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Whole Wheat Sourdough Cracker Recipe

If you started your sourdough starter last week, it can be used as a sourdough cracker starter. Try your hand at something with it like this sourdough cracker recipe. 

This is a guest post from Sarah Wood, a KS reader. (But I use the same sourdough cracker recipe with whole wheat!)

sourdough whole wheat crackers

Sourdough Cracker Starter 

I am relatively new to sourdough baking. But I have learned a few things. And one of those things is that a sourdough starter needs to be fed regularly. And in order to keep it from growing obese and overtaking your whole kitchen, you’ve got to take some starter out of the “active bowl” and “discard” it.

Being a faithful kitchen steward, I would never actually discard perfectly good flour and water (and yeast)!

“Discarded starter” refers to sourdough starter that is not being fed and is therefore losing its oomph. It doesn’t have enough power to rise bread, but those yeasty beasties can still have one more chance to serve a purpose in life. (Katie’s note: a lot of sourdough instructions say to toss out starter and feed a whole cup of flour. Yikes! I just feed it a few Tbs at a time to keep the lactic acid happy. As long as you have bubbles, you’re not starving the thing.)

How It Began:

The whole reason I even got into sourdough baking is because I became acquainted with Nourishing Traditions which revolutionized my whole food paradigm. So I couldn’t be satisfied to simply “use up” my extra starter in pancakes or pizza crusts with white flour. I wanted to find recipes in which I could use whole grain flours and soak the flour.

This week I’ll share some recipes I’ve adapted that use discarded or inactive starter and allow you to properly prepare whole grain flours. Sourdough fermentation will help you make some wholesome, nutrient-dense food. (Note from Katie: fermenting sourdough is even better than regular “soaking,” and even “inactive” starter will break down a great deal of the phytates and neutralize the phytic acid. See this post on the health benefits of sourdough for more.)

How to Make Sourdough Starters into Crackers

I only maintain one starter which is fed unbleached white flour. That is what I have used in all of the recipes for this week, but I think starters fed on other sorts of flour will work just fine too. I also soaked most of these recipes up to 24 hours before I learned that seven hours is sufficient for whole wheat, so don’t worry if you leave it for longer!

WHOLE WHEAT CRACKERS

Sourdough Crackers Recipe

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sourdough whole wheat crackers

Sourdough Whole Wheat Crackers

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Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 c. “discarded” sourdough starter
  • 1/4 c. room temperature lard from pastured pork (or coconut oil or softened butter)
  • 1 c. whole wheat or spelt flour, or as much as you need to make a stiff dough
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
  • Olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!) for brushing
  • Coarse salt (such as kosher salt) for sprinkling on top
  • Equipment:
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Baking sheet and a Silpat type non-stick baking mat OR a baking stone such as Katie used for her cracker recipe OR parchment paper
  • Rolling Pin (or a glass jar, see comments for successful tip!)
  • Pastry Brush (optional)
  • Pizza Cutter


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Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the sourdough and the lard and mix thoroughly.
  2. Mix the salt in with 1/4 cup flour and add to the sourdough mixture. Knead it all together in the bowl, adding as much flour as necessary to make a stiff dough.
  3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or put a lid on the bowl to prevent it from drying out.
  4. Leave the dough at room temperature for at least seven hours.
  5. Seven or more hours later, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit .
  6. Take a small portion of the dough (about 1/4 cup) and roll it out on a Silpat or other nonstick baking mat using a rolling pin, until it is very thin.
  7. Pour a little bit of olive oil on the rolled out dough and spread it to the edges of the dough with a pastry brush or your hand.
  8. Sprinkle liberally with coarse salt. (I tried these with fine sea salt and it really wasn’t as good as the kosher salt!)
  9. Cut the dough vertically and horizontally into quadrangles with a pizza cutter.
  10. Transfer the Silpat onto your baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until just golden brown. Repeat in batches.
  11. The crackers shrink a little bit in the oven, so when you pull out your baking sheet, they will already be separated and you don’t have to try and transfer the delicate dough from one surface to another.
  12. UPDATE: For extra crispy crackers, If you have space and baking stones to suffice, simply turn the oven off with the crackers still inside. They’ll crisp up just lovely as it cools down. NOTE: Do not use this method with an electric oven, as it will still create heat even once turned off. You’d have to let quite a bit of heat out by leaving the door open for a few minutes, then check the crackers every 10 minutes or so until they’re crispy but not burnt.

Notes

* These crackers are absolutely delightful! I suspect it is the lard that makes them so nice. Crisp yet tender.

* I must confess I haven’t tried the recipe with coconut oil or butter, but if you don’t have access to lard from pastured pork, those are good alternatives.

* This dough freezes well and you can easily defrost one or two batches at a time so that you can have fresh crackers every day! I made a double batch of dough and let it “soak.” Then I divided it into eight equal portions which I shaped into balls and then froze. It takes 1-2 hours for the dough to defrost. Then place it on your Silpat or baking stone and continue with the recipe.

* Add some fun flavors by using a Tbs. or two of tomato paste (in glass jars, no BPA!) and fresh or dried basil in the dough (the triangle shapes in the photos are a tomato-basil recipe). What other herbs would you want to try?

Katie here: I make the same crackers from Sarah’s recipe, and they are excellent! I have used both coconut oil and butter and lard and palm shortening with great success. I roll and cut the dough directly onto my baking stone and that works great. I used to think they might be too sour, but then my babysitter and her friend ate half the batch once. If they appeal to pre-teens, anyone might love them!

