Stop keeping multiple jars of sourdough starter. You don't have to feed your discard!
Read on to find out why feeding your discard is actually more wasteful than ditching it or using it for other things.
Now I mean this the best of intentions and sourdough love - stop keeping multiple jars of sourdough starter.
You really only need one.
Now hear me out before you start yelling at me through your screen ...
I often have people message me with photos of multiple jars of starter and ask me to tell them which one looks like it's the healthiest.
Or tell me that they are feeding three different jars with three different types of flour.
Or worse - they keep making more jars of starter from their sourdough discard. Stop!
Now I'm all for experimenting, seriously, nobody loves a bit of trial and error more than me. But maintaining multiple jars of sourdough starter is a bit crazy and it can become wasteful and expensive!
If you're looking for my easy instructions on making a sourdough starter, you'll find them here.
Make One Strong & Healthy Sourdough Starter
Sourdough starters take time to mature and develop. While they can rise bread from around two weeks old, you won't fully see what they're capable of for a good few months at least.
When it's mature, a good sourdough starter will have a fuller flavor, peak within 2-6 hours of feeding and be able to produce a light, airy crumb worthy of only the best butter.
You can read more about how to tell if your sourdough starter is ready here.
Getting it to this point takes a lot of feeding, nurturing and care.
If you are doing this for three or even more jars, it's going to take a lot of flour and time. These resources ultimately cost you money (and sometimes your sanity).
Put your effort into one fantastic sourdough starter. Or consider buying one!
While you're building your starter, you can use the discard to bake some wonderful treats - or even use your discard in your chicken feed or on your compost. This sourdough discard bread recipe is my favorite way of using discard.
Making A Sourdough Starter for a Friend
If you want to make a sourdough starter for your friend at the same time as yours then don't actually make two. That's way too much work.
Make one fantastic sourdough starter, let it mature and develop into all its bubbly goodness.
Then when it's ready, put half of it in a jar and give it to your friend ... or whoever else wants some. Sharing your sourdough starter is such a rewarding process!
You could even dry it and mail it to them if you need to. You can direct them here for instructions on how to activate their dried sourdough starter.
Your friends and family will appreciate receiving a mature starter, rather than one they have to keep feeding. They'll be able to bake beautiful sourdough bread straight away! And all of this results in much less waste.
Different Starters For Different Flours
Want a rye, spelt and white starter. Great. Just make a really awesome, bubbly starter then you can create offshoots from the mature starter. These are called a "levain".
Did you know that you can bake any type of sourdough from one type of sourdough starter. Now that might sound strange, but let me explain.
Say you want to bake a Rye Sourdough, but your starter is fed with All Purpose Flour.
It's fine, you can bake a Rye Sourdough with an All Purpose Starter. And vice versa - you could bake a white flour sourdough with a Rye Flour starter.
When you have a lovely, mature sourdough starter you can pretty much turn it into anything you like.
Create an offshoot fed with rye for a particular bake, create a Pasta Madre or even a chocolate sourdough starter. But you only need to maintain one mother sourdough starter to do this.
Always keep a back up of your "mother" sourdough starter for some insurance - incase something goes wrong. You'll find many techniques of preserving your sourdough starter here.
You can read a full guide on the difference between a levain (or offshoot) and a sourdough starter here.
- Is it better to make a sourdough starter or buy one?
- How to increase the amount of starter you have on hand for a recipe.
- Difference Between a Levain and a Sourdough Starter
- You'll find a list of the 10 essential ingredients you should have in your sourdough pantry here.
- Want a fun name for your sourdough starter? You'll find 101+ suggestions to name your sourdough starter here.
Wow a lot of good info and knowledge here. I am so glad I found this site and this group.
Does making bread or muffins with the discard have as many health benefits as using a freshly fed starter? Also if you use a fed starter why do you need baking powder ?
The Pantry Mama
Using discard doesn't always have the same health benefits as using a fed starter, this article explains everything you need to know about this. You still need to use baking powder in muffins because they are a "Quick" sourdough recipe where you're not waiting for the sourdough starter to activate (which will take hours). Also, a muffin is different to bread. You want a tender, cake like crumb, rather than a gluten structure like bread, so using baking powder is the answer here in terms of leavening, rather than using the actual sourdough starter for this purpose. In muffins, sourdough discard adds flavor, rather than leavening.