Herb Sourdough Crackers Recipe: How to Use Discarded Starter!
I’ll admit it. The process involved with maintaining a healthy sourdough starter and baking hobby can get a little wasteful. All that feeding and dumping, feeding and dumping… But it doesn’t have to be a waste! There are a number of ways you can put that discarded sourdough starter to good use. Most often, we feed ours to the compost or chickens, but another great way to use discarded starter is in other baking recipes – like these delectable, crispy, savory sourdough crackers!
Come learn how to make healthy, whole wheat sourdough crackers with your discarded sourdough starter*. You won’t regret it! These are perfect for holidays, parties, or simply as a healthier cracker snack option for your family. We love to pack ours full of fresh herbs from the garden, but dried herbs can be used instead too. The beautiful thing is, you can use any combination of herbs that are available to you. Have fun making them your own!
Speaking of making them your own, I have to add a disclaimer here: this recipe is loosely based off the popular King Arthur version – but with our personal twists! For example, they call for butter. We opt to make these vegan and use coconut oil instead, which also provides for an extra crispy texture! We also love to use fresh herbs, and a variety of them, rather than dried. The flours used are also different. I hope you love our take on this classic! Also note that we now have a gluten-free version of this treasured cracker recipe.
*If you need help getting a sourdough starter culture going, check out our simple instructions to make your own – using only three ingredients! Or, if you aren’t up for making a starter from scratch, feel free to pick up a dry (but alive!) organic sourdough starter the Homestead and Chill shop. All it needs a little water, flour, and few days to get active again.
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup unbleached white wheat flour. We used our unbleached bread flour.
- 1 cup unfed, active sourdough starter. Meaning, take the starter at the time you would usually discard it – several hours after feeding, not just-fed. We store our starter in the fridge during the week, and choose not to make this recipe with the very first cold discard. Instead we feed it, let it get active and happy, then use the discard from the next feeding session.
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) coconut oil. Butter or olive oil also work as good substitutes in this sourdough cracker recipe.
- ¼ cup fresh chopped herbs, or 2 tablespoons dried. We most often use a combination of fresh rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme from the garden – as shown below.
- Olive oil, for brushing
- Coarse sea salt, for sprinkling on top
- Optional: garlic powder
1) Mix dough
In a large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, white flour, sourdough starter, fresh chopped or dried herbs, salt, and coconut oil. The coconut oil should be slightly softened and easy to work with. If it is hard, you may need to lightly heat it until it just barely starts to melt. If you have only one type of flour available, you can just use whole wheat or white on their own. We personally love the balance of both! Sometimes we like to add 1/8 tsp of our homemade garlic powder to this step too.
Thoroughly mix the dough until it is uniform. I usually start mixing with a fork or spoon, but then finish mixing with my hands. It should not be sticky, especially with the coconut oil.
2) Split, Squish & Cool
Divide the large dough ball into two roughly equal smaller balls. Using your hands, form each ball into a flattened rectangle. We have been vegetarian for a loooong time, but this step definitely reminds me of forming hamburger patties, if that helps… Mine generally end up a little larger than my flattened hand, and maybe about half an inch thick. Repeat for the second ball.
Place each squished dough rectangle on a plate, and cover/wrap with parchment paper. King Arthur calls for plastic wrap, but this is a slightly more sustainable option (the parchment paper we use is compostable). Better yet, wrap the dough in a reusable beeswax wrap! The goal is to not allow the dough to dry out. I cut a piece just larger than the dough and tuck it in around the edges.
Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes, up to a couple hours. You could even let the dough sit overnight if needed, but be sure it is well-wrapped or even tucked inside an airtight container to prevent it from drying out. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more it will ferment (and become easier to digest!) yet it will also become increasingly cold and firm – and more challenging to roll out thin. Therefore, if the dough is refrigerated for more than a couple of hours, I suggest allowing it to warm up at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before rolling out.
3) Roll Out
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Once they’ve had their time to chill, remove the cracker dough from the fridge. Cut a piece of parchment paper to about the size of a cookie sheet, or use a silicone baking sheet liner. Lightly dust the parchment paper/liner with flour. Carefully unwrap one chunk of flattened dough, place it in the center of the floured parchment paper, and lightly flour the top of the dough. I like to do this on a large cutting board, which makes it easy to transfer onto a cookie sheet.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is nice and thin. The goal is about 1/16th of an inch thick – or as thin as you can make it. The edges will be a little ragged. That is okay. Just work it back and forth and side to side to get it spread as evenly as possible while still maintaining a relatively rectangular shape.
4) Oil, Slice, & Poke
Once the dough is rolled out, lightly brush the surface with olive oil. Don’t drench it! Just enough for a light coating. Then sprinkle some coarse salt over it as well.
Next, cut the dough into rows of square crackers. Anything from 1 to 2 inches is good! The use of a rolling pizza cutter works well for this. We love to use a pastry/pasta cutter to get fun wavy edges.
Finally, poke the top of each cracker with a fork a couple of times.
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 for the second piece of dough.
Slide the parchment paper with cut and poked cracker dough onto a baking sheet. Each batch will need its own cookie sheet. We bake two trays at one time, but if you only have one cookie sheet to work with, have them take turns.
Bake on 350°F for 20 to 25 minutes, until the crackers turn light golden brown. Rotate the cookie sheets halfway through.