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sourdough crackers recipe

Have you made your sourdough starter yet? Will you try this sourdough cracker recipe?

 

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

28 thoughts on “Whole Wheat Sourdough Cracker Recipe”

  1. Delicious! I used butter as I don’t have lard. Worked perfectly! And, go for the extra crispy. No lie, they taste like Cheese-its but healthier. Gave some to my neighbor and she loved them. Thanks!






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  3. Zooland Baker

    I am glad to find this recipe using “discarded” starter. I have mixed it up and it is now sitting in a covered bowl.

    Is this dough supposed to rise?

    I have not rated the recipe because I have not completed it yet, but so far all is good.

    Thanks.

    Zooland Baker

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  6. I am a closet crackerhead and have been baking whole grain crackers for several years, using a recipe from Peter Reinhart most of the time. However they were hard to roll out and usually tasted a bit too “healthy”, which meant I ended up being the only person who ate them.
    Having baked sourdough bread for a couple of years now, I was eager to find recipes for goodies other than bread. How nice to find this one!
    I have made the recipe at least five times now: twice with whole wheat flour, once with whole wheat and white flour, and a couple of times with a pre-bought mixture of wheat, spelt, and rye. I have at various times added smoked paprika, ground szechaun pepper, and spicy seasoned salt, and also made a batch with ground almonds, dessicated coconut and a touch of brown sugar. Most of the times I add rapeseed (these are crunchy little black seeds) and a mixture of sunflower seeds, sesame, buckwheat groats and linseed. Although the seeds soak and expand, they get nice and crispy when baked. Up until now I have always used coconut oil which departs a wonderful aroma. And just now I am baking a batch to which I added some grated Sbrinz, which is a Swiss parmesan.
    Since none of my fellow crackerheads care for a sour flavor, I try to let the dough sit no more than the suggested 7 hours, which results in a neutral taste of the dough.
    These crackers are a breeze to roll out. I use a piece of parchment paper on top of a Tupperware mat with markings, which are helpful to cut more or less even shapes, and bake them on a regular baking sheet.
    Thanks ever so much for such a great recipe! I’m in cracker heaven. 🙂






  7. Betty Ballard

    Sarah, Thank you for your response. Good to know about your leaving the dough for 24- hours. I fell asleep while waiting for the end of the 7-hours, leaving the dough out on the counter. 8-hours later, I discovered the dough to be very pliable, like fresh play dough; non-sticky. I formed it into 3-fat patties, fast-froze it bare; then, put in a zip-lock bag, and put back into the freezer for later baking. I retained 1/2-cup of the old starter; refreshed with 1/2-cup water, 1-scant cup of flour, and put in the oven with the light on. It looks very active, increasing in volume with a lot of bubbles, but it has no sour smell at all. Until I get sour-smelling dough, my plan is to continue with the feeding process; saving the discard for pizza, cracker dough. I have access to teens who like to make their own pizza, and will get healthy, organic dough…no waste.

  8. Betty Ballard

    I really like your site and the wonderful recipes. I’ve been experimenting with making a sourdough starter. Not wanting to throw any away, I’m using some of your recipes. I have just finished mixing the Sourdough Whole Wheat Crackers; I’m at Step 4 – ” to leave at room temperature for 7-hours”; the next step #5 instructs: “7-more hour later, preheat oven”. Are you saying they are to sit for 14-hours?
    Also, At what point can the dough be frozen?
    I have 2-big balls of the cracker dough and need to freeze it. Also, This recipe is referred to as a Soaking recipe. This is a new term.. I followed the recipe exactly as written. I did not see any instructions on when or how to soak the dough. I’ve Googled the term, and I conclude that dough soaking is in reference to dough rising. Thank you for sharing your recipes and expertise. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Betty!
      Great questions! Just read step 5 as if it’s separate fro step 4 – so 7 hours total, minimum. I typically just do mine overnight and have left it as long as 24 hours, no problem. You can freeze the dough either before or after the “soak” time, which is one way to describe the souring time on the countertop. If you freeze right after mixing the dough and before the soak, you’d just leave it at room temp for a few more than 7 hours to allow it to fully thaw and then come up to room temp.

      Technically, soaking and sourdough are different processes, but the purpose is the same. You can read more about the soaking grains process here if you’re interested: www.kitchenstewardship.com/seriescarnivals/soaking-grains-an-exploration/

      Enjoy your starter!
      🙂 Katie

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  15. We love this recipe! My kids think they taste like cheese-itz, so they just call them “itz.” I’ve even made them with a gluten free starter and flour, they are simple and easy to make. Thank-you!






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  19. Turned out great for my first go at these. I used coconut oil and brushed some w butter and topped some w/cheddar cheese. I am a spice girl so I really enjoyed the crackers I made w/ cayenne.
    I missed the part about making my final dough smooth so started rolling w sticky sticky dough. To fix this problem I added flour to my small ball of dough then patted into a round and as I rolled w a rolling pin I sprinkled w flour, flipped, sprinkled, rolled, repeated until dough was cracker thin/ folded dough in half to transfer to small baking pan (used a convection toasted oven).
    Nice thin crispy crackers.

  20. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much with these. But….they were fantastic!!! My new favorite homemade cracker recipe and I’ve tried lots of recipes. Super crisp, excellent flavor, and not sour at all. Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!!!

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