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What to do with excess sourdough from a recipe?

CountryBoy's picture

What to do with excess sourdough from a recipe?

From my reading of people posting here, my sense is there are a lot of very experienced, intelligent, and practical people making bread.  That being the case maybe someone can tell me what to do with my left over wild yeast starter from a recipe.

My recipe is:

Stiff Sourdough Starter

Single (6 by 3 ½ inch loaf)4 times in size = 2 loaves
Sourdough starter1/3 cup 1  1/3 cup
Flour and water for feeding the starter
Bread flour1 1/3 cups, divided5 1/3 cups
Water1 cups minus 1 T4 cups minus 4 Tablespoons


Single4 times in size
Bread flour1 ¼ cups (or 7oz or 200g)5 ¼ cups (or 28oz or 800g)
Replace bread flour w/WW or with Rye flour2 Tablespoons4 T or 80 grams
Water2/3 cups(5.5 oz. or 154 g)2.64cups or (22 oz. or 616 g)
Stiff sourdough starter2/3 cups (5.25 oz or 150g)2.64cups   (21 oz. or 600 g)
Salt1 scant tsp4 scat tsps

 When I go for 4 times the size I end up with two good size loaves but a very large amount of left over sponge or starter.


How long does it last in the fridge?  Or if I freeze it?


Since flour is already quite expensive hopefully someone can tell me what intelligent, and practical people do in this situation.


dmsnyder's picture

Hi, CountryBoy.

According to Reinhart, a firm starter can be refrigerated and used without additional feeding for 3 days. So, you could make more sourdough bread during that time window. Note that the refrigerated starter will get progressively more sour over the 3 days. A firm starter will also keep longer than a liquid starter refrigerated before needing to be fed. If more than three days have passed, you will need to feed it again to get it "activated" before mixing it into a dough. 

You can substitute firm starter for pate fermente ("old dough") in any recipe that calls for it. You can add the starter to a straight dough (one calling for commercial yeast) for enhanced flavor, even if the recipe doesn't call for pate fermente. You can add the firm starter, even if the recipe calls for a poolish. (Some recipes call for both poolish and pate fermente.) 

If you have another recipe that calls for a liquid starter, you can easily convert your firm starter by adding more water until you get the right consistency. You can use the opportunity to convert your firm starter to a rye sour or a whole wheat starter, if you are interested in baking breads that call for one of those. 

You can give the leftover starter to a friend who wants to get into sourdough baking. 

I don't have any personal experience with freezing starter.


rideold's picture

I think the best thing you can do is bake more.  Put it in pancakes, add it to muffins, make more bread. 

 I'm a big fan of mixing up a batch of cinnamon rolls, cheese snails, etc with what it left.  I just take however much I have left, mix in flour, water, butter by the seat of my pants until I have what seems enough and then let it ferment and then roll/stretch it out into a sheet and get creative with what to put in it.  Makes for good breakfast kind of stuff.  I made some with garlic, olive oil, parmesan and herbs and then used the rolls to make sandwiches for the next day's ski tour.

The folks at the office or the neighbors appreciate a bag of tasty cinnamon rolls or such if you want to give the results away and make someone happy. 

CountryBoy's picture

Thanks David.

This recipe just leaves so very much starter that I thought I should ask.


Oldcampcook's picture

For one, I would dry some of your starter for an emergency back up.

I freeze some of my starters at the same time I dry a batch.  After six months in the freezer, I take it out, thaw it and reconstitute it.  I then bake a test batch of bread to ensure it is still a viable starter. 

I then dry another batch of it and freeze some.  I usually freeze in about 2-3 tablespoon amounts.

So far, so good.  I have not tried it longer than six months, though.

possum-liz's picture

I just make up as much starter as I need for the recipe using the ratios in the directions.  The only time I have left overs is when I'm only baking a small batch and my large starter needs a feed.

LindyD's picture

Given the increase in KA bread flour, I picked up 5# of Harvest King Better for Bread flour to use in my starter. While half the price, I can taste no difference in the sourdough.

I still hate the thought of tossing starter in the compost pile or flushing it into my septic tank (if I made more pancakes or muffins, I'd wind up looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy) and mentioned it to my daughter yesterday as we munched on a tasty sourdough loaf I had baked. She wondered if it could be used in the preparation of other foods, such as adding water and using the liquid instead of an egg mixture when preparing breaded chicken breasts.

Baked sourdough chicken sounds intriguing, so I'll give it a try once I figure out what spices to add.

CountryBoy's picture

Of course if I do bake more I definitely 

                       "wind up looking like the Pillsbury Dough Boy"

Maybe I should freeze it and reconstitute it as suggested.

Susan's picture


Susan from San Diego
LindyD's picture

Brillilant suggestion, Susan!

I have seven lovely Vidalias sitting on my countertop. Thanks for the inspiration!

Sourdough onions and bread. Not sure if the creators of the USDA food pyramid will approve of that menu, but it sure will taste good.