The easy sourdough discard bread has a crackly crust warmly wrapping a pillowy softness. You get a tiny burst of tang, slightly more than the usual bread with a bit of a chewy underbite. It is bliss like you’ve never tasted.
This is not a sourdough bread. It’s not even pretending to be one! It’s an everyday bread that looks artisanal and just happens to have sourdough discard as one ingredient.
Why am I emphasizing the difference? Because this recipe requires less technique than actual sourdough bread and far, far less time as it’s helped along by yeast.
I’ve been perfecting the recipe for an easy sourdough discard bread since I made sourdough peanut butter brownies. For months, I kept adding starter discard to batches of everyday bread until I was satisfied with the result.
So, if you’re feeding your starter and thinking, “What can I do with sourdough discard?” here’s your answer. Make an easy sourdough discard bread.
How to make easy sourdough discard bread?
Making sourdough bread is calming and an experience in itself. But let’s be honest, we don’t always have the time to bake it. This recipe is for exactly those days.
Get the ingredients together.
- Mix all-purpose flour, wholewheat flour, and salt.
- Add the sourdough starter discard to it, and then set it aside.
- In a small bowl, combine warm water with yeast and sugar.
- Stir and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes in a draft-free and warm corner of the kitchen.
When the yeast mixture is bubbly and frothy, mix it into your dry ingredients using a fork. As you mix, you’ll get a scraggy dough.
The first kneading
- Place the scraggy dough on a well-floured surface and begin kneading.
- The trick is to push the dough away from you using the heel of your hand.
- Bring the upper half over the lower half with your fingers, folding the dough.
- Then again, push it outwards with your heels.
- Repeat this process for a good 8 to 10 minutes till you have a smooth, supple dough.
This motion of kneading develops the gluten strands and builds a structure where gases can get trapped, causing the dough rise.
If you get tired while kneading, cover the dough with either a tea towel or an upturned bowl. Take a breather for a few minutes and then come back again.
The first proofing
- When the dough is elastic and soft, place it in a lightly greased bowl.
- Cover it with a tea towel or cling wrap.
- Stow it in a warm corner for 2 to 3 hours, until it’s doubled in size.
As I said, it’s cold here, so it took a couple of hours for the dough to rise. Yours may take less.
The second kneading
- When the dough is doubled in size, it’s ready for the second kneading.
- Dust your prep area with flour.
- Turn the bowl containing the dough upside down and let the dough fall on the surface.
- Knead it once again, just for a few minutes.
As you knead, shape it any way you prefer. I opted for a ball.
The second proofing
- Place the shaped dough on a parchment-lined tray.
- Cover it with a tea towel for one last time.
- Let it rise for 45 minutes, until puffy.
If your kitchen is warmer, the second proof may take as little as 30 minutes.
While the bread second proofs, preheat the oven at the highest setting possible. I crank it up to 250°C for a long time because I’ve realized that you need a scorching hot oven for a really good bread loaf.
Baking the sourdough discard bread
- Once the bread is puffy, it is ready to be baked.
- Sprinkle the dough top with some flour.
- Then using a sharp knife, score the bread.
- Immediately slide it into the oven, lessen the temperature to 230 C, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
Why score the bread?
Slashing the dough allows the bread more room to expand during baking, offering a great oven spring. It also makes the bread more decorative by creating a design on the surface.
What is an oven spring?
It’s the sudden rise in volume of the dough in the first few minutes of baking. The loaf gets puffy because of oven springs. It also gives the crust a crusty texture (for the lack of a better word) as opposed to the soft crust of everyday bread.
To get the oven spring, set a tray right underneath the rack where you’d place the dough for baking. Pour a cup of water into the tray, as soon as you slide the tray with dough to bake. The water will turn into steam, creating moisture inside the oven that causes the dough to inflate.
Serving the easy sourdough discard bread
This is the hardest part of the recipe. You have to wait patiently for the bread to cool down before you can slice and serve it, all the while the tempting aroma infuses the kitchen.
If you dig in too soon, the whole structure will collapse. So, it’s imperative that you give at least one and a half hours to cool.
Variations of the easy sourdough discard bread
I used a blend of whole wheat and all-purpose flour this time. But I have baked the bread with 100% whole wheat and 100% all-purpose flour too.
Choose any of the options. They all work amazingly. Just remember to adjust the liquids because this dough is meant to be well-hydrated and moist.
How to add flavor to sourdough discard bread?
Adding mix-ins is the easiest way to pack in flavors into the loaf, and this recipe is so versatile that you have endless choices.
After the first proof, fuse the dough with:
- Cinnamon and raisins
- Dried or fresh herbs
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Chopped walnuts
- Shredded cheese
- Chocolate chips
- Sliced olives
- Any seeds
Other recipes that use sourdough starter discard
- Sourdough oatmeal walnut cookies
- Plum apricot sourdough galette
- Banana cinnamon pancakes
- Sourdough crackers
- Sourdough waffles
The process is much faster when the house is warm. Here in India, it took longer due to the lack of central heating and biting cold temperatures.
Nevertheless, the sourdough discard bread recipe is fuss-free and gratifyingly rewarding. Give it a whirl; you will not be disappointed.
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Easy Sourdough Discard Bread
- 1.5 cups ( 200 gms) All Purpose Flour
- 1.5 cups 245 gms) Whole Wheat Flour
- 1 1/4 tsp ( 5 gms) Salt
- 1/3 cup ( 90 gms) Sourdough Discard
- 1 1/2 tsp ( 4 gms) Yeast
- 11/4 cups ( 300 ml) Water
- 1 tsp Sugar
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar with the water. Let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
- In a large bowl, mix the flours and salt.
- Make a well in the center and add sourdough discard and the bubbly yeast mixture.
- Mix well with a fork or your hand till a rough scraggy dough forms.
- Place the scraggy dough on a well-floured surface and begin kneading. The trick is to push the dough away from you using the heel of your hand. Bring the upper half over the lower half with your fingers, folding the dough.Then again, push it outwards with your heels. Repeat this process for a good 8 to 10 minutes till you have a smooth, supple dough.
- When the dough is elastic and soft, shape it into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl. Cover it with a tea towel or cling wrap. Let this sit for 2 – 3 hours. or until the dough is doubled in size.
- When the dough is doubled in size, it’s ready for the second kneading. Dust your prep area with flour. Turn the bowl containing the dough upside down and let the dough fall on the surface. Knead it gently, just for 2 minutes.
- Shape it any way you prefer – this can be baguette-shaped or a ball like I've done.
- Place the shaped dough on a parchment-lined tray. Cover it with a tea towel for one last time. Let it rise for 45 minutes. Or until puffy.
- While the dough is undergoing a second proof, preheat your oven at 250C.
Preparing the Bread for Baking
- Once the bread is puffy, it is ready to be baked. Sprinkle the dough top with some flour. Then using a sharp knife, score the bread. Immediately slide it into the oven, lessen the temperature to 230 C, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
- The bread will be done when the top is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when you tap it.
- Quick tip:To get a crunchy crust, set a tray underneath the rack where you’d place the tray with dough for baking. Pour a cup of water into the tray, as soon as you slide the baking tray in. Shut the oven door quickly. This creates moisture in the oven that is essential for the bread to rise and for the crackly crust!
- Let the bread cool completely before cutting and serving.