Zero Waste Guide to Sourdough Discard: 17 Interesting Ways to Use It

Share the sourdough love!

If you are wanting to maintain your sourdough starter with a zero waste sourdough discard routine, then this is the blog for you!

If you are keeping your sourdough starter on your bench and feeding it regularly, you can accumulate a lot of discard quite quickly. A lot of people baulk at “discarding” half your starter every time you feed it, however it is a necessary part of the sourdough process. But just because you are removing the “discard” from your starter jar, doesn’t mean you have to waste it.

If you want to cut down on the amount of discard you produce, you can keep your starter in the fridge – but even then, you will still have a bit of discard to deal with. You could also maintain a much smaller starter and then build what you need each time you bake.

But half the fun of maintaining a sourdough starter is finding creative ways to use the discard, right?

Zero Waste Sourdough Discard

There are lots of interesting and delicious ways to use your sourdough discard instead of tossing it in the bin. Here are 17 uses that will ensure your sourdough starter is never wasted.

Dry Your Sourdough Discard

There are so many uses for dried sourdough starter discard, many of which you probably haven’t thought of. Now remember discard is unfed starter that you are removing from the jar when you go to feed it.

Take your discard and smear it onto some baking paper and let it dry on your kitchen bench or even in a dehydrator at a low temperature (it really doesn’t take long). Once the discard is completely dry, blitz it in a high powered food processor (I use my Thermomix). Now you’ve got a nutrient rich, probiotic filled powder that you can use for a variety of purposes:

  • Use it as “flour” and add to cakes, muffins, pizza – even your bread!
  • Use it as a crunchy topping for salads, pasta or soup
  • Add it to your breadcrumbs for crumbing chicken or fish
  • Use it as a delicious crunchy topping for roast potatoes
  • Mix it with some nutritional yeast to make vegan parmesan
Zero waste sourdough discard - dry your discard in a dehydrator to create a tasty addition to salads, vegetables or bread.
Shards of dried sourdough discard – to speed up drying process, break up the pieces as they dry so that they get smaller and smaller. Once fully dried, they’re ready to blitz!

Give Your Discard To A Friend

If you tend to have a lot of discard, why not decant some into a few jars, feed it and give it to a friend who’s interested in maintaining their own sourdough starter and baking their own sourdough bread? It’s such a beautiful way to keep your starter’s legacy growing. You can of course dry it out, but sometimes it’s easier to give a starter that doesn’t need “reviving”.

Make a Sourdough Discard Batter

Traditional batter is just flour and water … and isn’t that what sourdough discard is? So it makes sense to use your discard as a batter! There are a few ways you can jazz it up.

To use your sourdough starter as batter, add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to 1/2 cup of discard. Give it a mix and add any flavourings you might like – then coat your food and fry. If you want to make your batter go a little further, you can add a little soda water and extra flour – whisk with a fork until it’s like runny pancake batter.

You could add a little curry powder to some batter and fry fish. A little cinnamon and fry some banana. Paprika could be a good addition to chicken.

Fried Chicken made with sourdough discard batter.
Fried chicken made with sourdough discard batter.

Make Sourdough Discard Cookies

Sourdough discard cookies are such a delicious way to use your discard – especially if you add lots of chocolate chips! You’ll find my go to recipe for sourdough cookies here, along with my favorite flavor variations.

sourdough discard cookies

Cheese & Bacon Popovers

These cheese and bacon popovers will become a firm family favourite – they are absolutely delicious and so easy! They are great as a snack or in the kids’ lunchboxes. You’ll find the recipe here.

Sourdough discard popovers can be made in a mini muffin tin or 12 hole.

Make Simple Crackers in 5 Minutes

These are one of the first things I ever did with my sourdough discard. These simple crackers take hardly any time or effort – but reward you with a tasty cracker.

