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If you are an enthusiastic sourdough baker then chances are that you are dealing with the awkward situation of discarding excess starter/levain and feeling guilty about the wastage. This was a major concern among new and experienced bakers alike during the past Covid-19 quarantine period, specially with the unexpected flour outage! Bakers flour became a precious commodity all of a sudden and no one felt good about having to discard starter. With these concerns and growing demand, home bakers started being creative by sneaking in starter discard into regular recipes.
I have always been using my discard, ever since I started baking at home. Some of my “discard” recipes/ideas gained so much popularity and engagement on Instagram that it finally lead me into writing this blog post. This will be the one place to find all my recipes.
Read the following basic about sourdough discard and using them in recipes
- When you want to refresh a starter that’s been sitting for too long, you take out most of it and feed the remaining with fresh flour and water
- What you take out is usually discarded or thrown away because it is the excess
- This should be a familiar process unless you make bread everyday and your starter is never abandoned (refrigerated)
- I always refresh my starter at least once before using it because my starter sits in the fridge for the most part of the week
- So a lot of home bakers collect and save this discard in a separate container in the fridge
- Discard is nothing but inactive starter. In other words it’s just flour and water. There could be some live yeast in it. It may contain all byproducts of the yeast activity too. It smells and tastes very acidic
- If the collected discard hasn’t gone bad, you can use it in other recipes. Why? Because it is a shame to waste it!
- So discard doesn’t do anything in such recipes other than replacing some of the water and flour
- It may add or enhance flavor, because it’s acidic and sometimes gives you cheesy flavor and smell
- Discard may still have some live yeast, so it may become active in the dough, so be mindful about this. We mostly use this in quick, forgiving recipes and hence it doesn’t matter much!
- So we adjust recipes to use discard in them by taking out some flour and moisture from the original recipe
- If you don’t have discard ; use the original recipe
- Do not store discard for extend period of time. It goes off even in the refrigerator. I never store for longer than a week (or two). If you couldn’t use it, throw it away!
- Freeze the discard to keep for longer, if you must, and thaw at room temperature before using
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This is the most popular so far. It is easier to make and doesn’t take too long. Very popular as a dinner idea! It is my personal favorite way to use discard and I have received lots of positive comments regarding this.
Don’t have discard?
No worries, use 1:1 flour : yogurt ratio with baking powder
Eg: 300 g flour, 300 g yogurt, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt
Just mixed everything until a soft not-so-sticky dough is formed. let this rest!
Pre-shape the dough before dividing
Divide the dough in to 10 roughly equal pieces
Use flour generously and round up the dough pieces into balls, let them rest for some time (15 – 20 minutes)
Flour the bench generously and roll out each piece in to a flat roti shape
Try to keep an equal thickness all over the bread and use a dusting of flour to stop it from sticking. Heat a skillet (use non-stick spray if necessary, usually these won’t stick) and cook the flat bread both sides until it puffs up ( either fully or partially) and inside is cooked through.
Brush the cooked flat bread with melted butter/ghee infused with garlic
Savory coconut pancakes
This is another quick recipe and great dinner idea! If you like spices and a bit of heat, try this out and up the chili content to your liking.
Don’t have discard?
Replace the discard with a 1/4 cup of flour and continue with the rest! Adjust the batter consistency with more coconut milk or flour. It should look like a normal thin pancake(crepe) batter.
Onions, garlic, mustard seed are a must and the rest are optional. You can add any other aromatics to your taste
Saute the aromatics in a bit of oil/butter better yet ghee, if you have. Leave aside to cool
Get the pancake batter ready by mixing everything to a smooth silky mixture.
Mix 1 cup milk, discard and egg first then add that to the flour+salt mix and stir until combined. Then add the rest of the milk until you get a thin batter
Add sauteed aromatics into the batter and mix
This is now ready for pancakes. heat a nonstick pan or a skillet and make thin pancakes. Cook both sides
Serve warm with your favorite side or make the chutney from the recipe
Second most favorite recipe or I like to call it “idea”, of all times. I think almost all sourdough bakers make crackers with their discard. It is so easy and therapeutic in my books. You should get the dough consistency right to be able to roll it to a paper thin cracker. It comes with practice. These crackers will have a unique cheesy flavor sometimes, as a result of the lactic acid in the discard.
Don’t have discard?
Skip the discard entirely and remove some of the water from the recipe. As always add water gradually and use extra flour to fix a sticky dough.
