Sourdough Discard Recipes Are the Real Stars of Quarantine Baking
Don’t throw out your discard!
Sourdough bread baking has been a trendy hobby during the quarantine. Many folks are finding comfort and joy in cultivating a natural yeast starter from flour and water to use in delicious homemade bread. Maintaining a healthy and vigorous sourdough starter can be achieved using minimal amounts of flour. Still, some baking experts encourage the use of seemingly excessive amounts of flour to feed starters. Most of the starter is “discarded” during each feeding. Flour has become a sort of precious commodity recently, so it is wasteful to dispose of so much of it. Fortunately, there is no need to dump your excess sourdough starter in the trash! There are plenty of sourdough discard recipes popping up all over the internet as bakers experiment with different ways to use their discard. Discard is simply flour and water with a little “tang” so it can be used in place of some of the flour/liquid in many recipes. Check out the ones below for some inspiration.
Sourdough Pizza Crust from King Arthur Flour
This pizza dough is a discard recipe that I have made at least a dozen times in the past few months. It comes together quickly, and the flavor is much more nuanced than a dough leavened with only commercial yeast. I often top it simply with pureed San Marzano tomatoes, sliced garlic, olive oil, and salt. King Arthur is an excellent source for sourdough discard recipes that have been tested and reviewed. I have also baked the KA discard baguettes with good results (and the sourdough chocolate cake is on my list of recipes to try).
Crackers are another simple way to use excess sourdough discard along with some other ingredients you have hanging around. It is an incredibly cost-effective recipe as the ingredients are sourdough discard, a tiny bit of butter (can be swapped for vegan butter or olive oil), a few teaspoons of dry herbs, and salt. You could serve these sourdough crackers with anything you have handy: perhaps a pesto made from herb scraps, hummus whipped up with whatever beans you have, or quick pickles made with the carrots in danger of going limp.
I will admit that I have not made this recipe yet, but it does have good feedback and reviews. I see lovely discard crusts for sweet pies and galettes all over my Insta feed, but I think a pot pie or savory tart would be equally delicious with a sourdough crust. Some of my immediate ideas are a roasted mushroom pie in a flaky tart crust or a sautéed spinach and garlic galette. The possibilities are endless.
Sourdough discard is not refuse at all, despite the garbage name. You can actually even bake a loaf of bread using discard (surprise!). Do a quick Google search, check out #sourdoughdiscard on Instagram, or get creative and tinker with a recipe yourself. Whatever you do, don’t throw out your discard!