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Baker Bleu’s health crackers will make your feel all wholesome and smug

Baker Bleu’s health crackers will make your feel all wholesome and smug

A brand new baking cookbook landed on my desk earlier this month. Baker Bleu is by baker-extraordinaire Mike Russell – he of the famous Baker Bleu bakery in Melbourne’s Elsternwick (and lately Double Bay in Sydney).

Now the world probably needs another baking book like it needs another private jet, but let’s not let that get in the way of a bloody good cookbook.

Firstly, Mike Russell has a back story I can fully relate to. Like me, he started out in Advertising and just went meh. Unlike me, Mike discovered baking when he was 25 and worked very, very hard to become very, very good at it.

Secondly, these ‘health crackers’. I just love a recipe that’s got the word ‘health’ in it. Which makes me feel so wholesome when I bake them and smug when I eat them.

What makes a crackers recipe a health crackers recipe? When it has a zillion seeds plus something called psyllium husk in the mix, of course. And there’s oats. Oats always feature in a health recipe. We’ll forgive the little bit of maple syrup added in there (presumably because without it these health crackers are being held together by love alone).

Anyway, when I made Lilli’s health crackers, I fell in love with both them and Mike. And maybe Lilli, but I’m not sure yet.

Lilli’s health crackers

 From Baker Bleu by Mike Russell with Emma Breheny

Health crackers from Baker Bleu

These crackers from Lilli Reed, our manager in Melbourne, have become a staple grocery item sold in our bakeries in Melbourne and Sydney. The idea came from all the excess seeds that fall off our seeded ficelles, bagels and loaves. We store the seeds collected from our bread crates, mix through fresh seeds, and add oats and other ingredients on hand at the bakery to make these delicious, healthy and moreish crackers. They make the perfect vehicle for cheese or avocado, and are a lighter replacement for bread.

Makes approximately 40 crackers
Takes ages, but they’re worth it
Bakes 45 mins

  • 230 g multi-seed mix (see below)
  • 115 g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 25 g chia seeds
  • 35 g psyllium husk
  • 170 g  oats
  • 530 g  filtered water, at 28°C
  • 50 g maple syrup
  • 15 g olive oil

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Place the wet ingredients in a large bowl, mix well, then add the dry ingredients. Combine all the ingredients with your hands, making sure everything is really well incorporated. Cover and leave to rest for 2 hours in the fridge.

While the cracker mix is resting, prepare your baking paper. You’ll need two pieces of baking paper per tray, cut to the same size as each tray. Brush each sheet with a thin layer of oil.

Heat the oven to 170°C. Remove the cracker mix from the fridge and weigh out 170 g (6 oz) portions, placing each on a sheet of baking paper. Cover with a second sheet of baking paper and roll out to a thickness of approximately 3 mm (1∕8 inch). Peel off the top sheet of baking paper and slide the rolled cracker, still on its sheet of baking paper, onto a baking tray.

Use your dough scraper to score the cracker mix into your desired cracker size. We suggest scoring in half lengthways and then making four or five scores the other way. Repeat rolling and scoring until you’ve used all of the cracker mix.

Bake trays, in batches, for 15 minutes, then rotate them 180 degrees, reduce heat to 150°C (300°F), and bake for a further 30 minutes until crisp and dry. Repeat with remaining trays.

Remove crackers from oven, allow to cool, then divide into portions along the scoring marks.

Multi-seed mix

  • 200 g unhulled sesame seeds
  • 200 g linseeds
  • 150 g caraway seeds
  • 100 g poppyseeds
  • 50 g sea salt flakes (we like to use Tasman)

This is our go-to when we want to introduce flavour to anything: pastry, bread, pizza, cheesy dishes or even salads. The list goes on.

The secret to the flavour of this mix might lie in the unhulled sesame seeds. Why hulled sesame seeds even exist is a mystery to Mia and me. Hulling removes flavour and fibre. Always seek out unhulled seeds.

Mix all the seeds and the salt flakes in a bowl with a wooden spoon. Store in an airtight container for several weeks. If you’re using this in a salad or to top a soup, you can toast the mix in a hot pan for a few minutes before using.

Images and text from Baker Bleu by Mike Russell, photography by Parker Blain. Murdoch Books RRP $49.99.



Baker Bleu's health crackers