Sourdough Discard Ideas

Millions of people all over the world are now jumping into the world of baking sourdough bread at home. Ok…maybe not millions, but there are certainly a lot of people getting familiar with this ancient art of baking bread – me included.

I have experimented in the past with making my own sourdough starter. And like many home bakers before me, my starter eventually…well, suffered from gross negligence. But this time it’s different – or at least that’s my plan.

I recently followed a Masterclass in How to Make Sourdough Bread by the renowned Irish baker Patrick Ryan. His method is slightly different than what I’ve used in the past – plus he just makes it all look uncomplicated. Well…at least until you reach day 3, the first day of ‘discarding’ from the starter in order to feed your new sourdough starter. I know it doesn’t amount to much financially, but I hate throwing away anything with food value into the bin. And I knew days 4, 5 and 6 would mean the same thing – with even more to discard. And there are those future days to consider – the days I won’t be baking bread or doing much at all with my sourdough starter. I will still need to feed the starter and that means discarding a portion of the current starter.

With this in mind, I decided to experiment with the discarded portion of the starter rather than throw anything away. I knew it was basically 50% flour and 50% water – with a bit of natural yeast. So, in theory, I could include this starter into other recipes and just discount the amount I was adding from the discarded starter from the ingredient amount I knew worked. Simple…right?

Well, for the most part, the results have been spectacular! The bread is slightly sour and full flavored. The scones were even more incredible. They were flaky and packed full of whole wheat goodness – with a hint of acidity. I created another successful bread on day 3 of my discard following the same procedure as before, only eliminating about half the yeast amount I would have normally added. It’s a bread I would happily purchase from a professional baker.

Now I’m thinking – I don’t have to make a sourdough bread every day just to keep my starter going…and, I don’t need to feel guilty about discarding a portion of the starter when necessary, because I am confident I can use it to create more tasty baked goods.

I will keep adding my tested recipes made from discarded sourdough starter right here as I develop them.

Basic Sourdough Discard Bread

This bread assumes you will be discarding 200 grams (about 7 ounces) of sourdough starter (100 grams water + 100 grams whole wheat flour). I used the method of baking in an enclosed pot for this bread. The crust was amazing and the interior was exactly what I was hoping for – in short, a perfect bread for a home baker.

400 grams (14 ounces) bread flour (see tips)
4 grams (1 teaspoon) dry instant yeast
10 grams sea salt
275 ml. (about 1 1/4 cup) water
200 grams (7 ounces) sourdough discard
Extra virgin olive oil

Sourdough Discard Vegan Scones

This recipe assumes you will be using 150 grams (about 5 1/3 ounces) of sourdough discard (one half whole wheat flour + one half water).  Makes about 9-12 scones depending on your cutter.

200 grams (7 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
90 grams (a bit more than 3 ounces) unrefined rapeseed oil (see tips)
60 ml. (a little less than ½-cup) soy milk
1 teaspoon apple vinegar
150 grams sourdough discard
Vegan egg wash (see tips)


Jack’s Fresh Tip

I used a flour that is about 45% fine whole wheat, 45% white flour and 10% rye flour. Feel free to make the bread with your own mix or any strong bread flour you can find. If you want a whole wheat bread, just make sure you add at least 25% all-purpose flour to the mix to prevent your bread from being too dense.

You can also make this bread entirely by hand. Just follow the directions above and pretend your hands are the bread hook to your mixer. Mix the ingredients well, then knead for at least 10 minutes.

I use an unrefined rapeseed oil for the scone recipe above. I use the oil because of the flavor (noticeably butter-like when heated) and viscosity…but it must be unrefined (a golden color and a noticeable cabbage-aroma). Use extra virgin olive oil as a replacement if you can’t get a hold of a quality unrefined rapeseed oil.

For my vegan egg wash, I simply combined about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil with 4 tablespoons soy milk.

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