Crisp Sesame-Semolina Flatbreads

thin sesame-semolina flatbreads

It will be a long time before I buy crackers again.

Flash back to two hours ago: I need to decide on a flatbread for this month’s BreadBakingDay. Our host Petra (Chili und Ciabatta) has mandated no pizza. Pitas are out, because I just posted about those last month. I’d like to try Ehtiopian injera, but the 3-day fermentation doesn’t fit into my schedule just now.

I’m really in the mood for something thin, crisp, flavorful but not overly complex. And quick. I thumb through the newest addition to my baking library, Savory Baking from the Mediterranean, by Anissa Helou. The Sardinian Crackers (Pane Carasau) look interesting, and the wheels start turning.

What if I add sesame seeds to the dough, as Helou suggests as a variation? How about making them black ones, to add a bit of visual punch? I wonder if I could use a pasta roller to make them super-thin, and wouldn’t baking them on a stone make them super-crisp? And I’m thinking just a bit of olive oil and coarse salt would work well for topping.

I dive in. The dough is the definition of simplicity. The pasta roller attachment to my KitchenAid mixer works like a dream, although I can obviously get the flatbreads only so wide with this, and they are, accordingly, rather long. I roll them successively to number 7, which is the second-thinnest setting on this roller. It’s pretty darn thin, with no extra flour needed for the rolling. And as when I make pasta, I find myself engaged, in a calming sort of way, by the repetition of the rolling and the hum of the machine. But a rolling pin would work fine too.

When I pull the first batch of two flatbreads off the stone, they are as thin, crisp, and tasty as I had hoped. They are the poster child for “just do it.”

Now my mind is achatter with myriad possibilities: combinations of flours, dough additions, and toppings are limitless. Yes, it will be a long time before I buy crackers.

As always, thanks to Zorra for founding and keeping BreadBakingDay, and to Petra for this month’s excellent theme. If you want to partcipate, you have until March 1 to bake a flatbread.

semolina-sesame crackers

Sesame-Semolina Flatbreads
(adapted from “Sardinian Crackers” in Savory Baking from the Mediterranean by Anissa Helou)

Yield: 12 large flatbreads

Time:

  • Mix/rest: 45 minutes
  • Roll/bake (total time for 12 flatbreads): 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 150 g flour
  • 150 g semolina
  • 22 g (2 T.) black sesame seeds
  • 6 g (1 t.) salt
  • 170 g lukewarm water
  • olive oil for brushing
  • coarse Kosher salt for topping

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven, with baking stone, to 450F.
  2. Mix flour, semolina, sesame seeds, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Add water and stir to incorporate into the dry ingredients.
  4. Turn dough onto an unfloured counter and knead for 3 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Knead for another 2 minutes. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.
  6. Divide the dough into 12 or more pieces and form them into balls.
  7. Cut a piece of parchment paper the approximate size of your baking stone.
  8. Roll a ball of dough through a pasta roller, starting with the thickest setting and adjusting the thickness setting down with each successive pass, to the desired thinness. Alternatively, roll out as thin as possible with a rolling pin.
  9. Place the rolled flatbread on the parchment. Repeat with as many flatbreads as will fit on the parchment.
  10. Brush the flatbreads lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a small pinch of Kosher salt.
  11. Transfer the breads, parchment and all, onto the stone. Bake until the edges are nicely brown and rippled, and the tops have golden brown patches, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  12. While one batch is baking, roll out the next batch.
  13. Cool on a wire rack. Break into pieces to serve.

CommentsLeave a comment

  1. says

    these look good!

    have you tried indian [north and south indian] appetizers/accompaniments called ‘papad’ and ‘pappadam’/poppadom [western name] and ‘appalam’? The first one ‘papad’ is quite similar in appearance to what you’ve made though the composition is different.

    Sid

  2. says

    SO inspiring … these look really good, and pretty straightforward. My (hand-cranked) pasta roller has been at the back of the cupboard for too long, and I’ve been meaning to get it out … now I’ve got the perfect reason.

    THANK YOU

    Joanna

  3. says

    What a great looking cracker/bread. I’ve got helou’s book too, ánd a pasta-roller… so there’s nothing stopping me. Beautiful photó’s too!!!

  4. says

    A pasta roller is the best idea I have ever heard. I never make crackers because I am terrible at rolling stuff so flat. I have been planning to get a pasta roller attachment for the Kitchen Aid–now I have twice the incentive. Brilliant. Your recipes are great for ideas like this.

  5. says

    Tracy and Astrid, I think you could get pretty close with a rolling pin. I’d roll them out, let them rest for a few minutes to allow the gluten to relax, then roll some more.

    Sid, I thought of pappadam too, when I saw the blistery surface. I’ve never made them before. Do you have a recipe you could recommend?

    Joanna, you’re welcome. Let me know how it works for you!

    Lien, I just got the book, this is the first thing I’ve tried from it. Do you have any favorites you’d recommend?

    Baking History, thanks!

    Jeremy, I’ve been thinking about a lot of different things that could be done with these, but I admit eggs and tomato sauce is not a combination I had though of! At the risk of sounding very stupid, would these be put on before or after baking?

    Petra, thanks, and thanks for hosting this month!

    Laura, I think you will like the attachment. It is of course great for pasta too. You can get the roller by itself, or in a set with two cutters. I can’t say whether it works any better than a hand-cranked machine, though.

    Gretchen Noelle, I’m sure you will come up with a beautiful flatbread — all your baking is so wonderful.

