Cheater Sourdough Discard Bread

Cheater Sourdough Discard Bread

Hello. My name is Joanne, and I make a cheater sourdough discard bread.

Like many of you, I was given a sourdough starter in 2020. It was started by a friend who died suddenly a few years ago, and it seemed to me that baking sourdough would have the secondary effect of keeping a bit of him alive.

In those early months of the pandemic, I dutifully fed my starter every few days. I made discard crumpets. I made discard crackers. And occasionally I’d guiltily throw the discard away because I wanted to bake something else. But I felt obligated to bake sourdough and to keep my starter alive.

Then something happened. A friend who had been given a starter (unrelated to mine) cried out one night on social media. She couldn’t handle one more responsibility. The pandemic was hard enough with all of us trying to keep everyone safe and work from home and remote school the kids and everything else.

In watching her react to her last straw, I gave myself permission to do whatever is necessary in order to make life easier. I give you permission to do the same.

Here’s my cheater sourdough discard bread, made into a loaf of course, with no discarding and a smidge of yeast to get a loaf of bread in about 9 hours. You can of course dutifully feed your starter the night before and skip the yeast, but please don’t feel obligated.

Notes on this sourdough discard bread

I love this ceramic baker (non-sponsored).

a black Emile Henry ceramic loaf baker

This cheater’s sourdough is adapted from the Sea Wolf Bakery and uses a small volume starter (20g starter, 80g flour, 80g water). The loaves in the pictures are made with 1 cup whole wheat flour. The top pic includes a cup of walnuts.

Cheater sourdough discard bread

Author uglyducklingbakery


  • 160 g starter i.e. everything but the 20g
  • 1 cup (125g) whole wheat, rye, semolina, etc flour
  • 2 ½ cup (375g) bread flour plus extra, as needed
  • ½ tsp instant yeast
  • 1 ½ cup warm water
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup add ins like sunflower seeds or toasted chopped nuts optional


  • Pour off any liquid on top of the starter. Into a large bowl, put all of the starter except for what is needed to refresh and maintain the starter.
  • Add remaining ingredients except for salt and mix, initially with a wooden spoon and then by hand until smooth. Add flour as necessary but it will ultimately be a sticky but workable dough. Let rest for 30 min.
  • Add salt and knead until incorporated. If adding seeds or nuts, add them here and knead to incorporate. Form into a ball and oil the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and put in a warm location – the microwave or a 90°F oven works well here.
  • Every 20-30 minutes for 2-3 hours, depending on your zoom call schedule, reshape the dough into a ball. Do not stress if it's shorter or longer than 20-30 min intervals.
  • Shape and let rise. I really love my bread loaf baker, which gives it a great crust and that loaf shape that I need. A dutch oven also works. I lightly butter my bread loaf baker. Let it rise. How long will depend on whether you were using a well-fed or un-fed starter and/or the amount of yeast. Mine rose about 4 hours today.
  • Preheat oven to 450°F at least one hour before baking.
  • Bake at 450°F in the dutch oven/baker for 30 min, then reduce heat to 350°, remove lid and bake about another 15 minutes

What’s next?

If you make this sourdough discard bread, please comment and share a pic!

Check out other uglyducklingbakery bread recipes like this sweet potato sourdough with bacon or my orange raisin challah.

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a loaf of bread on a cooling rack

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