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Saltine Crackers

A saltine or soda cracker is a thin, usually square cracker made from white flour, shortening, yeast, and baking soda, with most varieties lightly sprinkled with coarse salt. It has perforations throughout its surface, to allow steam to escape for uniform rising, and along the edges, as individual crackers are broken from larger sheets during manufacture. It has a very dry and crisp texture, as it is made with less shortening than varieties such as Ritz crackers.

Some familiar brand names of saltine crackers in the United States are Christie's Premium Plus, Nabisco's Premium, Sunshine's Krispy and Keebler's Zesta. Low-sodium saltines as well as unsalted-top versions are commonly available. Whole grain saltines can also be found. In the United Kingdom they were made by Huntley and Palmers, and in New Zealand under Arnott's Salada. There are also Arnott's Sao crackers.

Saltines are often eaten as a light snack, with cheese or peanut butter. They may also be dipped or crumbled in stews, chilis, soups or dips, or crumbled into salads. Typically they are sold in boxes containing two to four stacks of crackers wrapped in a sleeve of waxed paper or plastic. In restaurants, they are found in small wrapped packets of two crackers, which generally accompany soup or salad.

As a home remedy, saltines are consumed by many in order to ease nausea and to settle an upset stomach. Pregnant women are also usually advised to snack on saltines.

Soda crackers, also called "premium flake" and "saltina" crackers, date back at least to the 19th century. Premium Saltines, originally called Premium Soda Crackers, originated in 1876 in St. Joseph, Missouri.

In the United States, the word "saltine" was originally registered as a trademark by Nabisco, which absorbed the Premium brand, but it lost trademark protection after the term began to be used generically to refer to similar crackers. In Australia, Arnott's Biscuits Holdings still holds a trademark on the name "Saltine."

Baking process
Saltines have been compared to hardtack, a simple unleavened cracker or biscuit made from flour, water, and salt. However, unlike hardtack, saltines actually do include yeast as one of their ingredients. Soda crackers are a leavened bread that is allowed to rise for twenty to thirty hours. After the rise, alkaline soda is added to neutralize the excessive acidity produced by the action of the yeast. The dough is allowed to rest for three to four more hours, to relax the gluten, before being rolled in layers and then baked.

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