My family loves to snack on crackers. The problem is, you really can't buy healthy crackers. Even the best store bought whole grain crackers are usually made from modern wheat and include ingredients, like unhealthy fats and over processed salt. Not to mention, the grain has not been fermented. But that's ok because these crackers are so easy to make, versatile and delicious, you won't ever want to buy crackers again. What's more, they are whole grain and fermented, making them much easier to digest and more filling than their store bought counterpart. They will leave you with a happy tummy.
If you do have a sourdough starter, you will appreciate that these crackers are a great way to use your sourdough discard. This is a huge bonus for me, since I refuse to waste a drop of my whole grain einkorn starter. I prefer to use a whole grain, einkorn sourdough starter as well as whole grain einkorn flour, but occasionally I change it up with a different flour for a change of pace and flavor. If you eat gluten free, use a brown rice starter and a whole grain, gluten free flour with no added gums, or starches.
Easy Sourdough Crackers
135 g 100% hydration, sourdough starter; about 1/2 cup (This does not need to be active starter. Stir starter before measuring to get a more accurate measurement; especially if your starter is active and full of air bubbles.)
2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil, non-hydrogenated lard, or another fat of your choice; 25 g
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. honey, or maple syrup, optional
60 g. whole grain einkorn flour, or another flour of your choice; about 2/3 cup. *See notes below as different types of flour will affect how much flour you will need to use.
Season to taste with any RealTaste Seasoning, or any seasoning you desire. You can even make a sweet version by topping with cinnamon sugar made with powdered honey, powdered maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Sweet crackers go great with this fruit salsa.
1. Mix together starter, oil, salt, sweetener, if using, and half of the flour.
2. Add the remaining flour gradually, just until dough is not sticky. *See notes below.
3. Cover in an airtight container so it doesn't dry out, and let it ferment for 8-12 hours. Einkorn tends to oxidize in the light, if left out for an extended time, so cover with a kitchen towel, if needed, to keep the dough from being exposed to too much light.
4. Divide dough into 2 balls.
5. Place one ball of dough into a disk shape between two pieces of parchment paper.
6. Roll out dough to 1/16 of an inch thickness. I cut my parchment paper extra big. This gives me room to place a little bit of the paper between the edge of the counter and my tummy as I lean up against it. This keeps the paper from sliding around as the dough is rolled out.
7. Roll your rolling pin in several forward strokes (I do about 5 forward rolls per turn), then turn the paper a quarter of a turn and repeat. Continue turning the paper a quarter of a turn and rolling forward until you have an even thickness and somewhat even shape.
8. Carefully pull the parchment off the dough. It should come off easily, but be gentle right at first.
9. Your dough should be about 1/16 inch thick. If you don't know how thick that is, look at a ruler, one inch is divided into 16 by tiny little lines. Basically, it's about as thin as you can get it.
10. With a pizza cutter, or knife cut off edges where they begin to thin out. The edges tend to burn, because they are thinner, so if you cut off the edges, your crackers will bake up more evenly. Don't worry, we aren't going to throw the trimmed off dough away.
11. Reserve the trimmed off dough and add it to the second portion of dough. Cut off the edges of this batch and roll it out like you have done with the previous dough.
12. Trim off the edges and roll out this last little bit of dough; do not trim the edges off this batch. These last two smaller pieces of cracker dough should fit on one standard baking sheet. They will also cook faster than the previous batches, so watch it carefully. Check after 11-12 minutes of baking time. You can remove the edges if they're getting done faster than the middle.
13. You can make crackers without trimming off the edges; however, I find that I end up with fewer burnt, or overdone edges when I do it this way.
14. With a pizza cutter, or knife, cut dough into squares, rectangles, diamonds, triangles, or any preferred shape.
15. Season to taste. Too much seasoning tends to burn, but not enough and you'll have bland crackers. It may take a bit of trial and error to figure out what you like. I like to use RealTaste seasoning, but use your imagination; anything goes.
16. Trim the excess parchment paper, to fit your baking sheet.
17. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes. This will vary with each oven and depending on how thin you roll the dough. Mine usually bake in about 13-14 minutes.
18. Just like magic, the crackers shrink and separate into crunchy perfection. They should be crisp instead of hard. If they're hard, use less flour and/or roll thinner next time. If they are chewy, pop them back in the oven for a minute or two.
19. Cool completely and store in an airtight container for about a week. Chewy crackers = too much moisture in the dough which = soggy crackers when stored.
To Freeze Dough
If you don't want to bake the dough all at once, you can freeze the dough after, or before ferment time.
After ferment time: Divide the dough into portions; 2 per recipe and place in an airtight container, or bag and place in the freezer. To thaw: remove from freezer and place on your counter for 3-4 hours.
Before ferment time: Divide the dough into portions, 2 per recipe, place in an airtight container, or bag and place in the freezer. To thaw: remove from freezer and place on the counter for 8-24 hours, allowing it to ferment before baking.
I tend to shape my portions in flat disks, as they thaw more quickly than balls.
Different types of flour absorb liquid differently. Add half the flour and then gradually add additional flour just until the dough comes together. Too much flour will make the crackers dense and heavy and too little flour will be too sticky to roll out. The flour will absorb moisture as it sits, so take that into consideration as well.
The humidity can also have an affect on how much flour you will need, so adjust flour by feel, just until it is not too sticky, but not too firm.
If your starter is not whole grain einkorn, and/or a different hydration, the amount of flour will need to be adjusted, so again, add half of the recommended amount of flour and then add additional flour gradually, just until the dough comes together. It should be more sticky and less firm than you think it should be, because the flour will absorb water as it sits. If the dough is too sticky when rolling it out, add a little extra flour to the dough ball and briefly knead to incorporate the flour. Make note of how much additional flour you used for next time you mix up a batch of crackers.
If you have more than 1/2 cup excess starter, go ahead and make a bigger batch. Freeze whatever you don't have time to roll out, for an easy snack on another day.