Wondering what to do with sourdough starter discard? Try these tasty ideas!

October 16, 2020

If you've got leftover sourdough starter discard, don't let a bit go to waste! Try these sourdough discard recipes!

A jar of leftover sourdough starter discard

In the past, making sourdough bread from scratch was a task reserved for the more dedicated bakers and hobbyists among us. Baking bread in general takes a fair amount of time, and keeping up with a sourdough starter is even more time consuming. However, many of us sought a comforting way to spend time in the early part of the year, and thus the sourdough trend began. But as the months have marched on, those who took part in this baking bonanza are likely to find themselves stuck with a stockpile of starter. If that sounds familiar, and you're wondering what to do with all of that sourdough starter discard, we've got some tasty ideas and recipes you'll definitely want to try! 

Leftover sourdough starter recipes

When you open your fridge and see all of the jars of starter, your first thought might be that you can't possibly eat another loaf of bread. Fortunately, you might be surprised to learn that there are a wide variety of things you can make other than sourdough bread! Let's take a look at a few!  

Savory sourdough discard recipes

Crackers. It's easy to create crackers using sourdough discard. All you have to do is follow your existing cracker recipe, and add sourdough discard to it. Remember that the more discard you add, the more the flavor of the cracker will change. You can customize the recipe to suit your own tastes and preferences and even add your favorite herbs for an extra level of savory deliciousness.

Pancakes. Most pancake recipes can be easily adapted in order to accommodate sourdough discard. This is a fun recipe to get the kids involved with, because there are many opportunities to customize. Once you have made your sourdough pancakes, add your favorite toppings, like strawberries, whipped cream or cinnamon sugar. Or, for a more savory pancake, consider adding things like chives, bacon bits, and cheese!

Biscuits. Most biscuit recipes require you to use buttermilk as a base. However, it is possible to create sourdough biscuits using your leftover sourdough starter. There are several recipes online that you can try, and the end result is a biscuit that has a gentle tart flavor.

Flatbread. Flatbread is one of the easiest and most versatile things that you can make with your sourdough starter discard. You can create any type of flatbread with sourdough starter, such as tortillas, naan, focaccia or pita. Once you have made the flatbread that you prefer, you can use it to create a variety of meals, including flatbread pizza, wraps, tacos and more.

Sweet leftover sourdough starter recipes

Banana bread. Sourdough is known for its tart and tangy flavor, but it is possible to create sweet treats with your sourdough starter discard. Banana bread has long been a go-to recipe for anyone who wanted to use up those very ripe bananas. Now, you can combine those ripe bananas with your extra sourdough starter and create a delicious loaf of bread.

Sweet rolls. If you have a favorite recipe for cinnamon roll dough or another type of sweet roll dough, then you can add sourdough starter to it in order to improve its flavor and change the way the dough rises. Sourdough sweet rolls are crisp and flaky, and they are the perfect treat to add to any breakfast meal.

Cookies. People who don't want to eat cookies that are too sweet or sugary will find that adding sourdough starter to the recipe can change the flavor in the perfect way. Classic chocolate chip cookies, for instance, can be transformed from a sugary cookie to a tangy treat with a bit of sourdough discard.

Other sourdough discard recipes to try

Of course, there are other ways to use your sourdough discard besides baking. These are a few other sourdough discard recipes that you might be interested in trying:

Batter. One of the simplest and most delicious ways to use up your sourdough starter discard is by creating a batter that can be used to create fried meals. For example, you can follow a sourdough batter recipe and then use the batter on fish, chicken tenders, mozzarella cheese or anything that you can easily toss in the deep fryer. Sourdough batter also complements fruit well, so you can fry up a banana or a handful of cherries to enjoy them in a new way.

Sauces or Gravy. Your excess sourdough starter can be used as a base or a thickening additive for your favorite sauces or gravies. If the sourdough starter makes the sauce too tart or you feel like the sauce needs to be sweetened up a bit, just add a touch of honey to balance it.

What else can you do with sourdough starter discard?

If you're not in the mood for baking or cooking right now, there are still a few things you can do with the starter and discard to avoid waste.

Freeze it. If you only plan on baking sourdough bread every once in a while, then freezing your starter is probably a good move. Fortunately, yeast are hardy little creatures, and can remain dormant in freezing temperatures for long periods of time. Divide the starter discard you have into small covered containers that are safe to freeze, and simply set them inside! While they may last longer than a year, it isn't recommended that you freeze them for much longer than that. When you place them in the freezer, put a piece of tape with the date on them to keep track of how long they've been inside. 

When you're ready to use it again, take it out and let it thaw. Then, to take it out of hibernation, add warm water and flour to feed it like you normally would.  

Dehydrate it. Dehydrating sourdough starter is another way to save it for later and use it at another time. Simply spread it out into a thin sheet or a pan with parchment or wax paper beneath it. Then, you can let it dry out naturally in cool, dry place or use a food dehydrator if you have one. You can put it in the oven, but don't use heat - just let the convection fan run.

Check on it in 12-24 hours, and flip it over if necessary. Once it is dry and flaky, you've officially dehydrated it! You can store it in a cool, dry place inside of a baggy, a mason jar, or other container. When you're ready to use it again, all you have to do is add some warm water and a little flour to the dehydrated chips, cover, and watch it come back to life! 

Compost it. Okay, so maybe you're sick and tired of sourdough at this point. You don't want to hang on to it for later use - you just want it out of your fridge for good! That is completely understandable! But rather than tossing it in the garbage, consider adding it to your compost mix. Of course, this might attract pests, so it's best to only add it if you have a closed composting bin. By essentially recycling your excess or unwanted starter, you can reduce waste and create a nutritious additive for your garden. 

With all of options you have beyond your standard loaf of bread, there really is no reason to throw away your sourdough starter discard. Rather than wasting your discard, put it to good use with one of these creative recipes.

A jar of leftover sourdough starter discard

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Read more: Baking with sourdough starter is a great creative outlet. Looking for more DIY craft ideas? Check out our blog and make your very own fall wreath!

by Geoff Ullrich

About the Author

Geoff Ullrich is a writer and Content Marketing Strategist at Germania Insurance.

What do you want to read more about? For suggestions, questions, or content-related inquiries, contact us at content@germaniainsurance.com!

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