Friday, 5 July 2013

Sourdough Semolina & Fennel Seed Crackers

The cracker bug hit me earlier this year. I started experimenting with different types of crackers, and haven’t stopped yet.  I’ve been making them at least once a week for the past several months.

In the midst of my cracker-making craze, I ran across a recipe for sourdough whole wheat crackers. I’ve been testing this recipe for several weeks.  I’ve tried other methods, but I keep coming back to this one.  The addition of sourdough gives the crackers a somewhat cheesy flavor.  They taste so good! 

So far, I’ve made sourdough crackers using einkorn, spelt, rye, a mixture of spelt and rye, and whole wheat. I enjoyed each variation, but I continued to look for the perfect flavor/texture combination. I think I found it in these Sourdough Semolina and Fennel Seed Crackers.



I had been using butter or coconut oil in the sourdough crackers, and although each batch was really good and very addictive, the texture wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I was looking for a crispy and light cracker that melted in your mouth.

When I made the Semolina Olive Oil bread last month, I enjoyed it so much that I decided to try the same formula but use different types of flours. In the midst of all of the bread testing, it occurred to me that semolina flour and olive oil would make a tasty and crispy cracker.

I was right!  I made these crackers with my apple starter, semolina flour, and olive oil.  And, to make the crackers even more interesting, I topped them with fennel seeds. Oh boy!  I took one bite and knew this was it.

The fennel seed version tastes divine, but feel free to try other variations.  I made a different batch of these crackers and sprinkled some with sesame seeds and some with chili powder. We couldn’t decide which version we liked better. They all taste great.

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Sourdough Semolina & Fennel Seed Crackers

Adapted from: Kitchen Stewardship’s Sourdough Thin Wheat Crackers


  • 1 cup discarded or fed sourdough starter * (I used my apple starter)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup Semolina flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Fennel Seeds, or sesame seeds

* I’ve tried this recipe using discarded sourdough and recently fed sourdough.  It works great with either one.


1) In a medium bowl, combine the sourdough starter and olive oil.

2) Add about 1/4 cup flour and the salt and mix thoroughly. Depending on the hydration of your sourdough starter, you might use all of the flour or you might have some left over.  Just add as much as necessary to make a stiff and workable dough.



3) Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a lid to keep it from drying out and let it rest at room temperature for at least 7 hours. I let mine rest on the counter for a few hours, then I placed it in the refrigerator overnight to develop the flavor.

4) Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it warm up a little bit before rolling. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces and place each ball on a greased or floured piece of parchment paper, or a nonstick baking mat. 



5) Roll the dough out very thinly. Brush it with olive oil, using a pastry brush or your fingers, and sprinkle it with fennel seeds.  Press down lightly on the fennel seeds to help them stay on.



6) Cut the dough into squares or diamonds using a pizza cutter.



7) Bake the crackers in a preheated 350 degrees F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes until just golden brown. Bake them in batches, rotating the baking sheets if you are baking two at a time. If you want crispy crackers, let the crackers cool down completely in the oven. If you want to do this in an electric oven, leave the door slightly open so the crackers don’t keep baking while the oven is cooling down. 


8) Transfer the crackers to a wire rack. They will shrink some in the oven and come apart on their own so it’s easy to separate them.






My youngest son said these were the best crackers I had made. He’s been away at school and hasn’t tried all of my creations, but he’s right. This is my favorite cracker by far. The key ingredient is definitely the olive oil, but the semolina puts it over the top.


Happy Baking!


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