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…

The way to a man's heart...
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 so 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 actually safe to bake on?) Simple is best.
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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36 Comment

  1. I was in need of a new cracker recipe. This looks perfect.

    1. Thanks Hilda. They are VERY good. And they use up all that discard. Win win 🙂

  2. I bet they are delicious!

    1. They’re highly addictive Karen!

  3. Looks fabulous. Just a question, how long do these typically last, either in a jar or a freezer?

    1. Thank you 🙂 They last quite a while in the freezer. I would say a couple of months. If I don’t freeze them, we gobble them up within a day or two but I would say they are fresh for about a week.

  4. been meaning to tell you for so long how much we love these crackers
    I make them once a week occ twice and find the recipe very forgiving to adaptation.
    one of my weaknesses has been buying crackers and stalking the ones with the least offensive packaging – not easy and not even possible so these are a goddess send.

    1. Thanks Sandra. I’m glad you like them so much. They really help solve the I-want-a-snack-but-not-the-nasty-packaging dilemma 🙂

  5. Thank you for this recipe, I will definitely tri it. I have been frustrated with cracker recipes with too much fat, sugar, cheese…and I hate wasting the starter. I have a recipe from Theresa Greenway to make flour tortillas and i willl never again buy tortillas . The dough freezes well and I divide it in 3, which gives you about 400 gr portion, roughly 12 med tortillas. I have a chest freezer, not great for jars but I will reorganize my fridge freezer ,I promise 😊 Thanks for the great tips!

    1. You’re welcome Suzanne. Thanks for checking out the post! No kidding I am looking down at my to-do list right now and one item is “make tortilla dough” (sourdough of course). You commented in the nick of time 😉 I will google the recipe. I would be SO happy if I had tortilla dough in the freezer ready to go. I hope you like the crackers. They are addictive. And they’re great for older starter too. It makes them more tangy. Enjoy!

  6. Reblogged this on Poli.V and commented:
    Reblogging so I can have a go at making these, they sound like just the ticket and I do love sourdough and I do love crackers, win win!

    1. Thanks so much for the reblog!

      1. You’re very welcome 🙂

  7. Hello. I’m new to baking so excuse the silly question. What is a starter? And what is an unfed starter at that.
    Thanks!!

    1. That’s not silly at all, Adi. A starter is wild yeast. Most bread recipes call for commercial yeast (like Fleischmann’s). A starter is made of flour and water and you “feed” it fresh flour and water every day until it’s bubbly and full of bacteria and yeast. Then you bake bread with it. When you feed it every day, you end up with a lot of extra. These crackers are a great way to use it up. Here are a few posts I wrote on starter: http://zerowastechef.com/2015/02/10/happy-birthday-eleanor-how-to-make-a-sourdough-starter/

      http://zerowastechef.com/2015/03/01/how-to-make-a-sourdough-starter-in-stick-drawings/

      http://zerowastechef.com/2015/10/08/kitchen-science-for-kids-sourdough-starter-lesson-plan/

      I hope those help 🙂

  8. Rikke Nielsen says: Reply

    Looks soo good 😀 I’m also making a lot of crisp bread, which is just big scandinavian crackers 😀 ! Would like to try making it with sourdough, but do you think I can make it with rye flour(yep I’m all scandinavian! 🙂 ) ? 🙂 Else I guess I’ll just have to try out!!

    Happy thoughts from Denmark from another Zero Waster who loves spending time in the kitchen 🙂 And thanks for all the inspiration 🙂

    1. Hi Rikke. I have made these with rye and they were good. I’ve also used spelt, or a mixture or whatever I had on hand. How do you make your crips bread? Happy thoughts from my kitchen in the US and thanks for checking out the recipe 🙂 Enjoy!

