Sourdough Crackers 2.0

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I have been keeping my sourdough starter out on the kitchen counter and feeding it daily, rather than storing it in the fridge and feeding it only weekly. Here’s why:

bread 11.15.15
My best sourdough loaf ever

I wish I had taken a crumb shot of this. It’s the best loaf I’ve baked thus far. It tasted fairly sweet, which you’d expect when using a starter stored at room temperature. But when you leave starter at room temperature, you need to feed it every day. That means you accumulate tons of discarded starter. If you don’t find something to do with all of that starter, you’ll drown in the stuff. So I use it to make crackers. Lots of crackers. Good thing they’re addictive…and good for sharing…

smiling man holding mason jar of sourdough crackers
The way to a man’s heart

You can read about tending a sourdough starter herehere and here.

feeding starter
Feeding my starter. I store the discard in the refrigerator in the rectangular container you see in the bottom left. This can pile up quickly.

I bake these crackers every week or so and have learned a few tricks since I wrote my first post on them. I have wanted to update the recipe for months.

What’s new in version 2.0

  • I make a double or triple batch of the dough and after it has fermented on the counter for several hours, bake some of it and store the rest in the refrigerator. When I want more crackers later in the week, I can just grab a hunk of dough and whip them up. It’s almost like having convenience refrigerator dough on hand without the over-packaging and nasty chemicals.
  • Refrigeration halts the fermentation. I find that when I let the dough ferment at room temperature for too long (let’s say over 8 hours), it starts to break down, making a big mess when I attempt to roll it out. But in the refrigerator, the microbes go dormant. Now I can make a pile of this dough at once—and use up even more starter! No more baking dough bleary-eyed at night and cursing myself for having started it in the morning. If I’m too exhausted to bake, I simply put the dough in the fridge!
chilled dough
Chilled cracker dough
  • I no longer use Silpat silicon mats for baking these. The crackers contain enough oil that they don’t stick to cookie sheets. I hate washing those mats and feel a bit wary of using them. (Are they truly safe to bake on? I’m asking. I don’t know.)
baked crackers
Ungreased cookie sheets work just fine
  • I no longer brush olive oil on top. You can do that if you want to but the salt (or seeds or nutritional yeast or whatever) sticks to them just fine without having to take the extra step of brushing these with oil. I’m not sure which I like washing less—Silpats or pastry brushes. Ditch them both.
ready to eat
Finished crackers

Recipe

Sourdough Crackers

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup unfed starter from the refrigerator
  • 3 heaping tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil (I used coconut for this post)
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • extra coarse salt for topping

Instructions

  1. Combine starter and oil in a non-metallic bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt and baking soda.
  2. Add dry ingredients to bowl with wet ingredients. Combine. If necessary, knead the dough a few times to incorporate the last bit of flour. Cover bowl with a plate or towel and let rest for six hours at room temperature. Store in the fridge after this if you won’t bake right away. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. Let it warm at room temperature for 15 minutes to half an hour to making rolling easier.
  3. When you’re ready to bake, divide the dough into two halves on a generously floured surface.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Roll the dough out about two millimeters thick. If necessary, sprinkle with flour between rollings to prevent dough from sticking to your work surface.
  6. Transfer the dough to ungreased cookie sheets.
  7. Cut into rectangles with a pizza cutter or a knife. Sprinkle with salt.
  8. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, turn trays and bake 6 to 8 minutes longer. Crackers are done when crispy and slightly browned. (My oven is a bit cool, so your crackers may bake faster.)
  9. Transfer crackers to a rack to cool. Store in a glass jar. These also freeze well.
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137 Replies to “Sourdough Crackers 2.0”

  1. Great snack recipe – I have started to include seeds and spices by rolling out then adding whatever you want onto half of the piece then fold over and roll to the required thinness. Keeps all the flavour inside the cracker – I’ve tried – caraway seeds, cracked pepper and smoked paprika, sunflower seeds (hulled), za’atar – all have been absolutely delicious – the possibilities are endless !!!!

    1. Henrietta Fernandez says: Reply

      Hey Handy Andy- I was just having the same idea, thought about cumin…was looking to see and then saw your post top of the thread. oh yum… cumin/za’atar coming up!

  2. Is the non metallic bowl essential? All my mixing bowls are stainless steel.

    1. Hi Chris,
      I think stainless steel is okay. I made sourdough tortillas in a stainless steel bowl last week and they turned out really well.
      ~ Anne Marie

  3. Lauren Stracey says: Reply

    I’ve just made the dough and have left it on the bench. It looks a little like it’s growing mould on it? Small circles of white. I used some starter from the fridge and some (I fed today) that was room temperature. Does that sound ok or should I start again?

