One of my favorite things to create are raw breads and crackers. I find it very satisfying, and very much like preparing conventional crackers or cookies, with the exception of baking in the oven:)
Raw breads are great for sandwiches.
Even the tiniest crouton can make a big difference in a salad. These are 1" and 1/4" rosemary crackers on my adaptation of Sarma's S&M salad:)
Most bread and cracker doughs are prepared quickly and easily in the food processor.
Here are some pictures to show how I shape my raw breads, crackers, and chips.
I like to work with the teflex sheet directly on a clean counter. If you place the sheet on a freshly washed and still damp counter, it won't slide around.
Spread dough onto teflex using an offset spatula.
If you want a rustic looking cracker, you can stop at this step. Just spread the batter, dehydrate, and break into pieces:)
...but if you want a fancy cracker:)...
Cover with cling film, and roll out to desired thickness. I like to use a rolling pin that is long enough to straddle the teflex sheet, and roll over the entire dough very easily. The rubber rings fit on the ends of the rolling pins, and roll the dough to the exact even thickness desired:) If any dough squishes out past the sheet just put it back in the bowl, or use it to fill in the corners. After doing it a few times you can judge how much dough will fit on the sheet.
Score using a long, thin, ruler. This is a metal yardstick from the fabric department.
Since I am not sure about the food safety of the ruler, I score while the dough is still covered with the wrap. I score around all four sides first to make a neat edge, then score the rest. I usually remove the dough that is trimmed off, but they make good "test pieces" if you don't:) The largest pieces I usually make are made by scoring into 9 pieces(like a tic-tac-toe board, two lines down, two lines across). The smallest are 1/4 inch croutons!
Or use a crust cutter to make bread shaped bread:)
Special shapes can also be created by using any cookie or fondant cutter. It helps to wiggle the cutter slightly to insure a neat score in the dough. I leave the scraps in place, and dry at least halfway(after flipping) to remove the cut out shapes and finish drying. I always like to nibble on the scraps, or use them in a salad.
....now you can stop here, or before dehydrating....
Stencil if desired using crushed herbs and spices. Simply lay the stencil on the dough after scoring, sprinkle a small amount of herbs into the opening of the stencil, and sweep the herbs inside the opening with a brush or clean finger:).
I usually try to match the flavors in the dough.
Even when I don't stencil, I like the look of extra spices or herbs sprinkled randomly on the dough.
I also use the lid of a sandwich keeper to shape some breads. The bottom can be used as a cutter. This is my crazy carrot bread:)
The tray below is now ready to dry. I find setting the thermostat at 112 degrees works best for most items. If a special recipe calls for a higher temperature for the first hour or so, I go with that.
Flip halfway through by placing a mesh sheet and an empty tray upside-down on top of the crackers. Quickly turn over while holding the edges of the trays tightly together. Remove the original tray and mesh sheet.
Peel away teflex sheet. You can see the crackers automatically start to separate on score lines:) Separate pieces at this point and continue dehydrating on mesh sheets.
Here are several other options when making raw chips and wraps:
If using a thicker batter for chips, you can make different shapes.
Triangle chips can be made by scoring as pictured below. I used the long ruler to make the horizontal lines, then scored the angled lines with the end of a small straight edged spatula.
Some chip or tortilla recipes are made in the blender, and produce a runny batter. For these, simply pour, or spoon out the batter directly onto the teflex sheet. Small chips can be spooned onto the teflex and spread out slightly using the back of the spoon in a circular motion.
Large tortillas (or ice cream cones) can be spread out using an offset spatula. I have a large and small offset spatula. I like to sprinkle seeds or herbs on the dough before dehydrating. This wrap also has a flower pattern made with cut out spinach leaves. Sprinkle the seeds and place the flowers on the rolled out dough, then replace the cling wrap and roll again gently to set the decorations.
If the dough is not too sticky, you can make shaped breads by rolling long rope-like shapes and forming pretty bread-sticks. Three ropes can be braided together. The other shapes are single ropes, twisted or curled:)
Here are the links for the rolling pins and rubber rings:
The white roller pictured is a fondant roller made by Wilton. The rings I use were purchased separately.
I hope you find these tips helpful the next time you makes some yummy breads, crackers or chips!