Don’t you hate throwing away excess sourdough starter during the feeding process? Many see this excess as “waste” but I like to think of it as opportunities to try new recipes. Instead of tossing it use your excess starter in these sourdough discard recipes.
A fluffy loaf of sourdough bread needs well-fed, active starter that will impart flavor, fermentation, and leavening. But there are other recipes, that do well with unfed discarded starter. Waffles, pancakes, biscuits, crackers, pizza crust, and brownies are just a few examples.
Sourdough discard is not always strong enough to leaven baked goods on its own, so sourdough discard recipes usually need additional leavening in the form of baking soda, baking powder, or yeast.
What sourdough discard does do is add tons of incredible flavor to baked goods. The lactic acid bacteria found in sourdough discard adds flavor and tenderizes wheat proteins. For this reason, people with gluten sensitivities often have an easier time digesting sourdough baked goods.
TIP: Keep a glass jar in your refrigerator to store your sourdough discard. Continue adding to it until you have enough to make one of these sourdough discard recipes.
Most sourdough starters are kept at a 100% hydration meaning they are fed with equal amounts of water and flour. If you keep your starter at a lower hydration level, you might need to use less flour or add more liquid to a recipe.
How long can you keep sourdough discard?
There are two ways you can store sourdough discard:
- Refrigerate it: Sourdough discard can be refrigerated for several months.
- Freeze it: Sourdough discard can also be frozen in the freezer for up to one year. Freeze the discard in small portions so that you are able to thaw only what you need for a recipe. Know that freezing your sourdough discard will kill it and eliminate all of its natural rising ability.
What can you do with sourdough discard?
- Add sourdough discard to your compost.
- Gift some to a friend so they have their own starter to bake with.
- Use it to flavor other baked goods. For more information, check out the recipes below.
Sourdough Discard Recipes
Sourdough discard flatbread couldn’t be easier to make. All you need are six simple ingredients, one bowl, and one pan to make this versatile flatbread.
Sourdough banana bread is delicious, moist, and simple to make. The sourdough starter adds extra flavor without making the banana bread taste like sourdough bread. It makes a great breakfast topped with creamy butter and served with a cup of coffee or a great afternoon snack.
Sourdough snickerdoodle cookies are buttery and soft with crispy edges. They have a slight tang from the cream of tartar with a hint of vanilla and lots of cinnamon.
These oatmeal sourdough muffins are on the healthier side of the breakfast/muffin spectrum, but you’d never know it from tasting them. They are lightly sweet, really soft and the oatmeal almost melts right in.
They may take a little time to make but the flavor is better than anything you have ever purchased from the grocery store. Before making these crackers I compared several different cheese powders and ultimately chose this cheese powder from King Arthur Flour.
These pancakes were soft, light, and fluffy with just a touch of sourdough twang. These pancakes took me just five minutes to mix together and cooked in just two batches on my griddle.
Sourdough discard gives this pizza crust a subtle tang. The crust is thin and crispy with just enough chew. Pizza is one of my favorite ways to use up random leftovers in the refrigerator.
This is a delicious basic muffin base that can easily be customized by folding in a variety of add-ins after the batter has been stirred together. For this version, I folded in some chopped peaches and topped them with peach buttercream icing.
These brownies are so rich, moist, and fudgy with an intense dark chocolate flavor.
Wonderfully flaky sourdough biscuits baked in a cast iron skillet. Serve them with gravy or topped with butter and your favorite jam.
This pie crust is tender, flaky, and tastes amazing.
How to create your own sourdough discard recipe
Most recipes can be modified to use some sourdough discard. Your sourdough discard is equal parts flour and water. So you will want to reduce the flour and the liquid in the recipe to accommodate for this.
Certain recipes are easier to convert into sourdough discard recipes. Quick bread items like muffins, pancakes, and waffles are more successful because of the added baking powder and/or baking soda for added lift. You can also add some of your sourdough discard into a bread recipe that is leavened with store-bought dried yeast.
Avoid substituting your sourdough discard for liquids that contribute additional attributes to the baked good’s texture, e.x., vegetable oil, which is mainly fat; or honey, which is mainly sugar. Don’t substitute sourdough discard for liquid sweeteners or liquid fats.
Typically I will sub in about 1 cup (240 g) of sourdough discard into a recipe. This means I need to reduce my flour by 1/2 cup (120 g) and my liquid by 1/2 cup (120 g).
Don’t be afraid to experiment! Embrace the element of surprise. Play around with recipes until you are happy with them.
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