    1. Hi Lauren,
      If you think it’s mold, I wouldn’t eat it. If it is mold, it will look like it–raised and furry. I haven’t had my dough turn moldy. I’m surprised that that has happened with dough made with starter that you just fed. I’d have to see it in person to give you a diagnosis though. I guess you’ll have to use your judgement. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer.
      ~ Anne Marie

    2. Georgina Vittori says: Reply

      Hi Lauren,

      I have had the same appearance with my dough before. It turns out to be the salt within the dough causing the small white dots throughout if not incorporated well. They still work perfectly fine and taste amazing though!!! I absolutely love this recipe and bake a triple batch each couple of weeks. By end of first week my husband has always finished them all off already though 😉
      Hope that helps!

      Georgina

    3. Laurie Brauss says: Reply

      Hey Lauren…….I had the same thing happen.
      I believe it is from the salt because my starter is very fresh and well maintained
      I don’t believe that mold could form that quickly unless your starter was already bad? The thicker your salt grain, the harder it would be to break down in the dough and I always work with coarser salts. Hope that helps! Bon Appetit!

  4. This is a great recipe, thank you! Love the version 2.0 improvements – agree simple is better. I like to add roasted sesame seeds and wild rosemary, local to our area.

  5. The top of my dough really dries out when I leave it to rest for the 6 hours. Is that pretty normal? Or is there something I can do to stop that?

    1. Hi Mariko,
      You could try rubbing a small amount of oil on top of the dough. That should help.
      ~ Anne Marie

  6. Great crackers! The 6 hour ferment gives them a cheesy flavor. The dough is so simple and easy to roll. It was such a nice dough that I was able to roll them out using my pasta roller. Thanks for the awesome recipe!

  7. What a great recipe, thanks for sharing! How much starter would you use in gram (instead op cups). I cannot convert that to metric system unfortunately. Thanks in advance for the reply!

  8. Hi! I’m just wondering about the baking soda ingredient. I thought the whole point of sourdough was to replace using chemical leavening agents. It kind of feels like cheating, so could I skip adding the baking soda or somehow alter the recipe? I’m a total newbie at everything sourdough (my starter is only a week old), so I appreciate your expertise 🙂

    1. I’d like a response about the baking soda, too. I’ve made similar crackers, and leavening (lightening the cracker rather than rise) was provided by the baking soda reacting to the acidic starter. But with a 6 hour ferment, that would negate the bicarb’s gas production.

  9. Why do you add baking soda? Have you ever tried making the crackers without the baking soda?

  10. Would rye flour work instead of WW?

    1. Hi Syd,
      Yes, that will work. I’ve made these with rye or spelt also or a combination of flours.
      ~ Anne Marie

      1. Hello,
        I want to make a batch of these crackers, can you suggest the measurements in Grams ?
        I added
        85gms starter
        96 gms Whole wheat flour
        3tbs coconut oil
        2gms each of salt and baking soda…
        Is this correct ??

        Thank you.. 😇

  11. These are so simple to make and the dough is a dream to work with. A great plain base to add herbs, spices and cheeses.

    So please I gave these a go – no more wasting sourdough discard!

  12. Hello, I’m from Italy, and I just wondered if you could give me the quantity in grams? Sorry here we don’t use Cups measurements, and I don’t want to mess up.
    Love your blog <3
    Thank you

    1. Hi Alice, I am making these now and weighed the 2/3 cups starter to be around 175 grams and the 3/4 cups flour to be about 120 grams. I used white whole wheat flour. Hope this helps. I am anxiously waiting the 6 hours before I can start baking these. 😀

      1. Thank you so much!

      2. Thank you so much Christine!! I’m gonna give it a try ♥️

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  14. My crackers taste great but they puffed up in the oven and became little pillows. I’m not sure what I did wrong? I’ve suspected my oven gets too hot in the past so that may be the case.

    1. Hi Emily,
      I would try pricking them with a fork before you bake them the next time. They should stay flat 🙂 I like the little pillows but I’ve heard this question several times, so I might be in the minority.
      Enjoy!
      ~ Anne Marie

  15. Hello – I made the dough and stored it in fridge for few days and the top of the dough is a way darker color then the bottom – almost looks like hooch dough on top of that makes sense? It’s not watery, it is still in dough form but the color is kind of freaking me out? Can I still use it?

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      Hooch dough sounds like a good description. It sounds like your starter just needs a meal. I would stir it up and feed it.
      ~ Anne Marie

  16. What a gift to find your site! I started Jemima – my sour dough starter, and Jeremy – my ginger bug, this morning. I had a sour dough starter several years ago, but it ate me out of house and home. I eventually abandoned it. With your very pragmatic approach, you’ve given me a way forward. Thanks ever so much. I was making ginger beer using store bought yeast. Your way is way better. Thank you for this too. Am very happy lady :). I’ve included my web-site below. It goes back almost a decade as I gave up doing a lot of what I was doing. I’ve now started again thanks to covid… the silver lining in the cloud. Again thank you.

