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Top Rated Sourdough Starter Recipes
Prickly pears may seem intimidating. They are covered in protective glochids for goodness sake. That simply means they have teeny tiny spikes that hurt if you touch them. The taste of the fruit is almost cotton candy meets raspberry (if you ask me) and the color is out of this world bright reddish purplish pink. I have enjoyed making shrubs, jams and cocktails with the fruit but one of my favorite things is making pie! Here I used a flakey sourdough crust with a sweet lattice top to encase the prickly pear filling. You can either make the sourdough pie crust (or use 2 store bought refrigerated pie crusts if you are in a pinch)This recipe is courtesy of Women's Heritage.
Baking brings comfort—which explains why since the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine, flour and yeast have been flying off supermarket shelves.
From what I’ve seen on social media, sourdough bread seems to be the baking experiment of choice. The process of finding or making a starter, feeding it, and actually baking the bread requires a lot of time and patience—something we have plenty of right now (well, maybe not patience).
The difference between sourdough and regular bread is that sourdough does not require store-bought yeast—good news if you’ve had trouble finding any at your local grocery store. The sourdough starter is the leavening agent and is made of live, fermented cultures. To acquire a starter, you can either make your own or purchase one. No matter what you choose, your starter will need to be fed continuously in order to keep it alive, which requires adding flour and water to it about once a week. King Arthur Flour has a guide to help you understand the process from start to finish.
Once you have a healthy starter, you’re ready to bake! But you don’t have to limit yourself to bread: These seven recipes prove the sky’s the limit when it comes to sourdough.
If you have kids, rolling out these golden-brown beauties is a great way to keep them occupied. Sprinkle them with your choice of topping—salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning are all good options.
Photo via The Southern Lady Cooks
No need to wait for the dough to rise: These fresh muffins are ready in just 30 minutes. The recipe calls for spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, but would also be excellent with raisins or nuts added to the batter.
Photo via Tastes of Lizzy T
These fluffy pancakes can be whipped up on a Sunday morning in as little as 10 minutes. Flip them when they begin to bubble on top and then cook for one to two more minutes. Serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup.
Photo via Real Food Real Deals
Plan ahead when you want to make this cake—the starter, flour, and water need to sit together the night before you bake. For an extra-decadent dessert, add in some dark chocolate chips or a tablespoon of espresso powder to bring out the chocolate flavor.
Photo via Buttered Side Up
Looking for a healthy snack? Whip up this naturally sweet banana bread, which contains very little added sugar. To amp up the flavor, try stirring chocolate chips, pecans, or walnuts into the batter and topping the finished product with a light spread of grass-fed butter.
Taco night will be even tastier with a stack of homemade tortillas. Use a rolling pin to shape the dough, or a pasta machine if you have one.
Photo via An Oregon Cottage
Featuring whole wheat and a little honey, this recipe mimics the taste of Wheat Thins. Once the crackers are cut out of the dough, drizzle with olive oil, lightly sprinkle with sea salt, and then bake until they’re medium-brown in color.
San Francisco Sourdough Bread is made with a starter which includes natural airborne yeast. The finished loaves have a moist crumb, crispy crust and will keep for several days or even longer in a fridge.
If using a breadmaker* use the sourdough setting. Add all the wet ingredients first, including the starter. Add the flour and other dry ingredients. Start the breadmaker and wait for the delicious results.
If using the manual method add everything together in a large bowl or mixing machine and mix until a smooth, elastic dough results.
Leave to rest for 4 hours in a warm place until doubled in size. Knock back and shape as required or place in a bread tin.
Leave to rest for 4 hours, until doubled in size, then bake in a pre-heated oven at 220 degrees C/425 F/Gas Mark 7 for 25 minutes, reduce heat to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Tap the bottom of the loaf, it should sound hollow, if so, it is ready…Enjoy
**Don’t use tap water as the chlorine will prevent the starter from working. Use still, bottled water. If you have a thermometer, the water should be 40-50 degrees C. If you don’t have a thermometer, the water should be warm but not hot.
You can use any vegetable oil including olive, sunflower, rape and groundnut.
Try experimenting by substituting up to 25% of a flour such as brown, wholemeal, granary or rye.
