Discard Starter Sourdough Crackers

I have no issue with sourdough pancakes or waffles from discard starter, but I’m more of a savory “girl” and don’t make pancakes or waffles very often.

BUT. I do NOT throw out unfed starter!

So, this is an alternative to the pancake/waffle thing: crackers!

I’ve been making crackers for many years … even before making sourdough/naturally leavened baked goods. So, I had some tools and experience.

The original starter recipe for crackers is a King Arthur Flour recipe. And if you decide to try crackers, I highly recommend looking at that recipe as well as the many comments. There are great ideas as far as technique and flavorings.

For myself, I have settled on a basic recipe and the technique is to mix the dough in the morning, let it sit for 1-2-3-4 hours, knead, refrigerate until afternoon and then roll via a pasta roller.

The basic recipe is:

113 grams flour
248 grams discard starter
2 T herbs
1/4 cup “fat” … I use olive oil

I usually make double the recipe. I usually roll to 4 on my Atlas Pasta roller, but photos below are rolled to 3 as I was wondering what the difference might be. I like 4 :slight_smile:

After a couple of years making this particular recipe, it takes 10-15 minutes to mix the dough, another 5 to knead at some point and then 1.5 hours to roll, cut, bake and clean up.

End result this weekend’s bake = almost 1 “gallon” volume of crackers.

My process is that I roll the dough in the pasta maker.

Then, score (with a pastry cutter) on silpat on a half sheet baking pan. Coarse salt.

Bake at 400 for 8-12 minutes. Crackers go from just right to “oh, no!” in a flash.

After cooling a bit, I break apart along the score lines (My instagram, breaking crackers)

One note. If you make these and try a fresh baked cracker and it tastes bland … NOT to worry. These take 24 hours to come to full flavor and 48 hours best flavor.

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What kind of flour ???

I meant to include … again, look at the reader comments on the KAF recipe and listen to your own preferences … but my favorite is:

1/2 white all purpose ( mine is WheatMontana All Purpose)
1/4 whole wheat Kamut
1/4 white Kamut
… a little less than both Kamuts and add some semolina

I stick to total grams.

BUT, the beauty of making your own is that YOU choose the flours - YEA!

And herbs. I mostly stick to Rosemary, Garlic, Lemon Pepper. But I also like Fennel and Thyme. Choose your favorites!

These crackers look so lovely I’m going to need to create a discard situation :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for sharing! and also giving the estimated project time - that’s really cool to know.

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Your comment got me thinking about discard starter volume … another thing that probably varies widely depending on how you (each baker) feeds and manages starter.

Up until some of your posts, I had been taking my starter out of the frig day/day 1/2 before … feeding (removing half to discard, feeding 1:1) for a time or 2 and then removing about 1 Tablespoon of starter to which I fed 75 g flour/75 g water and when that was bubbly, active using it for my dough starter. So, about 200 g 100% hydration starter.

So, after watching your Instagram, reading your recipes and you know, thinking … I realized that I could just use 200 grams of my active starter - doh! Which is faster (than after 12-24 doing the additional overnight with the tablespoon and 75/75) as it is ready 12-24 hours after first feed from the frig. So, I’ve done that with success. Downside, is that I have less discard for things like crackers and your Naan dough and your pasta recipe.

My brain hurts :slight_smile:

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These crackers looks so good, i think you should stay with your method, except maybe for when you’re in a hurry :slight_smile:

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I’ve been doing something similar for years with my rye and white flour starters discards. I combine the discards, add olive oil, generally freshly ground SPELT and whatever seasonings I have at hand that sound good to me.

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I needed this:)! Have tried making crackers with rye discard…either dough fell appart or they got so hard after one day to break teeth. when I put salt on it they got soggy…??? Was at a loss how to make crackers. did you ever do with rye discard? Just wondering. If yes, let me know your experience? Thanks

I have not made crackers with rye discard. I make rye bread frequently but use my white starter.

BUT, your question gave me some ideas. I think I will try some rye flour and a caraway-fennel seed mix in place of the herbs.

My advice would be to make the recipe a time or 2 with white discard if you have it, just so you get used to dough consistency, baking time under your conditions.

