Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sourdough Starter Makes Sourdough Crackers

My sourdough starter is a couple of years old now. I feel as though it deserves a post. I got my starter from a great friend and have somehow managed to keep it alive. My mother also gave me some starter from King Arthur Flour Company and I keep the two separate but use them both. The King Arthur starter seems a little sweeter although I am not sure why. Sourdough starter gives bread that tang that is really delicious. King Arthur Flour gives a nice history and wonderful ideas for sourdough so hop over to their site for background information. For those of you considering the commitment of a starter, it is far less work than you think. If you leave it out at room temperature, especially a warm room temperature, you will have to feed it at least every day. I keep mine in the refrigerator and feed it about once a week if I am not in the baking mood. For just a little technical background, it is important to know that when you feed the starter, you remove some before adding some. The starter I remove has been traditionally been going down the drain, sadly. But then I came across a recipe from King Arthur flour that solved my guilty conscience,Sourdough Crackers.

Making these crackers is quick and fun. I have trouble keeping them on hand because they are so popular. You will need sourdough starter but if you have gotten this far, I am guessing you may have some already. A quick whirl around Google shows a lot of recipes for these type of crackers and I think most of them are using King Arthur Flour's recipe. I am using the recipe too with of course a personal spin. I eliminate the salt from the dough because I like the effect that sprinkling the kosher salt on top before baking the crackers gives to the texture and flavor. Having the salt in the dough and again on top made them a little too salty. Also, I used some herbs that I bought in the Laurentian Mountains while vacationing in  Montreal. If you do not have access to these wonderful organic melange of herbs, use whatever you fancy. The reason I used mine is because it was a mixture of lemon peel, thyme, garlic and a little salt. I like to serve these crackers with smoked salmon pate and the herb/spice blend is perfect. Click here for the information about the company and area in case you are interested. If you are nearby, head over to St. Sauveur and visit one of the sweetest little ladies who will not pass judgement on your lacking french skills but talk to you like a neighbor over the fence.
Below is the cracker recipe and then Smoked Salmon Pate recipe. I am thinking you will make a personal twist to the recipe so let me know what you have substituted. I am always amazed by a cook's creativity.

Here is the adapted recipe from King Arthur Flour

Sourdough Crackers

1 cup Sourdough Starter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon mixed herbs, dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl with the dough hook on Speed 2 for about 5 minutes or until it forms a soft smooth dough. If mixing by hand, this should take about ten minutes. And after that, put a Kitchen Aid on your birthday wish list.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for about 30 minutes and up to 2 days. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Cut in half and roll each half to about 1/16th inch thickness. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Prick with a fork all over. 

Using a pizza cutter or pastry wheel, cut the dough into strips about 1-inch wide, then across into 1-inch squares. Note the width of a ruler is about an inch so I just trace my ruler. You can cut any shape you please but make sure all the shapes are about the same size for even cooking.

Bake the crackers for about 20 minutes. After about 10 minutes of cooking, rotate the pan 180 degrees to promote even baking. Remove from oven and transfer crackers to a wire rack to cool.
Mis en Place
Store in airtight bag. 
Make sure all the ingredients are room temperature for best mixing

Cut any shape you want but try to keep the same size so they cook evenly

Smoked Salmon Pate

4 ounces smoked salmon
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chives, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse till combined. Taste for seasoning. Serve chilled.
Yes! It is that easy. And it is good on the morning toast too.

Good Gosh, I sound like a King Arthur groupie...wait a minute, I am!!! I went there on the way to and from Montreal and they crowned me their Queen(in my dreams)

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