The Iowa vs. Michigan game on Saturday will be the 44th consecutive game I have attended at Michigan Stadium, which is to say it is my 44th time going to a game at the Big House since I never went to a game there (or any college football game for that matter) before my freshman year. While it will most certainly not be the last game I go to, it will be the final home game for the seniors on the Michigan football team.
One of the seniors who has received increasing media attention the past few years is Jordan Kovacs, a former walk-on (a point that sportscasters will repeat 100X a game) who is one of Michigan’s captains and best defensive players. In February of 2008 I attended the first of many (6 to be exact) open tryouts for Michigan Football. Out of about 120 people they asked 3 to return for another look, one of whom was Kovacs. I have enjoyed living my walk on dreams vicariously through him and will be sad to see him go.
How is this at all related to wheat thins you ask? Well, there is a unique set of values and personality traits that Kovacs, Denard Robinson, and all of the Team 133 seniors have displayed over the past 4 (or 5) years which I lacked severely while making the recipe below. They showed unwavering perseverance, determination, patience, and desire, and stayed with the University of Michigan through one of the football program’s roughest stretches.
When I saw Smitten Kitchen’s post about homemade wheat thins I was strangely excited to try them. I don’t eat wheat thins that much (or similar crackers) and can’t remember the last time I bought a box. From glancing over the recipe I gathered that they are essentially a whole wheat shortbread. A box of wheat thins is fairly cheap, so the main advantages were 1) Trying out a new recipe/making something myself and 2) Avoiding extra salt and preservatives.
I found the recipe far too time consuming to justify the end product. The dough was exceptionally hard to work with, made more difficult by the fact that you have to roll it out so thin. I didn’t even bother rolling out the last 1/4 of the dough because I decided it wasn’t worth the time. That being said, I did quite enjoy the finished product, I just personally don’t feel it would be worth my time to make them again in the future. My fiance suggested afterwards that I could have used my pasta machine to roll out the dough, which may have sped things up. Why not try out the recipe and see for yourself?
I opted to make the dough by hand, but you can also make it in a food processor. Combine flour, salt, sugar, paprika, and butter in a bowl and work the butter until it is distributed evenly. Add in 1/4 cup water and knead until combined. I ended up having to use about 1/2 cup of water, most likely because of how dry my kitchen was.
Cut the dough in half (I went with quarters since it seemed like a lot) and roll out until very thin on a well floured surface. Think it’s rolled think enough? Keep rolling…
Cut the dough into 1 inch squares and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Poke holes in them with a toothpick or fork. Bake in a 400° oven for 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they bake, because they can very quickly go from perfectly crisp to burned.
Cool and store in an airtight container. They should hold for about a week or can be frozen. The recipe below makes about 3 dozen crackers.
- 1¼ C whole wheat flour
- 1½ Tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) of butter
- ¼-1/2 C water
- Combine flour, sugar, salt, paprika, and butter in a medium bowl. Work in butter using a fork and once well combined add water. Knead until well combined.
- Cut dough into two or four pieces and roll very thin on a well floured surface.
- Cut the rolled dough into 1 inch squares and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Poke holes in them with a toothpick or fork.
- Bake in a 400° oven for 5-7 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they bake, because they can very quickly go from perfectly crisp to burned.
- Cool and store in an airtight container. They should hold for about a week or can be frozen. The recipe below makes about 3 dozen crackers.