Saturday, July 28, 2012

Homemade Cheez-its!

For the July Daring Baker's Challenge, we had to make two different crackers. You could make any two crackers you like as long as you make them in two separate ways. So, unquestionably, the first thing that came to my head when I thought of what cracker to make was cheese. I mean, who doesn't love cheese? Now there are loads of other types of cheese-y crackers I could have made but Cheez-its were the first to come to mind.

One of the reasons why I was so excited to make Cheez-its specifically, is because I don't normally eat store bought Cheez-its because of religious dietary restrictions. The cheese used in the store bought variety contains enzymes and whey derived from animal sources. Though I haven't had store bought Cheez-its for more than a decade, I still have fond memories of snacking on Cheez-its and goldfish crackers as a kid. So, when I was given this chance to make the crackers using my own ingredients, I grabbed it.

(Warning! This next schpiel is mainly interesting to vegetarians and Muslims. ;D) Now, one of the most common questions I get asked is what cheese do I use - Tillamook cheese. The Tillamook brand of cheese uses only the freshest and fewest ingredients in all their cheeses. They also use microbial sources to culture their milk. So, if you're worried about which cheese is okay for Muslims to use, never fear, Tillamook is here! ;)

Homemade Cheez-its
(Makes approximately 15 dozen crackers)

1 8-oz block extra sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
2 tablespoons ice water


In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cheddar, butter, and salt until soft and homogenous. 

Add the flour and mix on low speed; the dough will be dry and pebbly. 

Slowly add the water and continue to mix as the dough coalesces into a mass

Pat the dough into a disk, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat the oven to 375˚. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll each into a very thin (1/8 inch or less) 10×12-inch rectangle. 

Using a fluted pastry cutter (or just a plain old knife like I did), cut the rectangles into 1-inch squares, then transfer to the baking sheets. Use the tip of a chopstick to punch a hole into the center of each square.

Bake for 17 minutes or until puffed and browning at the edges. I found that in my oven, I only had to bake it for around 10-12 minutes so this time can be very subjective. Watch carefully, as the high fat content of the crackers makes it a fine line between golden delicious and burnt. Immediately move the crackers to racks to cool.

Enjoy! Also, I've made an Instagram, finally! Don't forget to follow me @warif93

Anonymous said...

Your Cheese-its look great! I used that recipe also, they were soo good!!!

Anonymous said...

YUMMM! MashaAllah you are a mad talent - those (and every single thing posted on your blog) look absolutely AMAZING!

Just a quick side note - I heard that the Sunshine (store brand) Cheez-its only use milk/microbial enzymes - check this link out Insha Allah!

Regardless, nothing will beat your fresh, homemade yummies :) Assalamu Alaikum!

Anonymous said...

i got here by searching for "halal cheezits" :D not all cheezits varieties have "natural flavor" or "artificial flavor" so it looks like those ones are ok? i only seen the colby flavored ones in saudi n they dont have natural or artificial flavor.

thx for the recipe im going to try it tomorrow!! excited! :D

Wardah said...

Thanks everyone!

Thanks for the tip, I'll definitely check out the Sunshine Cheez-its.

I'm glad you're going to try the recipe! I promise you won't be disappointed. Send me a pic when you're done and let me know how they turned out!


Mehwish said...

Dude I am so making these, thanks for the recipe :D

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