Sourdough Crackers

We’re snackers. Always have been. So when a dear friend shared a batch of her sourdough crackers, we were hooked. And since our appetites for carby treats are boundless, that meant making our own at home.

The dough, on its own, produces a delicious cracker. But adding herbs and spices gives you lots of room to experiment, customizing the taste of a batch of crackers to pair with whatever works. We’ve experimented with dried herbs d’provence (a favorite), cumin and smoked paprika. We’ve also played with the fats and flours in various batches, all delicious.

Feeding a starter means discarding some of the old to make room for fresh flour. It’s a lot of starter to discard over time. Using the “throw aways” to whip up crisp, crunchy batches of crackers makes so much sense when you consider the cost of a package of specialty crackers in our local grocery stores. More than that, there is no substitute for the delicate flavors of fresh-from-the-oven anything when the alternative is something that has been packaged, shipped and displayed for weeks or months.

We’ll be sharing more of our adventures in sourdough bread making. In the meantime, we’ll just park this here in hopes it inspires you to make your own sourdough crackers. The starter couldn’t be simpler. Simply mix flour and water, cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and walk away. Time and the natural yeasts in the air will do their magic. If you want to see where our starter “recipe” comes from, check out the kitchn‘s take on the sourdough starter. We took the cracker recipe from King Arthur Flour.

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Sourdough Crackers

[Adapted from King Arthur Flour]

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup rye flour
1/4 cup barley flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup unfed (“discarded”) sourdough starter
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (or other fat like olive oil or coconut oil)
2 tablespoons dried herbs of your choice, optional (we like herbs de provence)

Oil for brushing

Course salt (such as kosher or sea salt) for sprinkling on top


Mix together the flour, salt, sourdough starter, butter, and optional herbs to make a smooth(not sticky), cohesive dough.

Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a small rectangular slab. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes, or up to a couple of hours, until the dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Very lightly flour a piece of parchment, your rolling pin, and the top of the dough.

Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough to about 1/16″ thick on the parchment, or basically as thin as possible. The dough will have ragged, uneven edges; that’s OK. Just try to make it as even as possible.

Transfer the dough and parchment together onto a baking sheet. Cut the dough into 1 1/4″ squares; a rolling pizza wheel and metal ruler works well here. Pull up the scrapes and wrap in plastic wrap to refrigerate for 20 minutes, then repeat the following steps above.

Prick each square with the tines of a fork.

Lightly brush with oil and then sprinkle the salt over the top of the crackers.

Bake the crackers for about 16-20 minutes, until the squares are starting to brown around the edges.

When fully browned, remove the crackers from the oven, and transfer them to a cooling rack. Store airtight at room temperature for up to a week; freeze for longer storage.

Yield: about 50-100 crackers

Irish Coffee

It’s fun to be writing our first Irish Coffee recipe. San Francisco lays claim to a modern classic in Jack Koeppler’s 1952 creation. Mr. Koeppler owned the storied Buena Vista Café, which sits perched above Fisherman’s Wharf and Aquatic Park on Hyde. The cocktail was apparently inspired by the Irish Coffee Mr. Koeppler happened upon in Shannon Airport in Ireland. On a quest, he enlisted the aid of travel writer Stanton “Stan” Delaplane, to help him come up with a facsimile.

Today, the café claims to sell as many as 2,000 Irish Coffees a day.* We don’t know if this statistic says as much about the quality of the drink as it does San Francisco’s drinking habits, but we aren’t judging.

So here it is, in time for your St. Patrick’s Day drink-up (or morning after recovery), the famous Buena Vista Café Irish Coffee:

Irish Coffee

6 oz. piping hot coffee
1.5 oz. good Irish whiskey (we’re fans of the 10 year old Bushmills single malt but the Buena Vista uses Tullamore Dew )
2 tbsp. sugar (traditional Irish recipes call for 2 tbsp. brown sugar)
3-4 tbsp. lightly whipped cream

Note: The Buena Vista Café serves Irish Coffee in what look like a cross between a desert glass and a beer glass, but any large coffee mug will do.

Heat coffee mugs by filling with hot water. Pour the water out, pour coffee, add sugar and whiskey and stir to melt sugar. Top by pouring slightly whipped cream over the back of a spoon to float it atop the coffee.

The coffee is to be enjoyed through the cream, so don’t shy away from that mustache.

*The Buena Vista Café Irish Coffee story can be found on the café web site.