I’m a relentless kind of person. Once I get the idea in my head, I’m behind it a hundred percent, through health and sickness.
I’m not at sickness yet, but my right wrist does hurts a little bit whenever I use it to hold a spoon, open the door, unscrew the cap of a water bottle, lift heavy textbooks, or pretty much anything else. My wrist has been hurting for a while now, but I guess the pain wasn’t really noticeable enough until yesterday.
I’m right-handed, so I rely on my right hand for nearly everything. The only things I do with my left hand are: cut food when I’m using a knife and fork (why do people insist on using their left hands to hold the fork when they usually hold it in their right hands...?); deal playing cards; and play floor-hockey (everyone else in my grade school gym class was right-handed and I was that one awkward leftie...)
Besides all the regular everyday things that my right side has to suffer through (like brushing my teeth, buttoning my shirt, reaching for a bowl, pouring cereal, using a spoon, opening the door, grabbing my backpack, kicking open the door...), I also use my right-hand for all things baking-related. Lately, I’ve been using my hands in the bakery to scoop batters, carry cake pans, and lift boxes.
Today I decided to give my right hand a break and get my left hand to start picking up some of the slack. Have you ever tried feeding yourself cereal with your weak hand when you’ve only every done it before with your dominant hand? I never, so it shouldn’t have surprised me how unnatural it felt, not to mention frustrating. Even the simple action of lifting a spoon from the bowl to your mouth can be tiring if you’ve never practiced before.
Despite the fact that my wrist was in slight pain yesterday, the idea of buttermilk crackers consumed me. I was craving something rich, some salty, some crisp, something flaky; only homemade crackers would satiate the craving. I reasoned I could just use my left hand to cut the butter into the flour. Of course, after a few feeble attempts of using the new pastry blender my mom had bought me, I gave up. My left hand wasn’t as strong or practiced as my right hand; I could barely cut through the cold butter without losing grip.
It was too late to turn back at that point so I soldiered on and finished making the crackers. Because it was Civic Holiday, the stores were closed and I had to make do with what I had in the fridge. There wasn’t any buttermilk, but there was a tub of yogurt, which my mom had bought after I had mentioned that I needed some for the OrangeBasil Olive Oil Bundt Cake (not that I needed it anymore because I had already made the cake).
These little crackers are delicious on their own, but what made them so delectably delicious were the herbs and seeds sprinkled on top. I used an assortment of poppy seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, and coarse salt.
Click below for the recipe.
Herbed Yogurt Crackers
Adapted from: Pastries from the La Brea Bakery by Nancy Silverton
Yield: 48 crackers
Note: Since I used yogurt, the recipe changed quite a bit. The dough was really soft so rolling it out and using a cookie cutter was difficult. That’s why I recommend to roll the dough out on a piece of parchment and to just slide the whole thing onto the baking sheet.
- 1 ¾ cups pastry flour or all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3/8 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- seeds, herbs, spices, for sprinkling (I used an assortment of poppy seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, and coarse salt; if you use fennel seeds, coriander, or black peppercorns, make sure to crush or grind them first.)
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and baking powder, salt. Cut in the butter until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the yogurt. Using the back of a wooden spoon, draw the ingredients together, mixing until just combined. The mixture will be sticky. Knead in the bowl a few times to gather into a ball. Divide the dough into two discs and chill until firm at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. On a piece of parchment paper, roll one disc of dough out into a rectangle, to 1/16-inch thick. The dough will be very soft (which is why you want to roll it out on the parchment paper.) Transfer the parchment to a baking sheet and using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the crackers in to squares. Using a fork, dock the crackers to allow steam to escape. Brush on a thin layer of water and sprinkle your seeds, herbs, spices, and salt on top. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about ten minutes before baking. Repeat with the other disc of dough.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy. Halfway through baking, rotate and baking sheets to ensure even baking.
Allow crackers to cool before serving.