This Breadmaker boasts 17 different functions, including a sourdough setting, so you can delight in a variety of freshly baked bread in the comfort of your own home. But you are not just limited to bread with this versatile machine. You can easily make cake, yoghurt, jam, and chutneys just to name a few.
Sourdough Bread: The Equipment
You do NOT need a bakery full of fancy equipment to make sourdough bread, however, there are a few tools that will make the process easier:
A large bowl. You need a large bowl for the dough. Since it rises overnight (and has the potentially to rise considerably depending on how active your starter is), you’ll want to use a bowl that’s tall enough to avoid overflowing and the subsequent mess. I LOVE this handcrafted stoneware mixing bowl for mixing up bread dough.
Dough scraper. This is a super handy little tool that can help you get scrape the dough out of the original large bowl without deflating it and ruining those precious air bubbles in the dough. If you don’t want to get a dough scraper, you can use a stiff spatula instead.
Bench Knife. While you don’t need a bench knife for making sourdough, it makes the process easier, especially for higher-hydration doughs. Plus this one is handcrafted and makes you feel like a sourdough rockstar.
Proofing basket. A proofing basket helps support the shape of the sourdough loaf during the final rise before baking. This awesome bread bakery set includes both a dough scraper and a proofing basket. If you don’t want to get proofing baskets, simply line a 9-inch bowl or colander with a tea towel that you’ve generously dusted with flour. That’ll work in a pinch.
A Dutch oven. In my opinion, a dutch oven is an important kitchen tool for any home. I also think that a Dutch oven does the very best job of baking sourdough loaves and producing and mimics the environment of a brick oven by steaming the dough as it bakes. This helps your homemade sourdough bread end up with a crusty outside and a soft center.
If you really don’t want to use a Dutch oven for this recipe, you can bake your loaf on a cookie sheet or baking stone instead. However, the crust of your finished sourdough will be different.
Go here for the full list of tools I recommend for sourdough bread baking.
Sourdough Starter Discard Recipes
Don't just throw away your sourdough starter when you grow your baby. Instead, use it in one of these fantastic recipes. Sourdough discard is perfect for so much more than just sourdough bread.
Which will you make first?
Sourdough Sandwich Bread
Yes, sourdough bread is traditionally more of a boule, but sandwich bread can be so much more useful on a day to day basis. Just trust me and try it in place of your traditional sandwich loaf next time.
Mom&rsquos Sourdough Hotcakes
Start your day off right. This vintage sourdough hotcakes recipe never fails. Crisp, light, and slightly tangy, these delicious sourdough pancakes make an easy breakfast or brunch.
Spiced Overnight Sourdough Waffles
If you're going to make pancakes, you have to try waffles, too. This recipe makes the batter the night before, which not only adds more flavor but also means you can start baking first thing in the morning. I call that a win win!
Sourdough Discard Cinnamon Sugar Cake Donuts
I love making donuts at home. The classic cinnamon sugar is a family favorite, and adding that tang of sourdough to the sweetness makes these absolutely sublime.
Pumpkin Spice Sourdough Scones
Scones are hands down one of my favorite foods. These pumpkin spice sourdough scones smell like heaven, and they taste even better. This isn't just a fall dish. Keep a can of pumpkin in your pantry and enjoy them ANY time of year!
Sourdough English Muffins
My son would eat English muffins every day if I let him. I could go bankrupt buying them, but instead . make them! These delicious English muffins are made with both active dry yeast and sourdough starter. The sourdough adds a delicious tang to the muffins, and the yeast allows this recipe to be made quicker than with just sourdough alone.
Sourdough Beignets are pillows of fried dough that have a slight sourdough tang that works perfect here, and the texture is awesome. Pillowy and soft, &hellip
About The Gingered Whisk
My name is Jenni, and I'm an Iowa mama of three. I am passionate about raising kids who are adventurous eaters through quick and healthy weeknight meals inspired by global cuisine!
BEST SOURDOUGH DISCARD RECIPES
SOURDOUGH DISCARD CRACKERS
Makes one large baking tray of crackers
Sourdough discard crackers are thin, crispy and have that amazing tang that you can only get with real sourdough. Warning: these are dangerously easy to make and even more addictive – fortunately they’re relatively healthy, with only a tiny amount of butter or oil required to let the sourdough tang really sing.
