Tommy Want a Cracker…Recipe

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sourdough crackers

The art of baking has risen to new heights (har, har) thanks to the idle hands and stir-crazy minds of the homebound during this global pandemic. And in the process, flour now rivals the rarity of toilet paper (and civility) at Costco. Just last week, I found myself in the parking lot of our little island’s darkened movie theater bagging up bulk flour, courtesy of a friend who’s a restaurant owner. I found myself going all gangster, channeling my inner-Sopranos, “Yo, you got the stuff?” Several gallon-ziplock bags later, I was on my way home; the all-purpose white-stuff riding shotgun, Buddy atop the console, and not a cop in sight. Bwah-ha-ha! Take that empty grocery-store shelves!

Since then, I’ve made pies a plenty and bread to boot, but my latest baking revelation came when my friend Kassana dropped off (in a socially-distant way) some of her sourdough crackers. Sweet shingles of crispy goodness, oh Lordy! They were game-changers of what a cracker could be. Their freshness wowed me; flakiness floored me; and flavor delighted me. So I set out to recreate “Kassana’s Kracker” or at least my version of it.

Sourdough starter is a lot like a blog; you’re always having to feed it. The good part is if you keep a sourdough starter, crackers are the perfect solution for using up starter before it consumes you, your kitchen, your house and eventually your neighborhood.

Kassana also makes a killer sourdough bread, but my current interest and attention-span won’t allow me to explore that recipe or process. Using sourdough as a leavening agent takes a sustained effort and dedicated process, and I’m just not ready to commit. I can barely focus on my breakfast plate these days. But crackers, well crackers are different: easy and quick to make, show-stopping in their own way, and substantially better than anything that comes out of a box. And they’ve never met a savory or sweet spreadable they didn’t like.

Let me walk you through this recipe through pics and quips, but note it’s a King Arthur Flour recipe, which is found in the link below.

Sourdough Starter Crackers

Let me begin by sharing the simple and delicious recipe from King Arthur flour: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/sourdough-crackers-recipe. I love their recipes and flours. (This is no paid endorsement, just my appreciation for great products and my love of baking.)

Four basic ingredients: 1 Cup sourdough starter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 Cup all-purpose flour and 4 tablespoons butter. (Add chopped herbs optional)
Mix in a bowl using a pastry cutter or fork or heavy spoon until all ingredients come together.
Form dough into a disk and chill for at least an hour before rolling out, but I wait a day.
Divide disk into three sections, and roll each one thinly.
Cut into preferred shapes and sizes. Here I’m using a pasta cutter/pasta bicycle (affiliate link) to make cracker shapes.
Place cutouts on baking sheet, spaced. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly golden. Crackers will crisp up when cool.

No Sourdough Starter?

Try Flatbread Crackers

Not everyone has sourdough starter sitting around, so here’s an easy cracker recipe from Epicurious.com that doesn’t use it: Crisp Rosemary Flatbread Crackers.

Mix together 1 3/4 Cups of All-Purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 cup of water, and 1/3 olive oil, 1 tablespoon of chopped rosemary or herbs de Provence. I found extra virgin olive too strong for my liking, so I now use neutral oil, like plain olive oil or vegetable oil.
The dough comes right together; it’s not sticky as much as wet. No need to chill an oil dough.
Divide dough into three equal parts and roll out cracker dough on counter or marble. Roll thinner than a pie crust (1/16″) and place on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. For this batch, I added cracked pepper, no herbs.
These flatbread crackers are veritable vehicles for preferred flavors. Experiment and try adding different herbs, or spices, or cheeses to the dough before baking. For my next batch I’ll add about a half cup of parmesan or pecorino and see how that tastes. Awesome, no doubt!

Stay healthy my friends, make crackers, share the love and we’ll get through this, maybe ten pounds heavier, but we’ll get through this together. Now off to the greenhouse to tackle the brambles and limited attention span.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Tom your crackers look so good. I admire your skills. I love the roller thingy you have to cut them in to strips. I will have to look in to buying something like that. I only have the one wheel rotatory cutter.
    I have tried twice to maintain the sourdough starter from King Arthur always pledging to be available for when it arrives and promising to feed it like a good Mom should. I always start off with good intentions and slowly the poor thing is left to die in the fridge. Every time I open my pantry door and see the empty King Arthur sourdough crock I have a slight pang of guilt. I am gluten intolerant but had heard the transmission that occurs when making sourdough makes it safer for me to consume. Alas I most likely have been put on a watch list at King Arthur as an untrustworthy recipient of their treasured sourdough starter.
    Wishing you continued good luck with your flour treasure trove.

    How is Buddy doing with the pandemic? Teddi does not have a clue but for a while he was loving the fact that I had run out of his fresh dog food and he was forced to eat chicken and rice for a few days. Poor baby..Not! lol. That is until I decided to bite the bullet, suit up, and go in to town to stock up again. Then the decontamination when I came home was a pain as well. I have another 5 weeks of fresh dog food for him in the fridge. It is vacuumed sealed so I hope we are out of quarantine by then.

    Wishing you and Buddy a happy and safe summer. Hopefully things will be better by summer.
    Your friend Janet and Teddi says arf, arf to you and Buddy.

