Sourdough crackers, salami from our trip to Seattle in early march, a bit of leftover quince jam from last fall, and homemade farmer cheese.

I’ve written several blog posts (here and here) about my adventures in sourdough. But then, as I’ve aged, I’ve found that I have a lot less aches and pains when I don’t eat gluten. So I’ve become one of THOSE people, who mostly doesn’t eat wheat. And because of that, I’ve mostly stopped baking (though I do really like this paleo pizza crust and I occasionally make this gluten free bread).

And then coronavirus hit. And in a nostalgic mix of “baking = comfort” and “OMG stores are sold out of flour and yeast” panic, I bought a 50 lb bag of Smalls Family Farm unbleached all purpose flour from Andy’s. I figured I could always bake for the neighbors. This also necessitated me scrubbing out and bleaching several 6 gallon plastic buckets that originally contained coconut oil for soapmaking, but had been repurposed to hold grain for sheep or other random farm uses.

I also ended up splurging and buying an additional set of gamma seal lids, which I highly recommend for making food grade buckets of food easy to get into. I already use them for rice, oatmeal, salt and sugar storage. They are expensive, but you’ll only need to buy them once and they are awesome.

It… is… ALIVE! (insert maniacal laugh here). First day of any real growth, after feeding it for about a week. Note the rubber band so I can monitor growth.

All of this then lead to me digging the sourdough starter out of the back of the fridge, where it had been languishing for, ahem, possibly over 2 years! I gave it a good stir, and then measured out 50 grams of the stuff (less than 1/4 cup). I fed it 25 g of filtered water and 25 g of flour, gave it another stir, and let it sit at room temp for a day with a loose cover. The next morning, I poured off 50 grams and fed what remained again. The next day, again. It took about a week for it to fully come back, but every day after the first 3 or so, I could see that bubbles were forming, so I knew it was starting to wake up. Once it was doubling in size after a feeding, I started to just add more flour and water each day to increase its size to something I could use.

But what to do with the daily discarded mix? Well, I just dumped it back into the original container with the original very old stuff from the back of the fridge. We made sourdough pancakes one day. And then I ran across a discussion on all of this – because right now sourdough is SO trending, and someone mentioned making sourdough crackers with the discarded starter. I’d never done that. And since I had ALSO made a farmer cheese the day before, using Pure Eire Dairy milk and buttermilk, I really wanted some crackers on which to spread my cheese.

Turns out this recipe from King Arthur Flour is quick and easy. The dough wasn’t overly sticky and rolled out easy. The crackers are delicious. If I make them again, I think I’ll sprinkle them with my Everything Sprinkle seasoning.

Sourdough Crackers

  • Servings: about 40 crackers
  • Difficulty: easy
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This crunchy cracker is a great way to use up your sourdough starter discards collected from daily feedings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sourdough starter discards
  • 1/2 tsp (or more to taste) salt (I use sea salt)
  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature (in a pinch, I’m sure you could substitute various vegetable oils, or coconut oil or lard or whatever you have on hand)
  • 2 tbsp dried herbs of choice – optional (I used 1 tbsp mixed Italian blend and 1 tbsp dried rosemary)
  • Oil and course salt – optional

Directions

  1. Mix sourdough starter, flour, butter, salt and optional herbs in a good sized bowl until mixed. Then knead in the bowl until a smooth ball forms (just a few turns was all it took for me)
  2. Divide dough in half. Cover in plastic wrap or otherwise keep the dough moist and let sit for 30 minutes. This allows the flour to fully hydrate.
  3. Preheat oven to 350.
  4. Roll out each piece of dough onto a sheet of parchment paper until its about 1/16″ thick. Don’t worry if the edges aren’t perfect or the overall piece isn’t a perfect rectangle. (If you don’t have parchment, you could probably use either a well oiled cookie sheet or a sheet of tinfoil instead)
  5. Cut dough into pieces (I did about 22 per sheet using a pizza cutter).
  6. Slide each piece of parchment/dough onto a separate sheet pan or cookie sheet.
  7. Prick dough with a fork all over to keep it from forming large air pockets while cooking.
  8. Brush surface of dough with oil of choice (I’d use olive) and then sprinkle with course salt (optional – this is too fiddly for me and I HATE cleaning basting brushes, so I never do this. I never do egg washes on pies or breads either, lol).
  9. Cook in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, rotating and switching cookie sheets half way through cooking. Watch closely that last 5 minutes and remove when the edges start to brown.
  10. Remove from oven, cool completely, eat the weird shaped ones so no one knows, and store in a sealed container so they stay crisp.

So, yeah, were hanging in there during quarantine, but will be eating a whole lot of veg and a whole lot of nothing else once this lifts, cause gaining weight during a pandemic is evidently a real thing, as we all bake more seeking comfort and eat three meals a day at home.

Meanwhile, farming continues. The garden is composted and tilled, potatoes are planted. My peas, which I planted around the first of March, are finally about 1″ high, and I’m busily potting up tomatoes and peppers in the greenhouse. Expect an online store revamp in the next week where you can order plant starts online for local pick-up or delivery.

© 2020 Miles Away Farm, where we’re we’re miles away from eating bad meals during quarantine, we’re listening to the entire Harry Potter book series while making soap, jam and working in the greenhouse, but are ready for this to be over already. Stay home. Stay safe out there!