How to use up sourdough discard
Hands up: who’s made sourdough lately? For any Waste Warrior, the process can be hard to swallow - recipes call for bakers to discard portion after portion of a liquidy flour-water mix as the starter-to-be ferments. Luckily, there’s a delicious selection of ways to put the ‘discard’ to good use.
Use discard to make: frying batter
Craving homemade fish and chips? Your sourdough discard could make perfect frying batter. You want to aim for a thick but pourable mixture, so if your discard isn’t quite the right consistency, simply add water or flour accordingly, followed by salt, pepper, and other seasonings of your choice. Just before using the batter, add a small sprinkle of baking powder to ensure a light, airy texture.
If you feel like turning your batter into a dessert - think fried banana slices or apple rings - simply replace the salt and pepper with a touch of cinnamon and a few teaspoons of sugar or honey.
Use discard to make: flatbread
From tortilla to chapati to naan, flatbread recipes have emerged from all over the world - and sourdough discard can be effortlessly incorporated in all of them. Simply add the discard at the point you’d usually combine your flour and water, reducing the amount of flour and water used to allow for the addition.
For example, if you wanted to add 150ml of sourdough discard to your recipe, you would simply remove 75ml water and a 75ml volume’s-worth of flour from the recipe (a measuring cup or jug could be helpful).
Use discard to make: doughnuts
Sift together 250g flour, 115g sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt and a pinch of salt. In a separate bowl, mix together 1 egg, 80ml milk and 2 tbsp oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir.
Turn the dough onto a floured board, and knead gently until you have a cohesive dough. Roll it to a thickness of 4-5 cm, then cut into desired shape.
Heat approximately 300ml vegetable oil in a pan until it reaches 190C (or until a cube of bread bubbles and turns golden after 30 seconds). Carefully lower the doughnuts in one at a time, fry for 3-5 minutes until golden-brown, and then turn over using tongs. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel.
Top or coat the doughnuts however you choose.
Use discard to make: pancakes
Sift together 180g flour, 2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt and 1 tbsp sugar. In a separate bowl, combine 20g melted butter, 2 eggs, 250ml milk and 375ml sourdough discard. Mix wet and dry ingredients, then leave to stand for 30 minutes.
Heat a frying pan to a medium-high heat, melting 1 tsp butter until it begins to bubble. Pour one ladle-ful of batter into the pan. When bubbles appear at the surface of the pancake, slip it and cook the other side until golden.
Serve with your favourite toppings.
Use discard to make: muffins, scones, and cakes
Most baking recipes can be converted to incorporate sourdough discard - you’ll just need a bit of maths.
If you wanted to add 150ml of sourdough discard to a muffin recipe, you would simply remove 75ml of the recipe’s milk/liquid, and about a 75ml-volume’s worth of flour (a measuring cup or jug could be helpful).
Use discard to make: white sauce
This is a must-have base sauce for comfort dishes such fish pie, lasagne, and macaroni cheese.
Add 500ml of milk or cream to a pot, along with 50ml of sourdough starter. Turn the hob onto a medium heat, then whisk continuously until the sauce starts to thicken. You’ll know you’ve reached the right consistency when the sauce coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Season to taste, and add herbs, pesto, cheese or butter for extra flavour.