Grab an oven tray & line with baking paper. Smear lines of your sourdough starter discard across the tray. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic powder (you could use fresh or minced if you like), salt & rosemary. Pop them in a 200 degree oven for 7-10 minutes until crispy. Super simple … but a great way to stop throwing away your discard! You can pretty much add whatever toppings you like!

Make Sourdough Béchamel Sauce

Once you start thinking about the things you add flour to, you will find there are lots of opportunities to use your sourdough discard – which of course is just flour and water! Béchamel, or white sauce, is of course made up of flour, butter and milk – so you can use your sourdough discard to replace the dry flour in your mix. It can take some experimentation and trial and error, but it really is worth trying this one.

Fluffiest Sourdough Discard Pancakes Ever

These are a firm favourite with my family – I love them because it’s a way of getting some extra goodness into my kids before they head off for school. Plus I can mix the batter the night before, making our mornings super easy! You’ll find the recipe for my sourdough discard pancakes here.

Sourdough discard pancakes - zero waste sourdough starter
These fluffy pancakes can be made the night before to save time on busy mornings.

Sourdough Discard Gravy

Yes, you read that right 🙂 Sourdough discard can be used to thicken your gravy – or any sauce really. It’s just flour and water, right? So add half a cup of discard to your next batch of gravy instead of just dry flour or cornflour. It works, I promise!

Sourdough Tortillas

Tortillas have become a very popular part of many household’s everyday cuisine. While they are relatively inexpensive to buy – you seriously cannot top the texture and flavour of making your own, especially when you add some sourdough discard into your dough. You will not be disappointed!

This sourdough tortilla recipe is pretty easy and utilises your unfed starter.

Fresh Pasta Made From Sourdough Discard

Another less known way to ensure you have zero waste sourdough discard is to make wholesome fresh pasta with it. You’ll need 215g 00 flour, 1 large egg & 2 large egg yolks and around 175g discard. You can either roll the pasta dough out by hand or use a pasta machine.

Make your pasta as per normal, incorporating the eggs and discard into the dry flour. If it’s too wet, just add a little more flour. This is a delicious and slightly unusual way to use your discard. You can even dry your pasta for later use.

Sourdough Discard Granola

This sounds a bit strange, but stay with me. Sourdough discard can be used, along with a little brown sugar to coat and bind granola. It basically disappears as it dries, leaving behind all the probiotic goodness. You’ll find the instructions here.

Granola is an interesting way to utilise your sourdough starter to ensure you have zero wastage.
Such an interesting way to use your sourdough discard – sourdough granola!

Sourdough Discard Bread

There are lots of different names for this bread – some people call it a “cheat’s sourdough” others discard bread. I just call it delicious! It’s super easy and enables you to get a loaf of bread on the table FAST, while still utilising your starter. You’ll need to add a little commercial yeast to get this bread bubbling, but don’t be disheartened, it’s going to make you come back for seconds, I promise! You’ll find the recipe for sourdough discard bread here.

A simple sourdough discard bread to use the otherwise wasted sourdough discard.
An easy loaf with loads of flavour in just 2 hours – super simple to bake when you realise there’s no bread for breakfast.

Feed Your Sourdough Discard To Your Chickens

If you are lucky enough to have some chickens in your backyard, pop the discard into their scrap bucket. They will happily peck at your discard and turn it into breakfast for you 😉

I know there may be some people who say they wouldn’t feed their chickens uncooked flour, and that’s perfectly fine. I feed it to mine as it’s fermented, so not like just giving them raw flour. My chickens have eaten a lot of sourdough discard and they are happy, healthy and laying eggs.

Add Sourdough Discard To Your Compost

While this is essentially tossing it, tossing your discard in your compost means that it’s essentially going back into the earth to help create better soil. And better soil means more nutrient dense food. That cannot be classed as a waste, can it? Sourdough discard can also be added to your worm farm too.

If you’re looking for a community of fellow sourdough bakers to hang out in, come and join our Facebook Community – Sourdough Starters!

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1 Comment

  1. Denise May 24, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    More great ideas.
    Crackers and bread sticks are still my favourite.


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