no bread yet… (how about crackers?)

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recipe: crackers made with sesame, poppy and flax seeds and left-over wild yeast after feeding

I began writing this post yesterday morning…

capturing wild yeast: part 5

(click on images for larger views and more photos)
natural starter Rats. Was that really me who said that capturing wild yeast was easy? (capturing wild yeast: part 2) Clearly I was deluded. I’m not sure but I think that I may be killing my starter.

I’m SO disappointed! But McKenna Grant did say that it may take longer in cooler weather so I’m going to give this one more shot. I have pushed everything back to the feeding stages. I used the left over sludge from the false buildup to make more crackers.

crackers At least these crackers were much more successful than the previous batch… I reduced the oven temperature from 450F to 350F and this time, the 20 minutes that McKenna Grant had recommended was about right. Here’s what I did:

based on a recipe in Piano Piano Pieno by Susan McKenna Grant
measurements are approximate

  • ½ c leftover sludge from capturing wild yeast*
  • ½ c whole wheat flour
  • ½ c unbleached all purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • ¼ tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • ¼ c sesame seeds
  • ¼ c poppy seeds
  • ½ c flax seeds
  • water
  • ¼ c extra virgin olive oil
  • more olive oil for brushing and coarse seasalt


  1. Mix all the ingredients (except the seasalt and olive oil for brushing) into a stiff ball. Let your hands be your friends. Add water if the dough seems too powdery. Cover and place in fridge for about an hour.
  2. Place the ball between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough as thinly as possible.
  3. Peel off the top layer of paper and transfer the dough sheet and bottom piece of parchment to a cookie sheet.
  4. Turn oven to 350F.
  5. Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Use a ravioli cutter to mark out squares or rectangles. Brush with extra virgin olive oil. Let rest for a few minutes. Brush again. Sprinkle with coarse seasalt.
  6. Bake on the top shelf of the oven at 350F for 20-25 minutes. Watch for burning in the last few minutes of baking!
  7. Allow to cool. Break apart and store in a cookie tin. Eat the crackers sooner rather than later as flaxseeds will spoil.

* This sludge is largely made up of water and unbleached all-purpose flour. There is also a tiny bit of rye flour and the slightest trace of honey. I’m sure that more flour and water could be substituted and virtually the same crackers would result. I bet that oatmeal or cornmeal would also be good additions.

Sunday: A couple of hours after feeding it, I looked at the starter and there are definitely bubbles. Perhaps it isn’t dying! Hope on, hope ever, I may be making bread from it soon after all. While we wait, I guess I had better resort to using commercial yeast to make some sandwich bread. There’s only one loaf left in the freezer.

capturing wild yeast: abort

natural non-starter Monday morning: I give up. I feel certain that the starter is not supposed to look like whipping cream. And there is no yeasty smell either. It smells like nothing at all. I’m going to try this again when it’s hot. I’ve had it with trying to keep up to the Jones’s.

I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll throw the whole thing out in a rage or if I’ll try making flatbread or biscuits out of it.

Next time I make the crackers (if there is a next time), I will add more salt to the dough and brush on more olive oil. The crackers are just a little too healthy tasting….

This entry was posted in baking, bread - yeasted & unyeasted, bread recipe, food & drink, posts with recipes, sourdough and wild yeast on by .

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