A cracker is a flat, dry baked food typically made with flour.
In American English, the name “cracker” usually refers to savory or salty flat biscuits, whereas the term “cookie” is used for sweet items. Crackers are also generally made differently: crackers are made by layering dough, while cookies, besides the addition of sugar, usually use a chemical leavening agent, may contain eggs, and in other ways are made more like a cake.
In British English, crackers are sometimes called water biscuits, or savoury biscuits.
Crackers can be eaten on their own, but can also accompany other food items such as cheese or meat slices, dips, or soft spreads such as jam, butter, or peanut butter. Crackers may also be crumbled and added to soup.
Bland or mild crackers are sometimes used as a palate cleanser in food product testing or flavor testing, between samples.
Crackers are often branded as a nutritious and convenient way to consume a staple food or cereal grain.
It was 1792 when Theodore Pearson of Newburyport, Massachusetts, made a cracker-like bread that was made from only water and flour which he called “Pearson’s Pilot Bread.” This was the first cracker bakery in the United States, and made crackers for more than a century.
But the real evolutionary moment in the life of the cracker came in 1801 when another Massachusetts baker, Josiah Bent, burnt a batch of biscuits in his brick oven. The crackling noise that emanated from the singed biscuits inspired the name “crackers” and a bit of Yankee ingenuity, as Bent set out
to convince the world of the product’s snack food potential. By 1810, his Boston-area business was booming. And, in later years, Bent sold his enterprise to the company we now know as Nabisco.
Crackers come in many shapes and sizes, such as round, rectangular, triangular, or irregular. Crackers sometimes have cheese or spices as ingredients, or even chicken stock.
Saltines and oyster crackers are often used in or served with soup. Additional types of crackers include cream crackers and water biscuits.
Cheese crackers are prepared using cheese as a main ingredient. Commercial examples include Cheez-It, Cheese Nips and Goldfish.
Graham crackers and digestive biscuits are also treated more like cookies than crackers, although they were both invented for their supposed health benefits, and graham crackers are sweet.
Mock apple pie is made using Ritz (or similar) crackers.
The characteristic holes found in many crackers are called “docking” holes. The holes are poked in the dough to stop overly large air pockets from forming in the cracker while baking.
Cracker brands include Bremner Wafers, Captain’s Wafers, Cheese Nips, Club Crackers, Handi-Snacks, In a Biskit, Town House crackers, Ritz Crackers, Stoned Wheat Thins, Triscuit, TUC and Wheat Thins, among others. Such crackers are sometimes spread with cheese, pâté, or mousse.
Cheese and crackers, also known as cheese and biscuits outside the US and Canada, is a common dish consisting of crackers paired with various cheeses. Historically the fare of sailors, soldiers, and pioneers, it had become a regular menu item in American restaurants and bars by the 1850s. Many types of cheeses are used, and it is often paired with wine. Mass-produced brands of cheese and crackers include Handi-Snacks, Ritz, Jatz and Lunchables.
S’more is a contraction of the phrase “some more”. One early published recipe for a s’more is found in a book of recipes published by the Campfire Marshmallows company in the 1920s, where it was called a “Graham Cracker Sandwich”.
The saltine cracker challenge or saltine challenge is a food challenge or competition in which a person has 60 seconds in which to eat six saltine soda crackers without drinking anything. Although the challenge may sound trivial, it is actually very difficult because the crackers quickly exhaust the saliva in the mouth. Even though six saltines can fit in one’s mouth at the same time, and a minute is plenty of time to chew, the resulting mass of crumbs is still difficult to swallow with a dry mouth.
The largest rice cracker is 2.60 m² (27.9 ft²), achieved by The Committee of Inzai-furusato-Festival (Japan), at Aeon Mall Chiba New Town parking lot, in Inzai, Chiba, Japan, on 13 October 2018. It took 25 kg (55 lb 1.84 oz) of white rice, 16 litres (3.51 UK gal) of water and 2 litre (0.43 UK gal) of soy sauce to create the rice cracker weighing 21.4 kg (47 lb 2.86 oz). The diameter of the rice cracker in average was 1.82 m (5 ft 11.65 in).