Excess sourdough starter

Cindy Leigh

I hate to discard starter before a feeding.
I use the discarded portion in Belgian waffles.
What do YOU do with it, aside from discard it?
I was thinking of trying it in buttermilk biscuits. I usually use yogurt and buttermilk powder. Wondering if I could use the thin starter instead. Maybe still with buttermilk powder.
I've also used it for that Amish Friendship cake, instead of the specific starter for that particular cake. I found I had too many starters in the refrig and eliminated that one.

badge posted by: Cindy Leigh on November 06, 2010 at 9:43 am in Baking, sourdough
tags: sourdough
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reply by: pjh on November 06, 2010 at 12:54 pm

You can use it in any yeast dough - keep in mind that it's basically equal parts, by weight, flour and liquid; so you'd want to adjust the flour and liquid in the recipe to accommodate the starter you're using. Be careful using it in things like biscuits or perhaps muffins or scones, things that generally don't include much liquid; and when they do, it's more likely milk or cream than water. Using starter in those types of applications, that rely on fat for texture, might make for a bit of toughness in the final product. But baguettes, pizza crust, pita, bread sticks, any kind of yeast dough that yields something chewy (rather than soft/tender) - I say go for it! Thanks for starting this thread, Cindy-

reply by: Cindy Leigh on November 06, 2010 at 7:54 pm
Cindy Leigh

Thanks for the ideas, PJ. Forgot to mention, I use it in English muffins, too.

reply by: hickeyja on November 09, 2010 at 12:04 am

I have a recipe posted for Vermont Feather Beds, which is a sourdough (or yeast) based muffin. They are really good and a great way to use some of that 'discard'. Jan

reply by: dachshundlady on November 09, 2010 at 4:12 pm

THE best thing I made with "discards" is the popover recipe here on KA. Very simple and sooooo delicious. Some of them I roll in melted butter and cinnamon sugar when they come out of the oven. Wow.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on November 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm
Cindy Leigh


reply by: ber-gust on November 15, 2010 at 8:36 am

if it is a liquid starter, dip cut onions in it and fry in pan. Makes amazing batter for onion rings or onion petals.

reply by: Cindy Leigh on November 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm
Cindy Leigh

Cool idea. Do you flour it, too?

reply by: antiquelover on November 16, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Great ideas! I always feel so wasteful when I throw away that cup of starter before a feeding. I have tried to think of ways to use it, and the batter for the onions was a great idea (I may try that tonight). Thanks!!

reply by: omaria on November 16, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Oh what a great idea. Zucchini sticks,cauliflower, all that would work then, wouldn't it ?

reply by: Cindy Leigh on November 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm
Cindy Leigh

I was thinking of looking for a soft sourdough pretzel recipe or a recipe test requires an overnight starter.

reply by: eah64 on November 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm

On the question of excess sourdough starter, I developed my first ever starter about 3 weeks ago and am getting in to the routine of feeding and refreshing. What are your thoughts on how much starter is an appropriate amount to keep. I had almost 4 cups, and there are some resources that say to always double the remaining starter, so I found I was throwing away a lot of starter each time I refreshed. I'm now thinking of just keeping on average 2 cups, since most recipes seem to requre no more than a cup. Any thoughts?

reply by: placebo on November 25, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Currently, I maintain only 1 cup of starter in the refrigerator. When I was keeping my starter at room temperature while it matured over the first month, I only had about 200 grams of starter, about 2/3 of a cup. When I wanted to make bread, I'd just start with the discard from a feeding and, if necessary, feed it once or twice to get up to the amount I needed. This just meant I had to plan a day ahead if I wanted to bake some sourdough.

I currently expect to feed more often than bake, so I don't keep a large amount just to throw a bunch away each week. If I were expecting to be baking sourdough more frequently, I'd probably maintain a bit more more. Generally, I'd tend to keep a small amount because it's pretty easy to quickly build up the amount of starter you need for a recipe.

You can also use the discarded portion in other recipes, like sourdough pancakes. You don't have to throw it away.

reply by: cwolfpack3 on November 28, 2010 at 1:01 am

I made the waffles once, and they were delicious, but made so many that we ended up with 5 large belgian waffles in the freezer for future use. The next time, I used the starter to start an overnight sponge for sourdough biscuits. All I did was add the buttermilk (actually water and buttermilk powder) and half the flour called for in the recipe, then I let it sit out and refresh overnight. In the morning, I mixed the remaining dry ingredients together, cut the butter into the dry stuff with a pastry blender, then added in the starter/sponge. After rolling them out, I let them rest, covered, for 30 minutes before baking. They didn't quite rise as much as I expected, but the biscuits were light and had a wonderful flavor. I will try them again, maybe roll them out a bit thicker, and give more of a resting period before baking.

