Very cheesy, short crust homemade cheese crackers sprinkled with caraway seeds or salt or even sesame seeds, a perfect appetizer for any party – Romanian saratele.
HOMEMADE CHEESE CRACKERS RECIPE
These homemade cheese crackers or Romanian saratele are easily and quickly made and they will be gone even quicker. Once you had one, you cannot stop anymore, you will keep eating them one after another until they are all gone (or you get sick :)).
ROMANIAN SARATELE RECIPE
This cheese crackers recipe is a variation of the Romanian recipe for covrigei, which are small, pretzel-formed crackers with cheese and caraway seeds, normally eaten around Christmas or Easter.
They are of course wonderful, my only problem with them being the long time needed to cut them all out with the pretzel form, the repeated kneading and rolling of the pastry and so on.
I make them from time to time, but usually I just make this simplified version, it is so much quicker and easier, the pastry can hold even more cheese than the original (Yuppy!), and there is no endless rolling, just once, then you cut the crackers with the knife.
I have to thank my beloved cousin Georgi for this recipe. A few more of her delicious recipes are these Romanian homemade chocolate bars, the Hungarian dumplings, the Romanian fried cheese doughnuts -papanasi or the Chicken Schnitzel in Pancake Batter.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE HOMEMADE CHEESE CRACKERS
You will only need few ingredients for these addictive Romanian saratele or cheese crackers.
- I use Gouda cheese, but Cheddar cheese is a good substitute.
- You can use either salted or unsalted butter with high fat content, no half butter or any other weird combinations.
- I use unsalted (or very slightly salted) butter because that is the standard butter in Germany, if using salted butter, adjust the salt content accordingly. The homemade cheese crackers should be on the saltier side, but you should not overdo it.
- The word “saratele” actually comes from salt – “sare”, you could call these maybe “salties” in English. 🙂
- The best Romanian saratele are those made with caraway seeds, the taste is incomparable, it is the caraway seeds that make this recipe a classic in the Romanian cuisine.
- However, you could replace the caraway seeds with sesame seeds or even poppy seeds, the homemade cheese crackers will still be delicious, but different. You could also sprinkle the Romanian saratele with a little flaky sea salt.
- You will only need a little egg to brush the homemade cheese crackers. Take the smallest egg you can find and maybe use the leftover for an omelet.
HOW TO MAKE EASY CHEESE CRACKERS
How to make the pastry for the Romanian saratele:
The easiest way is to make the dough for the homemade cheese crackers in a food processor:
- Give the cubed cheese to the food processor and process until crumbled. Add the very cold butter cut in small cubes, the flour and the salt and process shortly until just combined.
- You should still be able to see tiny dots of butter in the dough, they will ensure that the homemade cheese crackers are really nice and flaky.
If you don’t have a food processor:
- Grate the cheese finely. Grate the butter as well. In this case it helps to freeze the butter for about 15 minutes and then grate it. Combine the ingredients very quickly, making sure your hands are cold (hold them under cold water) when you briefly knead the dough.
- Only use your fingers to knead the dough, your palms are too warm for the dough.
- Wrap the dough in cling film/plastic foil and refrigerate for one hour.
How to roll the pastry for cheese crackers?
- When ready to bake preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a fan oven preheat it to 160 degrees Celsius/ 320 degrees Fahrenheit. A fan oven will allow you to bake two trays at a time. In a regular oven, only bake one tray at a time.
- Line one or two baking trays with baking paper. I actually have to bake the homemade cheese crackers in three batches, they will not all fit on only two trays.
- Divide the dough into two equal parts. Wrap the one you are not using immediately in the cling film again and keep it in the fridge until ready to use.
- Flour the working surface well. Lightly flour the rolling pin as well. Shape the dough into a rough thick rectangle with your hands. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 32×22 cm/ 13×7 inches and about 3-4 mm/ 0.11-0.15 inches thick.
- Lift and turn the dough a few times during rolling it and sprinkle the working surface underneath with a little more flour, if absolutely necessary. This will ensure that the dough rectangle will not stick to the working surface.
- Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Brush the pastry rectangle with the egg and sprinkle it generously with caraway seeds. Or any other seeds you are using. Or flaky salt.
- Cut the pastry into batons using a very sharp knife. Carefully lift the batons and place them on the prepared baking trays.
Baking the homemade cheese crackers:
- As mentioned above, if you use a fan oven you can bake two trays of Romanian saratele at a time. Otherwise, bake the trays one after another. You will probably need to bake the homemade cheese crackers on three trays or three batches.
- Set the timer to about 17-18 minutes. Check if the crackers are nice and golden and give them two more minutes if they are not quite there. Don’t overbake, they should not get too much color, they should not be brown but shiny and golden.
- Remove from the oven, let rest on the tray for about 5 minutes, so that they have some time to firm up. If you lift them immediately they might break.
- Carefully remove them from the tray using a plastic spatula and transfer them to wire racks. Let cool completely.
- The homemade cheese crackers with caraway seeds will keep well for at least 3-4 days in an airtight container. However, they will probably not survive more than an hour or two, I’ve rarely seen any pastry disappear so fast.
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 2 cups + 2 tablespoons grated Gouda cheese or Cheddar
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 200 g/ 7 oz/ ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons butter, very cold
- 1 small egg
- caraway seeds (Note)
Grate the cheese and cut the very cold butter into small cubes. Place the cheese, butter, flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times until everything is crumbly. The butter should not be entirely blended into the dough, you should be able to see tiny butter dots in the dough, that ensures that the crackers are really flaky and nice.
Form a ball, flatten it, wrap in plastic foil and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking trays with baking paper. I actually have to bake the crackers in 3 batches, but most people only have 1 or 2 baking trays.
If using a fan oven preheat it to 160 degrees Celsius/ 320 degrees Fahrenheit. A fan oven will allow you to bake two trays at a time. In a regular oven, only bake one tray at a time.
Divide the dough into two equal parts. Flour the working surface and the rolling pin. Press one dough piece into a rough thick rectangle. Roll the dough into a rectangle of about 32x22 cm/ 13x7 inches and about 3-4 mm/ 0.11-0.15 inches thick.
Lift and turn the dough a few times during rolling it and sprinkle the working surface underneath with a little more flour, if absolutely necessary. This will ensure that the dough rectangle will not stick to the working surface.
Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl. Brush the pastry rectangle with the egg and sprinkle it generously with caraway seeds.
Cut the pastry into batons using a very sharp knife. Carefully lift the batons and place them on the prepared baking trays.
Set the timer to about 17-18 minutes. Check if the crackers are nice and golden and give them two more minutes if they are not quite there. Don't overbake, they should only be shiny and golden and not brown.
Remove from the oven, let rest on the tray for about 5 minutes, so that they have some time to firm up. If you lift them immediately they might break.
Carefully remove the homemade cheese crackers from the tray using a plastic spatula and transfer them to wire racks. Let cool completely.
While the first batch is baking roll and cut the second dough piece.
Sesame seeds or flaky salt can be used as well.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1/10
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 313 Total Fat: 24g Saturated Fat: 15g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 90mg Sodium: 447mg Carbohydrates: 16g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 9g