The Joy of Making Sourdough Bread (with Discard Cracker Recipe)

I find that the Creator speaks to me in the simple everyday moments of my life – whether it’s dirty laundry teaching me gratitude for kids who had a fun day of play, milk from my cow teaching me to be patient for the lesson like waiting for the cream to rise to the top, or bread teaching me that I’m really not in control of anything.

If you’ve ever made bread, you know that at best, you are a co-creator.  There’s no part of making bread that you are in complete control of.

Sourdough has this reputation for sure.  People believe it’s somewhat of a complicated process.  I always tell people that there is a learning curve, yet anyone can do it.  You will not be an expert at your first loaf anymore than you rode a bike on your very first try.  The good news, however, is that no matter how much of a beginner you are, and no matter how awkwardly shaped your first loaf is, it’s still delicious and nutritious and will feed you and your family.

I’ve been baking bread for years.  Sourdough probably for the last five or so, but not all the time.  In the last year, I’ve scaled my bread making to make 20-50 loaves a week that I’ve sold to friends and through farmers markets or local events.  It’s therapeutic and a way to be creative with my hands, bring people together, and give them something nourishing for their bodies, my three favorite things.holding round loaf of sourdough bread

As I bake, I see lesson after lesson from our Father in the baking.

Sometimes you need to rest.  You can’t rush things, they happen when they happen.  You have to consider a lot of variables to decide what is right for a situation.

As you go, following a tutorial on YouTube and being willing to make a few loaves a week (your friends and family will appreciate all your practicing) will help you gain the confidence of gauging bulk fermentation as well as shaping for strong loaves.  Joel Salatin wisely says, “You can’t google experience!” And frankly, when you have too much water, you turn it into a loaf pan bread and when it over ferments, it can become focaccia.  

focaccia bread

When it’s flat and dense, it becomes bread crumbs and bread pudding.  You will also find amazing and creative things to do with your discard (crackers, pancakes, and my new favorite….gravy!) Then, after a few loaves, everything will line up and you will produce a light, fluffy, and beautiful loaf of sourdough bread.  And because you went through some things to get there, it will be a proud moment for sure.  Congratulations.  You really earned it!

Historically, no one cared about cute bread or decorative scoring.  I’m all for those things, but not above caring most about quality nutrition.  Sourdough isn’t a trend or a flavor, it is a natural leavening process from a time where there wasn’t instant dried yeast at the store.

As you go, you learn techniques, try different recipes, get more comfortable with the dough in your hands, but at the end of the day, you don’t make the yeast or control how long it takes to rise.  You’re somewhat along for the ride.  And like so many other things, even “failed” bread still tastes amazing!

Some people will read that last paragraph and think, well, then why even try if it’s out of my control?  I encourage you, however, to look at it and think, How amazing is it that I can learn to feed my family without all of the weight of success falling solely on me.

The bread will rise with or without you, my friend.  Hopefully that will take off the pressure of perfection – which is, after all, the lowest standard because it’s impossible to obtain – and allow you to lean into that role of co-creator with The Creator, the role of participant which frees you to learn and gain confidence of making great bread and more and more see the hand of God elevating the ordinary in your daily life. 

baking sheet of discard crackers
A baking sheet full of freshly made Discard Crackers

One thing to know when you start making sourdough, you’re going to need recipes for what to make with your discard.  Frankly, if you have a ton of discard, you probably are feeding too much starter each time, but you’re always going to have some.  I’m going to leave you with my favorite discard recipe because it’s delish, replaces the need to buy from the store, and is versatile to make into any flavor you want!  Discard Crackers!

I am a baker in NE Ohio.  If you’re local to Lehman’s, you can regularly find me at the store selling beautiful Sourdough bread!  If you’re ready to begin your own sourdough era, here’s a sourdough recipe for you! 

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homemade discard crackers

Sourdough Discard Crackers

  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3/4 cup (200 g) discarded sourdough starter 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter (melted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons flavor of choice (optional, but could include everything bagel seasoning, parmesan cheese, or Italian Seasoning)
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) salt for sprinkling on top

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (162°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter in a mixing bowl and let cool.
  2. Weigh the sourdough discard, dried herbs and salt into the bowl of melted butter and mix thoroughly until well combined. Use an off-set spatula to spread the mixture in a thin, even layer onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle the top with salt.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and score the crackers. Bake for an additional 20-50 minutes or until the crackers are golden brown. Let cool completely before breaking into squares. (Oven temperatures vary, check the crackers after 20 minutes into baking to make sure they do not over bake.)
  4. Store in an air-tight container for up to one week at room temperature.

Notes

**These crackers are very thin and can burn easily.  I sometimes remove the ones around the edges and let the center crackers cook a little longer**

Keywords: bread, sourdough

You can get the tools you need from Lehman’s of course and a dehydrated sourdough starter from me!  Just find me @sarahspurpose on IG or Sarah Kroger on Facebook!

 

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Lu Anne
Lu Anne
5 days ago

As a new to sourdough and these crackers, which, by the way, sound delightful, what does weigh the dough mean in the recipe? Is that just dump or spoon into a bowl?
Thanks! I always love your devotion, recipes and stories.

Lu Anne

Shelia S.
Shelia S.
4 days ago

Great recipe! I made crackers using 1 tsp. Italian seasoning and 1 tsp. of grated parmesan cheese and they are AMAZING! Can’t wait to try recipe with other seasonings. This will be my ‘go to’ recipe for crackers! ?

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