Knead until you get a stiff smooth dough that is not sticky. Almost like a pasta dough or play dough. Wrap and refrigerate to relax the gluten
Roll out as thinly as possible. Sprinkle spices/herbs halfway through and continue to roll out. Once done, cut in to bite size shapes.
Spread on a tray and sprinkle with some water and sea salt. Bake at 350ºF oven for 2o minutes.
Leave in the fridge until ready to be baked
Let these cool completely before storing. These last for several days in an airtight container ( or zip lock bag)
Filling could be vegetable, chicken or beef based
A very popular Sri Lankan street food. The basic dough can be turned into several dishes. If you just cook the roti (without filling) it is called Paratha. This is a very light, bit chewy, ultra thin crepe that is made purely with flour, oil and a little water. Very similar to (Malaysian) Roti Canai that use ghee instead of oil and is laminated to create flakes/layers. Paratha can be served plain or can be tuned into;
egg roti ( spread a whisked egg while frying the roti)
koththu (a unique Sri Lankan street food which is very popular among tourists and is a must try if you visit)
Don’t have discard?
Add add 1/4 cup flour in place of discard and increase water by 1/4 cup. Add water gradually until you get the desired dough consistency. Check images below to get an idea about the dough feel.
Mix flour, discard, half of the oil and add water gradually to form a dough. When it looks like in the picture, add the remaining oil too and knead for 5-8 minutes.
Keep kneading till you get a smooth dough like shown in the picture. It will be soft( but stiff) not sticky. You can add bit more water or oil to get it to this consistency
Divide the dough in to 10 – 12 depending on what you are doing with them. For parcels divide in to 10. For plain roti(Paratha) divide in to 12
Coat the dough balls generously in oil and place in a container
Pour extra oil on top, so that they won’t stick together (infuse) . This is important, as it prevents the skin from drying out too.
Cover tightly, and refrigerate for minimum 4 hours. 10 hours or over night is recommended. The more you let them rest, the easier they will be to stretch
If you are not using discard, it is not necessary to refrigerate these, you can just cover and leave them out side
Make the filling well ahead of making the parcels and leave to cool.
Make it either vegetarian or add cooked fish/chicken or beef
Check the video below to see how I make a triangular parcel. You can ma square or rectangular parcels, just make sure to seal the fillings properly.
Cook the parcels on a preheated skillet/non-stick pan. Cook all sides including the edges and corners.
Serve with ketchup
To make plain Roti (Paratha) ;
Stretch the dough on a well oiled surface as thin as you can, like shown in the picture
Cook on a preheated skillet until golden. These will be cooked fast, keep an eye as they will burn quickly
Can be served with a curry /stir-fry or your favorite dip/chutney
To makeeEgg roti/paratha;
Beat an egg and set aside. Stretch the dough on a well oiled surface as thinly as possible.
Heat a big enough skillet/non-stick pan. Lay the spread dough on the hot skillet surface. Bursh with a beaten egg ( use may be 2 tbsp of egg mixture) add salt pepper.
Fold all four sides inward like an envelop. Cook both sides.
Now you have Egg Roti. They can be served just like this or with a dip
Sourdough Discard Waffles
As the name suggests, yes, these waffles have sourdough discard in the batter. This is another one of my favorite ways to use up accumulated discard. You can make these waffles sweet or savory.
Don’t have discard?
Add add 1/4 cup flour in place of discard and increase water by 1/4 cup. Or simply skip the discard and you should be good to go. You can always adjust the batter consistency by adding more liquid or flour
Lets see how to make the sweet version first.
Here is the savory version. Check the photos below the recipe to get an idea of the process. But I think this is pretty simple.
Thick batter. This is all the liquid and flour mixed in along with the discard
All the yummy stuff. Bacon, scallion and thyme. I add oregano or rosemary sometimes. Feel free to add what you like instead of these.
If you don’t have scallion, onions would do too. If you like garlic, you can add some chopped up.
Final batter. Let this rest for about 15 minutes. If it turns out too thick, loosen up with water.
I slightly adjusted @bonappetitmag basic recipe to use
1 cup of discard.
1 cup discard
1 cup flour(mix of AP and bread flour)
1 tbsp oil
pinch of salt
mix all of these together and keep adding flour till I get the pasta dough consistency. I then hand roll and cut using lots of semolina flour.
I will post more details about this as and when I make them, may be some step by step photos!
I laminated one batch with dill. You can use other herbs too. Simply roll out the dough thinly and place herbs between two pasta sheets. And roll again until herbs are embossed and desired thickness is achieved.