Whenever I refresh my sourdough starter, I end up with more than a pound of it, and—unless I make time to bake pretzels—only have need of a few ounces. There is only so much sourdough starter I can find a home for with friends and neighbors. I can stash the rest in the fridge for several days and make pancakes, which I often do. And sometimes my love of crunch sends me in the direction of crackers and flatbreads. This time, I had been leafing through Jennie Schacht’s very fine Farmers’ Market Desserts cookbook and was inspired by her Cornmeal Crisps (on page 159) that she suggests serving with cheese and honeycomb. Her crisps combine cornmeal and minced fresh rosemary, a winning combo in crackers, cornbread, and even polenta. Cold weather provides a good excuse to serve a cheese course for dessert. Or before dessert. Or for lunch or dinner all by itself, in which case you might want to dd a few leaves of lettuce and perhaps a half head of roasted garlic. If you have extra starter, try these crackers. Or get Jennie’s book and try her crisps recipe or any of the others. You’ll be glad you did.
- 13 ounces fresh sourdough starter (made from equal weights flour and water),
- 3.5 ounces coarse cornmeal
- 3.5 ounces white whole wheat flour
- 1 ounce buttermilk powder
- .2 ounce kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Olive oil spray
- Fleur de sel
- Freshly ground pepper such as Indonesian long pepper or African Grains of Paradise or black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme or lemon thyme.
- Put a large bowl on a scale and measure the starter into it. Add the cornmeal, flour, buttermilk powder, kosher salt, 1/2 tablespoon of the rosemary, and the 2 tablespoons olive oil.
- With a plastic bowl scraper, start folding the dough over onto itself, rotating the bowl as you fold. Add just enough water to form a fairly stiff dough. To make the work easier, fold, then allow the dough to rest and relax for about 15 minutes, then fold again as before. Continue until you have a cohesive, smooth, unsticky dough.
- Dust a work surface with flour, and turn out your dough onto it. Cut it into pieces, and roll through widest setting of a pasta machine. Or roll out by hand, dusting with only as much flour as needed to prevent sticking. Hopefully, you won’t need much.
- Arrange the strips on parchment-lined baking sheets, mist with olive oil spray, grind over fleur de sel and pepper, and then sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon minced rosemary and the thyme. Press the herbs onto the dough with your hand or a rolling pin to help them adhere.
- Cut the strips crosswise into crackers with a pizza wheel. Let rest a few minutes.
- Bake in preheated 375°F oven about 25 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back, until crisp and lightly browned around the edges. Cool on wire racks and pack in an airtight tin. If necessary, flatbreads can be recrisped by placing in a very slow (150°F) oven.