How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (2024)

Have you ever wondered how long can I keep sourdough discard in the fridge?

It's a question every sourdough baker has pondered at some stage in their sourdough journey.

The simple answer is, you can keep sourdough discard in the fridge indefinitely, however the quality and flavor of the discard will change and even deteriorate over time.

This blog will take you through the ins and outs of storing and using sourdough discard safely, as well as the factors you need to consider when saving sourdough discard.

What Is Sourdough Discard?

Sourdough discard is unfed starter. It's the portion of the starter you remove before you feed your sourdough starter.

You should toss the sourdough discard from your starter for at least the first 7 days. In this early period, the discard will contain bad bacteria which can potentially be unsafe for you to consume.

After about 7 days, your starter should have started to rise and bubble. After this, you can start using and keeping the discard if you wish. In fact you can add sourdough discard to any recipe you like.

Just like your sourdough starter, the discard will become better as your starter matures.

You can read the most frequently asked questions about sourdough discard here.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (1)

How To Store Sourdough Discard?

The best way to store sourdough discard is in the fridge. Place it into a labelled glass jar with the lid screwed on tight. You can also freeze your sourdough discard to be used at a later date.

As long as your fridge is 3C or colder, the discard will basically be put to sleep, so it will still ferment - but very, very slowly.

You really don't want to store sourdough discard on the counter, unless you are planning to bake with it that day.

Your sourdough starter can also be stored in the fridge using these instructions.

How Long Can I Keep Sourdough Discard In The Fridge?

The time that your discard will survive in the fridge depends very much on the maturity of your sourdough starter.

If your sourdough starter is mature, then your discard will survive in the fridge pretty much indefinitely. You would treat it like an old starter - you could revive it if you wanted to.

If your starter is still young (less than 6 months old) then it won't last as long in the fridge as the yeast and bacteria colonies aren't well established just yet.

However, despite the age of your starter, it's much better to store discard in the fridge, rather than the counter where it is still actively fermenting.

It will become very sour and acidic after just a few days on the counter. As it is basically unfed sourdough starter, left unfed it will deteriorate and eventually be taken over by harmful bacteria a mold.

Stored in the fridge, sourdough discard will go to sleep and last a lot longer.

My advice is to use discard within one week. This is because after a week, it will start to taste very sour and become very acidic.

You probably don't want to use old sourdough discard in a sweet discard recipe as it will produce a sour tasting product.

Can I Add Discard From Different Days To The Same Jar?

Yes, you can add different batches of sourdough discard to the same jar.

Ideally, you should use the discard within a week or 2, however, if you are adding fresh discard each day, it will lengthen the amount of time you can store it for.

Can I Use Sourdough Discard Straight From The Fridge?

Yes you can use sourdough discard straight from the fridge, you don't need to let it come to room temperature if you don't want to.

If you are using it straight from the fridge it may be a little stiff or thick, so you'll need to ensure you mix it really well.

How Do You Know if Sourdough Discard Is Bad?

Sourdough discard will potentially smell acidic and even like acetone if it's a few days old. While it will smell different to a fed, active starter, it won't smell unpleasant.

The discard should be fine in the fridge, however if it is displaying signs of mold or any pink or orange tinges then it has gone bad and needs to be tossed.

Can I Use Old Sourdough Discard?

You can use old sourdough discard if it's been stored in the fridge, however, you really want to use it up within a week - 2 weeks max.

It's better to use "fresh" discard in a sweet sourdough discard recipe. Use older discards in more savory recipes.

Great recipes to use fresh sourdough discard:

  • Lemon Sourdough Muffins
  • Sourdough Discard Iced Buns
  • Sourdough Discard Crackers with Parmesan and Rosemary

The best recipes for older sourdough discard:

  • Easiest Sourdough Discard Bread Ever
  • Easy Sourdough Discard Sandwich Bread
  • Sourdough Discard Hamburger Buns
  • Sourdough English Muffins

Fresher discard won't be as acidic and will taste much better.

Did you know that you can use active sourdough starter in discard recipes.

In fact, I often feed my starter extra flour and water, just so I can make crackers or fritters with fresh starter.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (2)

Why Do Some People Say They Don't Discard?

It's true. You'll see many people declare that they don't discard in their sourdough process.

However - they aren't giving you the whole picture. They actually do discard!

You cannot build a thriving starter without discarding. It just will not work. You can read full write up on why you must discard sourdough starter here.

Once the starter is mature, you use a portion of it in a bake - taking this portion out of the jar is discarding. It's making room in the jar for you to then feed the starter and get it ready for next time.

So when someone says, oh I don't discard - they actually do - they are just baking with it because it's active starter!

Can You Use Discard To Make A New Sourdough Starter?

Absolutely you can! Remembering that sourdough discard is essentially unfed sourdough starter.

If something happens to your sourdough starter (like it goes moldy or you break the jar it's in) you can absolutely use some discard from the fridge to start a new one.

