Sunday, January 23, 2011

Improving An Addiction (Homemade Wheat Thins)

Homemade Wheat Thins

I try to limit most packaged, processed food to minimize our intake of sodium and preservatives and also to save money/packaging. But one thing P and I just can't give up are Wheat Thins crackers. They're perfect to snack on when I get the munchies (which is pretty often). While I enjoy their subtly sweet and salty flavor straight from the box, P loves them best with slices of cheese or a dollop of creamy peanut butter.

Well knowing me, it was only a matter of time before I attempted a homemade version. Several internet searches later, I found the recipe right under my nose in the end, in a whole grain baking book I already owned from King Arthur Flour. With their long history as a supplier of quality baking ingredients and recipes, I had a good feeling about this...

Homemade Crackers

Making my own "wheat thins" turned out to be even easier than I expected. The dough was a cinch to mix up. Thus the hardest part was just rolling and cutting out the crackers (which wasn't very hard at all). Best of all, it seemed to me that KAF really nailed the flavor. My only warning to you is that these disappear fast (I ate half the batch before P even got home). Better just make a double or triple batch to begin with =D.

My question for you, dear reader, is whether you've made any favorite boxed snacks at home? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Homemade Wheat Thins [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
Makes 6 to 7 dozen crackers

XIAOLU'S NOTES: I recommend doubling or tripling this recipe because 7 dozen is fewer than it sounds, especially when shared among several people 8). Since my boyfriend P likes his food very flavorful, I'm going to try making the Ranch variation of this at home, too. In the meantime, I've added a little garlic and onion powder to up the flavor to his liking :).

1 cup (4 oz.) whole wheat flour (regular OR white whole wheat)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (1 oz.)
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
Slightly more than 1/2 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
1/4 tsp onion powder (optional)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water

Combine the flours, sugar, salt, paprika, turmeric, garlic powder, and onion powder, if using, in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Cut the butter into small pieces and mix it into the dry ingredients thoroughly, using your fingers, a pastry blender, a mixer, or a food processor. A 3 tablespoons of water to the flour mixture, mixing just until smooth. If dough is too dry, add remaining water a teaspoon at a time until all the flour is incorporated. Cover and chill dough for 5 to 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces; keep the other pieces covered with a towel while you work with one at a time. Lightly flour your work surface and your rolling pin and roll the piece of dough into a large rectangle, which should be at least 12" square when trimmed. Keep your rolling pin and the outside of your dough evenly floured. Flip the dough frequently to keep it from sticking, but too much flour will make it difficult to roll. Keep rolling until the dough is as thin as you can get it without tearing (about 1/16-inch thick). Trim the dough to even the edges and use a pizza cutter or a sharp knife to cut the piece into squares approximately 1 1/2" wide.

Transfer the squares to a prepared baking sheet; you can crowd them together, as they don’t expand while baking. Sprinkle the squares lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Save the scraps under plastic wrap and re-roll them all at once just one time.

Bake the crackers, one sheet at a time, until crisp and browned. Check crackers after 5 minutes. If some of the thinner crackers brown too quickly, remove them. Then usse a spatula to stir remaining crackers around and return them to the oven to finish baking for another 3 to 5 minutes. These crackers bake quickly, so watch them closely - even 30 seconds can turn them from perfectly golden to way too dark! Remove the crackers from the oven and cool on the pan, a wire rack, or a plate; they cool quickly. These crackers will stay crisp for several days, but are best stored in airtight containers.

68 comments:

  1. Oooh these sound good - and nice & easy to make - so definitely a recipe for me :P

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  2. WOW this is pure genius! I LOVE LOVE LOVE wheat tins too! I'm totally going to try this recipe! Thanks so much for posting it - i never would have thought to make them myself!!!

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  3. My family devours Wheat Thins! My husband will have a perma-grin if I make these and they truly taste like the real thing! Can't wait. Thanks!

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  4. They look great! I love KAF recipes.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Excellent recipe, simple and nutritious!

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  6. Oh yes, I've ventured into making crackers many times at home. I've made wheat crackers, Parmesan crackers, graham crackers etc.. Crackers are a staple snack for me, and I always like to have some on hand. These really look just like wheat thins, but I'm sure they taste much better!

