Few things teach patience the way the simple combination of water and flour does when working with sourdough starter. Baking with it requires time, an ingredient for which there are no shortcuts. These seed crackers, made using discard before feeding your starter, are one example where sourdough starter offers instant gratification —or at least as close as you can get to instant, since they do require mixing up a few ingredients and turning on the oven. The result is a cracker perfect to pair with cheese plates, tuck into lunch boxes, and make a great snack on their own.
The initial motivation was to find a delicious way to use up the discard to prevent kitchen waste, but you can also use active starter (not to be confused with yeast, but an actual starter that has been fed) to make these crackers.
It’s important to follow the basic starter, flour, and oil amounts in the recipe below, but from there, feel free to put your own unique twist on these sourdough seed crackers. Raid the spice cabinet, and add some flair with smoked paprika, chili pepper, cumin, and coriander. Freshly grated orange zest is a wonderful addition, too.
A silicon liner comes in handy for making them, although parchment paper works fine. The dough will seem clumpy, and hard to mix together at first. Don’t worry. A few vigorous stirs with a wooden spoon, and you’ll see it forms somewhat sticky, stretchy dough in about a minute. Rolling it out is very simple, and don’t get too crazy or fussy about getting it to form a perfect rectangle, or stress if it tears slightly in a few places. These crackers are perfect even with imperfections.
The last note before you set out to make these sourdough seed crackers is it helps to score them before baking. Scoring simply means using a sharp knife, pizza wheel, or pastry wheel to precut them, this way they break apart easily once baked and cool. You can cut squares, long strips, or diamonds. The shape you cut doesn’t affect the baking time, but it is important to roll the dough super thin for the baking time noted below. If you prefer a thicker cracker, you’ll need to add additional baking time.
- 1/4 cup/60 grams unfed sourdough starter discard
- 3 tablespoons/25 grams whole wheat pastry flour (plus more for rolling out)
- 4 teaspoons/20 ml olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon/2 grams sea salt
- 1 tablespoon/11 grams seeds (sesame, poppy, sunflower, fennel, nigella, or a mix)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a sheet pan with a silicon liner or parchment paper.
In a medium-sized bowl, add the starter, flour, flaxseed meal, oil, salt, and seeds. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until well mixed, about 1 minute.
Place the cracker dough in the center of the pan, and press it down into a rectangle. Dust the top of the dough with more flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a paper-thin rectangle (it’s okay if the shape isn’t perfect). You’re aiming for at least 1/16-inch thickness.
Use a pizza wheel to “score” the dough into squares (so they break apart easily after baked).
Bake 15 to 18 minutes until golden and crisp. Let cool for 15 minutes before breaking apart.
Serve immediately, or store in a tightly sealed jar or tin for up to 1 week.