If you are looking for an easy way to use up some of your “old” sourdough starter, look no further than this sourdough crackers recipe! It is one of my favorite ways to use up the discarded starter from refreshing. In fact, I love it so much that this past weekend I pulled the starter out of the fridge to refresh it, all so I could get some old starter to make these sourdough crackers 🙂
What if I Don’t Have a Sourdough Starter?
If you don’t have a sourdough starter, just divide the amount of starter used in this recipe in half. Substitute that amount each of flour and water. You should end up with a similar dough consistency. Of course, you will be missing out on some major flavor that the starter provides! So a better option here is to read my post on sourdough starter to get your own underway!
Prepping the Sourdough Starter
Because I don’t refresh my starter very often, I still discard the first split when I refresh. After that, I check the smell of the starter next time I go to refresh. If it does not have a strong alcohol smell, I will use it in recipes like this one. Of course, if you are keeping your starter out and feeding regularly every 12 hours, you could just save the discard in the fridge until you’ve accumulated enough to use. I’ve found that the discarded starter can be held in the fridge for 2-3 days before using in a recipe like this, where you don’t need the actual leavening of the starter to rise your dough. Again, if saving, just watch out for that alcohol accumulation and strong smell.
Flavor Components for Sourdough Crackers
You can make this sourdough crackers recipe with any number of flavors. This seeded version I give here is my favorite so far. The notes in the recipe give a few other flavor ideas too. Try a few out and see which one is your favorite!
The olive oil in this recipe gives the dough a tenderness, and adds just a touch of richness to the sourdough crackers. You could substitute in any fat of your choice. For the salt, you can add it to the dough like I do here. Or if you prefer, you can use a larger crystal salt like kosher, and sprinkle it on top of the crackers after you roll them out. This would give a nice salty edge, if you like that.
Your imagination is really the limit here! If you don’t like whole wheat, use 100% all purpose white flour. For thin and crispy crackers, roll the dough out really thin and bake until nicely browned. If you prefer a cracker with just a little give, don’t bake as long. Or if you like your crackers thicker but still crunchy… don’t roll the dough out as thin, and bake it well. Play around with the variables, and see what you like the best.
If you are keeping a sourdough starter in your kitchen, then you should have plenty of discard starter. Experiment with it and perfect your own sourdough cracker recipe. My goal here is just to give you some pointers to follow. Enjoy the process!
How to Minimize Air Bubbles in Your Sourdough Crackers
One last pointer – if you don’t know what a “dough docker” is, or have never used one – they are great! You use it to roll across the dough once it is in its final shape. It puts little indents/tiny holes into the dough to help minimize air bubbles while baking. I use one instead of a fork. It’s great for making pie crusts, and any other type of dough where you don’t want a lot of air bubbles introduced during baking. Click here for a link to the one I use.
Freeze the Sourdough Cracker Dough for Later
You can also make a big batch of this sourdough cracker dough and freeze it to bake later. I do this all the time when I have extra starter left over from a baking session. I have found that ~200g of dough is about right to roll out for one cookie sheet. So, I freeze that size dough ball, wrapped in saran. The frozen dough will last for up to 6 months (and maybe longer). Give it 24 hours to thaw in the fridge, or even less on the counter. Then simply roll out and bake fresh crackers with less than 5 minutes of hands on time!
- 300 g mature 100% hydration sourdough starter (1-3 days since being refreshed, stored in the fridge since last feed)
- 75 g whole wheat flour
- 75 g all-purpose flour
- 3 tbsp EVOO
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- Water (add as needed to bring the dough together)
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 tbsp golden sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp black sesame seeds
- If stored in the fridge, pull the starter out to come up to room temperature before you begin.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Pull out the mixer with the dough hook attachment, if you have one. If you don't have a dough hook, use the paddle attachment to start, and then finish off kneading into a ball by hand once the dough gets too stiff for the paddle.
- Combine starter, EVOO, seeds, salt, and half the flour in the bowl of the mixer.
- Start mixing, using the recommended manufactuer's speed for the dough hook (2 on my KitchenAid mixer).
- Add in the rest of the flour while you continue to mix – adjusting the final amount up or down, as needed.
- Add water as needed to bring the dough together.
- Knead for just 1-2 minutes (up to 5 if by hand), until the ingredients are evenly incorporated, and the dough feels nice and pliable. It should be smooth and soft but not tacky. Since you are not trying to achieve any gluten formation (as when making bread) not much kneading is required.
- Form a nice ball, cover, and let rest ~10 minutes.
- Split the dough evenly, targeting 200-225g per section. If you started with 300g of starter, you should have enough for 3 portions of dough.
- To roll out: use a rolling pin, and roll out the dough on either a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. If using parchment paper, pre-cut it to fit your half sheet baking pan. Roll the dough as evenly and thinly as possible until it will fill the baking sheet. Pay special attention that the edges get rolled thin as well. If the dough is too elastic and you are having trouble with it not spreading, try pulling the dough off the Silpat periodically to get some air underneath, then continuing to roll. This can help it to stretch better and result in a thinner final product.
- Once rolled out, use a fork or pastry dough docker to mark the dough and minimize bubbling while baking.
- Finally, cut into ~1 inch squares. A pizza cutter works really well for this!
- Transfer the Silpat or parchment to the baking sheet, and bake at 350°F for ~40 minutes. Rotate once through the baking time, and adjust time as needed until the crackers are hard to the touch and lightly browned
- Cool, and store sealed for up to 10 days.
- Plain, with just sea salt, or sea salt and pepper
- Rosemary and fresh cracked pepper
- Cumin and oregano
- Other herb combinations (herb de provence, Italian mix, etc)
- Change out the fat for a different flavor profile. Try using something like coconut oil, or bacon lard.
- Crushed red pepper for a spicy kick!
- Add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast for a bit of a cheesy taste.