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  7. Beautiful! I would love to try. They would be so good with cheese. I'll bookmark this to try. Thanks very much for sharing.

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  8. This is the one snack that people get addicted quickly :-) I could imagine munching this non-stop until the last bit!

    Beatutiful shot and backdrop :-)

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  9. I downed a bow of wheat thins last night!! This will certainly save me some money on my addiction!!

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  10. I adore wheat thins....it's an unnatural love. Your version looks wonderful. :)

    The snack that pops into my head that I make at home is granola bars. Crackers I should give another go though...I haven't made homemade ones in forever.

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  11. These crackers look so crisp and addictive! By using whole wheat flour, it makes me feel less sinful even if I triple the recipe. ;) Gorgeous shots!

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  12. M and I LOOOOVE Triscuits. I wonder how complicated THOSE are. ha! Cheese and crackers are the best snack ever.

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  13. Wow these look so good! *stomach rumbles* Ahhh. >.<

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  14. Sips and SpoonfulsJanuary 24, 2011 at 2:13 PM

    I recently made wheat cumin crackers. But mine are a deep fried version so I wouldn't consider them healthy! Yours look great and good on you for watermarkign your images!

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  15. I can't be controlled around wheat thins so it's best that I don't keep them around. But in the name of experimental baking...well that's a whole other story. These look great!

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  16. I adore you for having made these and now for sharing the recipe. Wheat Thins are by far my favorite boxed snack! These must be made in my house ASAP.

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  17. Mmm, amazing! I've made cheese nips/goldfish- type crackers before and was very happy with those... I can imagine that homemade wheat thins would also be an excellent one to add to one's cracker repertoire! ;)

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  18. Thanks, everyone! Isn't it great when healthy also tastes so good :)?

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  19. Love that you made homemade wheat thins, now you don't need the store bought ones. I have done my version of baked goldfish crackers. Very tasty straight out of the oven:

    http://www.familyfreshcooking.com/2010/06/29/homemade-cheddar-cheese-goldfish-crackers/

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  20. Homemade wheat thins Xioalu? Amazing...if my husband see these he will never buy them anymore :-)

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  21. I cant wait to make these! What a great find!

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  22. These look fantastic! I was just thinking how home made crackers would be so much better than bought one-I mean home made biscuits and cookies are so crackers would be too! :)

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  23. Your wheat thins look so much better than those storebought! Love that you added turmeric and paprika in it.

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  24. I love them too, must be satisfying to enjoy home made ones. Love the photos!

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  25. Love the spices you added. I think I recently tried some sesame seed wheat thins and they were so good with brie :)

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  26. WOW, your very own wheat tins! I am impressed at how uniform in size each of them are!

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  27. marla - thanks for the link! I checked them out and now they're definitely on my to-make list!
    Juliana - hehe, that'd be a good and bad thing, right?
    Sara - Please do make them and let me know how you like them!
    Lorraine - exactly my line of thinking and fortunately we're right :).
    Angie - thanks. I added the turmeric mostly for a color more like the storebought one hehe, but I bet you could up it and the flavor would be a nice addition. Salty sweet and spicy!
    noobcook - thx and thx!
    tigerfish - ohhh a great idea, though it takes away from the healthiness factor a bit ;).
    crustabakes - I admit I picked the most uniform ones as usual for the photograph but they are homemade after all. I think they should wear their individuality proudly hehe.

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  28. My kids love Wheat Thins, I'm definitely going to try these. I wonder how the dough would do through my pasta machine to roll it nice and thin. I might have to try it that way.

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  29. YUM! These look fantastic! I will definitely give these a try :D

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  30. Love these homemade wheat crackers! So dainty!

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  31. i love wheat thins myself--so crackly and with the perfect amount of salt. kudos to you for going the homemade route--there's a lot of potential there!

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  32. The snack that I eat most often is yogurt (to counterbalance all those desserts I make!). I've got to start making my own. I bought cheesecloth for this purpose - and promptly misplaced it :)
    I love your crackers, they look very similar to store-bought, but I bet they taste even better.

