If you have begun your sourdough journey, and started your first sourdough starter you have likely found yourself with some excess sourdough discard. The discard does not have to go to waste, as it can be used in a variety of ways. If you keep your discard, it can leave you wondering, How long does sourdough discard last in the fridge? This post will take you through how to store sourdough discard, what you can use it for, and how long it will last.
What Is Sourdough Discard?
During routine sourdough feeding, you typically remove a portion of the mature unfed starter to make room for fresh flour and water. The extra starter that is removed and discarded is what's known as the sourdough discard, or discarded sourdough starter.
Many sourdough bakers will choose to keep the discard and use it in various recipes. Personally, I love using sourdough discard in Chocolate Chip Cookies, Sourdough Discard Brownies, and even in pie crusts for something like my Heirloom Tomato Galette.
How To Store Sourdough Discard In The Fridge
If you are interested in storing your sourdough discard, you are going to want to store it in a new jar and keep it in the fridge. The cool temperature of the fridge will slow down the fermentation process and extend the shelf life of the sourdough discard.
When refeeding your sourdough starter, scoop some of the discard into your glass container, then secure it with an airtight lid. It can also be helpful to add a label with the date on it, to help ensure freshness.
How Long Does Sourdough Discard Last?
When stored properly in the fridge, sourdough discard can typically last for one to two weeks. Storing sourdough discard in the refrigerator slows down the fermentation processes, allowing it to last longer than leaving it on the counter.
If your sourdough discard starts to develop any grey or green colors in it, we recommend tossing the leftover sourdough discard.
What Can I Do With Sourdough Discard?
If you bake sourdough frequently, you have likely found yourself with a lot of sourdough discard. Thankfully, you use sourdough discard in so many different ways. You can use it to make things like pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies, brownies, pie crusts, sourdough discard crackers, banana bread, pizza dough, quick breads, and much more.
It’s important to recognize that the discard does not have the same rising power as an active sourdough starter, so you will still want to use baking powder or baking soda as your leavening agent. Adding the discard is a great way to provide extra moisture to your recipes, it can also help keep most doughs tender, and it also adds a uniquely subtle tangy flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Can I Keep Sourdough Discard?
If you've got fresh sourdough discard you can use it immediately in recipes or store it at room temperature for up to 24 hours. This is when it's most active and suitable for recipes like pancakes, waffles, or crackers.
If you are storing your discarded sourdough in the fridge, it can last up to two weeks if kept in an airtight container. It will be ready for you the next time you need it!
Can I Use Sourdough Discard Straight From The Fridge?
You can certainly use sourdough starter discard straight from the fridge! There is no need to allow it to come to room temperature before using it in recipes. You can just take the amount of discard you need from the discard jar and then return it to the fridge.
Can I Add Sourdough Discard From Different Days To The Same Jar?
You absolutely can add sourdough discard from different days to the same jar. This may also help prolong the amount of time you can store the older discard in the fridge.
What Is The Difference Between Active Starter and Sourdough Discard?
An active sourdough starter is a live mixture of flour and water that contains wild yeast and lactic acid bacteria. An active sourdough starter needs to be fed regularly, which keeps the microorganisms healthy and happy. Additionally, an active sourdough starter should smell yeasty, and always reminds me of walking into a brewery. That's how I know my starter is happy, and will provide that sour flavor when I bake a loaf of bread.
Sourdough discard on the other hand is the portion of the starter that is removed and discarded during the feeding process. It's called "discard" because it's typically not used to leaven bread but instead set aside to prevent the starter from growing too large.
Can I Use Sourdough Discard To Make A New Sourdough Starter?
One of the best reasons for storing sourdough discard in my opinion is that you can always make a new sourdough starter from it! It's a good idea to have a back-up as you never know when an accident might happen and you have to make a new starter.
My favorite way of storing sourdough discard for this use is to spread out the sourdough discard on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Next spread a thin layer of the discard on the parchment paper. Let the discard sit out for a day or two, or until you can break it apart.
Store the flakes of discard in an airtight container in the fridge. If you ever need to make a new sourdough starter you can take 50 grams of the dried sourdough starter, 50 grams of water, and 50 grams of flour and combine.
Can You Freeze Sourdough Starter?
To extend the shelf life of sourdough discard, you can freeze it. Portion it into small quantities (e.g., in ice cube trays or silicone molds) and freeze it. When properly frozen, sourdough discard can last for several months. For best results, you will want to thaw it before using it in your recipe.
How To Store Sourdough Discard
In conclusion, the best way to store sourdough discard is in a glass airtight container in the fridge. It will stay fresh for one to two weeks.
Sourdough Discard Recipes