I’m continually hibernating, then restarting my sourdough starter as I don’t make bread every day. Truth be told, my current starter sat in the back of my refrigerator for 6 months during 2020. To get the starter going again, and then to keep it going, there is a routine of discarding and feeding in an ever perpetuating cycle.
The discarding just doesn’t feel right to me.
Food does not get wasted in this house. Or more aptly, it doesn’t get intentionally wasted. We pickle, preserve, dehydrate, freeze, freeze-dry excess. Food that ends up in the fridge just a bit too long goes to the chickens or in the compost. Dropping half of my starter into the trash bin daily just doesn’t sit well with me; so, I am forever looking for ways to use the discard.
In theory, you should be able to use sourdough discard in any baked good by doing a little bit of math. If you use 1/2 cup of 100% hydration (50/50) starter, you would reduce your flour in a recipe by 1/4 cup and your water or liquid by 1/4 cup. That is in theory. Also, don’t take my word for it; I have had just as many fails as I have had successes. Also, I’m not sure all things need to be sourdough. But that is a discussion for another day. Today, we are talking crackers and they very much benefit from a sourdough lift.
The best thing (in my opinion) about these crackers, and especially if you refrigerate the dough for a day or two after making it, is that they taste like they have cheese in them. The fermentation gives them a taste I liken to the element in cultured butter that is so popular. I’ve told you to hold in the fridge well wrapped for a day or two, but it is not a requirement. I use a pasta machine to roll out the crackers and finish at setting number 6. If you hand roll, get them as thin as you can; I like them paper-thin..but this isn’t about me. If you want to have a bit of fun and use cookie cutters, then roll them a bit thicker, closer to maybe 1mm so they don’t easily break. Play around and find what works best for you and your taste.
- 200 grams sourdough starter discard this recipe calls for 100% hydration starter. If you have a different hydration, you may need to add water or additional flour to get the correct consistency
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 Tbs rosemary or other dried herbs
- sea salt or finishing salt I use maldon crystals, but any larger granule salt will do.
- Stir together the sourdough starter, flour, olive oil and herbs in a large bowl.
- Mix well and then turn out to table to knead well. You do not want a sticky dough, but you also do not want it to be dry and craggy. It will be a bit dense, but should have elasticity to it. It should resemble a firm pasta dough. This is not bread dough, so you don't need to work it until it has windowpane. Just get it nicely mixed and smooth.
- Wrap well in plastic wrap or zip bag and place in the refrigerator for several hours or up to 3 days.
- To bake:
- Preheat oven to 350F and prepare several baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
- Roll out dough using a pasta machine or by hand with a rolling pin to quite thin. Using a pasta roller, I roll to mark 6.
- Place each piece onto the sheet pan. You may slightly overlap if need be, but preference is to keep them slightly apart if possible
- Using a pastry brush, brush each cracker with room temperature water. Don't saturate, but every inch of the cracker should have water on it. Depending on your salt tolerance, sprinkle salt on top.
- Bake until golden brown, approximately 10-14 minutes