You would just need to take 50g of discard and feed this with 50g of flour and 50g of water and keep doing this until it is bubbling and doubling.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (4)

Further Reading

If you found this article on storing sourdough discard helpful, you might enjoy these articles:

  • Are sourdough discard recipes even healthy?
  • How to store sourdough starter in the fridge.
  • Learn how to dehydrate sourdough starter for extra sourdough insurance.
  • Reviving an old sourdough starter
How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? (2024)


How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge? ›

Sourdough discard only lasts a day or two at room temperature. As such, it is best to keep your discard in the fridge, where it will last for up to one week. Of course, you can only rely on it lasting that long if you store it correctly.

How long can sourdough discard be in the fridge? ›

You can store mature sourdough discard in the refrigerator indefinitely. As long as there is no mold, it is good to use. It may develop a grayish liquid on top called “hooch” which can be poured off before use or stirred in. If you stir it in, the flavor will become more sour.

How long does sourdough last in the fridge? ›

How Long Does Sourdough Bread Last In The Fridge. It will last a day or two. But I do not recommend using the refrigerator because it will dry out your bread faster. Unless you are trying to dry out your bread faster, I would avoid the fridge completely and choose one of the above alternatives.

How long does a discard last on the counter? ›

What happens if you let sourdough discard sit too long on the counter? As discard sits at room temperature, it will continue to ferment which increases its acidity levels. If it sits past 36hrs, it will most likely run out of flour to feed on.

Can sourdough starter go bad in the fridge? ›

Building on the comments above, a home refrigerator can be a very convenient place to store your starter for extended periods. However, I don't like to leave my starter for more than three weeks in the fridge because it usually takes longer to revive with the additional care required.

Does sourdough starter discard go bad? ›

It will become very sour and acidic after just a few days on the counter. As it is basically unfed sourdough starter, left unfed it will deteriorate and eventually be taken over by harmful bacteria a mold. What is this? Stored in the fridge, sourdough discard will go to sleep and last a lot longer.

What can I do with sourdough discard from the fridge? ›

You can always use this discard by directly mixing it into a dough for baking. Your discard, as long as it's in good shape, will leaven any bread dough just as well. The discard is just like a levain you would make for a recipe. The only difference is it's the same makeup as your starter.

Should I keep my sourdough discard in the fridge? ›

Store it for future baking: You can store sourdough discard in an airtight container in the refrigerator for future baking with sourdough discard recipes. When you're ready to use it, let the discard come to room temperature before using it to bake. I will keep sourdough discard in the fridge for about one week.

How long does it take for sourdough to go bad? ›

I'll share my tips on the best way to store sourdough and a plan on the best way to eat it too. Sourdough bread will keep well for up to 3-5 days at a moderate room temperature of 18-20°C or 64-68°F. The warmer and more humid the conditions become, the more chance the sourdough has of spoiling.

Can you leave sourdough too long? ›

The dough should be left to expand enough to give us a nicely textured crumb and a loaf that “springs” in the oven. Leave it too long and you run the risk of over proofing resulting in the dough deflating. I wanted to have a look and see how different stages of proofing affect the loaf, especially the crumb.

Is sourdough discard healthy? ›

Sourdough discard recipes not only reduce waste but also offer health benefits, making them a wonderful addition to a balanced diet. The fermentation process of the sourdough starter increases the availability of certain nutrients and can help improve digestion.

Why does my sourdough discard smell like acetone? ›

If your starter smells like acetone, it usually means that it has consumed all of the available food and it needs to be fed. I left my starter unfed in the refrigerator for 1, 3, 6, 12+ months.

What is the final discard phase? ›

They will use you for personal gain, and when you're no longer of use to them, they will discard you. Sometimes, this discard is final; the relationship ends, and they move on to repeat the cycle with someone else. In other cases, it might be temporary.

Can sourdough starter get moldy in fridge? ›

Sourdough starter that is stored in the fridge for a long time can develop a very dark colored hooch that is often mistaken for mold. Similarly, if left on the counter, some starters can develop darker patches that may look like mold forming. It is actually the very beginnings of hooch.

Can I use Day 4 sourdough discard? ›

Remember, you can't use the discard from your homemade sourdough starter for the first 7 days. You can use sourdough discard in all kinds of sourdough discard recipes, including these no wait sourdough recipes, overnight sourdough discard recipes and sourdough discard recipes that use up a lot of discard.

Can you keep sourdough in the fridge for a week? ›

For instance, with my 100% hydration sourdough starter, I will typically feed it with 10 to 15% less water than normal to stiffen it. Place the lid on top and seal it shut. Set a timer for 1 hour. After an hour of room-temperature fermentation, place the jar in the refrigerator for up to three weeks without feedings.

How long can you keep sourdough in the fridge overnight? ›

Cold proofing sourdough involves placing it in the refrigerator for an extended period, normally over 5 hours and up to 48 hours.

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