  17. I just tried this yesterday, and I am wondering why this needs to sit out and ferment for 6 hours? It’s not like it grew at all and not sure it fermented… I have seen other recipes where the starter discard is mixed in and cooked after sitting for 30 minutes. Just wondering as I’m starting to experiment with this a bit.

    1. Hi Jen,
      I have baked these soon after making the dough. It works. I do like to chill it first though. It makes rolling it out a bit easier.
      ~ Anne Marie

  18. I’m wondering if you could make these without oil. I don’t eat oil in my diet. Is there anything I could substitute? I use bananas or applesauce in sweet baked goods for the oil, but that obviously won’t work in these crackers.

    1. Hi Tammie,
      I haven’t tried making them without oil. You could experiment with a vegetable purée. If you try that, I’d make just a small amount.
      ~ Anne Marie

    2. Blended white beans are sometimes used for oil, especially if you include the can liquid.

  19. zerowasrezen says: Reply

    A sourdough genius, I know longer worry about Ursula thanks to you. These crackers are the most magnificent!

  20. […] it in other recipes.  We belong to the second school so we’ll try some discard recipes for crackers and crumpets and we’ll let you know how those turn […]

    1. I made these yesterday and I only have one complaint….they were soooooo good I ate all of them by myself. Yesterday. 🙄

  21. Have you tried making these with white flour?

    1. Hi Martha,
      I have tried a combination of white and other flour but not only white. I think they would be good. I make mostly white flour tortillas. They’re delicious.
      ~ Anne Marie

  22. I made the crackers and they were easy, great…crispy! I put them in a glass jar for storage as mentioned. However, by next day they were already getting soft. Any recommendations?

  23. I had that problem with making fresh tostado chips. I took the moisture removal pod out of an empty vitamin bottle and out it in with the chips. It kept them fresh for almost a month. Maybe it will work with the crackers too. Just make sure it is one of the plastic sealed pods that is food safe.

  24. Thanks for the recipe. I got a started underway almost three weeks ago and have been looking for discard recipes; this has become my favorite cracker version.
    For those bakers who like to work by weight, here are the equivalents; the starter weight was my own measurement, the rest from King Arthur Flour’s ingredient weight chart:
    175 g unfed starter
    38 g olive oil
    85g whole wheat flour
    1.5g salt
    1.5g baking soda

    1. Thank you for the conversions Scott 🙂
      ~ Anne Marie

  25. I let the dough rest on the stove for 6 hours covered and when I attempted to cut it in half and roll out, I noticed a very STRANGE smell coming from the dough. My starter is very new and I’m new to the whole sourdough community so I’m not sure if the smell was correct or something is wrong with my baby starter. Do you have an idea of what the smell should have been?

  26. I love these crackers! But twice now I’ve refrigerated for two or three days and my dough was very dark on top. It looked like it had oxidized? I discarded first batch but scraped darkened dough off and used the rest. Any ideas?

    1. Mine goes weirdly grey if I leave it in the fridge for long enough…but still tastes amazing, and I’m still alive 😅 I’ve also made it with only plain white flour, part rye part barley, forgotten to add the baking soda, baked it too hot, baked it too long, left the dough too long and whipped up a batch straight away..I’ve essentially abused this recipe mercilessly, and never had abject failure.

      My only recommendation is cut the crackers before baking, not after – mine split apart horizontally…but then that could have to do with any one of the above abuses…

  27. Love these! So good and easy! Already on our third batch in the last week and half

  28. These are one of the best ways I’ve seen to use up starter, it’s reeeally good! And so easy!

  29. […] carrot sticks or slice bell peppers for dipping. If you’re up for a challenge, you could even make your own crackers from scratch Zero Waste Chef style to go with your fresh made hummus. I haven’t tried making crackers […]

  30. Hallo! So I made these for the first time yesterday, and ran into a little problem. I forgot to set a timer, so they sat out on my counter for an extra hour before I remembered to roll them out…and the surface of the dough turned a weird gray color. Does that ever happen for you? It wasn’t crusty, as I had coated the bowl and the ball of dough in oil…it was soft, but gray. Overriding my alarmist impulse to chuck it, I rolled them out and baked them anyway, but now I’m over here giving them the side-eye. I read a bit about dough oxidation this morning so I’m feeling pretty confident my crackers won’t kill me, but I wanted to see if this happens to you making these crackers, and if it’s going to be a normal part of the process.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I’ve also had that happen and have eaten many batches that looked just like what you’ve described. I’ve also survived. You can skip the fermentation step and bake them right away if you prefer.
      Enjoy!
      ~ Anne-Marie

  31. […] Anne Marie’s Sourdough Crackers 2.0 recipe from zerowastechef […]

  32. […] Sourdough crackers or cheddar cheese crackers / tuiles […]

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