Also, if you have a scrap bucket for the compost pile, just toss the starter in there, if you don't need it for anything at that moment. Or, give it to a friend. I have also read that you can dry or freeze the starter to store for future needs.

reply by: kelseyf on December 01, 2010 at 1:55 pm

I occasionally make Sourdough Banana Bread with mine. It's a nice variation on the standard Banana Bread!

reply by: omaria on March 16, 2011 at 12:24 am

Bringing this to the top.

reply by: mikes on March 31, 2011 at 12:31 am

Pizza dough!
I've posted this link in other replies:
I don't use the pizza dough flavor and it's still great. We make pizza all the time on our BBQ using a pizza stone. It's a thin crust pizza that's just as good or better than any restaurant pizza. It makes two small pizzas. My wife and I usually eat one and then freeze the second fully cooked pizza for later.

reply by: ColleenMI on March 23, 2011 at 9:28 am

Let's see, so far I've made pizza, english muffins, bread sticks, waffles and blueberry muffins with my extra starter. The KAF waffle recipe is fantastic, but big. Just make half if you don't need that many.

I'm new to this forum, so I don't know if I'm allowed to post outside links, but the blueberry muffin recipe is out there if you google. Made very tender muffins that rose nicely (still uses a little baking soda). I found they needed about 1/2 cup of sugar to balance the sourdough.

reply by: cwcdesign on March 24, 2011 at 8:21 am


You are allowed to post outside links. PJ just posted one in the Gourmet Cookie thread under "desserts and sweets." People post outside links all the time for recipes and equipment. Looking forward to yours.


reply by: ColleenMI on March 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Thanks for the info about links, Carol. Here is the recipe I started with, although I almost never make a recipe as written. I love to tinker. :-)


I increased the sugar to 1/3 Cup and might use a little more next time. I also used 3/4 cup of blueberries, and cut the baking soda just a bit, because my starter seemed quite active. Added a sprinkle of powdered ginger because I like it with blueberries.

Other than that, I didn't increase the overall recipe volume and I found it made exactly 12 regular size muffins (standard paper cupcake liner size). Maybe because mine were smaller, they did NOT take 20 minutes, so watch them at the end. They really turned out great--tender and moist with a nice high crown. I'm loving the texture that I get from using starter in quick breads.

reply by: annaX on April 20, 2011 at 4:47 am

That's exactly what I feel about it. An Iowa male made headlines around the nation recently when he announced a beer fast during Lent. J. Wilson is living on beer and water only, just like monks did hundreds of years back. I found this here: Iowa man nears end of beer fast for Lent

reply by: cwcdesign on April 20, 2011 at 7:05 am

annaX, that's quite a story. I googled it and found he's been covered by many sources including NPR. It certainly shows dedication.

reply by: srz123 on April 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I also can't bear to throw out any starter. I have used the unfed starter to make pizza dough, waffles, and Clay's multi grain sourdough sandwich bread (all recipes from KAF's website). But the recipe that I think is shear genius is the one for sourdough crumpets. It's so quick and simple and all you have to do is add baking soda, salt, and sugar to one cup of starter! And the recipe makes a manageable amount of 4 crumpets. I plan on using this particular recipe quite a bit during the summer, when I don't do much bread baking.


reply by: dachshundlady on April 25, 2011 at 6:40 am

srz, that does sound great. Also check out the KAF sourdough popovers. Soooo good. Sometimes I take them out of oven, roll in melted butter and then cinnamon sugar. Wow.

reply by: cwcdesign on April 25, 2011 at 7:16 am

Guess I'm going to have to add the rings to my KAF wish list - also going to have to make another batch of popovers just to roll them in butter and cinnamon sugar - YUM

reply by: Taza on April 26, 2011 at 12:21 am

I use my extra starter to make sourdough bread and then I slice it and stale it a bit to make French toast with. It's quite tasty and freezes well for reheating if you don't have time to make a fresh batch.

reply by: srz123 on April 26, 2011 at 12:28 am

Ooooh, thanks for mentioning the sourdough popovers. I somehow missed this recipe when I searched on "sourdough". They sound simple - simple is good ;) I haven't made popovers in years but I think I'll make them this weekend!

reply by: omaria on September 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Bringing this back up.

reply by: cwcdesign on March 03, 2012 at 4:15 am

Bringing this back up.

reply by: cwcdesign on March 05, 2012 at 2:29 am

ColleenMI posted a link to this recipe


and it is definitely a keeper. I added 3 oz of sugar, not quite 1/2 cup, and they were not too sweet. 125 grams of blueberries, would not use less. I made 12 regular muffins and set convection oven to 200ºC (400ºF) and cooked for 15 minutes. (Recipe said 6-8 muffins at 425º for 20 minutes) Oh, and I used white flour because I didn't have any WW.

Both boys said they were the best I ever made (it was Paddy's starter).

reply by: dachshundlady on March 05, 2012 at 6:21 am

I am always looking for a really good blueberry muffin recipe. I frankly find them blah. So far my favorite ones have cornmeal in them. Maybe this one would have more flavor.

reply by: lfcmontana on March 05, 2012 at 1:57 pm

First a few days ago I made sourdough pancakes.....very successful and tasty. Yesterday I tried sourdough crumpets....stuck to the rings, wouldn't come out, created a nice mess and elicited a few choice words! Finally just made them like pancakes, and then it was ok. Maybe it's time for 'pan grease', is that what it's called?? Supposed to be non-stick rings, too, with plenty of spray goo. Oh, well......

reply by: dachshundlady on March 06, 2012 at 5:54 am

Try the KAF recipe for sour dough popovers. Great plain or when you take them out of the pan, roll in melted butter and then cinnamon sugar. Yum!!!!