Homemade Cheddar Crackers Revisited

DSC_1139-001I’m often surprised when I see which recipes are the most popular here at Free Eats.  Some of the statistics are predictable such as our collective affinity for chocolate, but some of the savory recipes get their fair share of attention too.  One of those recipes is the gluten-free cheddar crackers.  Perhaps at some level we realize that we can’t always eat like we are obeying the wishes of a sweet-crazed five year old.  Of course, my training as a pastry chef means that I do tend to favor breads and sweet treats, but as we head into 2013 I am hoping to build my archive of savory favorites.

Since the cheddar cracker recipe is so popular, I wanted to make it even more accessible to my blog readers. I decided to test the recipe without the addition of xanthan or guar gum.   Although I will be the first to admit that xanthan gum (or guar gum) is essential to the success of many recipes (particularly breads), I do know that some people don’t always have it in their cupboards.  There also happen to be a number of people who don’t tolerate eating gums for various reasons. So with that said, I decide to test the cheddar cracker recipe in a gum-free version, and weigh the results.

My final verdict is this: these crackers work extremely well without added gums.  In fact, they work so well that I will prepare them this this way from here on out. So here is the updated recipe. (I have also updated the original post in case people have bookmarked it.)

Happy Baking!

Gluten-Free Cheddar Crackers

Notes: If you are corn-free be sure to grate your own cheese since pre-grated varieties often contain cornstarch (or other additives) to prevent clumping.

  • 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (click here to see the one I use)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika or chili powder
  • 2-4 tablespoons ice water

→  Place all ingredients except the ice water in the bowl of your food processor, fitted with a metal blade.

→ Process the ingredients for approximately 1 minute in short pulses.

→  Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water and then continue to process ingredients for another FULL 1-2 minutes (this time continuously) or until the dough begins to form a ball and “rides” the food processor blade.  Add 1-2 more tablespoons of the ice water if needed (if the dough really never seems to come together, then you will need to add it).

→  When the dough does come together, scrape it out onto a lightly floured surface (rice flour works well) and knead for 15-20 seconds or until you have formed a cohesive ball.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, press the ball into a disk shape and chill for 30 minutes in refrigerator.

→  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees and working with 1/3 of the chilled dough at a time (leave the remainder wrapped and in the fridge), roll out on a lightly dusted counter-top.  If your dough is crumbling apart when you try to roll it, you may need to work the dough or knead it for a minute or two to get it more pliable.  Some cracks are unavoidable, so be patient and patch holes by pressing them closed with gentle fingertips.

→  Roll to 1/16″-1/8″  thickness and cut shapes with desired cutter.  I prefer small, bite-sized shapes, but feel free to choose a bigger cutter (you will need a bit more baking time, so adjust accordingly).

→  Place cut shapes on a parchment-lined cookie sheet (I use a very thin, metal spatula that has been dipped in rice flour). Sprinkle with some additional sea salt, and bake in the center of the preheated oven for 7-9 minutes or until they have puffed up and are just beginning to turn golden brown on the edges.

→  Remove from oven and carefully slide the crackers off onto a clean, dry cutting board to cool, making sure that they are in a single layer and not piled up on each other.

→  Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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34 thoughts on “Homemade Cheddar Crackers Revisited

  1. Thanks for the updated recipe! Something worth noting for those lactose-free folks: Kraft shredded cheeses are lactose-free, which means that even those people who can’t tolerate milk products can enjoy your tasty treats. (Not to mention, Kraft is commonly available so you don’t need to go to a health food store to find it.) I discovered this while making pizza with my lactose-intolerant boyfriend.

    I’m new to gluten-free baking and I can’t wait to try this recipe. :)

  2. Love this picture! So vibrant – beautiful!! Then of course as I’m staring at the lovely star cracker picture my eye mysteriously travels to the chocolate cupcake picture on the right…..I vow to make those as soon as I remember to get all the ingredients (:

  3. These little bites look awesome, and your flour blend looks very similar to one I use. Here in Colorado I have not seen the Authentic Flours brand yet. In my blend I use equal parts of all three, thinking perhaps the silkiness of my tapioca and potato might balance out any difference in the rice flour. I’m going to try out your recipe very soon! Love the star shape!

