Today I’m sharing how to have a zero waste sourdough starter, recipes to make with your sourdough starter discard (and which recipes flopped with sourdough starter discard). When you’re making a sourdough starter, you’re only using a fraction of the starter each day, feeding it, and discarding the rest! So what do you do with sourdough starter discard? What recipes do you make with leftover sourdough starter discard? When I started my starter, I didn’t want to waste it because it’s essentially flour and water (and naturally occurring wild yeast), so I kept a list of recipes and the process of using the sourdough starter discard as I went along to have and keep a sourdough starter with zero waste.
If you’ve been following along my sourdough journey, you’ll know it’s been an emotional experience. I started a sourdough starter but my starter took a good 14 days+ before it was rising and falling consistently, so for 2 weeks I was feeding it every 12 hours and making recipes with the sourdough discard or saving the discard and then making something the following day. I’ve successfully made a loaf or two of bread, made a lot of unsuccessful loaves, and lots and lots of sourdough starter discard recipes were made (you feed the starter twice a day while growing it).
Some sourdough starter discard recipes were amazing like these sourdough starter discard pierogi, sourdough pizza dough and sourdough banana bread (and my favorite scallion pancakes – which is just sourdough discard fried in a pan with sesame seeds/green onions-scallions and pinch of salt). I’ve also had a fair share of flops – like sourdough brownies (gross, they tasted like weird sour brownies and the texture was wrong) and a lemon loaf made with sourdough starter discard (also not good, tasted like a dense sponge with a bread texture and not a cake like the recipe is written) oh and biscuits, they were dense and not biscuit like, more dense and just not good.
Here is how I made a zero waste sourdough starter (all sourdough starter discard recipes and ratings after the recipes listed below).
- Day 1– sourdough starter started
- Day 2– discards (3/4 cup discard) used to make banana muffins and added 3 tablespoons ap flour instead of flour listed, everything else the same- used this easiest banana bread muffins recipe. (5/5 – have made a few times since and so good)
- Day 3– (lots of activity to the starter during the day) had about 3/4 cup discard again, this was consistent throughout. Used discard and made sea salt crackers. 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup ap flour 3/4 cup water+2 Tbs and used/adapted this recipe for sea salt olive oil crackers. (4/5 – I’ve since made these bbq sourdough crackers and those are spot on).
- Day 4– very nice and liquidy, made Eggless waffles but I made pancakes, everything the same but used 1 cup flour in addition to my sourdough starter discard-3/4 cup of that (5/5 – I’ve made these so many times I’ve lost count)
- Day 5-am was ready for a feeding, very nice looking and smooth. Today and moving forward starting to feed it twice a day. 3/4 cup discard. Used discard to make healthy carrot cake muffins -3/4 cup discard 1 egg, 3/4 cup oats instead of 1/2 cup and 1 tbs oil instead of 3. (1/5 these were a little too ‘healthy’ tasting and just not successful)
- Day 5 continued– Day 5 am, saved to make pizza dough, made my sheet pan pizza recipe and used 1 cup water and 3 cups flour (each discard a little less than 3/4 cup so about 1 1/2 cups). (5/5 -first time of many I made what turned into my sourdough pizza crust recipe which is so good!)
- Day 6– used day 5pm and day 6am to make whole wheat honey oat flax bread (5/5 – very good, added a little active dry yeast, such a good bread recipe)
- Day 7 – used day 6pm and day 7 am to make pizza dough again (sheet pan pizza) (5/5 – see above)
- Day 8 – used day 7pm to make girl vs dough pancakes – bunny butt pancakes saved day 8 am
- Day 9 – used day 8 am and 8pm and day to make pierogi (1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup water 1 cup sourdough starter ) and then made these sourdough pierogi the next few days! (5/5 – so unique, very time consuming though)
- Day 10 – made pierogi again with discards
- Day 11 – made pizza again with discards (starter was still not rising and falling consistently)
- Day 12 – saved discards – finally some growth- had it overnight in the oven with light on smelled yeasty vs sour. Made triple batch of eggless waffles and they were so fluffy! 1 cup sourdough starter 2 cups flour
- Day 13 – sourdough brownies (1/5 so gross do not recommend)
- Day 14 – banana bread using this recipe for ultimate sourdough banana bread by The Clever Carrot, only made 1/2 the recipe. Best banana bread ever! (5/5 – such a good banana bread)
- Day 15 – Scallion pancakes – Olive oil, dash of sesame oil, pour in sourdough starter discard – whatever you have (usually my discard is 3/4 cup), sprinkle on scallions and sesame seeds and a little salt, cook, flip, enjoy – so so good (5/5 – could have this with a fried egg every day)
- Day 16 – sourdough blueberry muffins from King Arthur Flour (2/5 – these had rave reviews from everyone who has made them…except me. Maybe I did something wrong? They were just bland and not good muffins in my opinion).
- Day 17 – I tried making sourdough starter biscuits with only whole wheat flour because with all the baking, I ran out of flour. Um, do not recommend. They were ok, but dense and crumbly and not great, babies loved them though. (2/5 -dense and bland)
- Day 18 – finally ready for sourdough bread baking! After this day I put my starter in the fridge and take it out about once a week to feed it, and use the discards to make pizza and waffles and my favorite recipes below. Since making my first loaf of actual bread I’ve had some good loaves and some super flops.
- Banana bread and banana muffins
- Sourdough pizza crust
- Sourdough pierogi
- BBQ sourdough crackers
- Eggless waffles (3/4 cup sourdough starter and 3/4 cup ap flour instead of 1 1/2 cup flour the recipe calls for)
- Sourdough scallion pancakes recipe – heat 1 teaspoon mild oil like vegetable oil, add sourdough starter discard into pan. Sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped up green onions, add a little salt and/or garlic salt on top. Cook for 5 minutes, or until it looks partially cooked, flip, cook for an additional few minutes. Serve by itself or with a fried egg.