Category Archives: Uncategorized

Prepared

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Caution: Please read the following post with the humility, compassion, and empathy with which it was written. I’m still learning how to do life along with my friends and family and offer the following with tons of motherly love.

I am afraid of a lot of things. I’m a tiny lady and it makes me feel like I’m at a disadvantage in many life scenarios. I’m still working out my peace. When I was in midwifery school though, I learned how NOT to be afraid of emergencies. I learned that fear is counterproductive to purposeful action and to lean on my training.

I feel deeply today for people I see are afraid of the possibility of an emergency. I also see that as a culture, we haven’t had much training… or haven’t really suffered much if we think toilet paper will keep us safe. Travel to places where people toil in a way most people in our generation have never imagined shows that when things go to crap, it’s not toilet paper humans are wishing for.

I’m not an expert at crisis preparedness but growing up with outdoorsmen, I have a few outside of the Charmin box ideas that might help us feel less anxiety and even raise the next generation with less fear and more independence. Here are some thoughts you can take or leave like an all you can eat buffet.

Do you know how to navigate without Waze, with a compass and map? Do you know your loved one’s addresses and telephone numbers by heart without your hand-held “phone book”? Could you wrangle up some food if the supermarket was closed? If you didn’t grow up hunting, can you craft a trap? Do you know what’s edible in a field of “weeds” like dandelions or chickweed? Can you start a fire? How about at the master’s degree level without matches? Do you know how to sensibly stock up on dry goods that can be stretched into many meals? Do you know how to make water potable in a variety of circumstances? Do you know how to make effective medicine out of common plants? Are you teaching these skills to your kids? 

I’m not suggesting that we will or will not need these skills in the near future. I’m sharing that real preparation can help us ALL feel less afraid of any emergency because if something happens, we will rely on our training. Fear is a guide. It says to do something you are not doing or not to do something dangerous that you are getting ready to do. I propose that the collective anxiety we are experiencing is a beacon asking us to revisit our life skills. 

If your protected, packaged, structured upbringing failed to expose you to this kind of know-how, choose something that feels most important to learn about today… now. It’s counterproductive to panic in an emergency, so let’s stock our pantries with skills instead of just toilet paper. And then take a collective, deep breath, showing compassion to ourselves and each other in this very tricky world we live in.

Sourdough Classes 2020

 

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If you’ve landed on this page, you have some interest in learning to make your own sourdough! You may be curious about the health benefits, have a gluten sensitive family member, or just want to delight in turning a little flour and water into something beautiful. I’m here to help!

I’ve given lots of classes over the years and used all I’ve learned to put together programs that are fun, educational, and super effective in teaching you exactly what is needed to produce lovely loaves and other sourdough specialties. Below you will find the details for basic and advanced classes that both entertain and equip you to bake sourdough with ease.

Sourdough Basics (3-hour class)

Starter

Learn to make a sourdough boule or bâtard from start to finish in my kitchen or yours! This class is perfect for beginner bakers or those totally new to sourdough. 

You will learn – 

  • What sourdough is and how it differs from other bread nutritionally and practically.
  • What special equipment is needed to bake your own sourdough and what alternatives you probably already have in your kitchen.
  • What sourdough starter is and how to use, maintain, and keep it bubbling with life forever. 
  • How to create your first dough, learn the pulls and folds to develop its structure and crumb, how to prep the dough for baking, and how to score and bake it off.

Of course, bread and tea will be provided so that you can nibble while we work. 

All ingredients and equipment will be provided for the class but please read my equipment list and be sure you have all that is needed for your own future baking on hand.

Each participant will receive a mason jar of starter and a freshly baked loaf upon completion of the class.

*Please note that since sourdough bread is a 2-3 day process, we will not be able to make and bake a loaf entirely from scratch during the class. I will, however, have dough ready for you to learn the final loaf forming, proofing and scoring for us to then bake together. You will also be preparing new dough as well, to get a hands-on feel of every part of the process. I will do the final rise, score, and bake these loaves myself which you are welcome to pick up after noon the day after your class.

