We’ve been slowly moving away from any processed foods in our household, and crackers have been a holdout. I never could seem to get something that was crisp enough and with enough flavor. At the same time, as I started baking more and more bread and experimenting with wild yeast/sourdough, I discovered that a starter can quickly get out of hand unless you bake a LOT of bread. So in desperation, I started looking for recipes that required a pretty good amount of starter.
This recipe solved both my problems – a great crispy cracker that uses a full cup of starter for each recipe.
Try this one if you’ve got starter that is growing like the blob! And it turns out, crackers are really easy provided you do two things: first, roll the dough out as thin as you possibly can, and second, don’t wait until the crackers are crisp in the oven to take them out. They WILL get crispy as they cool.
My first cracker adventure turned out baskets full of something akin to hardtack. So tough that you could hardly break them!
Nope, these are not your grandmother’s Saltines! These are yummy, crispy, and soooo easy to make with real ingredients – not an unpronounceable ingredient on the list! No preservatives either, though I guarantee they won’t last long enough to need them!
Cracker Dough Base:
1 C sourdough starter (mine is whole wheat – equal amounts of flour and water)
1/3 cup melted butter
1 C flour plus small amount to roll out dough
In a small bowl, combine starter and melted butter – make sure the butter isn’t too hot.
Add the flour and stir well. When it becomes too stiff to stir, knead it in the bowl to incorporate all flour.
Cover and set aside for at least 8 hours or overnight.
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt
seasonings of your choice – 1/2 to 1 tsp depending on how flavorful you like them
“add ins” of your choice – 1 to 2 tbs
1/2 tsp baking soda
Knead the seasonings and baking soda into the cracker base, making sure they are incorporated throughout.
Divide dough into quarters. One quarter at a time, roll the dough very, very thin on a sheet of parchment paper. The thinner your dough, the quicker it will bake.
When the dough is as thin as you can make it, cut into squares with a pizza cutter. Then remove any small pieces that don’t make up whole crackers and toss them back in the bowl with the reserved dough. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and run your rolling pin over it once, lightly.
Slip a baking sheet under the parchment paper and put both into the hot oven (400o). Bake for about 10 minutes – the outer ones should be done, the inner ones will be slightly soft. You can back for another 2 or 3 minutes if they are really soft.
Cool on rack or paper and they will crisp up as they cool.
Flour – use any flour: whole wheat, Einkorn, unbleached white, rye – if the dough is too wet – i.e. too oily – add just a little more flour. You’ll find that flour from grains with lower/weaker gluten (like Einkorn) may not absorb the oil as well, so you may require more.
Oil – use butter, lard, bacon fat, olive oil, organic vegetable oil, or a combination.
Spices/flavoring – try any of these spice alternatives, remember to add the salt and baking soda, then add the spices/flavoring. Add as much as you like, but start with a smaller quantity, you can always add more:
1) 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder and mix in 1/3 C of finely grated Parmesan cheese
2) 1/2 tsp Menudo mix – contains oregano, onion flakes, coriander seed, cumin, and crushed red chili pepper
3) 1/4-1/2 tsp lemon pepper
4) 1/2 tsp Mrs Dash spices (your choice of several combinations)
5) 1/2 tsp (or a little more) of Herbes de Province
Add-ins – sesame seeds (black and/or white), flax, millet, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds, quinoa, chia seeds. The thicker seeds will make it harder to roll really thin, and when you cut the crackers you may have to be careful when you go over a seed.