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  33. Would like to think this is Indian inspired recipe because traditionally we make something similar but its deep fried! This must be so much better! Love it

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  34. i loove wheat thins...what could be better than a homemade version? i must try this!

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  35. I never would have thought to try this at home. Wow. They look like the real deal. Yum

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  36. Wow, you definitely nailed it in the looks department; looks just like the real deal! I KNOW yours taste better though! How easy it is for me to sit down and mindlessly munch on a whole box. I definitely need to try your version-healthier and delicious!

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  37. Wonderful experiment. I used to love wheat thins when I lived in Boston. Graham crackers, too. I've made homemade graham crackers, as you can't get anything like them here in Australia. I've also tried to make some sweet cookies that are favourites here in Australia. But, like you, try to limit buying anything prepackaged. Typically my cart is full only of fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and some staples (spices, oils, etc.). My husband and I ignore most of the supermarket aisles. I'm going to try these out. Are you going to experiment more with this recipe?

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  38. My goodness, what amazing photos you take! (I've been looking through your posts). You really have an eye. The crackers are such a great idea and look like fun to make. I've only make crackers -- or lavash -- once and truly enjoyed the healthy flavor. I'd love to try these.

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  39. Love these! I bet they tasted better than the packaged ones!

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  40. I admit that I've always been more of a Triscuit gal. Something about the woven-like texture just makes them irresistible to me, especially after they practically splinter when you bite into them. That being said, I love the idea of making your own Wheat Thins. I bet these taste so wonderful, especially with a good hunk of cheese.

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  41. Your wheat thins look great! I actually prefer triscuits hehe but I bet your homemade wheat thins taste far better than those out of the box. I have not made any boxed snacks at home but wait, unless you count butter cookies (those danish ones!)

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  42. I would love to get my hands on wheat thins.... gesh.. I have not had them since I was a child, are they more of an American crisp?

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  43. Looks really thin and great to snack on!

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  44. Amy - I imagine it could work well if you chilled the dough very well and as long as you can set the thickness to at least 1/16". Good luck and I'd love to hear how it works out if you try this!
    Nourhan - Thx, I'm glad you like them!
    Ellie - haha I thought of them more as rustic but I like dainty better!
    grace - I agree there a lot of potential. I have other variations in mind already!
    Joyti - Haha I should also make my own yogurt, but I seem to have lost my touch...mine never solidifies like it should (or used to). Let me know if you figure out the trick :).
    Kulsum - This is healthier but the Indian version sounds much tastier ;D.
    amanda - please do!
    WizzyTheStick - they taste like it too! please give it a shot.
    Sue - Oh yes I know all about mindless munching. I'm glad these look like the "real" ones to you :).
    Julia - I'm definitely going to experiment more with this recipe. My boyfriend likes things more heavily flavored so I already edited the recipe a little to add some garlic and onion flavor. And I want to play with recreating the Ranch and Sun-dried tomato flavors in the future. But I think the recipe above is definitely ready for you to experiment with if you'd like.
    kellypea - aw thanks sweetie! I really appreciate your compliment. Lavash sounds delicious, especially homemade :).
    ~Lisa~ - thanks lady!
    Carolyn - they were wonderful especially with cheese. the boy and I are also huuuuge Triscuit fans but there's basically no way to make those without an expeller machine hehe.
    Jen - mmm butter cookies sound fabulous. As I said to Carolyn above, we love Triscuits too but sadly they're basically impossible to make at home.
    That's Ron - thank ya!
    Just a French Girl - aw then you should definitely try these out! yes, I believe they are similar to "crisps."
    Leemei - yes, I did make them as thin as I could while still being able to move them to the baking pan. Makes them even crisper but watch out as they burn quickly :X.

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  45. yummy!
    I'm so glad I found your blog, and this post. My boyfriend's been searching the internet for a good cracker recipe; and I've found it!
    We're going to bake these asap :)

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  46. Hi Xiaolu, I love your Homemade Wheat Thins! Great recipe :) And I bet they must taste deliciously good.

