9 Delicious Uses for Sourdough Starter Discard

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If you, like many, have taken up baking during shelter-in-place, you’ve probably made a sourdough starter—and probably find yourself swimming in starter discard. Discard your discard with these creative and delicious recipes.

1. Pancakes

This recipe from Tastes of Lizzy T. uses one cup of sourdough starter discard and creates the thickest, fluffiest pancakes you’ll ever eat—and even better, they take just 20 minutes to make. If you don’t have enough people to eat all the pancakes, you can freeze some and heat them up in the toaster later. If pancakes aren't your thing, try making crepes with your discard.

2. Crackers

Making these crackers is quick and easy: The recipe requires one cup of discard, room temperature butter, flour, salt, and a bit of time in the fridge. Make sure you roll the dough out thin, or else they’ll be slightly chewy—but whether they’re thick or thin, they’re still delicious! The recipe makes around 100 bite-size crackers, which you can store in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or freeze.

3. Pizza Dough

You’ll use up half a cup of sourdough starter discard when you make this pizza dough recipe from Little Spoon Farm. The dough needs to sit out overnight, then spend some time in the fridge, then rest on the counter for a bit before you make your pizza, but all that time is worth it: One reviewer called it “the best [crust] we’ve ever made.”

4. Cinnamon Rolls

Making these cinnamon rolls from The Spruce is slower than your typical recipe, according to The Spruce, but as Pete Scherer writes, “There’s nothing cozier than the scent of cinnamon and sourdough that wafts from the oven while these babies bake. They're an ooey, gooey, and flavorful addition to any breakfast or brunch.” The recipe is in grams, so break out your digital scale, attach the dough hook to your stand mixer, and get baking!

5. Banana Bread

With this recipe from The Clever Carrot, you can combine the two great quarantine baking trends—banana bread and sourdough—into one delicious dish.

6. English Muffins

According to King Arthur Flour, this recipe yields “crusty, chewy, tangy gems” that “were some of the best [the taste testers had] ever eaten.” It can be made with either discard or ripe sourdough starter; the latter will yield a greater rise. Popping the dough in the fridge after its initial 1.5-hour rise will produce a more pronounced sourdough flavor.

7. Granola

This recipe from San Diego Food Stuff uses sourdough starter discard—mixed with brown sugar, water, flour, honey, and vanilla for extra flavor—to bind the ingredients in granola together. Once you’ve baked them in the oven, you can use the granola as cereal or eat it straight out of the bowl.

8. Pie Crust

According to Eileen Gray on Baking Sense, this pie crust is “tender, flaky, and tastes amazing.” It also smells good when you’re baking it, and rises a little more than traditional crust due to the yeast from the sourdough starter discard. You’ll need to refrigerate the dough for at least a few hours before you make your pie, so make sure to build that into your planning.

9. Pasta

This recipe from The Gingered Whisk requires just three ingredients: Sourdough starter discard, flour, and an egg. After you’ve used your mixer to form the ingredients into a ball, let the dough sit out for at least a few hours and as long as overnight. Then roll the dough out thin, cut it into whatever shape you want, then boil them to eat—you’ll get pasta with “a slight sourdough tang and a nice chewy bite.”

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What Really Happens When Food Goes Down the 'Wrong Pipe'?

The dreaded 'wrong pipe' calamity can strike at any time.
The dreaded 'wrong pipe' calamity can strike at any time.
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Your average person isn’t expected to be well-versed in the linguistics of human anatomy, which is how we wind up with guns for biceps and noggins for heads. So when swallowing something is followed by throat irritation or coughing, the fleeting bit of discomfort is often described as food “going down the wrong pipe.” But what’s actually happening?

When food is consumed, HuffPost reports, more than 30 muscles activate to facilitate chewing and swallowing. When the food is ready to leave your tongue and head down to your stomach, it’s poised near the ends of two "pipes," the esophagus and the trachea. You want the food to take the esophageal route, which leads to the stomach. Your body knows this, which is why the voice box and epiglottis shift to close off the trachea, the “wrong pipe” of ingestion.

Since we don’t typically hold our breath when we eat, food can occasionally take a wrong turn into the trachea, an unpleasant scenario known as aspiration, which triggers an adrenaline response and provokes coughing and discomfort. Dislodging the food usually eases the sensation, but if it’s enough to become stuck, you have an obstructed airway and can now be officially said to be choking.

The “wrong pipe” can also be a result of eating while tired or otherwise distracted or the result of a mechanical problem owing to illness or injury.

You might also notice that this happens more often with liquids. A sip of water may provoke a coughing attack. That’s because liquids move much more quickly, giving the body less time to react.

In extreme cases, food or liquids headed in the “wrong” direction can wind up in the lungs and cause pneumonia. Fortunately, that’s uncommon, and coughing tends to get the food moving back into the esophagus.

The best way to minimize the chances of getting food stuck is to avoid talking with your mouth full—yes, your parents were right—and thoroughly chew sensible portions.

If you experience repeated bouts of aspiration, it’s possible an underlying swallowing disorder or neurological problem is to blame. An X-ray or other tests can help diagnose the issue.

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