Whole Wheat Sourdough Cheese Crackers [Oil Version]

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      Whole Wheat Sourdough Cheese Crackers [oil version]
      Marliss Desens adapted this recipe from one developed by King Arthur Flour. This version uses oil instead of butter and combines the oil with the sourdough before adding the dry ingredients. I have also adjusted the baking time.

      312 g (2 ½ cups) whole wheat flour
      42 g (1/3 cup) ground flax meal
      49 g (½ cup) King Arthur Vermont Cheese Powder
      41 g (4 Tbs.) Bob's Red Mill milk powder

      2 cups unfed sourdough starter (mine is milk-based), the so-called "discard"
      1/3 cup canola oil

      Avocado oil for brushing before baking
      Coarse salt for sprinkling before baking (optional; I no longer use it.)

      In small bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients. Place sourdough starter in stand mixer bowl. Add canola oil. With the flat paddle, beat on low speed, then increase (about 4 on my mixer) for at least a minute until blended. Add dry ingredients and mix on low (1 or 2) with paddle attachment. Stop, scrape paddle, and mix again until combined. Avoid overmixing. Using a scale, divide the dough into four equal amounts. Form into small rectangles and wrap each in saran wrap. Place in dish and refrigerate for 4-5 days to develop flavor.

      When ready to bake, set out wrapped dough to allow it to warm. Preheat oven to Convection setting 375F, with third rack from the bottom. (I turn it on as I roll out the second sheet.)

      Roll dough on a half-sheet sized piece of parchment paper into a rectangle (about 27 x 36 cm) 1/16th of an inch thick, using pie wands for uniform thickness. Brush with avocado oil. Using a metric measure (it's easier!) cut dough, using a pizza wheel, into squares 3 cm x 3 cm. (I don't worry about unevenness.) With a sharp fork (my 3-prong ones work well), dock each square two or three times. Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired.

      Bake for 5 minutes and 50 seconds, hit timer to repeat before turning the baking sheet around. Bake for another 5 minutes and 50 seconds. Be alert; these crackers can burn quickly.

      Remove the pan from the oven. Cut or break apart any still attached squares. (Attached crackers, or crackers too close to each other will not crisp.) Slide the crackers off parchment (save for third batch) onto hot baking sheet and allow to cool as second batch bakes. Just before the second batch is ready to be removed from the oven, slide the crackers onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in tightly covered container.

      What I changed: I added the flax meal, and I use an additional ½ cup flour, as I have a "soupy" type of starter. I added the cheese powder, deleted 1 tsp. of salt, added the milk powder and replaced ½ cup butter with 1/3 cup oil to make a more nutrient dense cracker, which also rolls out more easily. I reworked the directions to use the convection setting at a lower temperature, and to reduce baking time. Brushing with avocado oil instead of oil or canola improves flavor.

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