Foods

Ways to Use Your Sourdough Starter Beyond Bread


Those of you who take care of a healthy sourdough starter know that if you feed it regularly, it grows and grows.  Then, if you do not keep on top of things and actually use the starter (or discard portions of it), you end up with more of it than we can handle, and at times, sourdough starter escaping from its crock onto your kitchen counter.  

Even the most committed bakers amongst us can feel overwhelmed when the sourdough starter is crying out to be used, and we haven’t finished the last loaf, yet.  Some people discard portions of their starter to make room for more feeding, but this seems a little heartbreaking and wasteful after all the commitment that has been put in.  

Thank goodness there are lots of things you can use your sourdough starter for that go beyond the loaf of bread.  As tasty as the loaves are, you can get that sour flavor and all of the health benefits by using the starter in other recipes.  Let’s get imaginative.

Savory Sourdough Pancakes

Add some salt, pepper, and some other seasonings of your choice to a portion of your well-fermented starter.  Simply ladle some of the spiced-up sourdough starter into a hot, oiled skillet and sizzle up a pancake.  Allow the pancake to brown on both sides.  This makes quite a doughy and super sour pancake.  Then, serve it with a dipping sauce or vegan pesto

Sweet Breakfast Pancakes

sourdough pancake

Source: Fluffy Sourdough Pancakes

If you are more into sweet pancakes, there are many vegan recipes out there that give you the opportunity to add a little starter to your breakfast.  You can make a sourdough version of classic stackable pancakes with all the traditional toppings.  They are light and fluffy and give you that sourdough tang. If you already have a favorite vegan pancake recipe and want to experiment, try adding some of your starter and reducing the liquid portion of the recipe.  

Sourdough Crackers

You can make vegan sourdough crackers that are perfect for snacking on or for offering as an appetizer. The sourdough flavor goes perfectly with homemade hummus and any of the delicious vegan cheeses out there. You can make a big batch of crackers and store them in an airtight container for an on-hand savory treat. 

Soft Sourdough Pretzels

Sourdough Pretzels

Source: Sourdough Pretzels

Oh, pretzels!  Salty and fun to eat with all their knots and twists.  The classic flavor can be maintained even when adding a little sourdough starter to the mix.  Often, these recipes call for yeast, also.  However, they are quick and enjoyable to make, and you can get creative.  For that signature pretzel flavor, the unbaked pretzels are blanched in water containing baking soda before they go into the oven.  Then, out they come with that perfect golden brown color.  Eat them fresh with a little homemade mustard.

Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

Source: Let’s Eat Plants/YouTube

Sourdough cookies? Hmmm… there are people out there experimenting with adding sourdough starter to all kinds of things.  The cookie recipe above is said to have a lingering tang that is very pleasing. The sourdough flavor sticks around in this recipe just enough to add a whole other exciting flavor dimension, but not enough to be overwhelming. 

Sourdough Banana Bread

Okay, so it has bread in the title, but we all know that banana bread leans more towards the cakey side of the tracks.  Adding sourdough to the mix does not really sour up the taste too much.  The sweetness of the bananas is strong enough not to be overpowered by the bite of the starter.  This is just another great way to keep your discard out of the compost bin or trash can. 

Sourdough Kulcha

nandhini

Source: Charles Haynes/Flickr

Kulcha is another, perhaps lesser-known, Indian bread.  Much like naan bread, it is perfect for sopping up your favorite Indian dishes but is a little flakier in texture.  A fun thing about this flatbread is that it can be filled with all kinds of yummy things.  The sourdough here acts as a leavening agent.  

Perhaps you love the sourdough taste so much that you are looking for other vehicles to bring that sourness to your taste buds, or maybe you just want to find a worthwhile place to “hide” some of your sourdough starter discard rather than see it get thrown away. Whatever the case, there are lots of ways to utilize your ever-growing starter in delicious and creative ways.  There is a little room for a bit of starter in more places than you’d think.

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