The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

RIDICULOUS amount of starter!

KayDee1's picture

RIDICULOUS amount of starter!

I'm not kidding. So much, that I'm embarrassed to tell you. 

What are your favorite ways to use starter (other than bread). Let's call it discard, because if I don't use it, definitely needs to be reduced.

I've read about pancakes (we don't care for waffles) and other things like that. 

What would happen if I used extra starter and less flour and water in a basic recipe? 

Any suggestions for using it will be much appreciated!


dabrownman's picture

eat SD pancakes and other stuff made with discard and now eat them because I want to instead....and make a levain for them!

I love SD: Rye cookies, Pancakes, waffles, fried chicken, noodles using all kinds of flour, English muffins, cakes breads and anything else you can make with SD but having discard to use up all the time is especially horrifying:-)

KayDee1's picture

So, what do you do then? Do you never have too much starter? Clearly, I need to learn to control the amount I "produce," but surely you need to keep some ahead, no? 

dabrownman's picture

FOr years i luved woith discard and horrible waste but no mre for several years

No Muss No Fuss Starter


Danni3ll3's picture

Look It up on this site. Long story short is that you make a super thick version using rye and water and it can last in the fridge for months. When you need some, grab a bit from what is in the fridge and feed it in successive builds until you have enough for your recipe. 

As to your present bounty, I made sourdough fruitcake so that is another idea for you considering the holidays are around the corner. 

KayDee1's picture

Thanks! I'll look for the recipe. 

Danni3ll3's picture

I believe I have the link to the original recipe on the page. 

drogon's picture

You've not said, but I suspect you've become a slave to your starter rather than the other way round. Are you feeding/discarding daily? Twice daily?

As you're probably reading there are many of us who simply don't do that - do look at the "No muss, no fuss" method though. I don't use that as it doesn't quite my style of baking, however my starters live in the fridge and come out every time I need to bake (which right now is 5 days a week and I'm baking up to 50 loaves a day)

Starter comes out of the fridge - an amout is measured into a bowl and topped up with flour and water. Starter jar is also topped up. These are then left for a few hours until bubbly, then the jar goes back into the fridge and the starter (now "production levian") is used to make bread. No left-over, nothing to discard, it's all used.

As for adding more leftover starter into bread - sure - you might just want to add flour into the spare starter, knead, let prove for a much shorted time then bake. It might not be the bread of your dreams, but it'll still be bread.


Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

in a basic recipe changes the profile of the bread. By all means change % of starter and watch out for the changed fermenting times.

Any recipe that has flour and water you can use starter for flavour.

You really have to rethink your starter maintenance to have no discard.  

Arjon's picture

How often / regularly do you bake? And typically how much? Depending on your answers to these questions, there's almost certainly a starter maintenance method that will work for you without producing discard.

No muss no fuss is fine as long as you're willing to make a levain every time you bake. I'd rather not, so use a method whereby my starter goes right from the fridge into the dough.

I bake 1-2 times per week, most often just one loaf at a time, and I typically use 100-120 gm of my 100% starter. I keep 150 gm. I top it up immediately after use; e.g. if I use 100 gm, I stir in 50 gm of flour and 50 gm of water. I leave this on the counter for about 2-3 hours (long enough for it to bubble a bit and to begin expanding but not long enough to peak), then put it back in the fridge. 

KayDee1's picture

Right now, I'm baking one loaf, once a week. I'm learning about sourdough, and it's a slow process. Once I am more accomplished at making the dough, I will probably bake more often. I like your method. 

I've been feeding my starter once a week, equal parts flour and water (equal to what the starter weighs). I like your method of adding half the weight in flour and half in water (to equal the starter weight). 

I'm practicing with rye today. I used the original starter and fed it with some rye two feedings ago, and today am experimenting with organic rye flour and organic AP. Not really happy with the dough, but I'm forging ahead.

All that to say, thank you for your advice. 

Arjon's picture

but for how I normally bake, the ratio between keeping 150 gm while typically using 100 or 120 gm means that when  I use and replace 100 gm, it's a 1:1:1 feeding; the original 150 minus 100 used leaves 50, to which I add 50 each of flour and water. 

And using 120 gm works out to a 1:2:2 feeding; the original 150 minus 130 used leaves 30, to which I add 60 each of flour and water. I try to use 120 gm at least once a month so that my starter occasionally gets a higher-ratio feeding. 

One thing I learned from experience is to refrigerate the newly-fed starter well before it would peak. If allowed to peak, it will still work but not as well. 

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

making the dough quite sticky (more than normal) try dampening your hands in a shallow bowl of water instead of flour to knead and shape.  Keeping them slightly wet when you need to.  Makes for easier clean up too.  