Cost

Sourdough Basics Private One On One Instruction $125

Perfect for serious students who want to learn to make weekly loaves for themselves and their families. You are welcome to include a spouse or older child in your private class at no cost. 

Sourdough Basics Group Class (up to 5 participants) $75 each

This class is great for team building, book clubs, or birthday parties. Think bunko or paint with wine night but you get to play with dough. If you host a class at my house or yours and have 4 friends or family register, the host’s class is FREE.

Advanced Sourdough (3-hour class)

 

This advanced class is great for those who want to perfect their sourdough skills, learn to bake enriched bread, and learn to use sourdough discard for crackers and pancakes. In the advanced class, you pick what we bake! We can work on the Hokkaido sandwich loaf or English muffins and crackers or pancakes. We will also spend time working on perfecting a rustic boule and learning more artful scoring techniques. Upon completion, you keep your rising dough for the next morning’s bake and either the crackers or pancakes we prepare together. 

All ingredients will be provided for the class but please read my equipment list and have your own bowls & tea towel or banneton, loaf pan, and skillet or baking sheets on hand.

Cost

Advanced Private One On One Instruction $125

You are welcome to include a spouse or older child in your private class at no cost.

Advanced Group Class (up to 5 participants) $75 each

If you host a class at my house or yours and have 4 friends or family register, the host’s class is FREE.

How To Sign Up

Are you ready to bake!? Email me at jessica.c.bingaman@gmail.com and I will send you a google inquiry form that will help you pick your location, date, and time. I’m thrilled to make dough, chat about nutrition, and have fun in the kitchen with you this year!

Happy 17th Birthday Audree!

4Yesterday was too packed for a proper birthday post for my Audree. Today though, I have a story about my fierce, strong, organized, bubbly, baby girl. She was born on Thanksgiving and turned 17 the day before Thanksgiving. On that special Thanksgiving, we both ate our turkey in pretty pj’s. This birthday we celebrated with our family’s favorite beans and rice.

Last spring we didn’t rehab many birds because we were moving. Instead, we did lots of releases for our preceptor Kandie. During one, the whole neighborhood gathered in anticipation of the fuzzy fluff ball they found in a gutter, returning as a full-grown, Great Horned velociraptor. 1

One of my favorite things in the world is twisting people’s usual paradigms. The goal, always with a measure of humor, is to help fellow humans realize that things aren’t always as they appear at first glance. I propose that if someone has an experience where they have to rethink something, they will be inclined to look at other, more important concepts, outside of the box in the future.

So, on this day, Audree and I rolled up with the red rescue box to a street full of very excited neighbors. As we moved through the crowd, someone asked, “Where is the person who handles the bird”? It’s true that Audree and I don’t look like your average animal wrangler. We are petite and don’t really dress the part. 

Audree, never fazed by much of anything, raised her perfectly manicured finger and replied, “That would be me”. I didn’t look back so as not to risk the gentleman feeling foolish and squelched the huge laughter in my chest.

My personal joy resulting from this tiny interaction is simply that Audree, just by being her full self, caused someone to have to twist their first impression. My belief is that this is important in the world. I’m certain it’s been important in every generation because problems tend to be solved (the big, universal ones) from stepping back and looking at things in a brand new way… and in one small moment, this happened indeed.

I’m so proud of my lovely girl. She is strong, determined, self-assured, and also feminine. Her femininity doesn’t make her fragile. It actually makes her stronger. It’s one of her super-powers which she will continue to cultivate as she embodies womanhood.

What challenge are you facing that you’ve not yet puzzled out? Could a completely new paradigm help you approach it differently? Next time you are stuck, think of my beautiful girl and consider if a bird’s eye view offers an answer.

And Happy Birthday Audree Paris Jeanette Bingaman!

National Suicide Prevention Month

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I was deeply grieved to learn that ANOTHER young man – a son, a brother, a husband, a father, in my community took his life earlier this week. I didn’t know him personally but I do know people with whom he was close friends who are hurting today. 

