Just a short post today but with a lovely recipe for Buckwheat and Chickpea Flour Crackers. In general, there are two types of crackers, leavened or unleavened. Leavened crackers (such as cream crackers) have a distinctive bubbly texture due to the bicarbonate of soda they contain. Unleavened crackers, such as matzo cackers, are made from only water and flour.
As their name suggests, my crackers are made with two alternative flours (no leavener), some sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, some good olive oil, water and black as well as white sesame seeds. These crackers are a crunchy, tasty platform for butter, cheese and anything at all savory. They are fabulous dipped in homemade hummus and they are a superb crunchy accompaniment to homemade soup, too.
Buckwheat flour, rather more exotically 'farine de sarrasin' in French, is in itself always gluten-free, it is flour milled from buckwheat, a cold climate plant from the same family as rhubarb, sorrel and dock. Buckwheat’s pointed, triangular seeds resemble cereal grains, and the fine-textured flour is greyish, speckled with black. It has a distinctive, slightly sour and nutty taste and is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is made into pancakes and bread in the US, Russia, India, China, and Brittany in Northwest France, where it is also used in rustic porridges, savory pancakes called 'galettes au sarrasin' and fruit flans. It is added to pierogi dumplings, bread and cakes throughout Eastern Europe, and to noodles in Japan.
Chickpea flour, aka, gram flour, is made from ground chickpeas, is also gluten free and is great to coat vegetables for pakoras or to make flatbreads. It is also used to make socca aka farinata (savory chickpea flour pancakes) or bhajis (Indian origin vegetables fried in batter with spices) and it is used for falafel (a Middle Eastern dish – deep-fried ball of chickpeas, herbs, spices and onion). It is pale yellow and powdery and has an earthy flavor best suited to savory dishes.
Buckwheat and Chickpea Flour Crackers
- 120g buckwheat flour
- 120g chickpea (aka gram) flour
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp white sesame seeds
- 80 ml water, room temperature (or more)
- 3 tbsp mild olive oil (suitable for baking)
- In a large bowl, mix the flours, pepper and salt together with the sesame seeds.
- In separate bowl, whisk the water with the oil. Stir in to the dry ingredients and mix to a firm dough.
- Knead the dough for a few minutes. Return to the bowl, cover and set aside for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (375°F) and line two baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.
- Oil your work surface and roll the dough out as thinly as possible.
- Using a ruler and a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into rectangles or diamonds. Place on to the prepared baking sheets close together, but not touching.
- Spray or brush the crackers lightly with water. At this point you can add a topping if you wish (more seeds). You can reknead any left-over scraps, but they will not be as successful as first kneading. Alternatively, put the scraps on a baking sheet and bake them for snacking.
- Bake the crackers for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Turn the oven off, open the door for about 30 seconds and then close again. Leave the baking sheets in the residual heat of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes if you are looking for extra crispness.
- Transfer the baked crackers to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve or store in an air-tight container for up to two weeks.
My favorite way to enjoy these crackers is dipped into homemade hummus that I like to top at this time of year with fresh pomegranate seeds, chopped soft garden herbs (such as basil and Italian parsley), a bit of cold-pressed olive oil, black and white sesame seeds as well as herb blossoms.