You Probably Didn't Know Why Ritz Crackers Have Holes In Them

Just about everyone is familiar with Ritz crackers – the name "Ritz" alone probably makes you think of round crackers with slightly ruffled edges and a constellation of tiny holes in the center. As it turns out, those holes aren't just part of the iconic Ritz design, and they actually serve an important purpose in the process of making the crackers. They're also not limited to just Ritz, either. You'll probably see them on just about every cracker you eat.

Whether you pick up a Ritz cracker, graham crackers, saltines, or another type of snack cracker, it'll almost always have multiple small holes in the center. According to Times of India, those holes have a name: they're called dockers, and they let steam escape from the crackers while they're baking. Not only does this prevent air bubbles from forming in the crackers, but it also keeps them from rising like bread or other dough as they bake, so the crackers stay thin and crispy.

Why do almost all crackers have holes?

According to the Sun-Sentinel, as companies are making massive batches of dough for crackers, it's inevitable that the dough will have a few air pockets in it. However, as the dough bakes, any air bubbles will expand, sometimes even exploding. Obviously, crackers with burst air bubbles aren't the goal, so manufacturers roll a docker over the surface before putting the dough in the oven. A docker looks like a cylinder with spikes sticking out, and it creates holes in the dough so air can escape.

The number of holes and the spacing between them is where you'll notice some variation for different crackers. The pins on the docker are usually spaced differently depending on factors like the type of cracker, baking temperature, and final appearance. Even if the holes aren't immediately obvious like on a Ritz, your favorite cracker was probably still rolled over with a docker. For example, some cracker doughs have baking soda which causes the dough to expand as it backs, partially covering up the holes. However, if you look closely, you'll still see tiny holes or indentations on crackers that aren't immediately obvious, like Triscuits and Wheat Thins. So those tiny holes in the center of a Ritz cracker aren't just for decoration – they're actually an important step in the baking process that helps keep your crackers thin and crisp.