In general, crackers are considered bread because they’re made from wheat and baked. However, not all crackers are bread, and most bread won’t be considered a cracker.
Why would crackers be considered bread?
This question may come up if you’re on a bread-free diet or counting calories. The short answer is that crackers are bread, in most cases anyway. It is made from wheat flour and water, though it may or may not have yeast.
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- Dutch oven
- Large mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Bread thermometer (fancy or a budget one)
- Scoring lame
Extra (nice to have):
- Kitchen scale
- Dough scraper and bowl scraper (yes, they are different)
- Cooling rack
- Baking stone (you don’t need a dutch oven if you use this)
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It will contain leaveners like baking soda, distinguishing it from the hardtack eaten by Civil War soldiers. It was then baked. Consider cracker’s thin, well-baked bread.
That’s why crackers along with tortillas, pitas, cakes, and whole-grain bread are off-limits on a bread-free diet. What distinguishes crackers from the rest are the very flat, crispbread and the “docking” holes.
Docking holes are holes poked in the dough to prevent air pockets from forming. In short, the holes are there to make sure the end result is as flat as possible.
Why wouldn’t crackers be considered bread?
Some people consider crackers to be cookies since they aren’t light and fluffy. However, crackers are not necessarily yeast-free.
Matzah refers to totally unleavened bread.
Matzah crackers are not considered bread. They’re considered cracker sized pieces of matzah. The distinction is made due to the religious nature of matzah.
Because we call nearly any flat, dried bite-sized snack a cracker, you can find “crackers” made from kale or seaweed. Kale crackers are made from kale, flax seeds, sugar, water, eggs, and a little flour.
Seaweed crackers are made from roasted seaweed and pastry flour, though that pastry flour might be flour or rice-based. These are popularly called nori crackers. Fortunately, most baked vegetables are called chips, not crackers, so there is little confusion there.
The gray area is the crackers that are essentially gluten and/or grain-free. There are people who can’t eat gluten or wheat for health reasons or think that it is bad for them.
Brands stepped in with crackers made from sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, groundnuts, sunflower seeds, rice, and other gluten-free products.
They may or may not use eggs as a binder, but if they don’t, seaweed may be used instead. The end result is a small baked square called a cracker that may not include grains at all, but it is sold as a snack chip you can put dip or bite-sized snacks on.
When are crackers called cookies?
In the United States, crackers refer to bland, salty flat biscuits or savory ones with garlic, chicken stock or cheese added to them. Like the delicious Cheez-It Original Crackers from Amazon.
Oyster crackers are crackers that are much smaller than the palm-sized squares Americans call crackers. Cheese crackers are simply those that have cheese as their main ingredient.
Cookies refer strictly to sweet items. It may have sugar, honey, lemon, and other sweet ingredients, but a cookie always refers to a dessert-like item.
Graham crackers sit on the boundary between cookies and crackers. They’re sweet, but they resemble crackers.
The British call crackers “water biscuits” or just biscuits. However, they may call cookies biscuits, too. Cream crackers are a British invention. While they contain wheat flour and yeast, they’re made by creaming the fermented dough mixture.
Are crackers considered part of the savory food group?
Typically, no. Water crackers and plain bread both count as bland foods. Bland foods are often recommended to those who are ill.
This may be due to cancer treatments or a stomach bug.
However, crackers may have salt, herbs or cheese mixed into the recipe. Then it is considered “savory”.
How many crackers equal a slice of bread?
Whether you’re counting calories, carbs or sugar, three crackers equal a single slice of bread.
Note that while eating carbs will not necessarily make you gain weight, a plate full of crackers contains more calories than two slices of bread.
And it is easy to go overboard on crackers covered in cheese, meat, or dip.
Can you substitute crackers for bread?
Crackers are dry and hard. You can certainly smear peanut butter between them to make cracker sandwiches and eat the filling, but it won’t work with lettuce, ham, and tomato.
You can crush crackers to make a substitute for bread crumbs in a recipe. Two dozen crackers equal a cup of bread crumbs. They might be added to stuffing or soups as a thickener.
In a pinch, crackers can be ground up to make a de facto pie crust.
How else can you use crackers?
If you were talking about graham crackers, you could grind it up and use it to make a wonderful pie crust. Crushed cookies like shortbread and ginger snap cookies could be crushed to make a tart or pie crust.
Crushed crackers can be used to make a breading for chicken or fish. It takes about a dozen crackers to cover one chicken breast.
How can I lower the calorie content in crackers?
You can’t. However, you can eat high fiber, whole grain crackers. Regular snack crackers contain about 260 calories per cup, while low-fat, whole grain crackers have about 120 calories.
Know that manufacturers sometimes add molasses or caramel coloring to make it look whole grain when it isn’t. Only eat the crackers if they are whole-grain, and don’t load it up with cream cheese, or fatty slices of meat and blame the crackers for the weight gain.
Multi-grain crackers are not necessarily healthier than other types of crackers. Ten percent quinoa or rye won’t turn crackers into a super-food. It is the calories and nutrients it contains that matter more. Added sugar and hydrogenated oil are just bad for you. If you want a cookie, eat a cookie, not a cracker that’s pretending to be a dessert.
Low sodium crackers are not necessarily better for you unless you’re on a salt-restricted diet. Note that high sodium spreads on crackers negate the benefit of eating low sodium crackers instead of Saltines.
And you can find unsalted crackers, a necessity if you’re dealing with high blood pressure or water retention.