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Since I’ve been making sourdough, over a year now, I haven’t bought bread but I also haven’t bought crispbread.  Crisp, seedy biscuit topped with cottage cheese and salad used to be a really regular lunch for me.  So I’ve been playing with a homemade sourdough based version, and it’s joined the list of things I like homemade best.

Not only tastes better, but it makes frugal sense. You can make 18 to 24 crispbreads, depending how large you cut them, about 650 grams. The seeds, bought from my local little wholefoods shop, cost me less than $2.50, the semolina about 80 cents, and the flour just a few cents.  All up, about $3.50.  The equivalent in Vitawheats would have cost me $9.50.  It only takes about 15 minutes of actual time, though like everything sourdough, that’s spread out over a whole day. Even counting the gas for cooking and my own time, it makes frugal sense.

Seeds are way up there in the superfoods list. When you think about it, a plant’s whole lifecycle is dedicated to creating seeds, with all the protein, energy, nutrients, and protection from invasion by bacteria and fungus, that they will need to germinate.  Some are spectacularly good.  Linseeds have omega 3 fatty acids, which are antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, and good for your heart. Pepitas are a really good source of several minerals including zinc, which is important for warding off viruses among other things, and  L-tryptophan, which is important for mental health.  Sesame seeds are rich in a whole range of minerals including copper and calcium. Sunflower seeds are one of the best sources there is of Vitamin E.

The Recipe:

It starts just like my regular sourdough, except I make a smaller batch of starter:

Before I go to bed:

  • Take the sourdough starter out of the fridge.
  • Mix 1  cup of unbleached bakers flour, 1  cup of water, and 1 cup of starter.  (I use my tank water, which has no chlorine or additives in it).
  • Put half of it back in the jar in the fridge.  You should be left with 1 cup of fed starter, to put in a bowl covered with a clean cloth on the kitchen bench for the night. By morning it should be frothy, like the picture.

Next morning:

  • Mix in 1 cup of fine semolina and 1 cup of seeds. (Ooops, and I forgot, half a teaspoon of salt).
  • I used a mixture of poppy seeds, sesame seeds, crushed linseeds, finely chopped pepitas and finely chopped sunflower seeds.  The larger seeds all need to be chopped fine – the same kind of size as the sesame seeds – so that you can roll the crispbreads out later.
  • Tip ½ cup of bakers flour, on the benchtop,  tip the mix out onto it, and knead for just a couple of minutes to get a ball of soft, springy dough. Put a good dollop of macadamia (or olive) oil in a large bowl, swirl the dough ball around in it to coat, cover the bowl with a clean cloth, and leave out on the benchtop for the day to prove.

When I get home at 5.30

  • Lightly oil three biscuit trays.
  • Tip the dough out on the benchtop,  knead very briefly, and divide up into three balls – two large and one small.
  • Flour the bench well and, with a floured rolling pin, roll first ball out to very thin – 5 mm or so – basically as thin as you can get it.  Carefully transfer to the oiled biscuit tray and trim to fit.  Prick all over with a fork and cut into 6 or 8 squares.
  • Do the same with the second ball. Add the trimmings to the third (smaller) ball, knead again and do the same with it.
  • Leave on the benchtop, covered with a clean tea towel, for a couple of hours.

At 7.30

  • The crispbreads will have puffed up slightly.  Bake in a slow oven for about 40 minutes, till they are firm and just colouring. They will crispen up more as they cool.  Cool on a cake rack and store in an airtight jar.

A seedy biscuit

This is the last of my Muesli Bar Challenge series for the year. The draft of this post has been in my drafts folder since the very first week.  It’s one of my old favourites – so easy, so healthy, so school lunch box acceptable.  As a gardener, I’m really conscious that seeds are concentrated sources of nutrients – complex carbohydrates  that fuel a plant’s early growth, protein to allow it to create new cells, phytonutrients to protect it.  You can make these with or without nuts as well, depending on your school’s nut policy.

A whole four terms of Challenge recipes, and not one has come home uneaten.  Take that, LCMs!

The Recipe:

Into the food processor, put:

  • two eggs,
  • two dessertspoons (60 grams) butter,
  • two dessertspoons of brown sugar.
  • two heaped dessertspoons of wholemeal self-raising flour.

Blend this mix well, then add a cup full of nuts and/or seeds. I used pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds cashews,  macadamias and almonds, but you can use any combination.  You can blend this very briefly, just enough to break up the bigger nuts but not enough to blend, or you can just stir them in whole.  Large nuts might need rough chopping but whole seeds give a good texture. In the photo I left them whole, but in this latest batch that the kids are reviewing I blended briefly.

Add half a cup of sultanas. Organic sultanas are worth the expense if you can find them. You can taste the difference, and they haven’t been coated in cottonseed oil. If your school has a no-nuts policy, stick to just seeds.

Butter a baking tray and put spoonfuls on it. The biscuits will spread as they cook so give them room. Bake in a moderately hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes till nicely browned. Cool on the tray (they crispen as they cool).