There are many ways of utilising sourdough starter discard. Here is one of them. I personally have always found a way to repurpose the discard. Perhaps it should not be called a discard. Why not called it a repurposed sourdough starter?
This is a versatile recipe you can add or omit a variety of accents, such as, cheese, herbs, citrus zest and juice, a bit of bacon, or... The dough is essentially a blank canvas in which you can paint an array of colours and textures.
With the summer/autumn garden abundance, fresh herbs and flowers such as rose, nasturtium, lavender are a fresh fragrant uplift. You can use dried herbs/flowers if you wish. Spices, such as paprika, cayenne, peppercorn, turmeric, garlic powder and ginger powder can also be playfully added, as well as poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and nuts.
Keep is mind, adjustment may be needed depending on the combination of flavourings used. For best results, it is best to weigh your ingredients for accuracy.
120 grams (4.25 oz) (1 cup) organic all purpose flour (you may add a percentage of whole wheat, rye, etc to your liking)
2ml (½ tsp) baking soda
2ml (½ tsp) baking powder
2.5ml (1 tsp) sea salt
8 -15ml (½ - 1 Tbsp) sugar (optional)
50 grams (2oz) (½ cup) - more or less of herbs/flowers
or 30ml (2Tbsp) dried herbs (optional)
Spices (amounts to your liking)
100 grams (3.5oz) (7 tbsp) butter, bacon fat, lard, coconut/olive oil/vegetable oil 65 grams (2 oz) (½ cup) extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)
or 50 grams (2 oz) (½ cup) of fresh Parmesan cheese, shredded
250 grams (8 oz) (1 cup) starter discard 100% hydration starter (add water as needed if you use a lower hydration starter)
A pinch or two of finishing salt (optional)
Cracked peppercorn, sesame or poppy seeds (optional)
You can use a food processor, a wooden spoon, or your most trusted tool - your hands/fingers to mix the ingredients together.
In a medium size bowl, mix all dry ingredients together. Add butter/oil & cheese. If using butter, bacon fat, lard or solidified coconut oil, cut it into roughly 8-12 pieces. If using liquid oil, drizzle over dry ingredients as you mix. Mix until the butter/fat/oil is cut into the flour & has a coarse-sand texture. Add your flavourings such as fresh/dried herbs and flowers, spices, cheeses. Add starter & mix until it just comes together as dough. Knead very briefly to form a ball. Do not over-mix. It should be a very soft, but non-sticky dough.
Put in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, let sit at room temp for 30 minutes to 12 hours or refrigerate overnight. The longer it sits, especially in room temperature, the sourer it will become.
Cut dough ball in half. Lightly flour your work surface, or a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking tray. Roll out each piece of dough very thin, about the thickness of a dime. Each piece should fit a 30cm x 42cm (12" x 16.5") baking tray.
Slide rolled out dough onto baking tray. Using a piece of parchment paper makes it easier to transfer onto the baking tray, or simply roll the dough loosely onto a rolling pin and unroll onto cookie sheet.
Score with a knife, pizza or pastry wheel. Prick each cracker with a fork. Sprinkle with finishing salt, pepper, poppy/sesame seeds or garnish of your choosing.
Bake at 325°F 165ºC for about 12-20 minutes, turning baking tray as needed for even baking. The crackers at the outer edge will cook faster than the middle ones. Towards the end, you will need to remove the crackers that are golden brown and crispy and let the middle pieces finish baking. Keep a close eye; they do go from done to burnt very quickly.
Transfer them to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week; or store in freezer.
I suggest to anyone who bakes frequently to invest in a kitchen scale. Measurement by weight is more accurate than volume. An active sourdough starter will have more carbon dioxide (CO2) taking up volume in the measuring cup. By weight, it is the same no matter the amount of expansion. It is the same as when you are bloated (gassy) and your pants fit tighter. Either way, you weight the same. Flour and brown sugar can be compressed or fluffed up which effects its volume as well.
Rachel conducts gardening, culinary and fermenting workshops/retreats at her home on 100 acres in Northern Ontario, Canada, where she lives in creative harmony with nature. Rachel’s mission is to ensure the wisdom of our ancestors is preserved for future generations.
Images ©2002-2023 Rachel Thoo