One of the by-products of growing your own sourdough starter is discard. As any experienced bread baker will tell you, you’re going to end up with a lot of it. And when I say a lot, I mean a LOT of it. Since I don’t like throwing food away, I needed a plan for it, which is one of the top lessons I learned from growing a sourdough starter.
As it goes with just about anything, sourdough discard can be a problem or an opportunity. I like taking an optimistic approach to life, so I chose to treat my sourdough discard as an opportunity, an opportunity to practice my baking skills.
Fortunately, there’s a lot of discard recipes available on the internet. In fact, there’s too many. I’ve had mixed success using random recipes off the internet, so I like to have a reliable, trusted source to lean on for baking ideas. Enter the King Arthur Baking website. If you like to bake and haven’t surfed their website for recipes, you’re missing out.
They have an entire section dedicated to sourdough discard recipes. I’ve worked through a number of them, and here’s the list of my current favorites.
Waffles and pancakes (link to recipe)
This is my go-to recipe when I need to use up some discard. They’re easy to make, taste great, and can be frozen for an easy breakfast, mid-day snack, or lazy-night breakfast-for-dinner. To spice things up a bit, add walnuts, bananas, blueberries, and/or strawberries on top of a light layer of butter and maple syrup.
Pizza crust (link to recipe)
I had mixed luck making pizza dough until I stumbled on this gem of a recipe. It’s the closest I’ve come to making pizzeria style thin-crust pizza. It requires a little instant yeast to perk up your starter. Yes, it’s a cheat, but I won’t tell if you don’t.
Chocolate cake (link to recipe)
As someone once told me, there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who say they like chocolate, and liars. In other words, this is a recipe everyone will enjoy. The beauty of this cake is how moist it is, and how moist it stays for days afterward. The staying power is important, because the recipe makes a lot of cake, so be prepared to share with family, friends, and neighbors. By the way, I skipped the icing. The cake was more than adequate plain or with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
Pretzels (link to recipe)
There’s fewer pleasures more guilty than a warm soft pretzel. These sourdough pretzels are light and fluffy straight from the oven, just as good or better than what you get at the ballpark. I learned two things from this recipe. First, my pretzel shaping technique needs a lot of work. Second, the recipe makes a lot, and these do NOT stay soft for long, 2-3 days tops. So again, be prepared to share if you make the whole batch.
Dinner rolls (link to recipe)
While most recipes call out the use of sourdough starter, it turns out you can use discard a substitute for flour and water in any recipe. These dinner rolls are just one example, and they turned out really well. It’s a recipe I expect to be coming back to many times.
These are a few of the favorites out of the many sourdough discard recipes I’ve tried. If there are any favorites you have, feel free to share them in the comments. Thanks!