Waste is a four letter word
Many members here know my backround comes from the professional baking world with well over 25 years of experience. When working in a professional bakery every ounce of usable ingredient must be incorporated into a sellable product order to keep the bakery profitable. Waste is something not to be tolerated.
There has been a discussion on this board lately about what to do with discarded sourdough starter. In the professional environment there is no such thing as discarded sourdough starter every ounce must be used. I have developed techniques that duplicates this in the home kitchen. This is the technique that I use to make sure every single ounce of my sourdough starter is used and nothing wasted. I hope some of you try it and let me know how it works for you.
Once you have an active sourdough starter I am currently keeping a rye based sourdough starter in my refrigerator that is now about 10 months old.
I keep 8 ounces of the sourdough starter in the refrigerator and have not fed it for as long as three weeks at a time. The night before I want to bake bread I take the sourdough starter out of the refrigerator about six o'clock in the evening and let it sit at room temperature till about midnight at which point it has doubled in bulk. I take about 4 ounces of the sourdough starter and add to it enough flour and water to make enough sourdough for the bread I am going to bake the next day I leave that amount out at room temperature to ferment and condition about 12 to 14 hours. I use that to make my bread dough which is then allowed to ferment, then shaped, proofed and baked.
To the remaining 4 ounces of sourdough starter 2 ounces of water and 2 ounces of flour are added and it is covered and returned to the refrigerator where it will sit until the next time it is needed. I have had this sourdough in the refrigerator for as long as three weeks without feeding or maintenance of any kind only to have it come back to life at room temperature in six hours. Using this technique I have never had to throw out any of my sourdough starter.