What Is Sourdough Discard And What To Do With It?

Published Categorized as Beginner Guides

You’ve heard of a sourdough starter. Matter of fact you’ve pampered and preened your sourdough starters, in hopes of achieving the healthiest and most well-established starter that could exist! So exactly what is sourdough discard, and what do you need to do with it? Well, your questions will be answered in due time!

What is sourdough discard and what to do with it?

Table of Contents

What Is Sourdough Starter Discard?

Sourdough discard is essentially a portion of an unfed starter that is removed before feeding the starter.

You should dispose of the sourdough discard from your starter for the first 7 days. This is because during this period, the discard will contain lots of bad bacteria which can potentially cause harm if consumed.

After 7 days, your starter should rise and bubble. Once this has happened, you can start to keep the discard in a separate jar if you wish.

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

How to Store Sourdough Discard

The best place to store sourdough discard is in the refrigerator. Place the discard into a labeled glass jar, with the lid screwed on tight.

Additionally, you could freeze your sourdough discard if you intend to use it at a later date.

The discard will become dormant while remaining in the refrigerator, but it will still ferment, at a very slow pace.

Refrain from storing your discard on the counter, unless you intend to bake some delicious sourdough discard recipes the next day.

How Long Can You Keep Sourdough Discard In The Fridge?

The chances of your sourdough discard surviving long-term while refrigerated depends on the maturity of your starter.

If your starter is mature, then the discard should survive for as long as needed while refrigerated.

However, if your starter is less than 6 months old, it won’t last very long in the fridge, since the yeast and bacteria aren’t well established.

Nevertheless, it’s better to store your discard in the fridge, instead of the kitchen counter where it will continue to ferment.

After a few days, the discard will become very sour and acidic, as it is basically an unfed sourdough starter. Eventually, it will deteriorate, and become infested with harmful bacteria and mold.

It’s better to use your sourdough discard for delicious baked goods within a week, as it becomes sourer with time. An old discard, won’t taste good in a sweet recipe.

Can I Use Sourdough Discard Straight From The Fridge?

Yes, you can certainly use your sourdough discard straight from the fridge. In fact, you don’t need to wait for it to reach room temperature.

Bear in mind, that if you are using it straight from the fridge, it may feel a little thick or stiff. So make sure you’re mixing it really well.

How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last In The Fridge?

A well-established, and mature sourdough starter discard will last indefinitely when refrigerated. You can even remove the jar of discard from the fridge, and continue to add to it before each feed until it’s too full to continue.

How Can I Tell If My Discard Has Gone Bad?

Sourdough discard will smell acidic if it’s a few days old. While it may smell different from an active sourdough starter, it won’t necessarily smell unpleasant.

Spoiled sourdough discard, however, will display signs of mold i.e., pink or orange streaks in the starter. If this happens, toss your discard immediately.

What is sourdough discard and what to do with it?

Why Sourdough Discard Is Important

If you’re not using your sourdough starter to bake with every day, then it’s going to be very hard to handle! This is why discarding is very important.

You may need to get rid of a little more than necessary, to ensure that you are left with a manageable amount before you feed it with fresh flour and water.

Discard is also very important in indicating whether you have an active sourdough starter or not.

An active starter will grow up on either side of the jar, have lots of bubbles and expand rapidly two to three hours after you’ve fed it. If you notice your starter growing almost immediately after it has been fed, then know that it is certainly very active.

At this point, it’s also worth understanding that your starter is very capable of helping your sourdough bread dough rise with the help of baking soda or baking powder of course.

Unfortunately, it’s not always flowers and rainbows when it comes to sourdough started, sometimes the starter doesn’t always become active and happy after it has been fed.

While it won’t appear super enthusiastic, it may require some patience and additional feedings before you can go ahead and label it as an active sourdough starter.

How to Eliminate Sourdough Waste?

If you’re an avid sourdough baker then you’re probably no stranger to waste. The best way to minimize the amount of sourdough discard you have is to simply keep a small amount of sourdough starter.

The best way to feed a sourdough starter is with a 1:1:1 ratio, and keeping a smaller amount will produce less waste.