We have a real problem, people. It’s a complex problem for which I do not claim to have the answer but I am abundantly sure that I have one devastating piece to the puzzle.

Mental illness carries a tremendous negative stigma that causes people to keep their experiences secret. I am guilty of this in that my own family has experienced great difficulty that even some of my close friends and family are not aware of. The privacy is for protection from judgment because the judgment is all but guaranteed, fierce, and only adds to already overwhelming pain.

How many Go Fund Me pages have you seen in the last week to help families whose dads, mamas, or kids have cancer? We rally around each other when our loved ones are sick, when an organ in the body is unwell. We should. We need each other.

But isn’t the brain an organ? Last time I taught biology, it was right there in the textbook! Then why when someone’s brain is unwell, do we pull away? 

Real talk here – We are AFRAID of anyone who struggles with any form of mental illness. We chalk them up as crazy and block them off, hoping their crazy doesn’t rub off somehow like a virus; probably because we are terrified to give our own crazy a centimeter of room to breathe. 

It’s not working. It’s not working because we are falling like flies. Memes intended as encouragement like “God will not give you more than you can handle” or “This too shall pass” pour pepper in wounds.

It’s not working.

I offer that shedding the stigma, actually more like stamping it out with the steel toe of a boot, might be one tiny step toward helping those who struggle. If we felt free to share when we were spinning out and thought that we would be embraced instead of judged, we might find an essential thread of hope. If we could say in plain English that death feels like the only answer, and then be surrounded by intense love instead of feared or shamed, would it change how far gone, how depleted we are before we reach out? I think so or actually, KNOW so. 

If there is no shame in heart disease, or cancer, or toe fungus, then why the shame about mental illness? 

I challenge you to ask yourself if you need an update to your thinking.

And if you are hurting, ask for help NOW. If you don’t know who can help, call The National Suicide Prevention Helpline. They are a free, nationwide, 24 hour a day service.

1-800-273-8255

If you’ve shied away from someone you love that struggles with mental illness, call them now and remind them how treasured they are in your heart. It could save their life.

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#NationalSuicidePreventionHelpline #SuicidePrevention #GetHelp #MentalIllness #PreventSuicide #DropTheStigma #NoShame #BeTheChange

Kombucha Baby!

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Kombucha is a delicious fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years, most likely discovered by accident when someone left their sweetened tea sitting around too long. It’s been very popular lately so I’d venture a guess that by now you have tried it out. It’s a tart, fizzy, and addictively delicious alternative to soda, full of glorious health benefits. A drawback is that it gets expensive if you fall madly in love! 

Bottled kombucha can start at about $2 at the market, but I’ve seen it much pricier, going for up to $6 or $7 a bottle where I live in the burbs. I can imagine even higher prices in metropolitan areas. So what’s a booch lover to do? Make your own!

Before we get into the recipe, let’s look at the health benefits, which are many. It’s a bit of work to make but I think this long list will get you motivated. The most popular benefit of kombucha is that its fermentation process makes it a fantastic source of probiotics. You’ve got to be living in a cave at this point to not know we all need more good bacteria in our diet, so this is a great benefit alone… But wait, there’s more!

  • Kombucha made from (all or part) green tea offers many of the same health benefits as green tea itself like blood sugar control, and blood sugar control can help with weight loss! Additionally, science shows that it improves several markers of diabetes.
  • Kombucha is also rich in antioxidants which are very beneficial for the liver. Science shows that antioxidants in food rather than supplements may be more beneficial so booch is a delicious way to get those antioxidants in every day. 
  • Kombucha is rich in tea polyphenols and acetic acid, which have both been shown to suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts. This is huge if you are trying to rebalance your gut.
  • Kombucha has been shown to improve “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol levels in scientific tests and it may also protect against heart disease. *Going slightly off-topic for a sec here… If there is any remaining doubt – cholesterol is SO important for good health! This is a soapbox for a different day, but let’s just be clear, we need cholesterol for a properly functioning body (especially our brain)! We were sold a bill of goods in the 80’s when we were told it was bad for us. Can we move on from this terrible science once and for all friends?
  • Finally, test-tube studies show that kombucha suppresses the growth of cancer cells. It is unknown whether drinking kombucha has any effects on cancer risk in people but it will be interesting to see the results of continued testing.

