When you own a sourdough starter or ‘levain’, you draw off some starter each week to make a new loaf. After this, you feed the original starter with flour and water and put it back to bed in the fridge. The trouble is, I don’t always want or have the time to bake a loaf, so I end up with unused sourdough starter. Some research turned up an easy way to use up the leftover sourdough starter by making these sourdough crackers.
Zero Waste to the Max!
The thing about sourdough starter is, it’s only flour, water and some wild yeast. It only costs a few cents to make and I could throw it into the compost, but I just *can’t* waste it. As it turns out, these sourdough crackers taste amazing and are a very good facsimile of other savoury crackers and biscuits on the market. Even better is the limited ingredients and effort involved. By looking to reduce waste in our household, I have discovered a way to reduce shopping costs.
I’ve adapted the original recipe from the US based King Arthur Flour website, substituting oil for butter so they will last longer in our hot climate. As a bonus, this also makes them vegan. I have also adapted the temperature and cooking time for Australian kitchens.
There is no end to the flavour combinations or add ins you can try. I suggest doing a plain batch first so you know how your leftover sourdough starter performs. Try adding in or topping with sesame seeds, garlic powder, tomato powder (pizza shapes anyone?), cumin seeds, finely chopped currants, zaatar or sumac. You are only limited by your imagination and what’s in your pantry.
Leftover Sourdough Starter Crackers
- 1 cup leftover sourdough starter (unfed)
- 1/4 cup oil oil
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1/2 tspn salt
- 2 tbsp dried herbs optional (I used 1 tbsp of rosemary)
- coarse salt to sprinkle on top
- Place flour, salt and dried herbs in a bowl.
- Combine leftover sourdough starter and oil together in a jug and add to dry ingredients.
- Mix to create a smooth dough (add a small amount of extra flour if the dough is sticky).
- Divide dough in half and shape each piece into a small rectangular slab. Wrap and place in fridge for 30 minutes up to 2 hours, to allow gluten in dough to relax.
- When ready to roll*, take a slab of dough from the fridge and place between two pieces of baking paper. Roll out until the dough is approx 1.5mm thick. Repeat with second slab of dough.
- Place rolled dough on parchment on baking tray. Remove top piece of parchment and score dough into even squares. I use a plastic ruler, first vertically then horizontally to achieve even sized squares.
- Prick crackers with the tines of a fork, to prevent rising, then sprinkle some salt over the pastry sheets.
- Bake the crackers at 170c (no fan) for 25 minutes. If you are baking two trays at the same time, swap the trays halfway through cooking to ensure even baking.
- Crackers are cooked when they are a light golden brown. Watch them for the last 5 minutes as they will brown very quickly towards the end of the bake.
- Transfer sourdough crackers to a cake rack to cool. When totally cool, place in an airtight container. Pop in a sachet of silica gel if you have one, to draw off any excess moisture.
*If you have a pasta roller, you can use it to run the dough through (which is what I did). It’s probably quicker and ensures the dough is evenly rolled.
Makes: many – at least 30 small crackers
You can spray the pastry with oil to help the salt stick but I find there is enough oil in the mixture already.