This means that if you have 150g of sourdough starter, then 150g of water and 150g of flour must be added. Resulting in 450g of starter, which is far too much for minimal baking!

The best way to eliminate waste is through keeping 30g of starter and feeding it 30g of fresh flour, and 30g of water, therefore only 90g of starter.

How To Bake With Sourdough Discard

Before you envision tossing out that lovely spoonful of sourdough discard, pause and think of all the sweet recipes you could make with it.

Since sourdough discard no longer has the ability to produce a good rise when it comes to baked goods, you must pair it with baking powder or baking soda. This is especially required for recipes like banana bread, pumpkin bread, English muffins, muffins, and sourdough pancakes.

Sourdough crackers or naan however do not require any of these ingredients. The discard is enough to give these the rise they need.

Using your sourdough for some baked goods like naan will provide a distinctly sour taste, that is both delicious and extremely appetizing, especially when paired with flavorful soups for dinner!

5 Ways to Use Sourdough Discard

When in doubt always look to your sourdough discard recipes! There’s really no telling what phenomenal treats you can bake with an amazing sourdough discard!

Sourdough Pancakes or Waffles

The best way to use your sourdough discard is by whipping up a batch of delicious sourdough breakfast pancakes!

Simply take 2 cups of sourdough discard it straight from the fridge, and add some sugar, maple syrup or honey, some eggs, oil, and salt.

Slap this on a cast iron skillet, and you should have a dreamy pancake ready in no time!

Sourdough Brownies

Sourdough and chocolate blend so well together. When you combine tangy with sweet you create an incredible delight. The sourdough discard provides a pleasant robust flavor, whilst not overpowering the subtle, yet the unmissable sweetness of the chocolate brownie makes it all worth it!

Sourdough Crackers

Sourdough discard crackers are another delicious yet super popular way to use up your fresh sourdough discard. The easiest way to make these is to roll out some discard on parchment paper, sprinkle a little salt on top, and pop them in the oven.

Your kids will love them, and you’ll notice that they’re so much better than the ordinary crackers you find at the supermarket.

Sourdough Discard Muffins

Sourdough discard muffins are probably one of the best sourdough treats you could make, especially if you’ve got kids! I especially enjoy making muffins with my kids on the weekend, as it’s such a fun way to get the kids involved in baking the things they like to eat, and what better way than to involve a cup or two of sourdough discard?

Sourdough Discard Coffee Cake

Some may wrinkle their nose at this, but sourdough coffee cake is surprisingly good, especially if you’re a coffee lover like me!

You can add some sourdough starter discard into the batter, for a fun twist, on the otherwise sweet recipe.

Sourdough Discard

If you love collecting sourdough discard, then make sure you have enough saved for your next sourdough discard bake, because the good stuff always manages to disappear quickly!

What is Sourdough Discard For FAQs

What Is The Difference Between Sourdough Starter And Sourdough Discard?

Sourdough starter and sourdough discard are basically the same things. The discard, however, is an active portion of the starter that is removed when you feed the starter. It is called discard because it is often discarded during your starter’s feeding.

Why Do You Have To Discard Sourdough?

The process of discarding sourdough starter must be carried out in order to manage its growth, and refresh the acidity levels.

What Happens If You Don’t Discard Sourdough Starter?

If you don’t discard your sourdough starter, then it will continue to grow and grow, until you’re looking at a huge blob that has taken over your kitchen counter!

Can Sourdough Discard Be Used As a Starter?

Yes. The discarded portion of sourdough starter is still technically active; you can take a portion of discard and add it to a separate container, for more fun and tasty recipes.

By Natasha Krajnc

Hi! My name is Natasha and I'm specialized in home sourdough bread baking and currently based in Slovakia - a very small country in Central Europe. My bread baking story began in 2011 when I decided to give up commercial yeast. I felt tired all the time (especially after eating bread and other foods made with yeast), I wasn’t motivated to do anything, had trouble concentrating throughout the day, my abdomen was bloated and I was like a trumpet on steroids – basically, I was quite a wreck. I was a big bread lover (and still am) and having to stop eating bread was quite hard at that time but I felt I was on a right way to give my body a chance to heal itself.

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