10 sourdough discard recipes | BBC Good Food

What is sourdough discard?

As the name implies, sourdough discard refers to a portion of the sourdough starter that is set aside. This step is undertaken prior to feeding – adding fresh flour and water – to regulate its growth and rejuvenate the acidity levels.

Sourdough discard is a blend of flour and water – essential components in numerous baked goods. While it may not possess the activity necessary to leaven sourdough bread, it boasts versatility. If additional rising power is needed, baking powder can be added.

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Explore savoury options such as crumpets, pretzels and pizza dough. Indulge your sweet tooth with delights like pancakes, muffins and cakes.

Dive into our favourite sourdough discard recipes below.

10 ways to use up sourdough starter

1. Sourdough crumpets

Sourdough crumpets

Add your sourdough starter to crumpet batter for a super light and airy texture. Try using our crumpet recipe for a fluffy, golden brown result.

See our crumpet recipes for more inspiration.

2. Sourdough crackers

Mix starter excess with seeds and toasted, raw quinoa then pour onto a non-stick baking sheet. The mix should be the consistency of porridge. Spread evenly, sprinkle with salt and then bake at 200C/180C fan/gas 6 for 10-15 mins until browned and crisp. Cool and snap into pieces.

3. Sourdough pancakes

Sourdough pancakes

Add your starter leftovers into pancake batter for a tangy flavour and added fluffiness. Try our simple sourdough pancakes recipe to use up your discard and make a delicious breakfast treat.

Find heaps of pancake inspiration with our pancake recipes.

4. Sourdough pizza

Pizza on a board cut into slices

Take your pizza to the next level by incorporating sourdough starter into the dough base. When pan-fried or baked, this results in a wonderfully crispy and chewy crust. Try our margarita-style sourdough pizza recipe and switch it up if you like with your own choice of toppings.

Discover more pizza recipes to bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen.

5. Sourdough scones

Scone on a napkin topped with cream and jam

Mix your sourdough starter into a batch of scones for some added texture and flavour. It goes well with our easy fluffy scones or these savoury classic cheese scones.

Find more scones recipes perfect for any afternoon tea.

6. Sourdough focaccia

Focaccia chooped into squares on a wooden board next to a pot of olive oil

The act of making focaccia is often every bit as joyful as the eating, and comes as no exception to this sourdough version. The delightfully soft and squidgy dough is given its characteristic dimpled appearance by softly poking the surface with your fingers before baking. Make sure your starter is fully active for this – it should be bubbly and a teaspoon of it will be able to float in water.

Rustle up one of our rustic focaccia recipes.

7. Sourdough toad-in-the-hole

Tray of toad-in-the-hole

Take a classic childhood favourite to the next level with the addition of sourdough starter. The starter will ensure it rises and becomes super light. Try a classic toad-in-the-hole recipe or our luxurious easy cheesy mustard toad-in-the-hole with broccoli.

Find more family favourites with our toad-in-the-hole recipes.

8. Sourdough hot cross buns

Batch of sourdough hot cross buns on a wire rack

Give this classic Easter bake a tangy flavour twist with your leftover starter. Although these sourdough hot cross buns take a little more effort in terms of stretching and proving the dough, they are well worth it for the end result. Reserve some of your starter to pipe the signature cross on each of the buns before baking. They are glorious served warm slathered with butter.

Try more of our hot cross bun recipes ready for Easter.

9. Dusting powder

Dusting powder

Use up your sourdough starter with this versatile dusting powder. Dry out the starter in a thin layer, then grind into a powder using a pestle and mortar. Use the powder to dust bread baskets or bread dough before scoring.

10. Sourdough cinnamon buns

Sourdough cinnamon rolls topped with cream cheese, on a wire cooling wrack

These sourdough cinnamon buns are utterly irresistibly drizzled with a layer of creamy soft cheese icing. The subtle tang of sourdough starter forms a perfect balance to the characteristically sweet and sticky flavours in this Nordic bake.

Discover more of our cinnamon recipes for exciting new ways to use this storecupboard staple.

Enjoyed these suggestions? See more recipes and guides…

How to make sourdough bread
Best bread-making equipment
Sourdough recipes
Health benefits of sourdough
Bread recipes

How will you use up your sourdough starter? Leave a comment below…

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