The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

discarded sourdough

AJansen's picture

discarded sourdough

Hello bread heads

can i use discarded sourdough ( so as not to throw it out) as part of my flour and water in a recipe ALONG with the active starter (that will leaven the bread?) If so, how much of the discarded sourdough starter can I use to replace the flour and water? 50% of the recipe ? more? less? I have a lot of spent starter in my fridge and would like to use it. will i get the same result with more flavor- or will I get a slack dough?  I can go ahead and try it - but would like some input .


ElPanadero's picture

There is no need to be discarding any of your mother starter. You need to establish a schedule of how often you are likely to bake each week, and how much starter your recipes call for. Then simply keep a tiny amount of starter in the fridge and use tiny portions of it as the basis for building up separate levains/preferments. Discarding starter is wasteful and ultimately costly and I get that you are trying to do something useful with it, but the real answer is that you don't actually need to be discarding at all. If you would like to explore this further with examples, let us know how often you bake and how much starter the recipes call for.



David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Bleeding guy: "How do I stop the bleeding?"

Wiseguy: "Don't get cut."

That's helpful advice for sure, but does not answer the question.  This guy has a lot of spent starter and wants to know if he can bake with it.

I don't think it is a good idea to use it to replace flour and water with the discard.  I agree it is better not to have discard, but if you have a lot of it, I say it is time to make sourdough pancakes.



ElPanadero's picture

Wouldbe Ray Mears: I've cut myself with my sharp knife whilst shaving bark from a branch. What should I do?

Wouldbe Bear Grylls: Clean the wound, keep pressure on it until the bleeding stops and apply a plaster. In future pack lots of extra sterile fluids and plasters and maybe steri-strips in your rucksack for when it happens again

Ray Mears: You cut yourself because you cut the bark towards your arm rather than away from it. In future always cut away from your body. That way you will avoid future accidents full stop.

RobynNZ's picture

Take a look at the Sourdough Surprises website for lots of ideas for using up left over discard. 

ElPanadero is right, in future if you adjust your maintenance quantities to better match your baking schedule you will have less discard.

Some of us like using starter in baked goods other than bread and even have to make some on occasion when supplies are low.

You could use some up in making bread, don't over do it and keep an eye on your dough as your fermentation and proving times may be shorter than usual.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Next time you change storage vessels, after emptying the old one, there will be starter suck to the bottom and sides. Add 20 grams water and 20 grams flour, stir and see if it regrnerates. 

Nce way to see just how little you need and how strong the starter is. 

doughooker's picture

There is no reason to discard starter, ever.

Eight or more hours before baking, or the day before, make a little more starter than you'll actually use to bake (actually a slurry of flour and water). Add a little bit of starter which you have stored in the fridge (this is called the inoculum) and leave at room temperature, 70 - 80 F. Eight hours later or the next day, bake. You'll have a small amount of leftover starter which is added to your storage starter and goes back in the fridge. No discard, no pouring down the drain, no getting up in the middle of the night to feed every three hours.

I keep my inoculum in the fridge for weeks on end without "feeding". It smells like cheap wine when I take it out (the byproduct of all this fermenation is ethanol). I then use the above procedure and 8 or so hours later the alcohol has evaporated.