9 Delicious Uses for Sourdough Starter Discard

Photo by Albany Capture on Unsplash
Photo by Albany Capture on Unsplash / Photo by Albany Capture on Unsplash

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.”