Ok, let’s get to the recipe. The first thing you need is a SCOBY – a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Another definition could be a living disk of disgusting looking goo. I’ve learned to love my SCOBY because I’ve had her around and given away her babies for years now but she wins no points in the looks category. 

You can get a SCOBY a couple of ways. The easiest is one is to get one from someone you know that already makes kombucha. SCOBYs multiply so there are often some to share. You can also buy a SCOBY either at the health food store or online. 

I think the last option is the most fun – grow your own! If you are down for a quick project, buy a good, live kombucha next time you are at the market. Transfer the contents with a little added sugar to a wide mouth mason jar. Leave an inch or two of space at the top and loosely cap the jar so that gas can escape. Store it in the pantry or on the counter where you will remember to check on it now and then. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, the kombucha will miraculously transform into a SCOBY over between a week and a months time. You are looking for a disk that is between a quarter to a half-inch thick and nicely firm. The liquid that remains will be too tart to drink but you can add it to your first batch of home-made kombucha as a starter.

So let’s get to the brewing! You need some simple equipment and ingredients to get started.

Equipment

2-quart glass container with lid, sterilized – I have several extra-large 4-quart Ball jars that I use for fermentation. I double this recipe to make kombucha in these jars.

Small dish to hold your SCOBY – I like to use glass or stoneware, not metal.

Large container for brewing – I use a food-grade, large cambro but any bowl or pitcher works as long as it’s large enough.

Mesh Strainer

Bottles for decanting, sterilized – I like to use glass wine or sparkling water containers. Be sure they have a tight seal so that they will contain the carbonation of your finished product.

Funnel (optional)

 

Ingredients

½ cup loose tea – I like to use a combo of black and green organic tea. If your tee has fruit or flowers for added flavor that’s great! My recipe calls for more tea than you might find in other recipes. I think it produces much better kombucha this way.

½ cup raw sugar

1 quart filtered water, boiling – You will add ice after brewing to make just under 2 quarts total liquid

About 1 cup of reserved, live kombucha as starter

1 beautifully disgusting SCOBY

Start by adding the tea and sugar into your brewing container. Pour about one quart of boiling water over the tea and sugar and mix until the sugar has completely dissolved. Loosely cover the container and set it aside to brew it into a very strong tea. I leave it at least an hour, but often much longer to allow maximum extraction and to let the water cool naturally.

Once the tee is brewed, strain out the loose tea into the mason jar, pressing down on the tea leaves to get out every last drop. When I’m making large quantities at once, I use a second cambro for straining before adding the tea to my jars. It makes an extra container to wash but prevents spilling sticky tea. 

Now add ice to the sweetened tea to bring it to room temperature and then add the reserved starter kombucha. Finally, float the SCOBY on top of the tea and cover the container. I use a paper towel or cheesecloth with a rubber band. If for some reason, your SCOBY sinks a little, don’t worry about it. It will either pop up to the top overnight or you will see a new SCOBY forming in a day or two. The bacteria and yeast will do their job either way.

This is where the art of knowing when home-made kombucha is ready for bottling comes in. In a commercial environment, the fermentation process is precisely temperature controlled. At home, in your kitchen, the temp fluctuates. I have found that during temperate weather, my kombucha takes about a week. Once it starts to cool down in the fall, it can take more like 10 days, and in winter, it takes more like 2 weeks or even longer.

After a week, I slip a spoon into the container and do a taste test. You will want it to be slightly fizzy, mostly tart, but not all the way fermented, tasting like vinegar. If it’s too sweet, put the top back on the container and give it a few more days.

Once the kombucha is ready to bottle, start a new batch brewing and strain it as described above. When it’s brewed and cool, add a few tablespoons of the sweetened tee to your sterilized bottles, ready for the perfectly fermented kombucha. 

