Life in Colour: Brown in Plants, Plus Sourdough Crackers

Primula auricula 'Lincoln Chestnut' (brown double)
Primula auricula ‘Lincoln Chestnut’

I’m turning to the world of plants to help HeyJude celebrate the colour brown.

Brown flowers are unusual, but Primula auricula breeders have had centuries to push the boundaries. (See my post from the Cheadle Auricula Show)

Brown leaf of Rodgersia podophylla at Gresgarth Hall
Rodgersia podophylla

Plants with brown leaves are more common.

Hen and chicks with coffee coloured leaves
Hen and chicks with coffee coloured leaves
Fluffy seeds
Fluffy seeds

Seeds are often encased in brown, as are nuts.

Pecan nuts
Pecan nuts

As an extra, I’m throwing in something I made from the grain of plants:

Brown sourdough crackers
Brown sourdough crackers

One of the major irritations of baking sourdough bread is what to do with the excess starter gloop produced in large quantities, especially when you first start and haven’t got the confidence to ignore the instructions.

If you’re tempted to try baking them, the King Arthur recipe is here.

You’ll note my sourdough crackers look nothing like those in the recipe. I’ve found the recipe very flexible – you can use whatever you have. Mine are made from a mix of rye, brown and white flour starter discard. I add in rosemary or cayenne pepper and black pepper, and sometimes finely grated hard cheese if I have any going spare. I use about 10% less fat as it just works better for me that way. I’ll drawn your attention to the instructions to roll them as thinly as you can handle, and to watch them like a hawk as they draw close to being ready. In my oven they all cook at different speeds and have to be turned and taken out in sequence, but they’re worth it!

Shared for Life in Colour: Brown.

58 Replies to “Life in Colour: Brown in Plants, Plus Sourdough Crackers”

  1. Your crackers look great. I use only rye flour in mine (mainly to use up a large bag of the stuff), and add fennel or dill seeds. I have the same problem with different cooking times too, but the results are so worth it!

    1. I have tried caraway seeds, which I liked but not the two you mention. I like rye bread but have never made a pure rye – or not so far.

      1. I tried pure rye when I first started making bread, but found it really difficult to work with. What percentage rye do you use in your bake?

        1. I usually have about 25 or 30 percent rye in the starter but have gradually gone down to only adding a tiny bit of rye in the actual bread – more like a token gesture. I joke that my dough is more like an octopus at the best of times because it clings to the table given half a chance, so partly that’s to stop it being even stickier. It has been harder to get since the pandemic although I’ve just got a fresh bag.

          1. Thank you. I used to have separate rye and wheat starters because I read somewhere that was what I was meant to do. Honestly, some of the stuff people write (in books, not just online). My bread baking got so much better when I stopped following recipes and worked out the basic chemistry.

  2. Ah, brown! I do not purchase bearded iris. There is no need to when friends and neighbors are so happy to share them. However, the ONE bearded iris that I would purchase if I could find it for sale is classified as ‘brown’. It looks more tan or orange to me, with a bit of lavender. Actually, it is not very pretty at all. I just want it because of the name; ‘San Jose’!

      1. I would not do it professionally. Plants are selected for their appropriateness. However, in my own garden, of the very few items that I do not grow myself, but instead purchase, a few were selected for their name, even ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘Mojave’ rose. (I recommend neither.)

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