When I first started making sourdough I followed the instructions from everyone on the internet to daily discard half my sourdough starter, religiously. I obeyed because everything I read made it sound like if I didn’t then I would end up with a lazy, unhealthy starter. And nobody wants that.
After making sourdough for a few years now and playing around with all the ways it can be used, I have found that I wasted A LOT of precious, perfectly good sourdough.
Oh sure, in the beginning when I was more confused than confident, I probably wouldn’t have even tried all the recipes I use it for today. So I understand that for a short time throwing away my discard was the best course of action. But after a few months as my confidence grew and I became a bit more dating, I could have been using it in various recipes if only more sourdough bakers had encouraged it. Too few people even seem to use discard, in my opinion.
So, I’m here today to STRONGLY encourage, nearly beg, you to save and refrigerate your precious discard, and here’s why.
Three reasons to save and refrigerate your discard
- There are so many recipes that can use discard. Even some less finicky recipes that say your starter must be active turn out great when using discard. Also, using discard means never having to wait for your starter to become ready and active. Be daring, try it. What’s the worse that can happen? You won’t die.
- Since the world turned upside down in 2020 food scarcity is a reality. Lately we are continuously being threatened with food shortages. The price of flour is rising, as it is for all food, and carelessly throwing food out has become increasingly – what’s the word? Oh yeah – stupid.
- Discard is actually the party of your dough that’s been fermented the longest and therefore easiest on those who eat gluten-free. I can make pasta with discard and my gluten-free family members get to eat really good pasta without fear of repercussion from their digestive track later.
Here’s a few tips
Here’s what I’ve been doing and it works great for me. Remember, my way may not be for you and that’s okay. It’s your kitchen run it how you like. As always, do what makes sense for you family.
I feed my starter daily and leave it on the counter. I rarely run into a hard crusty surface when I feed it but if so I scrape it off and throw it away, Just the surface and as little as possible. I have this glass container I keep in the refrigerator which holds my discard.
I take the three discard container out of the refrigerator and open it. Then I place half of my starter to one side in this container. I don’t put it on top because then I might end up only using the newest discard when baking. I mark the side I put the newest discard on and when baking take from the opposite side. Then I feed my starter as usual.
If I plan on using the discard that day, I’ll leave the covered container on the counter so it warms up a bit. If not back in the refrigerator it goes.
Easy, peasy and I have been spending less on flour since I started doing this. I’ve also been making a greater variety of sourdough items which has been fun and interesting.
Start saving your discard and you’ll be happy you did. I have a growing discard category to get you started.