If you have been baking sourdough bread, then you are bound to have some sourdough discard to use up! Or maybe you’re just getting started on your sourdough journey and not sure what sourdough discard is. In this post I will answer all your FAQ’s, give you tips on how to use it, and of course recipes to use your sourdough discard in!
Now that you are sourdough obsessed and have sourdough discard to spare, what do you do with it? Sourdough discard can be a sour surprise for sourdough bakers. You like what I did there?
But sourdough discard can become your best friend in the kitchen! Please don’t throw it away. You just need to use it wisely.
So in this post I am going to take a deep dive into sourdough discard and answer all your questions – what is sourdough discard, how to use it, how to store it, and (yes it happens) how to dispose of it if need be. And of course, how to bake with it!
Table of contents
What Is Sourdough Discard?
Sourdough discard is sourdough starter is the part of the starter that you take out of your starter jar when you feed it fresh flour and water.
You remove part of the starter, in order to keep a manageable amount in your starter, and that part that is discarded is the sourdough discard. If you didn’t you would keep feeding more and more to your starter! Can you imagine!?
How To Store Sourdough Discard
The sourdough discard refrigerates well and can last up to two weeks (not going to lie, I usually keep it for up to a month no problem!). It’s not being fed like your starter, so it’s not going to last forever though.
You can keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, but it will continue to become acidic.
I like to label my discard jar so I know when it’s time to throw it out if I haven’t gotten around to using it.
I keep my sourdough discard in another glass jar, just like my sourdough starter! But you can really use any container that you would for your starter.
You can also freeze sourdough discard (not that I have) in a freezer safe bag or jar, and then just thaw overnight in the fridge before using. You can keep sourdough discard frozen for up to a year.
How To Tell If Your Sourdough Discard Is OK To Use
Just because you CAN use it. Doesn’t mean you should! A recipe made with sourdough discard can give your baked goods a bit of tang. Personally I love, love, love that little bit of tang. It reminds me of when I bake with buttermilk or sour cream.
If you have stored your sourdough discard for a couple weeks, give it a SNIFF. Does it smell like something slightly sweet and tangy. Like, yes this would be great in my waffle batter! Or does it smell like your dirty sneakers after a long workout? Hmm, stinky feet waffles? No thank you! It should NOT smell rancid. And it should NOT have any mold in it.
If it has mold or a rancid smell THROW IT OUT!!
How To Reduce Your Sourdough Discard
- Give It Away! If sourdough discard is getting too large for your sourdough starter jar, try giving some of your sourdough discard away to a friend!
- Keep A Smaller Sourdough Starter. You can keep a smaller starter, that way when you feed it you will have much less sourdough starter to discard in the end. This is helpful if you plan to keep it on your countertop. Keep as little as 5-10 g in your starter on the counter, so you will have less to feed throughout the week.
- Keep Your Starter In The Fridge. If you don’t plan to bake all that often, then it’s best to keep the starter in the fridge and feed it once a week. This will reduce how much starter discard you accumulate.
How To Dispose Of Your Sourdough Discard
If sourdough discard has been in your fridge for a while and you know you aren’t going to use it anytime soon, you can compost it. Place sourdough discard in your compost pile! It will break down on its own and help with the pile!
If sourdough discard is about 2 weeks old and has started to sour or smell rancid, THROW IT OUT! Don’t give it to someone else. And don’t put it down the drain! Make sure to put in your trash.
You can also dry out your sourdough starter, in order to have a backup starter in case your original starter goes awry.
And of course the best way to get rid of it? BAKE WITH IT!!
How To Use Discard In A Recipe
Remember sourdough discard can still be slightly sour! So don’t be surprised if you end up if your sourdough discard recipe still has a little bit tang to it. It’s best used in a recipe where you might use something tangy anyway, like a sour cream chocolate cake or buttermilk biscuits.
I find that sourdough discard is easy to use in quick breads like muffins, pancakes, and waffles. But really you can use it any recipe where flour and a liquid is called for. Because that’s all your sourdough discard really is – flour and water.
You can try experimenting with your own non-sourdough discard recipes and using some of your sourdough discard in it but you have to remember to omit some of the called for flour and water (or liquid – but not a fat like oil, or butter) in the recipe.
Here is how I add discard to a recipe (assuming you have a 100% hydration starter)
- Add 120 g sourdough discard (this is equal parts flour and water, 60 g and 60 g)
- Remove 60 g flour from the recipe (equal to a 1/2 cup by volume)
- Remove 60 g liquid (like milk ) – (equal to 1/4 cup by volume)
If your recipe doesn’t have a liquid in it, like sourdough brownies or cookies then choose a recipe that’s already been tested with the sourdough discard as oppossed to trying to create yourself. Save yourself the headache and the waste!
Sourdough Recipes To Try
Here are a few recipes to try out with your sourdough discard:
- Sourdough Banana Bread (I posted this recipe below as well! It’s a wonderful easy way to use up sourdough discard!)
- Strawberry Shortcake With Sourdough Biscuits
- Sourdough Chocolate Cake
- Sourdough Cornbread
- Banana Sourdough Muffins
- Sourdough Crepes
- Sourdough Blueberry Muffins
Want more recipes? Check out 15+ Sourdough Discard Recipes
So have I convinced you yet to give your sourdough discard some love? Next time you have some – don’t throw it away! Give it away. Compost it. And best of all, bake with it!!!
Sourdough Banana Bread
- 240 g (2 cups + 2 tablespoons) white wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated white sugar
- 3/4 cup (160 g) packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 mL) vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 340 g about 4 large very ripe bananas
- 1/3 cup (95 g) Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tablespoon (120 g) sourdough discard
- Preheat and prepare pan. Preheat oven to 350oF. Spray a 9”x5” loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray or grease with butter and set aside.
- Mash bananas. In a small mixing bowl, mash bananas with a fork. Set aside.
- Combine dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- Combine wet ingredients. In the same mixing bowl with the bananas, whisk in the sugars, oil, eggs, vanilla extract, starter and stir until smooth.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together with a spatula until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Bake. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely in the pan set on a wire cooling rack. Store the bread, and any leftovers, covered at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Storage: Store the bread, and any leftovers, covered at room temperature for 2 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Flour: I use white whole wheat flour to achieve a tender texture, but you can substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour or all-purpose if you do not have any on hand.
- Greek Yogurt: Can also substitute with sour cream.
- Freezing: Freeze any leftover bread for up to 3 months. Wrap well. Thaw at room temperature