  4. These turned out very good! My husband says he likes them more than store bought. I could use a little more salt (at least on top…love my salty goldfish) but I am very pleased with the results. Thanks!

    • Awesome! I’m so happy you tried them. I think I will add that it is a good idea to sprinkle with a bit of additional sea salt before baking. I like them with that little hit of salt too!

  5. I have recently decided to try and cut down on the amount of wheat/grains that I eat and these look delicious! Especially as they are gum free, as I would have NO idea where to get gums where I live! Thanks for the recipe!

  6. To die for….I’m not a celiac or have any other dietary restriction. Made these for my Hubby whom has to avoid wheat. Sooooooooo yummy, I had to stop myself from eating them!! Thanks for making the recipe gum free. I don’t keep them around the house.

  7. Could I make these with “Fiesta Blend” shredded cheese, or only cheddar?? I have a GF 7 year old who has hated every Gf cracker we’ve tried from the store. Yesterday I finally made her some mock Ritz, which she loved, but I know she misses goldfish!!!

    • They should be just fine, just omit the xanthan gum and be a little bit more careful about over-working the dough since that could toughen the gluten. Right after you left this comment, Laura left one saying that she made these with wheat based AP flour and they were a real hit! Hope this helps you!

  8. I actually didn’t make these gluten free [I wanted to ensure I still had some mix on hand for when my gluten-free friends are due to visit!] so made with them regular All Purpose Flour, but these are phenomenal. Truly delicious, and so fun to watch puff up!
    We served them with homemade chicken soup.. both older kids [5 and 3] are begging for me to pack leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

    I’ll be making these for the rest of my life, I know it!

    Thanks so much :)

    • Yay! Thank you for the comment Laura and I know that this will help others who would like to make them with regular, non-gluten-free flour. So happy to hear that your family enjoyed them. :)

  9. We are so thrilled! Our son is gluten-free and dairy-free. My husband is gluten intolerant and I am dairy-free. We have not found anyone that makes a cheese cracker that is dairy-free so we took your recipe as our challenge! and we have… SUCCESS!!!! I cannot tell you thank you enough. We used king arthur multi-use GF flour (we put it through our coffee grinder to make it more fine) then used Daiya Cheddar instead of real cheese. We needed a little more water than the recipe called for but it turned out amazing. We used a larger star and had to roll 1/4″ instead because of the other cheese we think and it still turned out delicious! Thank you so much! The Wright Family (www.jenwright.net)

  10. Have made these cheddar crackers today. They are easy and delicious. I am not generally not good at pastry type recipes, and for me, the less steps the better. A big thank you as they will go in my gluten free teenagers lunch box tomorrow.

  11. Made these last night for a meeting today and they went down a treat. Thanks so much. I did look at the ingredients you used for the wheat free flour but had none of them so just used self raising wheat/gluten free flour. Also I live in the UK and cannot get some of the ingredients. Will be following you for other recipe ideas.

  12. I made these awhile ago and they were delicious! I decided to try another ingredient – Brown sugar and cinnamon. Wow,they turned out wonderful!

  13. Pingback: Cheddar Crackers | Help! My Teenager has Coeliac Disease

  14. Fantastic! I added 2tbs of whey in place of water and soaked mine overnight to remove some phytates. The next day they didn’t even need to be chilled and there was no cracking. These turned out so yummy they were gone in two days! I will definitely make these healthy snacks again for my family!

  15. I came across this recipe last night and my girls and I made these crackers today. They are fabulous! We’ll be making these over and over to have on hand for school lunches and snacking! When everyone in my family likes something (I have one extremely picky eater and a hubby who *thinks* he doesn’t do gluten-free), you know the recipe it a winner!

    • I’m so happy to hear that they were a hit for your family. I’ve served these on many occasions to what I call “die-hard gluten-eaters” and they always get excellent reviews. My son takes them for his school snack and the other day he told me that his friends (who don’t have food allergies) beg for them. It really thrills him to have something that they all want. :)

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