Whole-Grain Sourdough Crackers {vegan option}

These easy homemade crackers are richly flavored with butter, whole grain spelt or wheat flour, and sourdough starter. A great way to use up excess sourdough! 

Homemade Crackers with Sourdough

Homemade Crackers FTW

It was a revelation when I learned that baking homemade crackers takes about the same effort as making sugar cookies. Of the many recipes I tried over the years, my favorite came from William’s Sonoma’s Essentials of Baking. The recipe was akin to making pie dough, using the biscuit method of cutting or rubbing butter and shortening into the dry ingredients, then adding enough heavy cream to make a firm dough.

Whole-Grain Sourdough Crackers

Sourdough Crackers

When I inherited a gorgeous sourdough starter, I began experimenting with baking sourdough crackers, mainly as a way of using up my constant barrage of discard starter. I tried a few different recipes with lackluster results. Most called for baking soda, which had the dually unpleasant effect of diminishing the delicious sourness of the dough, and creating a dry, brittle texture when reacting with the acidity of the starter.

I decided to be brave and try something different. Using the Williams Sonoma recipe as a springboard, I swapped the shortening for all butter, and the heavy cream for sourdough starter. For extra flavor, I brushed the crackers with olive oil and a sprinkle of flaky salt before putting them in the oven. They bubbled up beautifully in the oven, emerging as proud, rustic cracker perfection. Jay calls them “crackhead crackers,” referring to their addictive qualities: crisp, flavorful, and an ideal accompaniment to any cheese or spread.

Flavoring Sourdough Crackers

These sourdough crackers are delicious plain, but you can also dress them up with whatever toppings you like! Some of my favorites are:

  • nutritional flake yeast and curry powder (pictured)
  • minced rosemary and black pepper
  • fresh thyme lemon zest
  • grated parmesan and fresh oregano
  • smoked paprika and grated manchego
  • Add 1 tablespoon seeds (sesame, poppy, mustard, cumin, or a combination) to the dough, and top the crackers with more seeds

I love serving these with spreadable goat cheese flavored with lemon and herbs – recipe below!

Looking for more ways to use sourdough starter? Try these sourdough recipes:

Homemade Sourdough Crackers

A few recipe notes:

In this recipe, the sourdough starter acts more as a flavor enhancer than as a leavening, but the crackers do bubble up more than the original recipe. The resting dough may rise a bit from the starter, but it’s fine if it doesn’t, as the crackers get most of their leavening from the steam the butter gives off when it hits the heat of the oven. For this reason, the starter can be active and bubbly, or older and flat, just as long as it still smells and tastes pleasant. When I feed my starter in preparation for baking bread, I save what I pour off in a jar in the fridge. After a few feedings, I have enough to make these crackers. Weighing the starter will be more accurate than using a volume measure, since the bubbles will vary.

My starter is the consistency of a thick, pourable pancake batter. The amount of starter needed to bring the dough together will vary with the moisture content of each particular starter, so add it slowly, like adding ice water to pie dough, until the dough just comes together. The starter can be either cold or room temperature.

The dough can be made a couple days in advance and stored in the fridge, or frozen for a month or two. (The acidity from the starter can turn the dough grey if stored in the fridge for too long.) Bring the dough up to room temperature before rolling it out.

The baked crackers will keep for a couple weeks, stored in an airtight container. They can be topped with a variety of lovely things. Suggestions follow!

*Bojon appétit! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow along on Instagram,  Facebook, or Pinterest, purchase my gluten-free cookbook Alternative Baker, or subscribe to receive new posts via email. And if you make these homemade sourdough crackers, I’d love to see. Tag your Instagram snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet  and  #bojongourmet.*

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Homemade Sourdough Crackers {whole-grain}

Print Recipe  /  Pin Recipe
Use up your discard starter in these addictive and easy to make crackers! Keep them simple or flavor them with whatever you like; see suggestions below. 
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Resting time: 20 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 60 small crackers (2 1/2 sheet pans, or 4 dozen large).
Author: The Bojon Gourmet

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour (whole spelt or whole wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (use vegan butter to make these vegan!)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups liquid sourdough starter, or enough to make a firm dough (8 - 12 oz.)
  • a few tablespoons olive oil for brushing
  • coarse sea salt (such as maldon) for sprinkling

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal, and no large chunks remain. Gradually mix in the starter until the dough begins to clump together, adding more starter directly to the crumbly bits as necessary to make a very firm dough, similar in consistency to pie dough. Gather into a ball, and knead a few times to make sure the dough is homogenous.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap or a plastic bag, and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes to and hour, or in the fridge for a day or two.
  • Preheat the oven to 350º. Line two half sheet pans or cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half, and keep one half covered with plastic while you work with the other. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough as thinly and evenly as you can without tearing it. Brush the crackers all over with a thin layer of olive oil and top with a light sprinkle of salt or any other desired topping (see below). Using a pizza wheel or large knife, cut the crackers into whatever shapes you like, such as rectangles, diamonds, or squares. Transfer crackers to the sheet pans and repeat with the second half of the dough.
  • Bake the crackers for about 15 minutes, rotating them front to back and top to bottom halfway through, or until they are golden brown. They will still be a bit soft, but will crisp up when they cool. If they are not crisp enough, return them to the oven. Let cool. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Notes

VARIATIONS:
Other topping suggestions:
  • nutritional flake yeast and curry powder
  • minced rosemary and black pepper
  • fresh thyme and lemon zest
  • grated parmesan and fresh oregano
  • smoked paprika and grated manchego
  • add a tablespoon of sesame, poppy, mustard, or cumin seeds (or a combination) to the dough, and top with more seeds
Serving suggestion: Mix some fresh goat cheese with enough milk or heavy cream to make it spreadable. Add minced basil, lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste.
Nutritional values are based on one cracker

Nutrition

Calories: 30kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 2mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 4mg | Vitamin A: 0.5% | Calcium: 0.1% | Iron: 1.1%
Making this? I'd love to see!Tag your snaps @The_Bojon_Gourmet and #bojongourmet!

8 thoughts on “Whole-Grain Sourdough Crackers {vegan option}”

  1. I have tried a few sourdough cracker recipes, and this is the best. I do wonder if the results were so magnificent because I left the dough in the fridge a couple days, but this is now my go to recipe. Holds up well to rolling, pulling, cutting. Think I'll try some baking soda hot water next time to pretzel-ize them. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Made the water brushed version this morning. The batch I brushed on both sides has the most pretzel flavor. But all batches brushed at least once turned out a nice brown color, not burnt :)

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