 

Now, gently remove the SCOBY to the sterilized dish in your equipment list and reserve a cup of kombucha for your next batch.

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I like to strain the finished kombucha when I bottle it because there is always particulate material that doesn’t look too thrilling even though it’s not unhealthy to consume. Pour the strained kombucha into your sterilized bottles. I make a meditative game out of this (stupidly refusing to use a funnel) to see if I can get it all in each bottle without spilling a drop. You know I’m a weird one already. This seems like a grounding and centering exercise. If you don’t like to test your steady hands and monk style breathing, use a damned funnel.

Ok, one important bottling detail is leaving plenty of headspace in your bottles to allow carbonation to develop during the second fermentation. The reason you added the fresh sweetened tea, is so that the good bacteria could consume it now and make yummy bubbles in your final product. The headspace allows this to happen without exploding any bottles. I’m knocking on wood before I say that I’ve NEVER exploded a jar or bottle because I’m so careful about this step. I leave the bottled kombucha on the counters for its second ferment for 4-5 days to get the carbonation really fizzy. During this process, I open the bottles just a twist or 2, until I hear a tiny bit of gas escape each day. It doesn’t make the final product less carbonated but I think it’s why I’ve never come downstairs in the morning to a sticky mess of broken glass.

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With everything bottled up, sterilize your fermenting vessel, add your sweetened tea, reserved kombucha, and SCOBY, and cover for the next round.

Whew! After day 4 or 5 of the second fermentation, you are DONE. Refrigerate your beautiful kombucha and drink away. I’ll add a little warning here… The daughter of my heart Mandy loves kombucha and was drinking at least a bottle a day of the store-bought sort for some time before I gave her my home-made version. She loved it and drank a ton only to find that she was experiencing an unintentional gastrointestinal cleanse later that evening. The home-made stuff is stronger!! When you start drinking your own for the first time, go easy at first. We can both drink as much as we like now because our bodies are used to it but take heed.

A final note, you can add all kinds of flavors to your second ferment. Fruit juice or puree work really well as do larger pieces of fruit. My friend makes a passion fruit version that makes me feel like I’ve been transported to a Hawian island. Go ahead and be as creative as you like and make notes on which experiments you like best. When you are ready, share your SCOBY babies so that your friends and fam can get their own booch brewing. 

As always, I’m here to answer your questions, but I hope my Julia Child style, ultra-detailed recipe has you off and running with all the info you need for first-time SUCCESS.

Beet Kvass

You only need a few ingredients to make this Beet Kvass recipe but for your minimal effort, you will create an incredibly beneficial health tonic!

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Beet Kvass is earthy, sweet, sour, and salty all at once. If you like to drink pickle juice, you will love kvass from the first sip. If not, know it’s an acquired taste, but like all fermented foods, you will begin to crave it as your body utilizes its benefits. Let’s be real though… Most people are either beet lovers or loathers. If you don’t like beets at all, make kombucha, water kefir, or sodas with ginger bug for a probiotic drink. If you are on the beet lover side, you will look forward to drinking this every single day!

The health benefits of Beet Kvass are many.  Kvass is a blood tonic that promotes regularity, aids indigestion, alkalizes the blood, treats kidney stones, cleanses the liver, and is brimming with probiotics. Follow this recipe to give kvass a go in your own kitchen.

 

Equipment

2-quart glass container with lid, sterilized – I have several extra-large 4-quart Ball jars that I use for fermentation. I double this recipe to make kvass in these jars.

Mesh strainer

Vegetable peeler

Sharp knife

Bottles for decanting, sterilized – I like to use glass wine or sparkling water containers. Be sure they have a tight seal so that they will contain the slight carbonation of your finished product.

 

Recipe

3 medium or 2 large organic beets, peeled – Some recipes call for unpeeled beets but I personally do not like the way the finished kvass tastes. I always peel my beets!

1/4 cup whey – The recipe for whey and cream cheese is below. You can also use live sauerkraut or other fermented veggie juice, live kombucha, or ginger bug.

