Crackers are one of our most loved snacks that people like to enjoy in the evening with a hot cup of tea or even at a dinner party with a zingy dip. Crackers are baked foods basically made with refined flour and sometimes multigrain flour and can be eaten on their own or flavored with cheese, seasonings and herbs. It is believed that the idea of crackers emerged back in 1792 by John Pearson when he wanted to make a kind of bread which would last longer, but it was in 1801 that it was actually invented when Josiah Bent burnt his bread and that led to thin, crispy slices that we now call crackers. By the 18th century, different kinds of crackers has been created such as the saltine crackers, hardtact crackers, and soda crackers.
Crackers are one of our most loved snacks. Photo Credit : Istock
Although crackers come in different flavors, shapes and sizes but there is one common characteristic in all the crackers from around the world. Have you ever noticed those holes on the crackers? You must have believed that these holes are added to make them look nice or to produce similar pieces during mass production, but here’s a little secret. Well, the holes are not only just for decorating the cracker, they help in ensuring that that it is baked properly.
A lot of air bubbles get trapped in the dough of the crackers while kneading and preparing and so, to prevent these air bubbles from expanding and bursting the crackers, as the molecules of air move rapidly and push harder against their confines upon heating, the flat rolled dough is put into a machine called docker prickle holes to allow the air to escape through the holes created on the cracker so that it gets baked properly. This process reduces the air bubbles and ensures that the crackers are flat, smooth and crunchy.
These holes are added to make sure they bake properly
These holes in the crackers should be positioned properly otherwise the crackers would either end up to be very hard or lots of air bubbles will make them too soft and they would crumble easily. If the holes are very closely positioned then it makes the crackers very stiff and it would be difficult to chew them. If the holes are positioned too far then, it will give space to the air bubbles to rise up and disintegrate the cracker.
So, this was the interesting science behind those cute dimples on the crackers which makes them look unique too. If you’re preparing crackers at home, make sure you prick tiny holes on them before you out it in the oven. Although they might not explode, but avoiding the holes may lead to an arched or disfigured shape of the crackers.