200g discarded sourdough starter
2 tablespoons melted butter or oil
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus another 1/4 teaspoon for sprinkling on the top
2 teaspoons dried herbs
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter (if using) in a mixing bowl and let cool.
2. Mix the sourdough discard, dried herbs and melted butter or oil thoroughly until well combined. Use a spatula to spread the mixture in a thin, even layer onto the parchment paper. Sprinkle the top with salt.
3. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and score the crackers. Bake for an additional 40-50 minutes or until the crackers are golden brown. Let cool completely before breaking into squares.
VEGAN SOURDOUGH BROWNIES
Exceedingly fudgy with a crispy meringue-like top and a gooey centre, these are rapidly becoming our favourite vegan brownie recipe.
120g aquafaba (chickpea/black bean/kidney bean water)
1/4 tsp cream of tartar, optional
250g caster or granulated sugar
100g vegan block ‘butter’ (75% fat content minimum)
150g dark chocolate (60-70% cocoa content), broken into small chunks
200g sourdough discard
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g cocoa powder
70g ground almonds
30g cornflour, optional (see notes)
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp fine table salt + flaky salt for sprinkling (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) fan or 200°C (400°F) non-fan. Line a 7.5 x 9.75-inch (19 x 25 cm) rectangular OR an 8 or 9-inch (20 or 23cm) square brownie pan with baking paper.
2. Place the aquafaba and cream of tartar (if using) in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl, if using a handheld electric whisk). Whisk on high speed until it becomes a thick pale foam, like whipped egg whites. Whilst continuing to whisk, add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time. Once all the sugar has been added, continue to whisk for 5 minutes more to ensure as much sugar as possible has dissolved. The mixture will still feel slightly grainy if you rub some of it between your fingertips (if it feels VERY grainy, keep whisking to allow more of the sugar to dissolve). It should look glossy, thick and opaque white, like egg whites whisked to semi-stiff peaks.
3. Place the vegan butter and broken up chocolate into a small pot and place over a low heat. Stir until almost fully melted. Remove from the heat and set aside so the residual heat can melt it all fully. Once fully melted, stir the sourdough discard and vanilla extract into the pot of melted chocolate/butter mixture. It may look kind of split/grainy but this is fine.
4. Mix around 1/4 of the whisked aquafaba into the melted chocolate mixture. You don’t have to be gentle here as this step is to help loosen the texture of the chocolatey mixture. Now pour that loosened chocolatey mixture into the bowl of whisked aquafaba. Sift the cocoa powder, ground almonds, cornflour, bicarb and salt on top.
5. Use a silicone spatula to fold the mixture together gently, trying to maintain as much of that air in there as possible. Make sure you get right to the bottom of the bowl and scrape the sides too.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes – the top should look dry, matte and the brownies shouldn’t wobble when you shake the pan. If you insert a toothpick into the centre, it should come out with some thick, gooey batter attached to it. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges whilst they’re hot to loosen any bits which may be stuck. Leave to cool for 20-30 minutes before removing from the tray and cutting into squares. They will sink in the centre as they cool so may crack a bit as this happens. Sprinkle with flaky salt to finish.
This recipe is super easy to whip up, making it the perfect on-a-whim weekend breakfast.
2 large eggs
245g whole milk
60g Greek yogurt (optional)
250g sourdough starter
1 teaspoon vanilla
180g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
50g granulated sugar
60g melted butter
1. Beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add milk, yogurt (if using), sourdough starter, and optional vanilla. Stir to incorporate.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add dry mix to the egg mixture, mixing well. Stir in melted butter. Wait about 30 minutes to let your sourdough starter get going just a bit.
3. Lightly grease a hot pan. Drop the batter onto the pan and cook until light brown and bubbles start to appear on top, then flip to cook the other side. Refrain from flipping multiple times.
SOURDOUGH BANANA BREAD
Because it wouldn’t be a lockdown baking round-up without a banana bread recipe, now would it?
375g overripe bananas, weighed with the skin on (about 2 medium bananas)
225g light or dark brown sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
100g sourdough starter
250g all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
125ml neutral flavored oil
1. Add the bananas, sugar, and vanilla to a bowl. Cream with a hand held mixer or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, about 30 seconds to 1 minute (some small lumps of banana are okay).
2. Add the eggs, one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the sourdough starter.
3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Working in batches, add this to the banana mixture.
