Little nooks of open availability appear here and there on the farm and I am able to pencil myself in. I can do a bit of this, I can do a bit of that. Unfortunately I will be out of commission for most of April, but hopefully back in the saddle by the time the markets move outdoors. So much is beginning. A new nest of kittens is burrowed in a old cement mixer in the granary. Beehive boxes are assembled and ready to welcome their new inhabitants. Plans are in place to grow some different things. Apple trees are in transit. Next year's season is already on the drawing board. As long as I focus on all of that hope, I can soldier on.
Makes 4 mini loaves (approximately 10 dozen crackers)
Adapted from The Kitchn
1 cup unbleached pastry flour
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk, shaken and room temperature
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, apricots and tart cherries)
3/4 cup nuts, toasted (walnuts)
3/4 cup seeds, toasted (sunflower, flax and pumpkin)
Preheat a conventional oven to 350 F.
Grease 4 mini loaf pans and set aside.
In a bowl, stir together the flours, baking soda and salt.
If using a variety of dried fruit and nuts, make sure they are all chopped to a similar size. Add the fruit, nuts and seeds to the dry ingredients and stir them to combine.
Add the buttermilk and maple syrup to the dry ingredients, stirring to combine thoroughly. Divide the batter between the four pans evenly and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a tester come out clean.
Unmold the mini loaves and let them cool completely on a wire rack. After they are cool, freeze them for about 2 hours. If you do not want to make the crackers right away, wrap the loaves in plastic before freezing them.
When you are ready to slice the crackers, remove the loaves from the freezer and let them come to room temperature for about 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 300 F and line 3-4 half sheet trays with parchment paper.
Using a serrated bread knife, slice the crackers fairly thin, no more than 1/8" thick. Lay them flat on the baking sheets. Bake them for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp around the edges. Let cool completely.
All purpose flour can be used instead of bread and pastry flours.
Half of the pastry flour amount in the recipe can be substituted with spelt or rye flour.
All white flours or all whole wheat flours can be used instead of a combination.
Kefir can be used in place of buttermilk in equal amounts.
1/4 cup of milk and 3/4 cup of plain yogurt combined can replace 1 cup of buttermilk.
1 cup of milk combined with 2 tsp of cream of tartar can replace 1 cup of buttermilk.
If you do not have buttermilk, make a "mock" buttermilk by adding 1 tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measuring cup. Top the acid with skim, low fat or whole milk. Stir and let sit for 2 minutes.
For a non-dairy option, combine 1/4 cup of soy or nut milk, 3/4 cup of soy or nut milk yogurt and 1/2 tsp of white vinegar or lemon juice.
Brown sugar, raw sugar, brown rice syrup, honey, agave nectar or even corn syrup can be used instead of maple syrup in an equal amount.
Currants, raisins, dried mango, candied citron, dried figs, dates....
Pecans, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews...
Chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, white or black sesame, poppy....