Now that the temperature has dropped I am trying to revive my sourdough starter. As this involves regular feeding, I am also revisiting all the recipes I have found for using up the discarded starter!
Aside from making muffins, I have made sourdough crackers, which are incredibly easy and tasty. I started off with a recipe that Martha Delacey posted on Instagram, where you just mix the discard with a little olive oil, salt and seeds of your choice, paint it onto a lined baking tray (silicone mats or liners are ideal) and bake at around 180 C until well browned. This produces strongly savoury, yeasty crackers even from smelly old sourdough discard – great for snacks but a bit rustic, as you can see.
I have since used a recipe I found on love and olive oil, which adds fresh flour to the starter. This produces a more elegant cracker, especially if you have a pasta machine. I don’t but am seriously considering acquiring one after seeing the neat, firm crackers that my friend produced with hers.
You can adjust the type of flour you use according to taste or what you have. The original recipe is American and uses all-purpose and whole wheat flour with a bit of rye. I have tended to use half strong flour (either white or wholemeal), though I haven’t done a comparative test, and if lockdown resumes strong flour may once again become a rare commodity. Adding a little rye flour is good for flavour, but you only need a couple of tablespoons, and the total quantity of flour should stay the same. Note that the quantities in this recipe are for a starter which has the same quantity of flour and water (aka 100% hydration), so if yours has less water in it you will need to up with water accordingly. I generally use 65% hydration for my starter, as it keeps better in the fridge, so I add 70ml water to this recipe.
- 200 grams sourdough starter
- 70g plain or strong flour
- 60g wholemeal flour (or wholemeal & rye)
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried herbs de Provence
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- maldon salt, for topping
Mix the sourdough starter with the flours, olive oil, herbs and salt in a bowl and knead until the dough comes together in a smooth ball. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 175 C/Gas mark 4 and line two baking trays with parchment or silicone mats. Cut the dough in half and put one half back in the fridge while you roll out the other.
Divide the dough into four and roll out each one into an oblong, either with a rolling pin or with a pasta maker (loveandoliveoil recommend a number 6 setting out of 8). Put two oblongs of dough on each baking sheet. Spray or brush lightly with water and sprinkle with the flakes of Maldon salt.
Bake until lightly golden brown and crisp, which should take 12 to 15 minutes. If the heat in your oven is uneven (true of most ovens), then swap the baking trays from top to bottom and turn then from back to front half way through. Allow the crackers to cool before transferring them to a rack, then repeat with the remaining dough.
I have found that the crackers keep for a week or two in an airtight container.