Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes | The Perfect Loaf (2024)

Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes | The Perfect Loaf (1)

Your sourdough starter is the cornerstone of delicious and healthy sourdough bread baking. But, it’s also a source for a never-ending accumulation of starter discard. The good news is you can use this excess starter in any of the following sourdough starter discard recipes. This discard gives you even more delicious things to make in the kitchen!

What is Sourdough Starter Discard?

To keep your sourdough starter healthy, you need to provide it with fresh flour and water on a schedule. Each time you refresh (feed) your starter, you must discard some of the fully-fermented mixture in the jar. Discarding helps keep the acidity low in your sourdough culture, which keeps it strong and healthy. If you didn’t discard, you’d also eventually have an unwieldily sum.

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.

You might see sourdough starter discard as waste—after all, you probably compost or toss it more often than not. However, I see it in a different light: it’s the byproduct of keeping your beneficial bacteria and wild yeast healthy.

Think of starter discard as food that was used by your sourdough culture; it wasn’t wasted resources.

And so we refresh our starter each day (I refresh (feed) my starter twice a day since I bake often). When you frequently refresh, especially if you keep your starter at room temperature, you’re ensuring your culture is healthy and vigorous. Frequent refreshments also help avoid an overly acidic mixture, which can deteriorate its fitness over time.

But just because we refresh and discard often, doesn’t mean we can’t use the discard (like in focaccia!) or collect it and use it later. Let’s look at saving up sourdough starter discard.

Saving Up Discard

Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes | The Perfect Loaf (2)

One of my favorite things to do is save my sourdough starter discard in the refrigerator throughout the week. Each day when I refresh my sourdough starter, instead of taking that starter discard and throwing it in the compost, I put it in a tall Weck jar (without the clips, but covered) in the refrigerator.

I call this my sourdough starter discard cache and it’s full by the weekend and ready to be used in many of the recipes below. Typically, I’ll use some for sourdough waffles or pancakes on Saturday and either blueberry muffins or banana bread on Sunday. Making this “starter cache” means that, I’ll have little to no sourdough starter discard going into the compost bin for a given week.

Sourdough Discard Recipes

See all of our sourdough starter discard recipes →

And more sourdough starter discard recipes are yet to come. If you didn’t see what you were looking for, please leave a comment below and I’ll get test-baking!

Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes | The Perfect Loaf (2024)


How much of my starter should I use for a sourdough loaf? ›

As with any sourdough recipe, before you start baking bread, you want to make sure that your sourdough starter is as strong as possible. My basic sourdough recipe uses just 50g of starter for 500g of flour (so just 10% of starter).

Can you do anything with sourdough starter discard? ›

The discard is not active enough to make sourdough bread rise but it does have many other uses and baking powder can be added if required. Savoury options include English breakfast muffins, pretzels, caramelised onion biscuits, and sourdough pizza dough.

When can I use sourdough starter discard in recipes? ›

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.

What to do with a day 3 sourdough discard? ›

Don't throw it away! Instead, use it to make delicious and nutritious treats like pancakes, waffles, muffins, and bread. Sourdough discard is a great source of natural yeast and flavor, and can add a unique tangy taste to your baked goods.

What is the best ratio of sourdough starter to flour? ›

Typical feeding ratios are 1:2:2 or 1:3:3 (old sourdough: fresh flour: water). However, even extreme ratios like 1:50:50 would still work. In that case, the freshly fed sourdough would just require more or much more time to grow and reach its peak, as judged by the maximum volume increase in the jar (at least doubled).

How to tell if sourdough discard is bad? ›

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.

Can I leave sourdough discard out overnight? ›

As long as your kitchen isn't too warm (I'd say 78°F or higher) your starter/discard will be fine stored at room temperature for at least a few days without feeding. The flavor will get more acidic the longer it sits.

What happens if I forgot to discard the starter before feeding? ›

If you don't get rid of the excess, eventually you'll have more starter than your feedings can sustain. After a few days, your daily 1/4 cup flour and water won't be enough to sustain your entire jar of starter, and your starter will be slow and sluggish, not much better than discard itself.

Can you use 2 day 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.

What's the point of using sourdough discard? ›

It adds a delicious flavor and imparts moisture to recipes which keeps bakes tasting fresher for much longer. You can also use sourdough discard to ferment recipes which makes them healthier and easier to digest.

Should sourdough discard be at room temperature before using? ›

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. I do know others that keep it much longer. The longer you keep it, the higher the risk of the discard growing mold or bad bacteria.

Do you have to discard starter every time you feed it? ›

It would be best if you discarded some portion of your starter each time you feed it unless you want to continue to let it grow. Eventually, you need to discard the used “food” (flour and water) that's been used to sustain your starter during the last fermentation period.

Can you eat raw sourdough discard? ›

No, it's not advisable to eat raw sourdough starter. While some people claim to have healed their gut problems by eating probiotic rich sourdough starter, it's not really advisable. Raw sourdough starter contains uncooked flour which can harbor harmful bacteria among other things.

Can I gift my sourdough discard? ›

Sourdough discard can also be used to start a new sourdough starter. You can gift the discard to a friend looking to start their own sourdough journey; all they need to do is feed it with water and flour to have a thriving starter of their own.

What is the best percentage of starter in sourdough bread? ›

There is no single best ratio, but I've found a ratio of 1:5:5 fed twice daily at 12-hour intervals to produce a sourdough starter that's strong and healthy. This ratio corresponds to 20% ripe starter carryover, 100% water, and 100% flour (a mix of whole grain rye and white flour) at each feeding.

Can you add too much sourdough starter to bread? ›

If you have too much starter compared to the additional flour and water you're adding, your hungry starter consumes all the nutrients and then it's not as bubbly.

What is the 1/2/2 ratio for sourdough starter? ›

A 1:2:2 feeding ratio would consist of one part existing starter, two parts flour and two parts water. For example, if you have 30g of existing starter, you would feed it 60g of flour and 60g of flour. The most common feeding ratios for daily maintenance are 1:1:1 or 1:2:2.

Can you overfeed a sourdough starter? ›

Now, sometimes, and it happens to the best of us, a sourdough starter can “get sick.” Overfeeding can be a cause of this “sickness,” as can lack of feeding and neglect. Because, yes, you can overfeed your sourdough.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Terence Hammes MD

Last Updated:

Views: 5954

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Terence Hammes MD

Birthday: 1992-04-11

Address: Suite 408 9446 Mercy Mews, West Roxie, CT 04904

Phone: +50312511349175

Job: Product Consulting Liaison

Hobby: Jogging, Motor sports, Nordic skating, Jigsaw puzzles, Bird watching, Nordic skating, Sculpting

Introduction: My name is Terence Hammes MD, I am a inexpensive, energetic, jolly, faithful, cheerful, proud, rich person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.