At our family Christmas gathering, my cousin served homemade crackers to go with the assortment of cheeses—blue, goat, gouda, etc—that the rest of us brought. The crackers were made from sourdough starter. She had written about them on her blog, and, while I had thought about them off and on since reading about them, I’d never taken the time to make them. There are so many good store-bought crackers—when I’m struggling to get well-rounded dinners on the table, I’m inclined to let go of the little extras.
But these crackers! More than just good, they were outstanding. My cousin had said they tasted cheesy without having any cheese in them and she was absolutely right. Their secret cheesiness made them kind of incredible, not to mention very, very addictive.
So of course I came home and made them. And then yesterday I made them again, a double batch this time. The kids kept stealing them—heck, I kept stealing them—from the cooling rack, so I had to jar them up so I’d have some left for the evening’s Milkmaid gathering. (To go with the crackers, I cobbled together a simple cheese ball with some leftover walnut cheddar from our Christmas Eve feast. My kids saw the cheese ball and commenced a-wailing, “What! They get cheese ball and we don’t? No fairrrrr!!”)
The great thing about these crackers is that they use up the little bit of leftover starter I have every morning when I’m having a bread-baking week. It’s the easiest thing in the world to just get out another bowl, toss in the bit of leftover starter and then stir in a bit of flour, salt, and butter. After mixing up my second batch of cracker dough, I ran out of time, so I just stuck the dough in the fridge. Then yesterday I rolled the dough out and baked the crackers. The extra wait time in the fridge didn’t hurt them one bit. Translation: refrigerator cracker dough always at the ready!
Adapted from Zoe’s blog Whole Eats Whole Treats.
I like my crackers on the thick side, so a single recipe only yields about a quart. Yesterday’s double recipe made a half-gallon worth. There’s only a few left in the jar. (Update: the jar’s empty.)
I went out and bought granulated garlic for these crackers. I only had garlic powder, and my cousin says it’s easier to work with the granulated stuff. She’s right. It sprinkles more evenly and it has a nicer texture. Also, I like my crackers salty, so I sprinkle the dough with a couple pinches of coarse salt prebaking.
1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup whole wheat flour, slightly heaped
½ slightly rounded teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, softened
coarse salt and granulated garlic for topping, optional
Stir together the starter, flour, salt, and butter. The dough will be soft and sticky—chilling it in the fridge for an hour (or several days) will make it more manageable.
Grease a couple cookie sheets and roll out the dough directly onto the sheets. In the oven, the dough will puff up about double, so plan for their thickness accordingly. Sprinkle the crackers with salt and granulated garlic, if desired. Pass a rolling pin over the crackers one more time, to help the toppings stick. Cut the crackers with a pizza cutter.
Bake the crackers at 350 degrees for 15-30 minutes (or longer—it all depends on their thickness) or until the crackers are golden brown and crispy. The crackers around the edges will brown first—I just pull the pan from the oven every few minutes and remove the ones that are done. I let the last of the crackers, when I finally pull them from the oven, sit on the tray to crisp up even more.
Store in an airtight container.