This Sourdough Discard Bread makes a loaf of bread that has all the flavor of sourdough and all the ease of using commercial yeast. It’s no embarrassment to say, “Hello. My name is Joanne, and I make a cheater sourdough discard bread.”
In this post, I’ll share the step-by-step process and key tips to crafting an irresistible loaf of bread. So keep your sourdough discard out of the garbage disposal, dust off your apron, and come bake with me!
Like many of you, I was given a sourdough starter in 2020. It was started by a friend who died suddenly, and it felt like baking sourdough would keep a bit of him alive.
In those early months of the pandemic, I dutifully fed my starter. I made sourdough discard crumpets. I made sourdough 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.
Then a friend who had been given a different sourdough starter cried out one night on social media. She couldn’t handle one more responsibility. The pandemic was hard enough with trying to stay safe, work from home, remote school the kids, and everything else.
In watching her, I gave myself permission to do whatever is necessary in order to make life easier. I give you permission to do the same.
Baking with sourdough discard
You can use your sourdough discard in any recipe that has flour and liquid. The discard will give it a slightly sour or tangy taste, which you can use in other breads, bagels, or homemade pita. But it is particularly great in recipes with buttermilk like pancakes and waffles.
To use your discard in any recipe, just calculate the amount of flour and water in your starter and reduce the amount of flour and liquid in your recipe by that weight. It’s easy if you have a 100% starter that’s equal amounts of flour and water.
Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.
Variations and substitutions
- Add in up to one cup of toasted seeds or nuts.
- Use sweet potato for color and flavor in this purple sweet potato discard bread or sweet potato sourdough with bacon.
Recipe tips and tricks
This sourdough discard bread recipe is adapted from the Sea Wolf Bakery instructions for sourdough and uses a small volume starter (20 grams of starter, 80 grams of flour, 80g water). The loaves in the pictures are made with 1 cup of whole wheat flour.
Step 1: Put all of the sourdough starter in a large bowl except for what you need to refresh and maintain your starter. Add the remaining ingredients except for the salt and mix, initially with a wooden spoon and then by hand until smooth.
Tip from the wise quacker: yeast are single-celled fungi. “They say” that adding salt at the same time as yeast can lead to osmotic pressure that kills the yeast, resulting in less fermentation and rise and potentially affecting your bread’s texture and flavor. It’s not clear if avoiding this really makes a difference, but it can’t hurt.
Step 2: Add more flour as necessary but it will ultimately be a sticky but workable dough. Let your bread dough rest for 30 minutes.
Step 3:Add the salt and knead until incorporated. If you are 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 best temperature for bread-making is in the high 70s. If your home is cool, you can create a warm place by either turning on your oven until it reaches 80 degrees or heating a microwave-safe cup of water in your microwave for a minute or two.
Step 4: Every 20 to 30 minutes for 2 to 3 hours, depending on your zoom call schedule, reshape the dough into a boule. Do not stress if it’s shorter or longer than 20 to 30 minute intervals.
Step 5: Shape and let rise. I really love using a greased bread loaf baker or Dutch oven, which gives your risebread a great crust. The length of your rise will depend on your starter and amount of yeast.
Step 6: Heat the oven to 450°F at least one hour before baking. Bake in the closed dutch oven or bread baker for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°, remove the lid and bake about another 15 minutes. Your bread is done when it reaches 190 degrees and it gives a hollow sound when you thump it on the bottom.
Remove immediately to a cooling rack and let your sourdough discard bread cool at least for one hour prior to cooling. Enjoy!
Yes, you can use any sourdough discard regardless of the type of flour in your starter.
If you are feeding your sourdough starter and don’t want to make this bread right away, keep it covered in the refrigerator for a week or more. You can use it for its flavor as long as it doesn’t look or smell off.
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.
Cheater Sourdough Discard Bread
- 160 grams starter
- 1 cup (125 grams) whole wheat, rye, semolina, etc flour
- 2½ cup (375 grams) bread flour plus extra, as needed
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 1½ cup warm water
- 1½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup nuts or seeds or other add-ins 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.160 grams starter
- Add the remaining ingredients except for the 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 minutes.1 cup (125 grams) whole wheat, rye, semolina, etc flour, 2½ cup (375 grams) bread flour, ½ teaspoon instant yeast, 1½ cup warm water
- Add the 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.1½ teaspoon salt, 1 cup nuts or seeds or other add-ins
- Every 20 to 30 minutes for 2 to 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 to 30 minute 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 or the amount of yeast.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F at least one hour before baking.
- Bake at 450°F in the dutch oven or bread baker for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°, remove the lid and bake about another 15 minutes.
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