slices of heaven

As I make more and more of my own food, I’m finding that there are amazing bonus foods to be had by being creative with the excess.  I don’t want to just make two loaves of sourdough and four loaves of wheat bread every single time I bake.  Even after giving some away, we end up throwing bread away because we can’t eat it all before it goes bad, or we just get sick of it.  I like to try new things and experiment.  For me, if I’m not creative with my baking, I get bored.   Sometimes the solution to this is simply baking in different shapes.  Often when it’s time to bake my sourdough bread, I’ll just make one loaf  and then maybe split the other loaf up to make two bread bowls for soup or chili.  Or I’ll make one loaf and 6 breadsticks to eat with pasta, or croutons for salad.  It’s the exact same bread, but by shaping it for a new purpose, it makes it more exciting.  Maybe I’m just easily entertained, who’s to say?

One of the best parts of making whole wheat bread is the crackers.  Yep, you read that right, crackers. As you may already know, over the weekend I milled wheat grain and made fresh wheat bread with my mom.  You can read about that process in my blog: holy whole wheat, batman.  The recipe we used makes 4 loaves of bread, but one loaf can be split into 3 cracker size loaves.  I ended up making 2 regular loaves of bread and 6 cracker sized loaves.   We immediately ate one of the cracker loaves with butter, when it was still warm, because it’s just so dang delicious that way.  I gave two to my parents because they’re pretty cool.  That left me with three small loaves of wheat bread to make in to fabulous, crunchy, sea-salted, and relatively healthy, whole wheat crackers.

It’s so easy.  And even if you’re not making your own bread, you could just cut whatever bread you have into cracker size squares if you wanted to try it out.

Here’s my three little loaves:

Slice them up trying to be careful to make the slices as consistent as possible.

Lay them on a cookie sheet, squeezing as many on as you can without overlapping.

Brush extra virgin olive oil on the top of each slice; just paint it on so it’s lightly covered.

Sprinkle on sea-salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, whatever you think sounds good.  I used sea-salt, pepper, and dried thyme.

Bake in a 400-degree oven for 10-20 minutes.  Yes, I realize that’s a window big enough to drive a car through, but there’s a method to this madness.  If you’d just wait a minute I’d tell you.  Sheesh.

At 10-12 minutes start checking every minute or two and pull out the crackers that are golden brown and baked through, we’re not looking for toast here people, we want crackers.  The thinner slices crisp up faster and need to be pulled out.  For all of mine to completely finish, it took 20 minutes.  See?

Maybe John had it wrong.  Maybe the streets of gold in heaven might, I’m saying maybe here people, just could be these crackers.  I’m just saying.

The next part is the really fun part.  You can eat them plain, and it’d be great, but there are a million other possibilities to try.  We tried everything but the cheese.  Man, how I was out of cheese on cracker baking day is beyond me, but I was.  So we had one with peanut butter, one with strawberry preserves, one with honey and one with a touch of butter with cinnamon and sugar.

A little later in the day, for a snack we had some crackers with tuna salad.

There really is just so much you can do.  Cream cheese- plain or with salsa or jalapenos or fruit- cheese and deli meats, hummus, anything goes on these bad boys, be as creative as you can be.  And let me know if you come up with anything good; I’m always looking for more ideas.

-jw

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