Why It Works
- Whole wheat flour keeps these lean crackers tender and crisp.
- Toasted wheat germ gives the crackers more grainy flavor and crunch.
- Buttermilk makes a thick dough that's easy to handle.
These thick crackers have a hearty flavor and crunch, thanks to the combination of whole wheat flour and toasted wheat germ. They're tender and buttery, too, with a touch of sweetness that makes them a perfect match for rich and savory accompaniments, like peanut butter or cheese.
- 5 ounces finely ground whole wheat flour (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons; 141g), plus more for dusting
- 2 1/2 ounces sugar (about 1/3 cup; 70g)
- 2 ounces toasted wheat germ (about 1/3 cup; 55g)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1g) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 ounces cold unsalted butter (about 6 tablespoons; 85g), cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 3 1/2 ounces cultured lowfat buttermilk or kefir (about 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons; 100g); see note
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat to 350°F (180°C). Combine whole wheat flour, sugar, wheat germ, salt, cream of tartar, baking powder, and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and process until the mix looks floury and fine, with no visible chunks of butter, then add buttermilk and pulse only until the dough comes together in a ball.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and, using as much flour as needed along the way, roll until just shy of 1/4 inch thick. Dust off excess flour with a pastry brush and loosen dough from counter with an offset spatula. Create steam vents with a fork, bamboo skewer, or docking tool, then cut dough into 2 1/4–inch rounds and transfer to parchment-lined half sheet pans. Gather up scraps, knead, roll, dock, and cut as before.
Bake crackers until firm to the touch and pale gold around the edges, about 25 minutes. Cool directly on baking sheets and serve at room temperature (the crackers will not be crisp while warm). Store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 month at room temperature.
Food processor, flexible spatula, rolling pin, pastry brush, offset spatula, docking tool (optional), ruler, 2 1/4–inch round cookie cutter, half sheet pans
If buttermilk's hard to come by where you live, plain kefir works well, but avoid common buttermilk substitutions, like a combination of milk and lemon juice, which won't taste or behave the same way in this dough.