I never thought I’d make crackers, I mean, if I could get them for less than a dollar a box, why would I take the time and effort? Besides, rolling out dough is not one of my favorite things. But, when you start reading labels and caring about what’s in the food you’re eating, those cheap crackers don’t look so good anymore. I still by regular Triscuits (three ingredients!) if I have a coupon, but natural and organic crackers are around $2 a box- even with a coupon – so I decided to take the plunge and try making a whole wheat cracker recipe last year.
And I thought if I was going to make crackers, I might as well use the opportunity to use up the sourdough starter I had- especially because this recipe is one of very few sourdough recipes that doesn’t require an active starter. Meaning, you can take the starter out of the fridge and make these right away- a great way to use some starter before feeding it again.
- The dough was really easy to work with and rolled out beautifully without tearing.
- They take only about an hour to make- start to finish.
- They are delicious and my family LOVES them. In fact, they’d probably eat them all in one day if I didn’t ration them a bit!
And one sure way to impress people is to make something that most people have only bought at stores their whole lives (a classic pantry basic). A bag of these crackers along with some cheese or a home-canned topping like Tomato Chutney or Jalapeno Jelly would make a wonderful gift.
If you keep them from being devoured by your family, that is.
I adapted a recipe I found at Heartland Renaissance– I use butter instead of coconut oil, as the flavor of the coconut was too much for us and I adjusted the flavorings a bit, adding honey and less salt, as well as adjusting the cooking time way down. Start by pouring 1 cup of sourdough starter into a large bowl. I always use my stand mixer, but of course it can be made my hand (I then feed my starter and place it in a warm place for 24 hours before putting it back in the fridge).
Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and start the oven heating to 350 degrees.
Shape the dough into a circle with your hands and then start rolling it out on the floured board, turning and flouring as needed to keep from sticking. It’s OK to use as much flour as you need to keep it from sticking- it doesn’t seem to affect the end product.
This is about 1/4- inch thick- a good cracker is a thin cracker, so keep on rolling until the dough is about 1/8- inch thick:
This is how thin you want to aim for- I’m guessing this is about 1/8-inch thick, but I didn’t actually measure it (how?)- what do you think? And it doesn’t tear even doing this, though you can see everything’s pretty well floured.
Use a pizza wheel or a knife to cut the dough into cracker-sized squares (the size is totally up to you- I was aiming for the Wheat-Thin size). I trim off the really ragged edges, but you can see I leave some and we have half-crackers as well as whole ones.
Transfer the crackers to a silicone or parchment-lined cooking sheet and spray with a little olive oil. I found that trying to brush each cracker took way too long and moved them all over the tray as I was brushing, so I just spray them. Make sure that each cracker gets some oil, but don’t worry about each cracker being covered evenly- it doesn’t seem to make a difference when they’re cooked, so it’s not worth the extra time it takes.
Then lightly sprinkle them with fine sea salt. When I tried a coarser salt, they were just too salty, so I’m very careful with salting the tops.
Bake the tray of crackers about 8-9 minutes (rotated halfway through) until they are medium-browned. This is a sheet pulled out then- you can see some are more brown than others- I usually remove the darker ones and replace the sheet in the oven for a few more minutes so the lighter colored crackers can get done. The crackers that are lighter will never crisp up, so they will remain chewy. I’ve found that erring towards the side of too dark is better than too light, as crisper is better than chewy- just keep them from actually burning.
Sourdough Whole Wheat Crackers
- 1 c. sourdough starter
- 1/4 c. butter
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1 c. whole wheat pastry flour + extra for rolling
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- olive oil + salt for topping
- Mix the starter, butter, and honey in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix 1/4 cup of the flour with the salt and baking soda. Add to the large bowl and mix until smooth.
- Add the remaining 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 c. at a time, until a smooth, stiff dough forms. You may need to add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the sourdough starter was “wet.”
- Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Turn the dough out to a well-floured surface and divide into three portions. Roll out one portion, keeping the remaining dough covered, until quite thin (1/8″ or thinner). Use plenty of flour and turn as necessary to keep from sticking.
- Use a pizza wheel or knife to cut into squares and place on a silicone or parchment lined baking sheet. Fill the pan- the crackers don’t expand, so place them quite close together without touching.
- Spray (or brush) the crackers with olive oil- it doesn’t need to be even, just make sure all the crackers get a bit of oil- and sprinkle very lightly with a fine salt. Don’t use too much- it really makes them too salty.
- Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, rotating the pan as needed, until medium brown. Remove crackers as they brown and return pan to oven as needed to brown all the crackers.
- Repeat with remaining dough while the first batch is baking.
Makes 9-10 dozen [/recipe]