Crackers and cereal are two food items that seem ridiculously overpriced. Consisting of little more than wheat and water, they are priced as if made from frankincense and myrrh. Although I don't see myself making my own grape nuts or shredded wheat any time soon, crackers are a different matter.
Essentially an unleavened flatbread, these crackers are not only economical, but quick and easy as well. By the time the oven is heated, these are ready to be baked. They taste as good as any crackers you might find in an upscale store and are a fraction of the cost. Using a pasta machine to roll out the dough, you can vary the thickness from paper-thin to a thicker consistency that will stand up to dips and spreads. The amount of rosemary might seem excessive, but the flavor is surprisingly subtle.
1 1/2 cups (7.2 oz) flour
1 tsp salt
pinch of sugar
2 TBS finely chopped fresh rosemary
2 TBS olive oil
4 oz ice water
Place a baking stone in the lower third of an oven and preheat oven to 475º F, allowing at least half an hour for the stone to be heated. Place a pan on the bottom of the oven.
Put the flour, salt, sugar and rosemary in a food processor with a cutting blade and pulse to blend the ingredients. Add the olive oil and pulse several times to blend. With the machine running, add just enough of the water for the dough to begin to come together. You don't want it to actually form a ball until you press it together by hand.
Form the dough into a ball and divide into four equal sized pieces. Working with one piece at a time, cover the other pieces with plastic or a damp towel to keep from drying out.
Flatten the dough into a rectangular shape that will fit into the widest setting on a pasta machine. Dip the dough into flour, brushing off excess. Roll dough through the pasta machine until you reach your desired thinness. 8, the next to last setting on my Atlas machine, produces an almost ethereal cracker, but one that is not very practical for spreading. I find the setting of 6 to produce a very thin but still relatively sturdy cracker.
Cut the rolled sheets of dough to the size cracker you want. Place on a piece of parchment paper, and lightly brush with water and sprinkle with sea salt.
Pour a cup of water into the pan on the bottom of the oven. Place the parchment paper with the crackers on the baking stone. Bake for 2 to 3 minutes--until just beginning to show spots of brown--then flip the crackers over and bake for another 2 minutes or so. Remove to a rack and cool. Follow the same procedure with the rest of the dough.