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! ;)
(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.
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.
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