Other Uses for Your Sourdough Starter

During the feeding process, excess sourdough starter is created, and many people aren’t quite sure what to do with it. Rather than composting or throwing out your excess, though, you should look for other ways to use it. Here at Stoney Creek Farm, we’re all about sustainability and using things to the fullest to reduce waste.  This article is all about other uses for your sourdough starter that will delight your family!

After all, even when it’s compost, it’s still something that could’ve been used—at least in this case. If you’re not sure how to put that excess to use, you’re in the right place. From simple recipes to fancy treats, there are so many different options. First, though, let’s talk about what this discard is and how long it lasts.

What is Sourdough Discard?

Sourdough discard is the starter that’s removed when you feed it. For those who aren’t familiar, the feeding process involves:

  1. Discarding half of the starter
  2. Adding half a cup each of water and flour for each half-cup of starter left
  3. Let it grow!

This process is important because it keeps the flour and water levels to a minimum while still ensuring that there’s enough yeast for all the food. Plus, it keeps you from ending up with your starter taking up all your precious refrigerator space.

Sourdough discard, unlike sourdough starter, isn’t usually fed regularly. Therefore, it has a shorter shelf life, even when refrigerated. Generally, after about a month, the flavor gets a little too ripe, and it’s best to toss it out. Never put this down the drain because it can clog and seriously damage your pipes.

Sourdough Discard Uses

You can use your sourdough discard as an ingredient in all kinds of recipes, from pizza crust to cakes and even sourdough cookies. It adds an acidic, tangy flavor that can enhance any dish. You can mix in the liquid from the top of the starter for a stronger flavor or pour off the liquid before using the starter; discard for a milder taste.

Important Tip: Sourdough starter discard may not have enough live yeast to leaven bread and rolls properly. You may need to feed it before use. Gauge this by taking your starter out of the fridge about four or five hours ahead of time and measuring its expansion. If the starter has doubled in size, you’re good to go. If not, you’ll need additional yeast.

If you’re interested in a firsthand experience with sourdough cinnamon rolls and other bread treats, check out our Southern Sourdough Bread and Cinnamon Rolls classes in November. Sign up quickly because October sold out quickly, and the next ones are filling up fast!

In the meantime, check out these great options for your sourdough starter discard.

Sourdough Banana Bread

There are tons of recipes out there for sourdough banana bread. Who doesn’t love a fresh loaf of banana bread, perhaps mixed with nuts or raisins? Plus, when you make it with your starter discard, it creates a totally unique flavor. Because it’s bread, you may need to add additional yeast to get it to rise, but the expansion test will help you determine that.

Sourdough Crackers

Did you know that you can make your own sourdough crackers? Starter discard is great because it creates a thin, crispy cracker that also has a uniquely tangy, delicious flavor. You’ll have an addictive new snack that you don’t even have to shell out the cash for, thanks to your sourdough starter.

Sourdough Pizza Crust

If you’re looking for a perfectly crispy, chewy pizza crust, this is how to make it. The overnight recipe is best for a starter discard, but it will be easy to put together and ready to eat in no time. Plus, the unique flavors will accentuate the tomato sauce and Italian spices nicely. Sourdough pizza crust takes about 10 minutes to make and 10 minutes to cook, keeping it simple for any level of skill.

Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

If you want bakery-style muffins that are a new family favorite, these are it. They’re moist, tender, and just crumbly enough to be delicious. Sourdough blueberry muffins are great for breakfast or dessert, and these include a crunchy topping that’s sure to set your tastebuds off on an adventure. The recipe featured here makes a dozen muffins that are pretty sizeable, leaving plenty for everyone to enjoy.

Stop Composting and Start Creating!

These are just a few of the best ways that you can put your sourdough starter discard to use. You can also consider great choices like:

  • Sourdough cinnamon rolls
  • Sourdough pop tarts
  • Sourdough waffles and pancakes
  • Sourdough pie crust
  • Sourdough tortillas
  • Sourdough naan
  • Sourdough brownies
  • Sourdough cookies (in several varieties)
  • Sourdough coffee cake

Ask your family what kind of treats they like. Consider whether you want simple recipes or if you’re willing to put in the extra work to make something spectacular and unique. Whatever you have in mind, from treats to everyday uses, that starter “discard” is anything but garbage!

As mentioned, you can check out our Sourdough Bread and Cinnamon Rolls classes this November for a firsthand experience in putting that sourdough starter to use.

Final Thoughts

At Stoney Creek Farm, we take pride in coming up with the most effective uses of everything we create, curate, and purchase. That includes so-called “simple” things like sourdough starter discard. We know what you’re thinking—so what if I throw it out? This starter is growing like crazy, and there will be more soon.

Why wait? Why not use every bit of your starter and treat your family to plenty of fresh-baked goodies all year long? Get started on becoming an expert by attending our November Sourdough Bread classes, and you’ll never throw out your starter discard again.

If you want to learn more about homesteading, sustainability, farming, gardening, and other topics, feel free to head on over to our website and see what you can learn. Check out our kids’ classes, too, and get your kids involved in your sustainability and homesteading efforts. They might even want to help you put all that sourdough discard to use!