Waste Not, Want Not: Baking with Sourdough Discard
Have you tried baking sourdough yet? A dear friend of mine started exploring sourdough baking a few winters ago and when I visited her we would demolish her baked goods. Sarah explained the sourdough process to me in detail and I quickly became obsessed. Being a great friend, Sarah shared her starter with me, which I promptly killed.
|Image from King Arthur Flour|
Fast forward a year or two and my knitting buddy Laurel sent me some of her starter to try again. After reading about how to care for this new member of the family (I call my starter "Laurel" in her honor), I started experimenting with different bread recipes. Although my first loaves were coming out ok, I wasn’t super excited about them.
Luckily there is an incredible bakery right here in Trumansburg that teaches classes on the art of sourdough baking (as well as baking pastries, pretzels, and even how to start your own bakery!). People travel from all over the country to take classes at Wide Awake Bakery by the brilliant Stefan Senders and his crew.
My class at Wide Awake not only gave me the knowledge to bake a fabulous loaf, but the confidence to know that I could handle any problems that came up. After the class I was empowered and motivated, and my bread is consistently fantastic! I now bake every week, and purchase my flour 25lbs at a time from my local mill, Farmer Ground Flour.Image from Wide Awake Bakery
Now that you have the backstory, let’s get to the recipes! These recipes are specifically for sourdough discard; the bit that you remove from your starter when you feed it. Not sure what I mean? Read more about the process of caring for your sourdough starter.
I hate throwing out even tiny bits of my sourdough baby (or any food at all honestly), and it turns out there’s tons of great ways to use the discard!
Olive oil crackers are a great example of this. Have you ever made crackers before? Me neither! Using up the discard has helped me branch out and add new things to my repertoire that I never would have tried before.
I love adding za’atar in for extra savory goodness, and I use a pasta roller to get the dough super thin.
|Photo from Love and Olive Oil|
For the buttery cracker lovers (I mean, who isn’t), this recipe from King Arthur Flour makes a great basic cracker that you can get creative with. I love adding smoked paprika and hickory smoked salt from Savory Spice Shop.
|Photo from King Arthur Flour|
When you hear “English Muffins,” do you think of the shelf-stable ones of your childhood? I always did too. The homemade version is a completely different animal, and I think you’ll never look back once you try them. They make the best egg sammies! I even bought a set of round biscuit cutters that I also use to cook the egg so that it fits on the muffin perfectly (because I’m like that!).
A good hack for this recipe if you don’t have a griddle, is to cook these on a panini press and just leave it open.
|Photo from King Arthur Flour|
Sourdough pear pancakes!? Yes please. These need no explanation.
|Photo from Food52|
Okonomiyaki, a Japanese savory pancake, is a great base for whatever veggies you have on hand.
|Photo from Du's Doughs|
Bryan Ford of Artisan Bryan is a new favorite source of recipes (including this incredible focaccia!). I love his basil infused grissini.
|Photo from LA Times|
Once you start looking you’ll find there are so many amazing recipes that can incorporate your sourdough discard! Muffins, pitas...basically any kind of bread you can imagine!
If you bake with sourdough starter, please do me a favor and add your favorite sourdough discard recipes in the comments! You can help me make this an valuable go-to resource for all of us.
Toast and Jam by Sarah Owens
New World Sourdough by Bryan Ford
Bread by Jeffrey Hamelman