These sourdough discard cheese crackers are one of my “oops, got lots of discard that needs using up QUICK” back pocket recipes. But honestly, these crackers are also tasty enough that I’d build lots of starter just to make a batch. I made probably a dozen batches of these over Christmas, portioning them into little packages to include with my yearly cookie boxes as a savoury counterpart to all the sweetness; and nowadays I make a batch every couple of weeks to satiate all the hungry snackers in my house.
The original recipe for these crackers comes from the ever-excellent Bake from Scratch website; I’ve tinkered just slightly with the spices and salt level and developed some handy tips for baking them.
- The starter in this recipe is primarily for flavor, not leavening, so its ok to use discard that’s a little old. I just try to use my discard within a week, before it starts developing a layer of alcohol on top or smelling too fermented. The original recipe says to use room temperature discard but I always use cold from the fridge without a problem.
- A pasta machine is hands-down my favorite way to roll out these crackers thinly and evenly. Of course you can roll by hand — just go thinner than you think as the crackers do puff in the oven. I highly recommend rolling directly on parchment so it’s easy to transfer the dough to the sheet pan; it’ll be too delicate to move without tearing. You can roll on a silicone mat too; just be careful when scoring that you don’t accidentally damage your mat.
- I prefer to bake crackers on convection setting — it’s a little quicker and I find the browning more even. Every oven is different, though — the first time you make these, I recommend baking one tray of crackers at a time to gauge how long they take in your oven. Also, how thinly you roll your crackers plays a major role in how long they’ll take to bake.
Sourdough Discard Cheese Crackers
Makes about 2 sheet pans’ worth of crackers | Adapted from Bake From Scratch
- 65g white whole wheat or sifted wheat flour
- 63g all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 tsp dry mustard
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 5g (1 1/4 tsp) kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
- 275g sourdough discard (100% hydration; straight from the fridge is fine)
- 57g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
- 60g freshly grated sharp cheddar
In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, spices, and salt.
In a medium bowl, stir together the sourdough discard and melted butter until smooth. Stir in the cheese.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet. Stir/knead together until all the flour is incorporated and the dough has a clay-like consistency. Flatten and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 20 minutes (or up to 24 hours).
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F (I prefer convection, if possible; but 350F conventional works fine too) with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Have ready two large pieces of parchment paper and two large baking sheets.
To roll by hand: Divide the dough in half. Place one half in the center of one piece of parchment. Roll into a rectangle as thin as possible (aim for thinner than 1/8″ thick) doing your best to keep the entire piece even. Slide the rolled out dough, still on the parchment, to one of the baking sheets. Repeat with the second half of dough.
To roll with a pasta maker: Alternatively, roll out dough using a pasta maker (my preferred method). In this case, work with about 1/6 of the dough at a time. For my pasta machine, I roll to the 3rd (out of 6) settings. Transfer the strips of dough to parchment lined baking sheets, cutting the strips as needed to fit.
Dock the dough all over with a fork. Use a pastry wheel to score into desired sizes (or leave them whole, and break into shards after baking). If you want to make them look like certain popular commercial cheesy crackers, you can skip the docking, score them into roughly 1.25″ squares, and poke the center of each with a chopstick (this is easier if you’ve rolled with a pin vs. a pasta maker).
Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until the entire surface is evenly golden and the crackers are crisp. Timing will vary wildly depending on how thinly you rolled the dough; start checking around 15 minutes. Crackers can go from pleasantly golden to too dark very quickly; so once they’ve started to take on color keep a close eye on them. Crackers will also make it blatantly obvious where the hot spots in your oven are; so you may need to transfer some crackers to a cooling rack and let other pieces continue baking a little longer.
Cool crackers completely on a wire rack, then break into pieces and store at room temperature in an airtight container. They should keep for at least a couple weeks, though they’ve never lasted that long around here…