Spicy Cheddar Sourdough Crackers
Homemade sourdough crackers are absolutely amazing!
I recently created a sourdough starter, who I affectionately call Marty. If you would like to learn about Marty and begin the process for yourself, I have included the link to my previous blog post here. It has been a very enjoyable and educational experience thus far. Sourdough starters are resilient but certainly seem to have a mind of their own. Even though I followed the instructions to a T, Marty still seemed to grow at his own pace. He started off slow, but he’s really growing now! In many ways, starters are like children. No two are alike, so there’s no use comparing them to others. As long as you love them and care for them properly, they will grow up just wonderfully.
Sourdough starter must be fed daily, sometimes twice a day depending on your routine. One thing I was not really aware of when I first began feeding my sourdough is that you have to discard part of your starter after each feeding. Basically, you replenish the part you’re discarding with the new food consisting of flour and water. You have to do this, unless you want an unmanageable amount of starter (and ultimately a waste of even more flour). Plus, it would be hard to find a container to hold it all as time goes on.
Sourdough Discard Uses
As soon as I started my sourdough starter, I knew I did not want to throw it away in the trash. I hate wasting food, even it is just fermented flour and water. Fortunately, a quick Google or Pinterest search for “sourdough discard recipes” yielded thousands of results. I quickly settled on King Arthur Flour’s website where they list out 16 lovely recipes to use with your sourdough discard. Here is the link in case you’re curious:
The sourdough crackers caught my eye because they are simple, fast, and looked tasty. I have made crackers in the past, but they ended up being more like a pie crust rather than crackers. This recipe is a real keeper! I did deviate from the recipe by cutting it in half, adding cheese and cayenne pepper, and using all-purpose flour. These little bites are reminiscent of a Cheez-It but with some heat! They are literally addictive.
Once you have an established starter, you may store in the refrigerator long-term. With refrigerator storage, it only needs to be fed about once a week, thus making it extremely low-maintenance. Marty is now 10 days old, so he is still growing on the counter. He seems to be doubling in about 6 hours, so I started my first loaves of sourdough bread this afternoon. I am truly excited and will share the results (good or bad). I have shared the process thus far on my Instagram stories.
In the meantime, I am going to keep making these crackers with my discard. I used a fluted cutter to make the wavy edges, but a pizza cutter would work just fine. They are perfectly airy yet crunchy and full of flavor. The salt on top is just perfect! You may want to make a sourdough starter just so you can make these crackers. I am not joking! I will be sharing another variation tomorrow!
The recipe and photos of the process are below!
Spicy Cheddar Sourdough Crackers
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup sourdough starter discard (unfed)
2 Tbsp butter, softened
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Olive oil, for brushing
Course sea salt, for sprinkling on top
In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well until it forms a smooth and cohesive dough. The cayenne pepper and cheese should be evenly distributed. Shape into a flatten rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours, or until the dough is firm.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly sprinkle a large piece of parchment paper and the top of the dough rectangle with flour. Using a rolling pin, gently roll out the dough into a large sheet until it is about 1/16” inch thick. It should be as uniform in thickness as possible to ensure even baking.
Carefully transfer the parchment paper and dough onto your baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to brush the olive oil over the entire surface of the dough. Sprinkle lightly with the coarse sea salt.
Using a fluted pastry cutter or pizza cutter, gently cut the dough into small squares or rectangles. Prick each square with the tines of a fork. Separate the individuals squares slightly, if necessary.
Bake the crackers for about 20-25 minutes. It may be necessary to rotate the pan or remove the crackers from the edges of the pan early to prevent excess browning. Once lightly browned, remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack. Store leftovers in an airtight container.
Sourdough starter discard
Mix it up (the butter and salt is in there too)!
Cheese and cayenne
Form into a nice ball
Flatten and reshape into a rectangle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Once cooled and firm, roll it out on parchment paper.
Roll to 1/16" thickness. You will also brush with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Cut with a fluted cutter (or pizza cutter).
Aren't they cute! These still need to be pricked with a fork.
Bake to golden perfection!
I could eat them all!