Sourdough Crackers: Lavash and Grissini

sourdough lavash

Crackers are a popular food in our house. My kids love them. They’d probably eat crackers for dinner if they could (or anything else labelled “snacks” for that matter). So while everyone else is whipping out their royal icing and cookie stamps, here I am over here making sourdough crackers.

Don’t get me wrong — there will be plenty of cookies happening in our house too. But right now, I’m just having a little too much fun with crackers! They are actually quite fun to make with kids, too. The dough is easy to handle and roll, and my son never gets tired of adding “sprinkles” to things (even if they’re sesame seeds instead of sugar).

sourdough grissini

This sourdough cracker formula can be used to make either lavash crackers (a crisp flatbread) or grissini (thin, crunchy breadsticks). Leave them plain with just a sprinkling of flaky salt, or add seeds / spices to add texture and additional flavor! (Just be careful with dried herbs and spices as a tiny bit goes a long way.) You can even sprinkle on some grated cheese or knead some into the dough. My favorite cracker flavor combo is smoked paprika, garlic flakes, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, black pepper, and a little flaky salt. Yum!

These sourdough crackers are tasty on their own, but also make a great addition to a nosh or charcuterie plate. They keep well, so make a few batches now to have on hand for your holiday entertaining needs!

sourdough crackers plate

sourdough crackers plate 2

A couple of notes:

  • This is a flexible formula for sourdough crackers that you can easily scale depending on the amount of discard you have. I usually save discard in the fridge for a few days, then bake off a large batch. The easiest way to scale this recipe is as follows:
    • Weigh the amount of starter you have
    • Add half that weight in flour (so if you have 200 grams of starter, add 100 grams flour)
    • Figure out how much flour you have total, including the flour in your starter (100 grams from the starter + 100 grams added = 200 grams total flour)
    • Add 2% of the total flour weight in salt (2% of 200 = 4 g)
    • Add 10% of the total flour weight in honey (10% of 200 = 20g)

    (I tried writing this out in baker’s percentages; but since there’s a bit of disparity over how to express starter in a formula, it ended up being more confusing than helpful. So there you go. Mathing for the day over.)

  • The baking temperatures and timing on these crackers are just a guideline and may vary considerably depending on your oven and how thinly you roll or cut your dough. If you like your lavash more like a flatbread (softer), pull it out sooner. If the edges are crisp but the middle needs more time, take out the sheet and carefully trim off the edges, then return the sheet to the oven finish crisping the rest. For grissini, you want more of a “low and slow” approach — you’re basically trying to dry the dough out without the breadsticks burning, so you need a lower temperature + longer bake. Experiment and find out what works best for your oven!
  • For more baking with sourdough discard ideas, see this post.
  • For a DIY Raincoast Crisp recipe, see this post (you can sub in 1 cup of starter for 1/2 cup flour and 1/2 cup buttermilk if you want!).

Sourdough Crackers: Lavash and Grissini

Makes about one baking sheet’s worth of crackers

Ingredients:

  • 100g ripe sourdough starter (100% hydration)
  • 50g flour (I like a mix of bread and wholegrain)
  • 10g olive oil
  • 10g honey
  • 2g salt
  • Assorted seeds (poppy, sesame), spices, and/or flaky salt for topping, if desired

Method:

  1. Stir together the starter, oil, and honey until combined. Add the flour and salt and mix with a spatula until a rough dough forms. Knead for 3-5 minutes, or until the ingredients are well combined and the dough is smooth. It should be a medium-firm consistency and not sticky. (If it is sticky, add flour a tsp at a time until smooth, If it is dry, add water a tsp at a time until hydrated.) Transfer to an oiled container.
  2. Ferment the dough at room temperature until it is doubled in size, about 3-4 hours. (Note: you can also refrigerate the dough for a few hours at this point if you aren’t ready to bake yet. Not sure how long it will hold, but I’ve held mine for about 8 hours and it probably could last longer. No need to bring to room temp before proceeding.)

