Including banana bread, for peak quarantine baking.
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There’s no getting around it: When you bake sourdough bread, you end up with starter discard. Sometimes, a lot of it. Luckily you can use sourdough discard in recipes; here are some favorites.
One traditional way to utilize the stuff is in pancakes or waffles, and some of you even like them for dinner, a phenomenon I have only recently embraced.
I understand I’m in the minority because it seems that everyone else came to love this irrationally timed meal when they were children, but I did not. Even then, it offended my sense of routine and order. Pancakes? At six o’clock AT NIGHT? Ridiculous.
When I became a mom and dinner was, as they say, on my plate, I changed my tune. It didn’t hurt that I had a killer pancake and waffle recipe, made from some of the copious sourdough discard created from my bread obsession.
Which came first, the change of heart or the recipe? Hard to say. Either way, this is a great one, and I often double it and freeze the extras just in case someone wants to eat them at an unconventional time, say, before noon. Or at midnight. Right now, anything goes. Enjoy!
Sourdough Pancakes and Waffles
Makes: About 12 pancakes, 3 inches in diameter or 4-5 waffles, about 8 inches in diameter
- 2/3 cup (150 g) leftover starter
- 1 cup (240 ml) milk (whole, 2%, or your choice of nut milk)
- 2 tablespoons (42 g) melted unsalted butter or melted coconut oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup (120 g) flour – white whole wheat, whole wheat, or all-purpose
- 1 tablespoon (12 g) sugar (white sugar or coconut sugar)
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
- ½ teaspoon (5 g) fine sea salt
- Add leftover starter, milk, butter, and egg into a large bowl. Whisk well to combine and then add flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and whisk to thoroughly combine. You can adjust your batter from here—if it’s too thick, you can add more milk; if it seems too runny, you can add a little more flour. This will depend on the consistency of your leftover starter, which may vary from batch to batch. If you like buckwheat, you can even add a little in for extra nutrition and that distinctive flavor.
- FOR WAFFLES: Preheat your waffle iron. Spray with cooking spray or brush with additional melted butter. Cook until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Serve warm with butter, maple syrup, and/or fruit of your choice.
- FOR PANCAKES: Preheat a griddle or frying pan and spray with cooking spray or brush with butter. Use 1/3 – ½ c scoops and cook until small bubbles form across each pancake. Add mini chocolate chips (my boys’ favorite style!) or blueberries before flipping over. Cook until golden brown. Serve warm with butter and syrup.
To Freeze: Cool completely on a wire rack and freeze in a single layer.
Other Variations: You can add pumpkin and/or banana puree and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice mixture to this recipe without changing a thing! Add a generous ½ cup of either or a combination of both. For savory waffles, use malt powder instead of sugar and add shredded cheddar cheese and ½ teaspoon of dried herbs into the batter.
I prefer waffles to pancakes, and I highly recommend you serve them hot off the iron with Chicago Maple Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrup. Trust me on this.
Not sold on pancakes (or waffles)? Not a problem. There are many other delicious ways to bake with your sourdough discard. Some of them you might even eat for dinner. Or breakfast. No judgment.
Flaky Sourdough Biscuits
These layered beauties come together in just 30 minutes, so you’ll have time to make sausage gravy, too. Get the Flaky Sourdough Biscuits recipe.
Gooey Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls
These yeast-free cinnamon rolls use sourdough starter and add an easy brown sugar caramel and toasted pecans to the mix. Even better: You can make them ahead and then bake the next morning. Get the Caramel Pecan Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls recipe.
Puffy and light, these UK favorites will be yours, too, since they require no proving or kneading and are quick and easy to whip up just in time for breakfast, topped with jam and butter. Get the Sourdough Crumpets recipe.
Sourdough Discard Crackers
Thin and crispy crackers with a tang of sourdough, with only four ingredients! Great paired with charcuterie or hummus for happy hour hors d’oeuvres. Get the Sourdough Discard Crackers recipe.
Sourdough Banana Bread
Two bananas, your leftover starter, and some simple pantry ingredients magically transform into a lovely loaf of banana bread. Get the Sourdough Banana Bread recipe.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
This classic bake features a gooey caramel topping and a touch of cardamom, which makes it extra fun. Get the Sourdough Discard Pineapple Upside-Down Cake recipe.
The only place better than your kitchen for pretzels is at Wrigley Field. That’s not true; the ones in your kitchen—if you make these from King Arthur Flour—are better. (Go Cubs!) Get the Sourdough Pretzels recipe.
Does the world need another brownie recipe? If it’s from Izy Hossack, then the answer is yes. These dark, rich beauties are screaming for a tall glass of milk. Get the Sourdough Brownies recipe.
Sourdough Discard Pizza Crust
Pizza crust gets fancy when you make it with your starter. (This version from Jeanette’s Healthy Living also includes some yeast, which helps ensure pizza success!) In either case, use a cast iron pan for a super-crunchy crust. Get Josey Baker’s Sourdough Discard Pizza Crust recipe.
Heather is a hot sauce addict, runner, and writer who finds humor in the fact that she had frequent philosophical discussions about baby carrots in her former life as an advertising executive. She is the founder and sole-proprietor of the Chicago-based micro-bakery, Eat Like a Mother, specializing in artisan sourdough goods, and she frequently teaches bread baking classes in her home.