You know those long, lazy summer evenings when you sit and watch the sun set in a blaze of red-sky glory, sipping a glass of your favourite beverage, and nibbling on a snack biscuit or two – Salticrax, Provitas, Cream Crackers – topped with cheese, charcuterie, and the like?
Well, for the gluten intolerant, those evenings are not nearly as much fun, because rice crackers, maize crackers and corn cakes just don’t cut the mustard when it comes to tasty, crunchy snacks. As an aside, wasabi rice crackers are, indeed, quite delicious, but they do not go with any and all toppings.
Dear sweet Elspeth did some Googling and came upon an idea for using the leftovers of a sourdough leaven, which is made as part of a long-ferment sourdough bread baking process, which I’ve shared with Bolander readers in the past.
In the past, we’ve tried to use any leftovers by making new sourdough starters and gifting them, but at some point, you run out of willing neophyte sourdough bakers, and you end up dumping the leftovers. Not anymore.
This recipe makes a delicious, crunchy sourdough cracker that is the equal – if not better – than most of the store-bought competition, and it puts the sourdough leftovers to good use.
Ingredients, selection and preparation
200g (about 1 cup) mature sourdough starter. If you don’t have enough, you can grow what you have, by adding equal proportions of flour and water, making it up to 200g. Mix well, and leave overnight to ferment.
130g flour: either bread flour or cake flour, which ever takes your fancy.
3 tbps (45ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 tbps (15ml) dried mixed herbs
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) fine sea salt
In a medium bowl, combine the sourdough starter, flour, olive oil, herbs and salt. Knead together until the dough forms a smooth ball.
Wrap in plastic cling film, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and up to 24 hours. We’ve actually had it in the fridge for up to a week, and it works perfectly well. For the gluten intolerant, the longer it sits in the fridge and ferments, the better, because it makes the gluten more easily digestible.
Place the oven racks in the upper 1/3 and lower 1/3 of oven, and pre-heat it to preheat to 180ºC.
Divide the dough into eight even-sized balls, and store them in the fridge while rolling out each one at a time.
Roll out each piece into an oblong rectangle with a rolling pin, or, if you have one, a pasta roller also works really well. Aim for #6, or if rolling by hand, roll it out as thin as you can.
It’s important that you dust the work surface well with flour, and also the rolling pin, and the dough itself to prevent it from sticking, particularly once it becomes really thin. For the non-gluten intolerant, any wheat flour will do, otherwise, use rice flour.
Place two oblongs of dough, side-by-side on a baking tray. Using a sharp knife, cut each diagonally into pieces about 2cm wide.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown and crispy. To ensure even baking, rotate the baking trays front to back halfway through the baking time.
Transfer the crackers to a cooling rack.
Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
The crackers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for a few weeks, but since they are so delicious, they tend not to last that long.
Enjoy with your favourite toppings.
Preparation time: Up to 24 hours.
Baking time: about an hour.
Yield: a whole bunch of yummy crackers.