My Manly-Man Cracker Recipe

9 cups flour (I combine a mixture of whole grain flours with a half-cup of ground flaxseed)

1/2 tsp salt

Appx 3/4-cup oil (less oil = stickier dough)

1/2-cup honey (more or less according to taste)

2+ cups warm water (warm water mixes better). Add slowly, and vary the amount as necessary. You want a dough that is uniformly moist but not so wet that it sticks to everything.

This is a big recipe and can be halved. It takes about 2 1/2 hours to make.

There aren’t too many ways to ruin a batch of crackers (1 burning them, 2 making the dough so wet that it sticks to everything, 3 making the dough so dry that it is crumbly), so feel free to experiment with the ingredients, and remember that the first two problems are correctable.

I use a Kitchen-Aid mixer, and add the ingredients in the order given. Hands also work well for mixing the ingredients, but a spoon is a hard way to go. I flour the dough as I roll it out, and I cut it into squares to save time and trouble, but you can use a drinking glass to cut it into uniform rounds if you prefer. I sometimes roll sesame seeds into the top of the dough.

Poke holes in the rolled dough with a fork (I hold one in each hand); otherwise, the crackers will have air pockets. Bake at 325°, preferably on cookie sheets that have an air space in the middle (this kind of sheet helps prevent burning the crackers on bottom. I have been tempted to bake the crackers at a lower temperature (say 125°) to try to re-create the toughness of hardtack, but have never had the patience to watch them.

Flip the crackers once or twice during baking. Move the top cookie sheet to the bottom and the bottom cookie sheet to the top when you flip them. This will help prevent burning. I suppose it takes about 25 minutes to bake a batch, but I never time it. I do check on the crackers every three to five minutes—more often as they get closer to being done.

Thick crackers naturally take longer to bake than thin ones. Thick crackers tend toward chewiness; thin crackers toward brittleness. I remove some crackers from the cookie sheet ahead of others because the ones on the edge cook faster. Don’t wait until the crackers look really brown, or they will taste burned. Spread them on a countertop to cool and harden. I freeze them but have kept them for two months without any refrigeration (when traveling).