The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Storing Starter Discard

nickg's picture

Storing Starter Discard

Hey all -

What is the shelf life of stored sourdough starter?

Normally, I feed my starter about once week and keep in the fridge, a little more if I am baking that week.

I keep a container that holds about 3 cups in my fridge that I can make discard recipes with. I add some discard from my normal feedings to that eachtime (throwing some away from time to time if it’s gettinng full). 

Is there a limit limit to how long that can last? 


clazar123's picture

I keep my discards in the refrigerator for weeks on end. My refrigerator is cold (34F on the top shelf  to 40F on the bottom) and I'm sure that makes a difference. I usually use the discard for pancakes or addition to any quickbreads(like banana bread). I discard the discard when it looks too alcohol-y or develops mold (rare). If I'm inspired, I'll use it up and make crumpets or biscuits and freeze them. At times, I bake more with the discard than the starter as I maintain 3 starters-Jack (from a 50 y/o pack of dry starter I found at a flea market), Knott (from the family Knott whose family had it continuously for 70 yrs) and Grape (my take off from a fruitwater starter made 8 yrs ago with grapes from my daughters yard.)

Most important thing-have fun and enjoy the journey!

gerryp123's picture

Good question!

Any guidance on how to use SD discard.  Probably not for bread, but what other uses?  How much to add?  How fresh should it be?  Benefits gained from use (besides SD flavor) .  Etc.

Jay's picture

I make whole wheat and rye crackers with mine. Also pancakes and waffles. And I have a recipe for pretzels I'll get around to trying eventually. 

littlelisa's picture

Cool thread, guys. I love the idea of using starter discard rather than wasting it. Mostly mine goes into pancake batter too. In terms of benefit... 

mostly, thrift - for something like pancakes you're using a proportion of flour that you would otherwise have thrown away

flavour - SD introduces a good flavour for pancakes (ideally if you're making them from scratch you should ferment ordinary batter overnight anyway, to break down the flour a bit and improve flavour, so using SD does this for you)


pintolaranja's picture

I have been using mine to make a batch of crackers every week, which I then snack on :)

Another thing I tried was to dry some of it by laying it on silicon mats and leaving them out to dry for a week or so. Then, I break it into bits and blitz it in a blender. That powder can be used to dust the bannetons and it gives a lovely flavour to the bread crust.

Haven't tried doing pancakes or english muffins or crumpets, but those are in my todo list for sure. As well as banana bread and sourdough pizza :)

Has anyone tried freezing their discard? I think I might try to do that as well, not sure I need to bake crackers every single week haha :)