For lavash crackers:

  1. When the dough is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 400F (with a baking stone if you have one). Turn the dough onto a Silpat or piece of parchment paper cut to fit a baking sheet.
  2. Roll the dough into a rectangle as thinly and evenly as possible. It should be almost paper thin. (Alternatively, you can divide the dough into portions and use a pasta machine to roll them out. I like to get them down to the 2nd-thinnest setting.)
  3. Transfer the dough, still on the Silpat or parchment, to a baking sheet. Dock the surface all over with a fork to keep it from puffing in the oven. Mist with water and sprinkle seeds / spices / flaky salt if desired.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through baking, until browned and crisp. Cool on a wire rack, then break into shards and serve. Keeps well in an airtight container or ziplock bag.

For grissini:

  1. When the dough is nearly ready, preheat the oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. If you’d like to coat your grissini with seeds, place the seeds on a plate or small baking sheet.
  2. On a nonstick mat or lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle between 1/8″ – 1/4″ thick. Cut dough into even strips into desired thickness (I like 1/8″ – 1/4″ inch). Roll them one by one in the bed of seeds, if desired, then transfer to the prepared sheet. If you like, you can hold one end of dough while twisting the other to get a corkscrew effect.
  3. Bake until dry and crisp, about 30-40 minutes (but can vary wildly depending on the size of your grissini). Cool on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container or jar.

DIY Raincoast Crisps

raincoast crisps 1

When I was in college, my closest grocery store was a Whole Foods. This was convenient and dangerous, considering it’s nicknamed Whole Paycheck for a reason and I didn’t have a paycheck. For my bank account and waistline’s sakes I limited myself to one “browsing” trip a week, on Saturday mornings. This “yay, you made it to the weekend!” treat conveniently lined up with the best sample day of the week. See, this is how Whole Foods lures you in. They may be pricey, but they do samples right. Steak? Pie? Artisan bread? French cheese? Check, check, check, and oui.

raincoast crisps 2One of my favorite samples were (are) Raincoast Crisps. If you’ve never tried them, well, maybe don’t because they are addicting. They’re little squares of sweet / salty / nutty / crunchy goodness that supposedly go well with cheese but are perfectly delectable on their own. They also cost a pretty penny for a measly little box.

The good/dangerous news is, you can make your own. It isn’t hard, and at the end you are rewarded with a nice stash of Raincoast Hacks that easily pass as store-bought. (A stack of these would make the perfect hostess or holiday gift!) Note that the whole process takes a bit of time from start to finish (the chilling time is important if you want thin crackers), but can be easily spread over a couple of evenings. When you finish, congratulate yourself on saving money on crackers and use it to buy fancy imported cheese to go with them.

raincoast crisps 3

DIY Raincoast Crisps

Makes 8-9 dozen crisps | Adapted from Seven Spoons

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pistachios
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
  • 185g / 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 60g / 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark
  • 85g / 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup raisins or coarsely chopped dried figs
  • 1/4 cup millet
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or rosemary, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease two 8-by-4-inch loaf pans or four mini loaf pans (I use these).
  2. In a nonstick pan over medium heat, lightly toast the nuts and pumpkin seeds. When they are fragrant, transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Add the buttermilk, brown sugar, and honey and stir until combined. Add the reserved nuts and remaining ingredients and stir until just blended.
  4. Divide the batter between the prepared pans (roughly 305g per tin for the mini pans). Bake until golden and puffed, about 30 minutes for mini loaf pans or 45 minutes for 8×4 loaf pans. They are finished when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the loaves are springy to the touch. Immediately turn the loaves out of their pans to cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. For easiest slicing, chill the loaves. Once they’ve cooled to room temperature, I like to stick them, uncovered, in the fridge for a couple hours and that does the trick nicely. (You can also freeze the loaves whole and slice and bake straight from the freezer. You may need to add a couple minutes to the baking time.) Using a serrated knife, slice the loaves as thinly as you can (I aim for 24-30 slices per mini loaf) and place the slices in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 300° F.
  6. Bake slices for about 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake for another 10-15 minutes, until crisp and deep golden. If the slices are not quite crisp at this point (but are already deeply colored), turn off the heat and leave in the oven for an extra 10-15 minutes to dry, checking every 5 minutes or so. Cool crisps completely on a wire rack, then store in an airtight container.