4. Add the milk and oil and mix until just combined. Do not over do it the banana bread will be tough.
5. Pour the batter into a lined loaf tin. Bake for roughly 60 minutes at 180 degrees, until rich golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Beginner Sourdough Starter Recipe
You Will Need
To feed the starter each day (Day 3-7):
Tip: Use regular, unbleached all purpose flour for best results- skip organic. The enzymes are different which can hinder the rising process the first time around. I use either KAF, Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Filtered water or tap water is fine. Use the latter if you know it’s mostly chemical/chlorine free.
DAY 1: Make the Starter
Combine 60 g (1⁄2 cup) of whole wheat flour and 60 g (1⁄4 cup) of warm water in a large jar.
Mix with a fork until smooth the consistency will be thick and pasty. If measuring by volume, add more water to thin out the texture if needed. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid, and let it rest in a warm spot, about 75-80 F for 24 hours.
Tip: Looking for a warm spot? Place your starter on a cookie sheet inside the oven (turned off) with the light on for a few hours (but not overnight- it might become too warm). You can also use a proofing box set to your desired temperature, or a microwave with the door ajar and the light on.
Day 2: Got Bubbles?
Today, you’re going to check if any small bubbles have appeared on the surface.
Bubbles indicate fermentation, which is what you want! However, it’s okay if you don’t see anything right away the bubbles might have appeared and dissolved overnight while you were sleeping. This happens quite often.
You do not have to do anything else right now. It does not need any flour or water. Just rest the starter in your warm spot for another 24 hours.
Day 2 (Con’t): What’s that brown liquid?
During the creation process, and even after your starter has been established, a dark liquid might appear on the starter (the image above shows the liquid in the middle of the starter- it’s usually found on the surface).
This liquid is called “hooch” and is an indication that your starter needs to be fed. It also has a very stinky smell, similar to rubbing alcohol or gym socks. This is normal. Don’t freak out. Any time you see this liquid, it’s best to pour it off, along with any discolored starter present. However, on Day 2 just leave the hooch alone you can get rid of it tomorrow when you start the feedings.
Day 3: Feed your starter
Whether bubbles are visible or not, it’s time to start the feeding process.
Remove and discard approximately half of your starter from the jar (you should have about 60 g left). Use a spoon. The texture will be very stretchy. Add 60 g (1⁄2 cup) of all-purpose our and 60 g (1/4 cup) of warm water. Mix with a fork until smooth.
The texture should resemble thick pancake batter or plain yogurt (not Greek) at this point so add more water as needed. Cover and let rest in your warm spot for another 24 hours.
DAYS 4, 5, AND 6: Keep on Feeding!
Repeat the same feeding process as outlined on Day 3:
Remove and discard half of the starter, and feed it with 60 g (1⁄2 cup) of all-purpose flour and 60 g (1/4 cup) of warm water. As the yeast begins to develop, your starter will rise, and bubbles will form on the surface and throughout the culture.
When the starter falls, it’s time to feed it again.
Tip: Place a rubber band or piece of masking tape around the jar to measure the starter’s growth as it rises.
DAY 7: A Sourdough starter is born!
By now, your sourdough starter should have doubled in size.
You should see plenty of bubbles, both large and small. The texture will now be spongy, fluffy, and similar to roasted marshmallows (think: s’mores). It should also smell pleasant and not like stinky gym socks. If these conditions are met, your starter is now active.
The very last step is to transfer your sourdough starter to a nice, clean jar. In keeping with tradition, you can also name it (and please do!). My starter is called Dillon after my oldest boy and it’s bright and bubbly, just like he is )
Additional Sourdough Resources
A Few Tips For Ongoing Care…
So you’ve created a sourdough starter! Now what?
Just like any living creature, it must be kept alive with regular feedings to maintain its strength. If your starter is not strong, your bread will not rise. Caring for your starter is much easier than you’d think, and certainly won’t take hours of your time.
How to Feed Your Sourdough Starter
- Begin by removing and discarding about half of your starter.
- Replenish what’s left in the jar with fresh all purpose flour and water.
- Cover loosely, and let it rise at room temperature until bubbly and double in size. Once it falls, the bubbles will become frothy and eventually disappear. Then you’ll know it’s time to feed your starter again.
- Feed your starter everyday if it’s stored at room temperature. If you keep it in the fridge, feed it once a week.