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

I dropped a good sized dollop of ripe einkorn starter into my hamburger fixings to make meatloaf type patties.

Boy were they good!   Squished in some finely chopped carrot, onion, parsley, garlic, salt & pepper (no egg or oats)  a tiny shot of green pumpkin oil and a little mustard.  Made little patties and browned them in a little olive oil.  WOW.  Even better cold with some cream cheese.   

NCZOOLAND's picture

I do just that.

Before I start, I weigh out my flour and water according to the recipe.  Mix the dough in the mixer to the "add flour, add water" point.  I then add starter, much more than usual.  I continue to mix/knead, with my mixer, adding flour (and water if needed, not much usually) as I go, until the dough has the same feel, look, touch, as before I started doing this.  I have never used all the flour or water I have measured out at the beginning.  It did take a little trial and error begin with.  As I became more confident I increased the amount of starter, beyond what was called for in the recipe.  This works for me and eliminates discarded starter.

I am way later than your post in 2016.  Perhaps others will find useful info even now.

Happy baking!!

troglodyte's picture

My uncle taught me about sourdough starter decades ago, and I haven't changed the process since then. I am not saying that it is right or wrong, it is just what I was taught and still practice:

  • Make sourdough starter when needed. The goal is to do it at least every two weeks or so. Four weeks (one month) maximum, and only rarely.
  • No metal touches the sourdough. No metal spoons or bowls. Only glass, ceramic, wood, plastic, etc. I use a large plastic whisk.
  • I keep the "seed" in a ceramic crock. It measures up to the "bumps" in the crock, approximately 1-1/3 cups of starter, which has a batter-like consistency.
  • To make starter:
    • 2-1/2 cups bread flour (I use 4.7 oz per cup x 2.5 = 11.75 oz)
    • 2 cups water (by volume in Pyrex cup)
    • All of the seed.
    • Mix with plastic whisk until only small lumps remain.
    • Cover and let stand while it bubbles and foams for 6-8 hours.
    • Stir and put 1-1/3 cup of "new seed" in the crock. Store the crock in the refrigerator.
    • The remaining starter can be used for bread or whatever, or doubled or tripled if more is needed.
  • I make an entry in my calendar so I know the last time I "turned over" the sourdough.
  • Unused leftover starter goes in the refrigerator, separate from the seed.
    • When I need sourdough starter, I use the leftover first, add the new starter to "top it off" to the needed amount. Whatever remains of the new starter becomes the leftover for the next use.

We make sourdough waffles, mostly in large batches. They taste best when freshly made, but we also freeze them for convenience. Freezer to toaster to plate is quick and easy.

A typical waffle "production" uses a batch of starter (minus seed). We take that starter and add 1.5 times additional flour and water (17.63 oz all purpose flour plus 3 cups water), which we ferment with the starter, store overnight, and then make a lot of waffles for a couple hours. Most go in the freezer.

naturaleigh's picture

This is a link to a really great cracker recipe that I think Benny posted not too long ago.  The key is to roll the dough super thin.  The flavor is better from 'fresh' discard as opposed to old discard that has accumulated in the fridge though.  I would make discard just to make these crackers, they are that good (although I halved the salt in the dough and don't place the dough in the fridge).  

Olive Oil Herb Crackers

I don't follow the 'scrapings' method, but I usually keep no more than 50 g in the fridge.  That way I can do a 100% refresh with half (25 g), then start a levain after it has been woken up.  Those two batches of discard usually give me enough to make these crackers and to refresh the starter for its rest in the fridge until the next time I bake.  Over the years I just found it too wasteful to keep tossing so much--even though I always had the best intentions, I could never keep up with using all the discard I was accumulating. 

Mariahposa's picture
Mariahposa (not verified)

Omg you guys. I LOVE DISCARD. The thought of actually discarding the discard causes me emotional anguish. As a versatile ferment, it can be used as a substitute for literally anything that uses flour and water. Just off the top of my head I've used it to make fresh handcut pasta, entire breads, pizza, multiple different quick breads sans chemical leavening agents, multiple different pancakes, crackers. Sometimes I just straight up fry up some discard in my cast iron skillet, and the flavor combos for that are endless. I also use it as plant fertilizer and for my own skin. I haven't used it for sweets yet, I don't eat many sweets, but I am planning on a discard chocolate cake in the coming weeks. As you can see, I am thrilled, overwhelmed by the possibilities. I want as many fermented products in my diet as possible. Discard is always there for me to depend on in a snap. I use it endlessly and I enjoy exploring all the many ways it can be employed forevermore. I'm on Disability and somehow I manage to consume strictly local organic whole foods diet, with very few exceptions...for example, I still consume commercial butter unfortunately. Discard is invaluable to me, from an economic standpoint as well.