What is Sourdough Discard and what do I do with it?

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Feeding a sourdough starter creates waste that we get rid of to keep the starter manageable, but we don’t want to waste that liquid gold. Lets dive in and find out what sourdough discard is and what we can do with it

A jar of sourdough starter on a wooden surface

I named my sourdough starter Gerald. I have a thing for naming things with old fashioned names. My car is Peggy and my giant pregnancy cushion was called Frank. All of my appliances have names and my indoor plants. It’s a ritual in our house.

So I call the starter Gerald. Gerald likes a certain warm spot in the kitchen. If he is put anywhere else he gets upset and sits down in a huff!

This doesn’t help my sourdough dreams at ALL!!!

Sourdough dreams

I’m an old romantic at heart, and I love baking bread. Any kind, but I especially love the tang of warm sourdough bread, fresh from the oven, slathered in real butter! So of course I decided to make some.

But first we need a sourdough starter

We moved ‘up north’ almost 2 years ago now, and the first thing I did was make a new sourdough starter! Nothing like some new wild local yeast to excite a homestead girl and yes, I know how that sounds…

So what is Sourdough Discard?

When we make a new starter, we have to ditch some of it every time we feed it. We need to feed roughly double the flour and water, and if we didn’t get rid of some, then it would get out of hand pretty fast! 100g of flour becomes 800g of flour in 3 feeds if we don’t do away with some of it!

So we ‘discard’ some of the mixture so we can have some balance.

Sourdough starter and sourdough discard in jars

What do I do with sourdough discard?

Well, there are lots of things you can do with it. The obvious one is, as it’s a liquid, put it down the drain. you need to be careful with this method though, as it’s a fairly thick liquid can get like concrete. (Old jar of starter, anyone??) No one wants that in their drains!

So if you want to throw it away, make sure to dilute it first to a milk type consistency and wash it down well with cold water.

But there is another way!

Here’s where Sourdough Discard recipes come in

The delicious tang we get from the starter is much more noticeable in the discard, because the bacteria have eaten all the food and this produces the signature acid taste. This is what we want to add to our recipes!

A great example are these Sourdough Brownies, and their sweet, fudgy tanginess. (take a look to find my heartfelt confession…)

But there are so many things we can do with this discard.

We can add it to cakes –

  • or my regular pancake recipe that we love to pair with our homemade nutella for an amazing weekend breakfast

There are so many recipes to try, why not take a look at my sourdough page here.

How do I store Sourdough Discard?

You can use it straight from the jar if you have enough, and a lot of folk purposely keep a big sourdough starter for this exact reason. However, you really need to be cooking and baking with it every day to keep a lot on hand.

For most people, keeping a spare jar in the fridge to put the discard into is a better fit. You can build up enough starter for a recipe and then wash and replace the jar as you feed your starter.

How long does the discard last?

You can keep the discard in the fridge for around 1-2 weeks before it should really go. After a while, a black liquid called the Hooch develops on the top. Now don’t panic, like I did the first time I saw it! This is completely natural, it just means that your starter is very hungry.

Top Tip : Feed the starter and give to a friend! Sharing is caring, after all!

So there you have it, all you need to know about what to do with your sourdough discard, and why you should keep this liquid gold, your insurance policy to food shortages in a little jar!!

If you’re brand new to sourdough and want to give it a try, learn how to make a sourdough starter from scratch here.

So what’s your favourite sourdough discard recipe? Let me know in the comments, I love finding new ways to use this little gem.

If you enjoy this post and found it helpful, please give it a share! Thanks friends.

Other recipes you might enjoy:

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