      1. Rikke Nielsen says:

        Then I have no excuse to not try it out soon, guess I need to start up a sour dough 🙂 And I make them mostly with a lot of seeds 🙂

        This makes 2 baking trays:
        Dry: 1dl rolled oat, 1dl sunflowerseeds, 1 dl pumpkinseeds, 1 dl flaxseeds, 1 dl sesameseeds, 3 1/2 dl rye flour, 1 teasp. salt
        Liquid: 1 d olie(usually use cold pressed rapeseed oil), 2 dl water

        Mix it all, roll out, bake for 15-30 minutes at 200 degree celsius 🙂

        I usually never follow the exact recipe but use whatever seeds I have on hand 🙂

  9. […] flavour… and oh yeah, super amazing with some waste not, from scratch hummus. Yum! Recipe HERE. I also found a recipe for pizza crust that I’d like to try next, because maintaining a […]

  10. […] Try making sourdough crackers: http://zerowastechef.com/2015/11/18/sourdough-crackers-2-0/ […]

  11. Just baked these yesterday and I am hooked!!! They are so good. My crackers actually puffed up. I don’t mind but do you think it’s because I didn’t roll the dough flat enough (I thought it was just a millimeter or so)? Thanks for the great and simple recipe using discard!!

    1. Great Nancy! I’m glad you liked them. Sometimes mine puff up. I like them best that way but it doesn’t always happen, so I don’t consider it a mistake 🙂 I’m not sure why they sometimes puff up. I should pay more attention. Maybe younger discard puffs up more??? ~ Anne Marie

      1. I just made a second batch last night and they turned out perfect! Very thin and crispy (but not puffy, oh well). This time I left the dough on the counter for like 10 hours…last time when they were puffy, the dough was sitting in the fridge for almost a week before I had a chance to roll it out (and I didn’t really give it time to warm up). I also roller it as thin as I possibly could this last time. They are so addicting, but I don’t feel gross after “indulging” like I would after eating store-bought crackers. Thanks again!

      2. Oh I know what you mean about not feeling sick! Store-bought would make me feel a bit queasy. I was the same way with store-bought cereal. Thanks for the notes about how you’ve been baking them. By the way, I find if I let them sit too long, the dough starts to break down and is very difficult to roll out. I’m glad yours are turning out so well 🙂

  12. Vickie Szymanski says: Reply

    I want wondering if freshly grated Parmesan cheese can be added to the dough? How much and when in the process?

    1. OMG. You are a genius. I would say add it to taste. Maybe try a couple of tablespoons at first? I haven’t tried this (but really want to…) so I’m just guessing. As for when to add it, I think you could mix it in at the beginning along with everything else. Or you could try sprinkling your work surface with grated Parmesan and rolling the crackers out on it. The cheese will stick to the dough.

  13. Vickie Szymanski says: Reply

    I tried 2 ozs. of very finely shredded fresh Parmesan. I kneaded it into the dough. Good yet the taste still not strong enough. Will continue to tweek the amount. It is a nice addition.

    1. Thanks for letting me know, Vickie!

  14. Arianne Chong says: Reply

    Omg, I just made this a few seconds ago for my 2 year old snacker. It is currently 10:42pm in Western Australia. I cant stop eating it. I dont think these crackers will see the light of the next day!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Arianne. Hahaha! I’m glad you like them! My daughter was the first to make them and I couldn’t stop eating them either when I first tasted them (and still can’t when I make them). They don’t last around here either. Occasionally when I have time I will bake a double batch and freeze some. They last maybe an extra two days. Enjoy! ~ Anne Marie

  15. Oh my. These crackers have changed. my. life.
    I was looking for an alternative for water crackers and their tin biscuit packaging and these are ten times better than anything I could buy! And then to use discarded starter- and that used to bug me as well- Thank you thank you.

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      Hi Kirsti, I’m glad you like the crackers. I love them too. They’re addictive, which is good because the starter can really pile up! ~ Anne Marie

  16. This looks amazing and I am going to try making these! Just wondering if I can let it rest in the fridge instead of room temp? Can I substitute baking soda with something else? Thanks!

    1. The Zero-Waste Chef says: Reply

      That would be fine to put the dough directly in the refrigerator. I haven’t made them without baking soda. I would try baking powder if you have any. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and cream of tartar. If you don’t have baking powder, you could just try making these without baking soda altogether.

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