I no longer eat wheat, it pretty much eliminates all the recipes I have found without major adaptations. Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 19, 2014 at 11:12 am #

      Cori, I’ve tried a variation of what you’re describing with bread, and you’ve made me excited to try it with crackers. I suspect the non-refined flours benefit from a little acid to break down the tougher proteins and allow the dough to develop. Can you remember if she let it sit for a bit with the buttermilk? Yogurt might work, too, as it appeared to help me in whole grain sourdough.

  10. Reply
    May 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Greetings, Matthew –

    I’m not sure, but it seems to me that she would have had to let the dough sit for a while, if nothing else to allow the grain to be thoroughly soaked. I also think I recall that she didn’t bake them, so much as dried them for several hours in a low oven – I think she just used the pilot light on her gas stove, if I am remembering correctly. I hope that helps.

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