    • Hi Janet, yep sourdough starter can be problematic just keeping it going and alive. I use a big Le Parfait hinged-lidded jar, and make something that requires one cup of sourdough during the week, like the crackers or pancakes. Then after removing and using that cup of sourdough, I add one cup of flour and 3/4 cup of water to the jar and stir and return to the fridge. Seems to be doable for me, but only because of my current love of making crackers and pancakes. Now as for Buddy, he is just fine, and pretty much now expects me to be by his side 24/7. At this point, we are lovingly co-dependent. In fact, as I type, he is sleeping over my feet and snoring away. We had a good day indeed. Thank you Janet and Teddi for the arfs are well wishes. Take Care, Tom

  2. Hi, Tom,
    What? You mean you haven’t tried baking pies with those fancy top pastries I sent you? I thank you for the recipes. I don’t have sourdough starter and, like Janet, I know I’d be too lazy to maintain it, so I’ll use the flatbread recipe. I was going to make bread, which I love doing, but it’s almost impossible to get fresh yeast – everybody is baking bread! Sending you and Buddy best wishes. Being “confined” on your lovely farm can’t really be much of a challenge. My property is much smaller than yours, but I do have a lovely garden to play in and I give thanks every day for the privilege!

    • Hi Sandra,
      You are so right. If I have to be self-quarantined, I won’t complain about my sweet farm confines as the place to find myself. It’s funny how yeast is now scarce, too. As for my sourdough, I just keep it in the fridge, feed it once a week with one cup of flour and 3/4 of water, stir and back in the fridge it goes. I usually make crackers once a week, so that reduces my extra sourdough starter in the fridge. Stay well and thanks for the fancy top pastry ideas. I may just try one or two in the coming months.

  3. Hi Tom
    I looked at the instructions for making sourdough starter on the KA site, and it seems like it uses an awful lot of flour with the amount of starter that gets discarded during the 2-week or so process. Can the discarded starter be used? With the flour shortage, I don’t want to waste what precious flour I can get 🙂

  4. Tom, Thanks so much for your entertaining & educational read as always. I too love King Arthur and everything about that employee owned company. I took two four day long baking courses at their Wa school in the past few years.
    I too resisted the lure of sourdough til about 6 weeks ago when a neighbor offered some starter that she had gotten from her Mom in Alaska. Been making sourdough loaves, waffles & crumpets 🙂 Will have to give the crackers a go ! Stay well & healthy 😊

    • Sourdough starter from Alaska is the real deal. They also call anyone who experienced at least one Alaska winter, a sourdough. And I had no idea King Arthur Flour had a school nearby, looks like it’s in the Skagit valley. So great to hear from you, take care and happy baking! Tom

  5. Colleen I totally agree, it’s a ridiculous amount of flour to use to start sourdough and while I haven’t tried it, I bet you could use the discarded initial sourdough in the cracker recipe. And here’s another suggestion don’t bother making it just ask around and I bet one of your friends has a sourdough starter to share. So you get one cup of sourdough starter from your friend put it in a jar add 3/4 cup of water and one cup of flour, stir it up or shake it up, leave it in the fridge for a week and you’re good to go. And I just add those same measurements and ingredients each week, that is after removing one cup of sourdough to bake with each week.

  6. Where did you find that great cutter? I’ve been searching online without any luck.
    BTW I have enjoyed your blog for years. I have been trying to get my husband to agree to getting a bulldog but he is afraid of getting his heart broken when it passes. Any words of wisdom?

    • Hi Sara, thanks for the kind words. As for the cutting gadget it’s called a pasta bicycle, and I love it for cracker cutting and pie lattice tops.
      And you know how I feel about bulldogs. Sure it’s tough to lose one, but I would never trade the joy and laughter shared. I would be a certifiable wing nut right now if I didn’t have Buddy to keep laughing and loving. I’ve homed 4 bulldogs in my life and they lived between 12-14 years and brought sunshine to my life each and every day. Saying goodbye is painful, but the memories are very healing. They’re always underfoot and mugging for your heart if only in your fond recollections. If you live in the Puget Sound region, check out http://www.bulldoghavennw.org – a great organization finding homes and love for bulldogs and their people. Good Luck, keep me posted!

  7. I got some starter from Matt at Camp Colvos, and have yet to bake with it! I have fed it though! I need more time! Gah!

  8. What a delight! I am eyeing that pasta cutter but as I just bought a vintage mouli julienne on eBay (blame David Lebovitz ) I feel I should be circumspect for a while. I thoroughly enjoy learning about your wonderful island life; thank you for sharing.

    • Cheryl, thank you, and sometimes you can find those pasta cutters at thrift shops. I bought mine at our island thrift store for a couple bucks, which I felt was quite the score. Take care, Tom

  9. For Cheese Crackers, I tend to use the cheese straw recipe on Smitten Kitchen (cut in half so I can make the dough in my absurdly small food processor). Makes beautiful faux Cheese-Its. In all the cheesy flavors I can imagine. I MAY have been responsible for ruining the appetite of many a Thanksgiving attendee with cheesy crackers! Thanks for the sourdough info – just resurrecting mine from the fridge.

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