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 quarts filtered water

Coursely cut the peeled beets and place them in your 2-quart container.

 

As with all fermentation, your container must be scrupulously clean. I use the sterilization setting on my dishwasher for this purpose making sure my containers are completely cooled before use to ensure beneficial bacteria are not killed by heat.

Now add the whey (or another fermentation starter) and salt to the beets.

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Cover the beets with water and stir well.

 

When you stir the kvass and the salt dissolves, it will appear slightly foamy. Cover the container. You can use a special fermentation seal that automatically vents or burp the container a few times per day. This isn’t a step that you can forget since the jar can explode if too much pressure builds up.

Because of the high sugar content in beets, kvass is a fast ferment. If your house is warm, it can take as little as two days. In a chilly winter kitchen, it can take up to a week. Be careful not to stretch the fermentation too long because the sugar can cause mold to develop quickly. I like to put mine in the fridge at the three-day mark.

 

As the kvass starts to ferment, you will see lots of bacteria activity. Bubbles will begin to form around the beets and travel up to make their escape. The bubbling action can get so alive that your jar of kvass looks carbonated. As the bubbles rise, you will notice foam on the top of your kvass. It is normal for this foam to have a slightly brown cast.

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In order to produce a rich beet taste without risking mold formation, I add one last step to my preparation before straining. After the initial three day fermentation, I place my covered container into the fridge for two to three days. I find that this greatly deepens the flavor of the kvass. After the rest in the fridge, remove the container, give the kvass a quick stir, and then strain the beets out reserving the liquid.

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Some recipes suggest a second round of fermentation by adding fresh water to the used beets, allowing them to ferment for a second time. I find the result much too light and prefer to discard the beets after the first use.

Now carefully put your strained kvass into sterilized bottles and refrigerate. Drink several ounces a day either diluted with a touch of sparkling water or straight up. The salty-sour flavor may seem strange at first but your body knows what’s good for it. In short order, you will find yourself craving your daily tonic! It will keep for months in the fridge but probably won’t last that long.

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WHEY and CREAM CHEESE

This recipe produces two products. The first, whey, is essential for making all kinds of lacto-fermented products and soaked grains. In lacto-fermentation, the beneficial bacteria in the whey will give your fermentation process a kickstart, allowing you to use less salt in your recipes. You may also use whey in soaking grains, brown rice, and beans to reduce the phytic acid and other “anti-nutrients” in them, allowing for easier digestion and increased nutrient bio-availability.

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Recipe

32-ounce carton of organic, full-fat yogurt

stainless steel bowl and strainer that nest nicely

paper towel

plastic wrap

Nest your strainer inside the stainless steel bowl and place the paper towel in the bottom of the strainer. Make sure there aren’t big wrinkles in the towel and that the edges are tucked in at the top. If the edges of the towel are hanging over the side, it will draw the whey up and out instead of into the bowl. Stir the yogurt and add the entire carton to the towel-lined strainer and cover the entire contraption with plastic wrap. You may use some extra plastic wrap or a large rubber band to secure the strainer and bowl so that you have a sturdy system.

Place the straining yogurt into the fridge overnight or until there is no liquid dripping through the strainer. The liquid that ends up in the bowl is your whey! Pour this liquid into a very clean mason jar. It will keep in the fridge for 6 months, but if you start fermenting all the veggies in your refrigerator, it will get used up quickly.

Once you have the whey that you need, you will be left with strained yogurt which is what is sold in the market as Greek yogurt. This product is also what was historically used like cream cheese. You can eat this just like regular yogurt, adding maple syrup, your favorite fruit preserves, or nuts. Also, try making it into muesli with oats and seeds. This traditional, European breakfast is incredibly healthy with both soaked grains and beneficial bacteria. You can also make savory spreads or dips with it. Add chives, parsley, cilantro, dill, and a tiny bit of chopped garlic with salt and pepper for a healthy and delicious veggie dip or spread for a bagel.