Now … starter. This recipe is for 100% hydration so starter of 248 grams is 124 grams flour and 124 grams water. You can use less actual starter and sub additional flour and water. Example, if you used 124 grams starter then you would add 62 grams flour and 62 grams water to the other ingredients.

All that to say, that if you only have rye starter, you might try … for a first recipe try to use 124 grams rye starter, and add the 62 grams flour as white flour, i.e. not quite so much rye to start so you could see how it behaved. If all went well, increase the rye starter and/or add more rye to the rest of the flour mix.

thanks. Will give it a try again.:slight_smile:

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I recently baked a third batch of these and am really having fun with the recipe. This time I used coconut oil which I will not do again. Even though the flavor is subtle, it’s there and I don’t think it goes well with the rest. Also, this batch is less crisp for some reason, not sure if it’s the oil. I used some rye flour, maybe 25%. My starter discard is a combination of white, whole wheat and rye because discard is discard so no need to keep separate!

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I’m glad you are enjoying the recipe! Even after years making these, I have variations in crispness … baking time, dough, etc. I feel like I KNOW when the dough is just right and rolling with the pasta maker gives me the best control over even thickness, but a VERY short time one way or the other is what seems to affect crispness for me. BUT … I’ve only ever used olive oil and never any rye so ???

so here my report: my first batch got perfect! yay! I remember when I did it the very first time from the King Arthur recipe I made it with butter acording to the recipe. I did not like that. To me they were too greasy. I like the olive oil! My 2. batch I used 90gr AP, 23gr Rye, 200gr AP Discard and 48gr Rye discard.
39gr Olive/sunflower oil and 5 gr caraway. The dough was a little bit more likely to tear but worked fine when I used very little to go through the pasta machine. The crackers a mean! yummy!
I think the secret is the cold! dough and I like oil better than butter. May try to reduce the amount of oil as well.
My big mistake before was doing it with out any fat. that why they became tooth beakers :frowning:Thanks for encourage me again. Will also experiment with more rye.

Barbara

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YEA!!! You are welcome and thanks for the report back! I think you are correct about the no fat making for hard crackers. This weekend, I am planning on trying some rye with a caraway-fennel seed mix … thanks to your inspiration!

So, I made crackers with rye! White starter and the remaining flour used 1/2 rye. I used a mix of caraway, anise seed and fennel which I blitzed in a mini processor. Just a wee bit of salt. The dough was definitely more “tender” (as you said, more likely to tear) than my typical white-kamut mix. I rolled to 3 instead of 4 in the pasta thingy and even more careful on the bake. Like the white mix, these did not develop full flavor until about 36 hours but YUM! This is a great variation on my usual. Thank you!

So far I haven’t tried putting herbs or seasoning in the dough but rather have sprinkled an herb mix on top before rolling. I’d like to try rosemary in the dough but I’m not sure how much and what kind (fresh or dried) to use. I’m a bit gun shy because rosemary can be over-powering if too much is used. Here’s what I’m striving for: Trader Joe’s has a delicious cracker called Rosemary Italian Style Crackers. I’m not trying to reproduce those crackers, but I AM trying to reproduce the subtle rosemary flavor. I’d love to hear from someone who knows these TJ crackers, has experience making the discard crackers with rosemary, and has some suggestions on amounts and method. Thanks!

I don’t have any of the qualifications needed to answer your questions :joy:, however, I can say that you’ll probably get a more subtle flavor using dried rosemary. I have a couple of rosemary plants and when I bake olive rosemary sourdough bread, I dry out a few stalks first because the family taste testers concluded they prefer that 🤷

I’ve not had the TJ crackers. I started making crackers to replace a rosemary garlic olive oil cracker I’d been buying at $$$.

