I first tried these polenta crackers last fall when I took a bread class, and I loved them. The polenta in them gives great flavor and texture, and you can sprinkle whatever seasonings you want on top of them. The original recipe calls for fennel, salt, and pepper. I'm not a fan of fennel so I use garlic powder, fresh cracked pepper, and lots of kosher salt.
There is yeast in these crackers but it's really for the flavor. So if you're one of those people who are scared of yeast, don't worry. It's not meant to work as a leavener. The dough does rise but again, that's to develop the flavor. When I was taught to make these crackers, we rolled them using a pasta roller, which made it super easy. My pasta roller has settings 1-7. I started rolling it at 7 and went down to 3. You want to roll it thin but not too thin. If you don't have a pasta roller, I think you could hand roll it out just fine...it might just require a little more elbow grease. You also don't have to cut the crackers into the typical square shape, either. I roll the dough out with my pasta roller and leave it in that long thin shape. I just make sure that it fits on a pan. Once they're baked, I break them into large pieces.
These crackers taste great with cheese but one of my favorite things is to make tuna salad and put that on top of them...instead of using bread in a sandwich. I love them plain, too. You can think about what you want to use them for and then adjust which seasonings you want on top of it. These are fun for a dinner party because you can place these large crackers on the table and let people break off how much they want. Rustic is a good thing!
Polenta Crackers Recipe
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1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/4 cups warm water
4 1/4 cups (20 ounces) bread flour
1/3 cup uncooked polenta
2 teaspoons salt
Garlic powder or other spices
Mix honey, olive oil, water, and yeast in a mixing bowl and let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy. Add the bread flour, polenta, and salt and mix with the dough hook until thoroughly combined. It's a tough dough, but you'll know that it's well kneaded when you taste a pinch of dough and it doesn't taste really salty. Put the dough into an oiled bowl, cover, and let double in size.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Divide the dough into smaller pieces and roll it out using a pasta roller or rolling pin. You'll want it to be fairly thin. Place the dough in large pieces on ungreased sheet pans. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt, cracked pepper, and garlic powder (or other seasonings) liberally on top of the dough.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crackers are browned on top.
Source: Cook Street Cooking School