Wondering what to do with that sourdough discard? Look no further! Leavenly has combed the Internet in search of the greatest sourdough discard recipes, from pancakes to crackers to tortillas to chocolate cake!
When you bake sourdough, you need to have a starter. A starter is basically a little microbial world of bacteria and wild yeasts that thrive on the flour and water you feed them.
Regular (or yeasted) breads use commercial yeast to get their rise, whereas sourdough breads use a starter to get their rise. Learn more about sourdough bread here!
What is sourdough discard?
Sourdough discard is the sourdough starter you have left over after you’re done feeding. Feeding a starter just means you take a small amount of your existing starter and add water and flour. (Don’t have a starter? Learn How to Make Sourdough Starter in Six Easy Steps!)
But what happens to the rest of the starter that’s left behind – your discard?
You can discard it, as the name implies. Scrape it into the garbage, then rinse your container in hot soapy water.
You can add it to other recipes! This adds a boost of nutrition from your starter, and makes regular recipes more flavorful. For example, Belgian waffles are good, but sourdough Belgian waffles are amazing!
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If you’re growing tired of feeding your starter, or if you’re planning a long vacation, consider drying your starter and storing it in the pantry. Check out How to Dry (and Revive) Your Sourdough Starter for Long-Term Storage for step-by-step instructions on both drying and reviving your starter.
The best way to use sourdough discard: Collect it!
Sourdough starter needs to be fed daily, which means you’ll have discard every day. If it works for you to use it in a different baking recipe every day, go right ahead!
But for most of us, we don’t have that time to dedicate in the kitchen. The best way is to scrape your discard into one collective jar in your fridge, making sure to use it once a week.
This is a great strategy for two reasons:
- It’s a better use of your time, rather than having to bake something new every day
- Some recipes call for a whole cup of discard, and it can take several days to accumulate that much discard
For us busy mamas, collecting sourdough discard through the week is a much more realistic option. This way, we can plan a baking day in the upcoming week (like a Saturday) and collect the discard until then!
Why store sourdough discard in the refrigerator?
You must store your sourdough discard in the refrigerator if you’re collecting it more than two days.
A sourdough starter will do fine for a couple days on the counter without feeding, but soon it will grow a layer of liquid on the top (hooch) and it will keep fermenting to develop a super sour taste that’s much too overpowering to use in recipes.
It’s best to store your discard in the fridge to slow down fermentation and get a mild sour tastes in your discard recipes.
My rule of thumb is this: collect discard for a week, and if you don’t use it, throw it away and start collecting again. I once made my favorite sourdough waffles with discard I collected over ten days or so, and they weren’t even edible. Despite being in the fridge, the discard continued to ferment and it developed that overly-sour flavor, which ruined the waffles. Learn from my mistakes!
How do I use sourdough discard?
If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly looking for new ways to use that precious discard. This post is for you, my friend!
I made this recipe round-up so it’s easy to find exactly what kind of recipe you’re craving. The recipes are divided by sweet and savory, so if you already know you want pretzels instead of cookies, that will help narrow it down.
Also check out this FREE resource guide: 10 Essential Tools for Baking Sourdough!
I’m personally baking my way through this list of sourdough discard recipes, and I will add commentary to my own recipes, and to those that I’ve personally made at home. Check back, as this will be updated often!
Help build this list: send me your favorite discard recipes! Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and your recipe just might make the cut!
So read on, and let’s use that discard!
- Sourdough Blueberry Mini Muffins
These little beauties are one of my favorite treats to make from discard, and my kids (and husband) love them, too.
- Sourdough Crepes
- Sourdough Cinnamon Crumb Cake
- Sourdough Banana Bread
- Zucchini Bread with Sourdough
I love this recipe in the summertime when my zucchini plants are producing more than we can eat. It’s nutritious and super yummy!
- Sourdough Cookies
- Sourdough Blueberry Crumb Cake
- Sourdough Chocolate Cake
- Blackberry Sourdough Scones with Lemony Glaze
- Sourdough Brownies
- Sourdough Pumpkin Bread
- Sourdough Cherry Cardamom Cake
- Sourdough Waffles
This recipe will always be in my top five favorites because the waffles always come out crispy, light and fluffy – and it’s a total crowd-pleaser.
- Sourdough Donuts (cake-style)
- Sourdough Donuts (yeast-style)
- Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
- Sourdough Discard Crinkle Cookies
- Sourdough Pie Crust
- Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough Bread
- Sourdough Coffee Cake
- Sourdough Strawberry Shortcakes
- Sourdough Pumpkin Spice Bread
- Cherry Walnut Sourdough Scones
- Sourdough Pretzels
This recipe is fun to make, plain and simple. Who doesn’t like winding ropes of dough into pretzels?! These are also a lot of fun to make with kids, and they love to help eat them, too.
- Sourdough Fish Batter
- Sourdough Bagels
- Sourdough Naan
- Sourdough Discard Pasta
- Sourdough Cheese Crackers
- Sourdough Discard Pasta
- Greek Yogurt Sourdough Flatbread
- Sourdough English Muffins
My current #1 favorite sourdough discard recipe, by far! These always come out light and fluffy. I will never buy commercial English muffins again after making these beauties!
- Sourdough Chapati
- Sourdough Tortillas
- Sourdough Cheese Scones
- Sourdough Crackers with Olive Oil & Herbs
- Savory Sourdough Babka
- Buttery & Flaky Sourdough Biscuits
- Sourdough Pizza Crust
- Sourdough Focaccia
- Savory Sourdough Popovers