PS: If you miss a feeding, don’t worry- your starter is not going to die. It might look ugly (and smell horrendous) but it usually just needs a few feedings to perk back up.
When Is Your SOURDOUGH Starter Ready to Use?
Your starter is ready when it shows all of the following signs:
- bulk growth to about double in size
- small and large bubbles on the surface and throughout the culture
- spongy or fluffy texture
- pleasant aroma (not reminiscent of nail polish remover/gym socks/rubbing alcohol)
If you’re having trouble spotting the signs, don’t forget to place a rubber band around the base of the jar to measure the starter’s growth.
You can also try the float test mentioned above: Drop a small dollop of starter into a glass of water. If it floats to the top, it’s ready to use.
HOW TO STORE YOUR SOURDOUGH STARTER
Once your starter is established, you have two storage options to consider.
At Room Temperature: If you bake often—let’s say a few times a week—store your starter at room temperature. This will speed up fermentation, making the starter bubbly, active, and ready to use faster. Room temperature starters should be fed one to two times a day, depending on how quickly they rise and fall.
In the Fridge: If you don’t bake that often, store your starter in the fridge covered with a lid. You’ll only need to feed it about once a week or so to maintain its strength when not in use (you can just feed it cold and then pop it back in the fridge right afterwards no need to warm it up first). When you are ready to make dough, feed your starter at room temperature as needed, to wake it back up.
**TIP** For more info on sourdough starters please read Feeding Sourdough Starter: My Best Tips & Tricks.
SOURDOUGH STARTER FAQs
Yes. All purpose flour is easy to find, inexpensive and reliable for starter growth.
Yes. Because whole grain flour absorbs more water than all purpose flour, adjust the texture with additional water if it’s too thick.
Yes. Adjust the texture with additional water if it’s too thick.
Yes. But it’s not recommended. The chemicals can throw off the rising process. However, some readers have reported success with bleached flour. Your choice!
It might. To clarify: organic flour is not bad to use. The enzymes are just a bit different. This means the overall process might take longer than indicated. I recommend using all purpose flour instead because it’s more predictable (and less expensive!).
Whole wheat flour is used to jumpstart the fermentation process. If you do not have whole wheat flour, just use all purpose flour instead. The starter will be fine. I switch to all purpose flour for the feedings because it’s reliable, inexpensive and practical for everyday baking (remember, a portion of your starter is removed, discarded, or used for something else).
To refresh the acidity levels and to control the overall growth in size.
In the beginning, I typically don’t recommend using the discard (it’s usually really smelly and discolored). I recommend using the discard after the starter has been established. However, everyone will have a different experience with this. If it looks good- use it!
If your starter is used to one type of flour, and then you swap it out for something else, just give it time to adjust. It might react immediately (in a good way!) or it might be sluggish at first and then eventually perk up.
*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support friends! *
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How to use a sourdough starter
You can use your sourdough starter for anything you use flour in! These sweet sourdough recipes are sure amaze you with how you can use your sourdough starter!
These recipes use a combination of fed, active sourdough starter and sourdough discard. Discard is a natural part of keeping a sourdough starter &ndash its just the unfed and inactive starter.
Discard is really a misnomer that implies that there is something wrong with this part of the starter and you should throw it away.
In reality, there are so many ways you can use your inactive starter, like all these sourdough discard desserts.
Also check out &ldquoQuick Sourdough Recipes&rdquo for when you need a recipe that takes less than an hour!
What kind of sourdough starter do I need for these recipes?
Most of these recipes use a 100% hydration sourdough starter, meaning one that has been fed equal amounts by weight of flour and water. Read How to Maintain a Sourdough Starter for more information.
New to sourdough? Read my ultimate guide to sourdough for beginners to get all the answers to your questions in easy to understand ways!
Savory Sourdough Discard Recipes
Sourdough crackers: One of the simplest ways you can use extra sourdough starter is by making crackers. Add the discard to flour, butter, salt and herbs to form a dough. These crackers freeze well too, which means there’s no reason to toss that extra discard!
Sourdough discard English muffins: If all you’ve ever had are frozen English muffins, put these at the top of your list of things to make with discarded sourdough starter. The recipe requires two rises, making it a more time-intensive preparation, but the tender muffins, full of nooks and crannies and a slightly tangy flavor, are worth it.