  6. says

    Great idea on the pasta roller. I’ve been meaning to get one…Yummy looking flatbread. I tried a basic semolina bread I haven’t posted yet and it was great. The sesame seeds look really gorgeous in this.

  7. says

    Gorgeous crackers!
    It’s delightful to get all worked up about something and then when you do it, you can’t understand what had you worried. I so so enjoy your: They are the poster child for “just do it.”

  8. Örjan says

    Thanks for the recipe.
    They worked out beutifully.
    Took a ball of the dough, size golf ball. Rolled it out by hand with a rolling pin in lots of flour to an oval shape.
    No risk of rolling to thin, since the sesam seeds decide minimum thickness.
    Will include them with my menues in Sweden, and will serve them with lunch tomorrow

  9. says

    I thought the same thing as Sid, that your bread looked like pappadam.

    They also look like some wonderful rosemary flavoured flatbread we had in Tuscany; I suspect those ones were made in a similar manner.

    Colour me green with envy! Your bread looks fantastic. You are brilliant to use your pasta maker to flatten the dough!

    -Elizabeth

  10. Allison says

    These were great! I used a rolling pin and it worked fine. Also, just for fun, I substituted whole wheat flour for the flour and used flaxseed instead of sesame (I didn’t have any sesame, and the batch i made without seeds were nice but…)
    These are now a staple at my house. I served them for dinner the other night with a big pot of tortellini soup, and my husband eats them every morning with goat cheese and crisp bacon.
    This is a great recipe . thanks.

  11. says

    These look beautiful. Saw the pictures among the Click entries.
    These remind me of Indian “Khakhra” , a snack which are very thin rounds made of whole wheat flour and cooked on a iron griddle till crisp.

  12. says

    I love the top photo of these flatbreads/crackers, and I bet they taste great too! I used to make watercrackers in a similar way all the time, but haven’t recently.

  13. says

    A few days ago a friend gave me the pasta attachment to the Kitchenaid (yay!), so after my first few batches of pasta I remembered this recipe I had liked so much, and just made it. I was not disappointed! Delicious! I will post about my experience when I have a minute. Thank you so much!

  14. says

    I finally posted about these crackers. Please let me know if you object to my simply copying your recipe as is on my blog. Thank you so much!

  15. Vicki says

    You have totally energized me! I was intrigued by your “just do it” comment so I indeed just did it. I used my hand-crank pasta maker and baking stone, making 24 crackers. They turned out perfectly! I can’t wait to experiment with whole grains.

    I can’t wait to check out your other recipes now that I’ve discovered your website and appetizing photos. Thanks!!

  16. says

    these are amazing! fun to make and eat! i don’t have a baking stone and no parchment paper on hand so i just used a cookie sheet and tin foil…also added poppyseeds, just for fun. :)

    i stumbled upon your blog the other day after googling tortas de aceite (yours was at the top of the search)…looking forward to trying that one next!

    thanks susan!

  17. says

    Great idea. I just made these with a mix of unbleached white, whole wheat, and corn meal and they came out great. They do cook quickly between “almost” done and “burnt” ;)

  18. Leslie says

    I don’t have semolina flour, but I do have whole wheat, rye, pumpernickel, oat, whole-wheat spelt, and a bunch of seeds and oats and groats and things. what do you think I could do with all of these to make a semolina stand-in? wheat spelt plus seeds and/or ground-up wheat berries, or…?

  19. says

    Leslie, try any combination of flours and seeds. The cool thing about these is that you can use a lot of different things and they will turn out great.

  20. Jan says

    These are great. I didn’t have black sesame seeds so I used the white ones and they turned out fine. I do have to get a little better with the parchment paper and sliding them on the baking stone. I found out the hard way that parchment paper burns when it touches the electric element in the oven. So I had a minor kitchen fire and learned a good lesson. When you say, cut the parchment to the size of the stone, now I understand why.
    Thanks for the recipe and for sharing your love of bread.

  21. Ellen says

    Please give the measurements for the flour(s) and water in cups instead of grams! I am looking forward to trying this!

  22. Linda says

    These are fabulous! I’ve been trying to find a recipe to duplicate a very expensive flatbread cracker that I can no longer find in the stores, and this is perfect. So easy – I’ve already made these twice, the second time substituting some finely chopped fresh rosemary for the sesame seeds.

  23. EMC says

    I made these for a labor day cookout with some blck lentil dip and they were a huge hit. Thanks for a great recipe, I had so much fun making them!

  24. says

    Hi Susan, I found you while googling for semolina recipes. I wanted to ask you (may sound stupid, I’m still an amatuer baker/cooker) but what is a baking stone in your recipe. Is that a British word. Although I was born on a Commonwealth island, I was raised on Hawaii, so I got used to the American terms. Please advice. I woould like to try this recipe and it looks good from your photo. Mahalo! = Thank you!

  25. Sandra says

    What is the measurement of water in this recipe? How does one170 convert 170 g of water to cups? Is 170 g supposed to be 170 ml? I need to know how much water to use…in cup measurement. ~

  26. says

    Looking for cracker recipe to serve with my home made quince paste & home made queso fresco at my next pop up dinner i stumble into your blog.
    So i thank you for sharing knowledge.
    From Byron Bay Australia.
    Love, respect & happy baking.
    Francisco.
    ps you may want to check out The ‘Bourke street bakery’ book from bakery in Sydney

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