    My favorite snack is, cornstarch cookies filled with Dulce de Leche (milk candy).

    Lovely pics,

    Cheers,

    Aldy.

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  47. As you know, I'm not a baking person. Only bake if I really realy want to!

    Your homemade wheat thins look great!!!

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  48. I will definitely be trying these. They look and sound better than the original!

    Wanted to thank you for the kind wishes sent out to my sister and her family. It means a lot!!
    ~Michelle

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  49. I'm so glad you made these. They are addictive but I too hate the big brand packaged items. I'm bookmarking this now so I can make a batch or two ...or three ;>)

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  50. j'en croquerai volontiers quelques uns
    j'aime beaucoup
    bonne soirée

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  51. these are brilliant i like wheat thins! i had a look at KAF's website and i love their recipes, i tried their digestive biscuits and loved it :D

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  52. I could see myself growing seriously addicted to these. They look better than the originals!

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  53. Oh my gosh- AMAZING. I find that once I eat a Wheat Thin, I can't stop....the thought of making them myself never even crossed my mind. YUM!

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  54. Jenné - I hope this work about for you guys, especially since you've been searching so long! Please feel free to give feedback once you've tried them, good or constructive!
    Aldy - How funny, I think your favorite cookies are the ones that I just very loosely adapted for my latest post. I love alfajores (the original kind) with dulce de leche too! Anything with dulce de leche in fact hehe.
    Pepy - I know. Thanks :).
    Quay Po - Thank ya! Glad they look good to you.
    Michelle - Please do give them a go. And of course your sister and her family are in my thoughts. I can't even imagine all they're struggling with right now but at least they're safe and have each other and you guys to support them :).
    El - Please do try them. I'm glad others have the same mindset about packaged, big-brand products
    Fimère - Thx! XD
    grub - Isn't their site a wonderful resource? Digestive biscuits are very expensive here, so I might have to try that out too!
    Eliana - Thanks! Wheat Thins definitely are addictive...
    Koko - I'm glad I've introduced you to the idea. Yes, an open Wheat Thins box is a dangerous thing to have around...8p

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  55. These look so delicious! I love "cheese and crackers". This will soon be one of my favourites, I can tell.

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  56. Oh I am totally saving this. I've craved wheat thins all week but wouldn't go out and buy them. This is awesome! And such cute photography styling with the little cheese crackers. Makes me want to munch them all up.

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  57. I would never have guessed your wheat thins were homemade - they look just as good (if not better) than the store bought version! I can't wait to try them :)

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  58. OMG!!

    These are beautiful!!! I'm also trying to cut down on buying packaged biscuits from the supermarkets. I'm bookmarking this ;)

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  59. Wheat Thins are the best! I think I saw a recipe for these somewhere else but can't remember where so I'm happy you've posted it!! I've just printed it and will definitely be doubling the recipe. Thanks!

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  60. hey xiaolu i just tried making the recipe and it's really yummy :D I did 2 versions - one with herbs and another with cinnamon sugar and cinnamon sugar got my vote! it's super yummy!!!

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  61. Thanks for the feedback, Janine! I'll definitely have to try the cinnamon sugar variation which sounds ah-mazing! Just hoped over to your blog too and I make my own vanilla extract as well! It's like my little pantry pet I check on and shake up occasionally 8).

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  62. These look PERFECT!! You did an amazing job. I love homemade crackers and I'm with you in trying to reduce the amount of prepackaged and processed foods. Going to have to try these. :)

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  63. hi xiaolu! i just found your site when i was looking for a homemade wheat thins recipe. me & my hubby eat at least a box a week (we're obsessed). anyways, yours look fantastic & i can't wait to make these. question- do you use salted or unsalted butter? thanks!

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  64. Welcome welcome, Nicole! I'm so glad my post is helpful to you and your husband. I usually try to be very specific about the type of butter so thanks for asking. I've changed the recipe above now to specific unsalted. I'd love to hear how you like these if you make them :).

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I love hearing from you all! Please leave me a message if you have questions, advice, or just to let me know you stopped by. Your feedback is always very much appreciated. Thanks! <3 Xiaolu