Nov 18, 2009

cheese and crackers

In Stow-on-the-Wold I found a cheese. "Stow Soft", it was called. Local. Obviously. "You jus' cut the top off an' dip your crackers right in", the deli lady said. So I bought it. Left it in the car for the day, then safely Tupperwared on the bus home.

But I did not have any crackers. And I wasn't prepared to soil this cheese with something inferior, so it had to wait around patiently for 2 weeks until I got around to making crackers. I gave it a little prowling space at the back of the fridge, where it was quite content. Eventually, one Saturday night, crackers were born. Inspired by these, but with multi-grain flour. And sesame, for a slight nuttiness. My "pasta maker" was the countertop and a bottle of Sauvignon.

The recipe is simple: three cups of flour (interesting types are more fun), salt, a cup of warm water and 1/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup of sesame seeds too. Knead a while, until it feels quite stretchy. Divide into 12, then let it rest for an hour. Roll the dough out as thin as you can, and stretch it a bit further. Then cut into strips (or whatever shape you prefer), and bake in batches at high heat until crisp and just beginning to brown. If you want extra flavours, add just before baking. Large salt crystals with coarse pepper made me very happy.

Then it was time to eat. The cheese was was intense. Soft, creamy, vaguely like very ripe brie, but not as runny. And not as odorous, but still definitely alive. Quite salty too. I realise I have no vocabulary to describe cheese with. If it's not nutty, and not blue, not one of the standard whites, then what is it? (I need a cheese tasting session! Yes!)


Marie said...


SO funny that you waited two weeks for the cheese, not buying a single cracker in the meantime...

Crackers will be made. Thanks for the recipe.

Marie said...

Pee ess - you rest the 12 pieces out of the fridge, right?

Robyn MacLarty said...

You certainly did a good job of making it sound delicious (what with a limited cheese vocab and all)... That cheese looks sinful. Nice crackers, too.

jvdh said...

M - I suppose I could have bought something, but a lively cheese is good motivation to try a new recipe. Resting outside the fridge, yes. No yeast or anything that needs to grow, I think you're just letting the gluten relax a bit.

R - Sinful. I should have used that!

Jeanne said...

An intresting thought - a cheese vocab - but entirely true. We had a honey, a salf and a butter tasting a couple of years ago and discovered that these all severely tested our descriptive powers...!