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Crackers Have Holes for a Reason—Here’s Why

Saltine crackers sit on a plate on top of a napkin.
Andriana Syvanych/Shutterstock.com

From saltines to graham, there’s one thing nearly all crackers have in common: holes. Some have a multitude of tiny little pinpricks while others have just one, and they’re not decorative.

As it turns out, crackers have holes for a reason, and it’s all about the baking process.

Most crackers are made using hydrated dough, a mix where the liquid ingredients weigh more than the dry. As a result, the dough steams as it bakes. With bread, this creates air pockets as the bread rises. Crackers, however, shouldn’t rise. That’s where those holes come in.

In order for crackers to bake crispy and not rise, that steam has to get released. The holes are poked in a process called docking, and then, the steam can escape. Plus, the holes help keep the layers together during the baking process.

Yes, the number of holes matters. Smaller crackers only need one hole, but larger crackers might need four or more. They also have to be positioned correctly to prevent the cracker from becoming dry and chewy. It’s all a very precise process, and most brands have automated systems that help them determine exactly where and how many holes each cracker needs.

Who knew cracker baking could be so complicated?

Now, w you reach into your cabinet for some crackers to go with your summer charcuterie board, you’ll now know that a lot more precision and science go into that snack food than you thought.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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