Make pancakes, waffles and more with what you'd otherwise have to throw away.

Devon O'Brien
April 12, 2020
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If you're one of the many people who have hopped on the sourdough bread baking trend, you're no doubt enjoying a lot of bread. But you also might hate the fact that you have to remove some of that precious starter before you feed it. This part you remove is called "discard," but don't throw it away. Here's what to do with it instead.

What even is sourdough discard?

Every time you feed your starter you take some out so you aren't constantly multiplying the amount you have. You don't need a ton of starter to make a loaf of bread, so by removing some of the starter before you feed it you avoid wasting ingredients to feed something you won't use all of. This "discard" can be saved to use in other recipes. It's not strong enough to use for bread, but it's still great in plenty of other things.

What can you use it in?

You can use sourdough discard in basically any recipe that calls for flour and liquid, though because it isn't strong enough to give baked goods much rise it's best in recipes that either have another leavening agent—such as yeast, baking powder or baking soda—or ones that don't need a large rise. It's most commonly used in pancakes, waffles, crêpes, English muffins and crumpets. I make all of these on the regular with my sourdough discard. You can also use it in scones and muffins, and even in chocolate chip cookies.

How will it affect the recipe?

Again, sourdough discard is not going to give you a lot of rise since this yeast isn't very active (because it hasn't been recently fed). So it's basically just adding that tangy, fermented flavor we love in sourdough bread to other recipes.

How do you use it?

You can simply use sourdough discard in place of some of the liquid and flour, keeping in mind that most starters are 1-to-1 water to flour. So for example, to add 1 cup of sourdough discard to a recipe you would just use 1/2 cup less flour and 1/2 cup less liquid than that recipe calls for. Take this recipe for Whole-Grain Buttermilk Pancakes (pictured above). In this recipe you'd simply use 1 cup of sourdough starter and subtract 1/2 cup of the flour and 1/2 cup of the buttermilk. There are also tons of sourdough discard recipes you can find online that will tell you exactly how much to use. Check out King Arthur Flour for their sourdough discard recipe ideas.

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