Five creative ways to reduce food waste with sourdough discard

Ditch chucking away sourdough starter discard, here are five creative ways you can use it up.

25 Aug 2020

So, you’ve been bitten by the sourdough baking bug as well? While the experience itself is therapeutic and nothing can beat freshly baked loaves of bread, figuring out what to do with sourdough starter discard can be a challenge.

Sourdough starter needs to be regularly ‘fed’ flour and water after removing a portion -- popularly called ‘discard.’ Regular feeds help keep your starter strong and encourage the growth of yeast. However, it also brings up the question of food waste. And with continued commitment to mindful eating being one of the main food trends this year, according to the Godrej Food Trend Report, throwing away perfectly good sourdough starter seems criminal.

So what can you do? Unlike the name suggests, sourdough starter discard can be used in various (delicious) ways. Recipe searches online will most often point you towards crackers, pizza base and pancakes. However, there are several Indian recipes in which the distinct sourdough flavour pairs equally well. Here are some creative adaptations to use that sourdough starter discard in no time!

Mangalore buns

The Indian version of banana bread, this dish is a great way to use overripe fruit. It requires fermentation overnight for a spongy texture, so ensure you plan this a day ahead. Mix mashed ripe bananas, sugar and curd together. Add sourdough starter discard, maida or wholewheat flour, cumin seeds, baking soda and salt. Knead into a soft dough and leave it overnight to ferment. The next morning, roll out relatively thick puris from the dough and frythem. It’s best paired with coconut chutney and filter coffee.

Sweet potato masala paratha

The mild tangy flavour of sourdough starter discard pairs well with the sweetness of the spud. Make a dough with wholewheat flour, sourdough starter discard, mashed and boiled sweet potato, powdered spices of your choice, kasoori methi and aamchur. Add water if required. Divide the dough into equal sized balls and roll out into parathas. Cook on a greased tawa, like you would do with aloo parathas. Serve hot with pickle.

Watermelon doddak

This traditional Konkani breakfast pancake gets a mild tangy twist, thanks to sourdough starter discard. Make a mixture of grated watermelon rind, sooji, sourdough discard, cumin seeds, chopped green chilli and salt, and keep it aside for 15 minutes. Heat a tawa, add a ladleful of the mixture and pat it down as thin as possible using your fingers (like you would for thalipeeth or bhakri). Pour a little oil around the edges of the pancake and let it cook on a medium flame until the top dries up and looks slightly cooked. Flip the doddak on the other side and cook for about twominutes. Serve hot with butter or ghee or enjoy it as is.


Who knew the much-loved mithai would lend itself to sourdough? But it does, and in a delicious way as well. You can take your pick from two kinds of batter to make the jalebis -- either using only the discard or a mix of flour and sourdough starter discard. Ditch the food colouring by adding soaked saffron for a natural golden hue. Pipe out the jalebis in hot oil and fry them. Soak in sugar syrup for a while and enjoy some crispy, not-too-cloyingly-sweet jalebis!


An easy breakfast recipe, this one can be whipped up in a jiffy. A plus point? It’s a great way to sneak in those extra veggies for your kids as well. Mix sourdough discard, gram flour, haldi powder, chopped green chillies, kasoori methi, spices of your choice and any chopped veggies you would like to add. Add water. Heat a tawa or a frying pan and grease it with oil. Pour the batter and spread it as thinly around the pan as possible. Cover and cook on a low flame until the top looks done. Flip over and cook on a medium flame for a minute or so, till it is cooked through.

Have you used sourdough starter discard in any other dishes? Share it with us!

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