10 things you can make with your sourdough starter besides bread

10 things you can make with your sourdough starter besides bread

By Kae Lani Palmisano

 Jar of sourdough starterPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / alvarez

If you’ve kept up with the sourdough bread-making trend, chances are that you’re discarding more of your starter than using it every week.

I know there’s a twinge of guilt every time I throw away a portion of my starter to keep my yeast alive. It’s a necessary step considering that if you keep adding to it at a 1:1:1 ratio, it will quickly become unmanageable.

But your sourdough starter doesn’t have to be used solely for bread. Not only does your sourdough starter inoculate your bread dough with the yeast and lactic acid necessary to help it rise, it also adds a slightly funky and sour flavor. These are qualities that are great for breads, but can also bring new depth to other baked goods as well.

There are plenty of creative and fun ways to use your sourdough starter discard to make delicious treats, so that you don't have to throw away too much come feeding time.

Make fluffy, airy pancakes by adding some sourdough starterPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / carlosgaw


The best part about pancakes is their texture that’s somehow fluffy and gooey at the same time. An added bonus is those little air bubbles that soak up the maple syrup. To make your pancake batter a bit airier, and give the pancakes a mild sour flavor, add some active sourdough starter to it.

You can also add your discard, the inactive part of your starter that's been sitting a while, to your mix. That will add even more flavor to your pancakes.

Your buttery biscuits will get a deeper flavor when you add your sourdough starterPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / articgoneape


When it comes to working with sourdough starters, it’s all about hydration – how liquid your starter is. And this viscosity can change depending on your feeding routine, the temperature of your house, and even the weather outside.

So, when you’re adding sourdough starter to your biscuits, be sure to keep an eye on the hydration. Though biscuits with a bit of leaven are delightful, you want to make sure your batter isn’t too wet or too dry.

Warm up with these 10 regional soups and stews

Nothing beats a salted, sourdough pretzelPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / bhofack2

Sourdough pretzels

Part of what makes these salted, twisted snacks so tasty is the tangy flavor of the sourdough. And there are plenty of ways to make them. Depending on your preferences, you can make either soft, gooey pretzels, or a batch of crispy, crunchy pretzels.

Fermentation is key to a crispy, chewy, tangy pizza doughPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / LukaTDB

Pizza dough

The best part of a pizza dough is the crust, and to get a crust that’s lightly crusted on the outside and doughy on the inside, try adding sourdough.

A lot of recipes for pizza dough already call for fermentation, which helps the dough rise, and gives it the chewiness and slightly yeasty flavor we love. Adding sourdough can help that process along and impart even stronger, sour flavors.

Adding sourdough starter to your cinnamon rolls can really add some pizazz to the cinnamon spicePhoto courtesy of Getty Images / Lauren King

Cinnamon rolls

We’ve talked a lot about how adding sourdough starter to your baked goods can help your dough rise, making your pastries light and fluffy while adding a hint of sour flavor. But when it comes to flavorful treats, like cinnamon rolls, the addition of leaven can help complement the powerful woodsy spice.

Sweet and sour may seem like opposing flavors, but together, they add a lot of complexity to your baking.

Adding sourdough starter to your pastry dough works on so many levels whether you're working with tart, sweet, or chocolatey ingredientsPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / andresr

Pastry dough

Speaking of sweet and sour pastries, adding sourdough to pastry dough can bring an exciting new perspective to your favorite baked goods, especially when it comes to pies. A sourdough pastry dough can balance the tartness of some berry pies, bring out the subtle sourness of apple pies, and enhance chocolate custard pies, all while maintaining a flaky crust.

Make your cornbread extra cakey with some sourdough starterPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / MSPhotographic


Yes! Your sourdough starter can also be added to cornbread to add more richness. Not only does it add a pungent kick to your cornbread, adding your starter can also give the cornbread a cakey consistency. There’s nothing wrong with cornbread that’s a little crumbly, but if you’ve been looking for ways to get a more cake-like texture, adding some sourdough starter may help.

Adding sourdough starter to your chocolate chip cookies is challenging but so worth itPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / sdbower

Chocolate chip cookies

You may never bake chocolate chip cookies the same way ever again after introducing some sourdough starter to your cookie dough. The key to getting perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookies is to make sure that you don’t overwork the dough.

Also, the sourdough starter can make the dough a little wetter than usual, so you may need to bake your chocolate chip cookies for a little longer. Just be sure to keep an eye on your sourdough chocolate chip cookies through every step of the process.

The chocolate flavors will explode with a little help from some sourdough starter and a dash of sea saltPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / fcafotodigital


Like cinnamon rolls and pies, sourdough can help enhance the flavors of other ingredients. The richness of chocolate really comes through when amplified by a bit of sourdough starter. It gives an extra acidity and tanginess to every gooey, cakey bite.

To make the flavors of your brownies even more pronounced, sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top when they're done baking.

Whether you're making sweet muffins or multigrain muffins, adding sourdough to your batter can help make your muffins more flavorfulPhoto courtesy of Getty Images / grandriver


Muffins are an excellent blank canvas in baking. You can make fruity muffins, sweet muffins, spiced muffins of cinnamon and cardamom, or even wheat and oat muffins. There are so many possibilities, and the addition of your sourdough starter only expands those options.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published