Sourdough Soda Crackers

Soda crackers are lots of fun to make and can be shaped however you wish, from traditional squares to seasonal shapes. Sprinkle on cheese, basil, or garlic salt before baking for a savory¬†treat. A little sourdough starter adds a little extra leavening, though the flavor really isn’t detectable.

I’ve played with this recipe a number of times over the last few months, trying to get that perfect blend of crispy and flaky. It’s a fine line, because if they aren’t cooked quite long enough, they aren’t crisp all the way through. Too long (a minute or two makes a huge difference), and they turn brown. I think I finally nailed it, and had fun in the process.

You’ll need sourdough starter. Hopefully you have some in the fridge, but if not, check out my post for Pumpkin Sourdough Bread. There are several ways to get your hands on this valuable stuff!

I use half butter and half shortening in these crackers. I hate to use shortening, but if you read the ingredient label on a box of saltines, you’ll realize that the homemade version is still much more wholesome! I haven’t tried it with all butter; maybe soon. My husband is hoping they’ll turn out like Ritz.

Tips:

  • Use COLD ingredients, and don’t over mix. You want to see small chunks of butter and shortening.
  • Sprinkle with herbs, spices, or shredded cheese if you like savory crackers. The cheese will get dark, so you may want to add it half way through the cooking time.
  • For fun, create hanging (perching?) crackers by cutting slots on the side to fit your mug or bowl¬†before baking. From my recent experience, I can tell you…angle matters! Do a trial template with a piece of cardboard or toast first.
Sourdough Soda Crackers
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Makes approximately 3 dozen crackers.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons cold shortening
  • ¼ cup sourdough starter
  • 2 tablespoons very cold water
  • Cooking spray
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.
  2. With a pastry blender, blend the butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until small chunks remain - about the size of large peas. Don't over-blend.
  3. Combine sourdough starter and cold water. Pour over flour mixture, tossing with a fork or your hands. THE DOUGH WILL NOT COME TOGETHER IN A COHESIVE BALL.
  4. Drop the crumbly dough onto a lightly floured surface and press gently to give it a rectangular shape, approximately 5"x9", using a bench scraper, putty knife, or large spatula to form straight edges. Keeping the short edge facing you, Flip the bottom edge up to the middle (it will be crumbly...just do the best you can) and the the top edge down to the bottom. This will create three equal sized layers. Give the dough a turn to the left, lightly flouring the surface if necessary to keep it from sticking, and repeat. Repeat 3 more times. (5 times total.)
  5. Roll to 5"x9", cover it in plastic wrap, and chill for 1 hour.
  6. Heat oven to 400 F.
  7. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface. Dough should be very thin - less than ⅛". This will take some time - and muscle! It may help to lift dough and stretch gently a few times during the rolling process. If you are making square crackers, try to keep the dough square or rectangular.
  8. Spray lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle with salt, and poke little holes in the entire surface with a fork. Cut into desired shapes. If you are making shapes other than squares, place them close together, because you won't be able to re-roll the scraps.
  9. Place on ungreased baking sheet, close together but not touching.
  10. Bake for approximately 9 minutes, or until the crackers just start turning golden brown.
  11. Immediately slide off of cookie sheet onto cooling rack.
  12. NOTE: When the crackers are cooled, test one. If they aren't as crispy as you'd like, heat oven to 250 F. and place crackers back in the oven to dry out for 5-6 minutes. Watch them carefully, and remove them if they start to brown.

Doesn’t look like it will ever come together, does it?

Fold in thirds and turn. The first time…a mess! By the fifth time, it’s flexible dough!

Roll one last time, then wrap and chill for an hour

Time to roll chilled dough out THIN. Do you have one of these tools? This little roller really helps get things going. Then I move on to my big rolling pin.

Poke holes in rolled dough with a fork. Spray with oil, sprinkle with salt, and cut out squares or shapes.

The dough needs to be rolled very thin!

I’ve been busy in the kitchen this week, and have more Valentine posts on the way. Come back soon!

Lorinda