29 April, 2012

Crackers/Batons Salés

I've never come across a cracker like this in the store. This recipe produced wonderful, tender savoury sticks (but not the crisp, thin cracker you might be looking for).  There's some milk, butter, flour and salt involved. I've made another cracker recipe (inspired by Leslie Stowe's savoury-sweet crisps) and they didn't crisp for me either.  Both recipes were a tiny miracle and were eaten up.

"Baked goods and desserts should not be regarded as a luxury at home." - Ginette Mathiot

I attempted a classic French recipe from this cushy baking book.  Making these crackers did feel a bit luxurious, as if I was let in on an incredible secret. (I also tested this recipe replacing gluten-free flour for all-purpose wheat, adding a teaspoon of xantham gum, and it turned out fine).

Clotilde Dusoulier (consulting editor on the book) spoke at George Brown College several months ago to a bunch of us aspiring food writers.  Clotilde is one of the world's original successful food bloggers (i.e., it turned into a new career).  It got me thinking about my own desire to write about food, on a blog.  Isn't the genre already overdone, overstocked?  You know, too much salt on the cracker?

Clotilde offered advice about how to stand out among the tens of thousands of food blogs in the world but I am still deciding on the "unique" elements for Sweet Julienne.  I know it is ordinary (photos, a little text, recipes etc) so I've been thinking of ways to switch up the format. I am getting a bit bored.  Until I figure it out, let's make some crackers...

Batons Salés
adapted from The Art of French Baking

(this recipe needs one hour resting time before baking)

1 cup milk
5 tablespoons butter, plus extra for greasing
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons fine sea salt

Gently heat the milk and butter until lukewarm and the butter is melted.  Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt.  Whisk everything together until the dough is very smooth.  Let rest for 1 hour on the counter.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet with butter.  Mix the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt  with a bit of water and set aside (this will be soon be brushed on the cracker to give it a lightly salted finish).

Put a bit of flour on your work surface and roll out the dough (1/4 inch thick).  Cut into 1/2 inch x 4 inch strips (I got about a dozen crackers with varying imperfections).  Place them on the greased cookie sheet.  Brush the surfaces with the salty water and bake 10 minutes until golden brown.  Serve with sharp cheese or lightly sweetened jam.