When they are done baking, immediately transfer the finished sourdough crackers on to a cooling rack.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for! You’ve probably already sampled a few by now… I always snack on those irregular outer pieces right away. They’re too irresistible, and “not pretty” enough to make it to the plate anyways, right?! Right. Of course.
After fully cooling, store your sourdough crackers in an air-tight container to maintain maximum freshness and crunch. Ours get a tad stale by day 5 or so, but they usually don’t hang around that long!
These herb sourdough crackers are damn good on their own, as a healthier alternative to most other types of crackers or chips. You can enjoy them with cheese and olives, or dunked in hummus and other dips. We had them with soup just last night. So good! Sourdough crackers are our new go-to for holiday and party platters. They are a huge hit, and people are always impressed to learn they’re homemade!
Now get to baking, so you can see for yourself how tasty these are!
If you haven’t yet checked out our tried-and-true simple sourdough bread recipe, be sure to! You may also love our cast iron whole wheat sourdough pizza crust recipe or these baked sourdough tortilla corn chips as well. They’re pretty drool-worthy!
I hope you love these sourdough crackers just as much as we do. Let me know if you have any questions, and please spread the love by sharing this article with friends. Come back and let us know if you make ’em!
Herb Sourdough Crackers (How to Use Sourdough Starter Discard)
- Rolling pin
- Pastry Wheel or Pizza Cutter
- Mixing bowl
- Parchment Paper
- Basting Brush
- 1/2 Cup Whole wheat flour
- 1/2 Cup Unbleached bread flour or white all-purpose flour
- 1 Cup Sourdough starter* (see notes below)
- 1/4 Cup Fresh herbs of choice, e.g. rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano (Or 2 tbsp dried)
- 1/4 Cup Coconut oil
- 1/2 Tsp Sea salt
- Olive oil for brushing
- 1/4 Tsp Optional: garlic powder
- In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the sourdough starter, flour, chopped herbs, salt, and coconut oil.
- Divide the large dough ball into two equal sized balls.
- Next shape and squish each dough ball into a patty like rectangular shape until the dough thickness is about a half inch.
- Place the rectangular dough patties on their own plates and cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to a couple hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the patties of dough each on their own piece of floured parchment paper and roll out with a floured rolling pin until dough is nice and thin, about 1/16th of an inch thick.
- Lightly brush the dough with extra virgin olive oil, and lightly sprinkle salt over the top.
- Cut the dough using a pasta/pastry cutter (or pizza wheel) into 1 to 2 inch squares. Next, use a fork to poke each cracker square several times.
- Place the parchment paper and the cracker squares on a baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
- Rotate the baking sheets halfway through to help the crackers bake evenly.
- Once finished baking, quickly remove the crackers to a cooling rack.
- Once cool, enjoy the crackers immediately or store them in an airtight container to enjoy later.
Just made these, with the dehydrated starter I ordered from y’all and recently rehydrated, and YUM! Thank you, I can’t wait to experiment with the flavor add ins and make these on a regular basis!
Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)
That’s great to hear Laura and have fun starting your sourdough baking journey, we appreciate your support!
When you put the crackers in the oven, are they still one “sheet” of dough with cuts in it, or do you separate the craçkers before baking? Seems like separating them would enable browning at the edges, or maybe they would burn?
Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)
Hi Mignon, we just leave it as a “sheet” and separate out the random edge pieces after baking, they do tend to get a little more “baked” than the rest of the crackers but it isn’t too big of a deal. Hope that helps and have fun baking!
Which flours should I use to try and make these gluten-free?
Love love love the idea of using “discard” starter for these crackers!!!
Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)
Hi Judy, you can likely use a 1 to 1 GF flour mix alternative but of the individual gluten free flours available, we most often prefer brown rice flour, but also use millet, sorghum, and buckwheat in smaller amounts. Hope that helps and good luck!
Love the ability to make variations of this delicious cracker recipe. We are on a parmigiana cheese and sesame seed kick right now.
Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)
Sounds delicious, glad you enjoy the crackers!
These taste delicious, but I feel like you must be doing something differently than me. This dough doesn’t come together at all without a little water to bind it. It’s a complete crumbly mess.
You don’t experience super crumbly dough at all?
Aaron (Mr. DeannaCat)
Hi Michael, it definitely isn’t a crumbly mess, it can be similar to a pie crust but letting it warm up after it comes out of the refrigerator may help. It also comes together much more once you start rolling the dough out.
Made these and added everything bagel seasoning… SO SO GOOD and a forgiving recipe if you’re like me and don’t always measure accurately
omg you’re a genius
I love these crackers. I’ve made them twice since I received H&C’s dry SD starter. I’ve failed to roll the dough out thin enough both times, but they still came out ok. The flavor is super yummy. I made Italian Herb crackers the first time and Garlic Rosemary the second. I’ll definitely continue to make these with my discard!
Sounds amazing and i will definitly try it, but i also store my starter in the fridge and refresh it once a week, since my wife isnt such a bread lover, i freeze my bread and dont bake once a week for myself, so i would use it after one week in the fridge without a second refresh before, hope thats ok too and will work too. Perhaps i will let it sit a little longer then.
Simple, delicious and a great way to use discard. I added dried Rosemary and garlic powder – so good!!!
I didn’t know I could fall in love with a cracker but oh my goodness! These are completely heavenly! My 2 kids and I finished half a batch before I could even package them up!