Cheddar Cheese Crackers
- 1 1/2 ounces (3/8 cup) shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (plus extra to sprinkle)
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons tepid water (90º F to 100º F)
- 1/2 teaspoon malt syrup
- 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, room temperature
- melted butter to glaze finished crackers
Grease two baking sheets. Shred the cheese. Put together in a bowl 1 cup of the flour, plus the salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, and pepper. Add in the cheese and stir this mixture until it's evenly blended. Dissolve the malt syrup in the tepid water, and then add the shortening in. Pour this mixture into the dry mix. Stir. Add the remaining half cup of flour in eighth-cup additions or so, stirring in thoroughly. When all flour is added, knead until the dough is even and no longer wet. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Yield: 4 dozen
Preheat oven to 400º F. Tear dough ball in half and wrap the other back up, sticking it back in to chill while you work with the first half. Flour a work surface and roll the dough out into about an 18 x 7-inch rectangle, a thickness of approximately 1/8 of an inch. Now you'll need to fold it up again in three layers and roll it out to that 1/8 inch one more time. Prick the rectangle copiously with a fork's tines to create little holes. Cut into 24 little squares. Dust with salt and bake 8-15 minutes, checking until they become browned and crisp. Remove them from the oven and brush with melted butter, then cool on wire rack. Do the same thing with the second ball of dough.
NOTE: Malt syrup is a barley sweetener sometimes used as a healthy alternative to white sugar. I suggest using honey instead if you can't find this at a health food store or just don't have it around.
Source: Bernard Clayton, Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads
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