If your body’s in Temple Mode, look no further than these for a snack.
Made from nothing more than seeds and a little natural flavouring, they’re very noble crackers indeed. They also contain a bit of magic thanks to the peculiar nature of flax seeds (linseeds). Soaked in water for several hours or overnight, flax seeds swell and release a gelatinous substance (or mucilage) that works perfectly as a binding agent.
These crackers are excellent for those of us who sometimes struggle to include seeds in our diet. There’s only so much you can sprinkle on your yoghurt, or consume via slices of wholesome bread, isn’t there? But it’s worth making the effort. Flax is a pocket dynamo of goodness, containing high levels of Omega 3, fibre, vitamins and lignans (compounds that act as antioxidants). There’s also evidence flax seed might help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
I’ve ‘cooked’ these crackers several ways. You can use a dehydrator or an oven set to its lowest temperature (50°C) and leave them for at least 6 hours, or overnight, to dry out and crisp up. Over the weekend my oven timer malfunctioned and switched the oven off after about 3 hours. So I flipped the cracker sheet over, turned the oven up to 125°C and cooked them for a further 30 minutes or so. The result was brilliant: crisp, perfectly cooked crackers. Most recently, I cooked them at 125°C for about an hour without any drying beforehand, and this also worked well. Exact timings will very much depend on your oven and how thick you make the crackers. I reckon 3mm – or about the height of £1 coin is just about right. Experiment with different flavourings in the seed mix, like paprika and cumin. I intend to add a little seaweed next time I’m feeling very noble.
Flax and mixed seed crackers
- 100g golden or brown flax seeds
- 100g mixed seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and chia
- 1 teaspoon harissa paste
- a pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1 garlic clove, very finely grated, ideally on a Microplane
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
Place the flax seeds in a medium bowl and cover with 150ml water. Set aside for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight. As the seeds soak, they will release a gel-like substance that will bind all the ingredients, so don’t drain them. When the soaking is finished, add the remaining ingredients and mix well. You should end up with a very thick and sticky mixture. Line a baking sheet with a 35 x 25cm piece of baking paper. Have a second piece of baking paper the same size standing by.
Scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and use the back of a spoon to spread it out a little. Cover with the second piece of baking paper and roll the mixture out evenly to a thickness of 2–3mm thick. If you are using the dehydration method, set the oven to 50°C/120°F, or the lowest setting possible, place the baking sheet inside and leave for about 6 hours. Alternatively, leave the crackers in for 3 hours and then cook for 30 minutes or so at 125°C. Or, cook for 1 hour at 125°C. Whatever method you use, flip the cracker sheet over halfway through cooking. (The easiest way to do this is to remove the sheet from the oven, flip the whole cracker over and gently peel off the paper. The cracker will be fine to continue cooking without baking paper). The exact time will depend on the temperature of the oven. so periodically check to see if the top of the cracker is hard. When cooked and dry, slide the cracker sheet on a wire rack to cool and crisp completely. Break – don’t cut – into shards to serve.