So, while I cannot speak to a comparison with the rosemary flavor in the TJ crackers and taste is SO subjective … I think my method produces a subtle [to me] rosemary flavor. I use dried rosemary or like Melissa, fresh that I’ve let dry. Although I have used mortar and pestle, I prefer whizzing rosemary, black pepper and a lemon garlic pepper mix in a mini food processor (spice mill size attachment on my stand mixer) so that all becomes not quite a fine powder but definitely ground and no pointy rosemary ends. I sprinkle the herbs on top of the dough ingredients before I even start mixing. After a quick mix, I let the dough sit for 30-60 minutes, then knead briefly, then refrigerate for 4-8 hours before rolling.

The herb measurements … at this point in my making of crackers, I eyeball amounts which I know is not helpful to you. But, I use a tablespoon to add 2 heaping T of rosemary to the blender, 1/4 tsp black pepper and 1 tsp of the lemon garlic … about and probably all heaping and then I smell it and adjust. I know … very scientific and precise…

I’m pretty sure the above is not what you wanted to hear but the point is, I make to my taste which I arrived at through experimenting and that is what I would suggest. What you might do is divide your dough mix in 1/2 or 1/4 and try varying amounts of herbs so that you don’t make an entire batch that is not to your liking. Maybe there is someone out there who has made this recipe AND had the TJ crackers but I think that is a long shot and experimentation might be your best option.

Liz, I made these yesterday and liked your idea of dividing it into two batches so the whole batch wouldn’t be ruined if I got the rosemary wrong. Turns out, the flavor is great: I used rosemary (but forgot to weigh it) that was dried for just one day so not really dry; garlic powder; salt. Used a spice grinder and got the right texture.

But I had other unexpected problems. I wrapped both dough rectangles in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. The olive oil oozed from the dough - like there was much too much. I kept looking at the recipe to make sure I weighed it right (I did). The dough was very soft and never got firm despite refrigeration. I think for the previous batches I reduced the oil a little but this time I didn’t. Before rolling in pasta maker, I blotted with paper towel and dusted with flour. It was so soft I was able to roll one time only on 3 (4 made holes) and that was it. Next time I will definitely cut back on oil. The bake was quite long and they taste fine but who needs all that oil (talk about weight management).

I really agree about the flavor coming out with time. I baked them last night and they taste much better today.

Also, in my research I started looking at the KA recipe and reviews (270 of them!) and came across some great ideas for flavoring/seasoning. I’m noting them down and when I’m done (I’m getting good at skimming…) I’ll start a separate thread.

I’m glad you got a rosemary taste you like!

About the olive oil. I’ve never reduced the oil. Since my flour is cool (not refrigerated, just in a cool corner), but my discard starter is out of the frig so cold, I find that the olive oil sometimes clumps up … must combine with some of the cool stuff ??? Anyway, I knead the dough a bit before refrigerating and sometimes add a bit more flour if it feels too wet. I refrigerate in a bowl with a loose “shower cap” type cover vs wrapped tightly. I’ve never had the oil ooze out at all. I do usually lightly knead the dough after it has warmed up and I flour the bits before putting them through the pasta roller, much like you do when rolling pasta … so, I’m adding flour in that way. The only time the dough was particularly tearable was my recent use of rye … expected with rye, though.

Yes, a LOT of comments and good ideas on that KA thread. I haven’t tried adding cheese but I do often add nutritional yeast when I remember and that gives a little cheese taste.

More on the oil and dough consistency: every time I’ve made these since I posted the recipe I kind of think … did I write that I do this or that … little things I do to “adjust”. And since some question re the oil and the dough consistency, I took more photos this past weekend when I made these.

Above photos is all of the ingredients barely mixed. This is as far as I go at first. You can see the yellow clumps which are the olive oil bound and clumped with some of the flour.

I let it sit at room temp and then flour the counter and hand knead to a smooth consistency:

At this point, the dough is soft and tacky … a bit “oily”, but it doesn’t stick to my fingers:

At this point, I cover the dough with a plastic shower cap kind of thing so not airtight or wrapped tight. I usually roll and bake 3-6 hours later.

When I cut the dough for the pasta roller, I have lots of flour and usually flour between every 2 changes in roller thickness.

I have not been tempted to reduce oil, although I don’t think a little reduction would hurt since I am generally adding more flour. But, I have very happy with how crisp these bake and with taste so I’ve stuck to the amount and my evolved method.