Sourdough Discard Crackers

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In order for a home cook to keep a sourdough starter active and bubbly, there is bound to be some waste. Careful planning and refrigerating the starter helps but occasionally you still have to discard. I’ve always made discard pancakes and love them. Recently though, I decided that I needed an alternative and set out to find a cracker recipe that really thrilled me.

When I prepare home-made food, I want it to taste as good or better than what I can buy. I don’t want my family wishing they could have the boxed or packaged versions. These crackers fit that bill. Depending on how you season them, they can be cheesy, herby, or just crispy and salty. They are also super healthy for all the reasons we already know that sourdough is awesome.  Try this recipe next time your starter is about to outgrow its jar!

One last comment – The Internet is full of recipes. Why do we need another one for crackers? I looked far a wide and didn’t find something that satisfied me. I want two things here… First, I want a recipe that tastes delicious. I talked about that above. But two, why are we bothering with sourdough crackers if they aren’t fermented? Some of the most popular recipes suggest mixing the ingredients and making the crackers right away. This defeats the whole purpose of sourdough! What I’ve done here is combine delicious and healthy. Anyone committed to sourdough because their bodies can’t handle digesting regular flour, can eat these crackers. AND they taste awesome. I’m so happy to fill in a gap, where both flavor and nutrition are priority. Please comment with your results.

Ingredients

220 grams or 1 cup All-Purpose Flour

110 grams or ½ cup Spelt Four

5 grams or 1 teaspoon Course Salt, plus more for dusting

2.5 grams or ½  teaspoon Baking Soda

320 grams or 1 ⅓ cups  Sourdough Starter

90 grams or 6 tablespoons Fat – refined coconut oil, olive oil, or melted butter

Optional Flavorings – herbs, finely chopped nuts, seeds, dry cheeses

Mix the flours, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. In a sperate bowl, measure the sourdough starter. Pour the flours on top of the starter and sprinkle the fat across the flour. Knead the ingredients together until they begin to form a cohesive ball. Depending on the natural humidity of the day, you may need up to a tablespoon of water for the dough to come together completely. Add it slowly so that the dough does not become wet.

Shape the dough into a rectangle and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Set it aside to ferment for 6 hours. When the 6 hours have elapsed, you may roll out and make the crackers or place the dough in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

When you are ready to prepare the crackers, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place one of your oven racks on the top and one of the racks on the bottom.

Now very lightly flour your work surface. Cut the rectangle of fermented dough into 6 approximately equal pieces. One piece at a time, roll the dough out until it is about a 4 by 7-inch rectangle. It is not important to be exact. Sprinkle the seasonings of your choosing onto the dough. Fold the dough over on itself in an envelope as pictured.

Note –  At this point, you will be rolling out the dough for final cutting. The more particular you are about how you roll the dough out now, the more even your crackers will be. If you are making these for your family, it may not be important at all to have sharp, straight edges. If you are going to give them to friends or as a gift, work on keeping the dough very straight and even as you roll it out.

Roll the dough out until it is thinner than you think it needs to be! The approximate measurement is 2 millimeters remembering that it will poof up some in the oven. Once you make this recipe a time or two, you will know exactly how thin you need to go during this step for perfect crackers. You may sprinkle more salt on the dough and press it in with the rolling pin or palm of your hand now if desired.

Using the rolling pin or a ruler as your guide, use a pizza cutter to cut the rectangle of dough into equal pieces. If you like, you can trim away the ragged edges of your dough. These trimmings fold back together easily into a new, much smaller rectangle which can be rolled and cut again to avoid waste. Use a fork and score each cracker at least twice.

Place the crackers on an ungreased baking sheet and put them on the bottom rack of the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes have elapsed, move the baking sheet to the top rack of the oven. Depending on the thickness of your crackers, it will take about 10 more minutes for them to finish baking. I set my timer for 8 minutes and check them often until I see that they are golden, but not dark brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven an allow the crackers to cool. Repeat the process with the remaining rectangles of dough. Package the crackers in an airtight container to store them.