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How to Bake Sourdough Bread Using Discarded Starter

I feed my starter twice a day, which means I end up with a fair amount of discard. I’m not a fan of wasting food or throwing the sourdough discard. Therefore since I started baking sourdough bread, I’m trying to save most of the discard.

I add it to my other recipes like banana bread, brownies, carrot buns, and now I have just perform an experiment – Baking Sourdough Bread using ONLY DISCARD!

I store my sourdough discard in the fridge because this is the best way to save discard. This cold method slows down the fermentation and gets a mild sour taste in our discard recipes.

The rule of thumb that I learned is to collect discard for a week, and if you can’t use it, throw it away and start collecting again. And because it is summer vacation here in Denmark, I don’t know when I can start baking sourdough bread again. So, I decided to make an experiment to feed my discard about one tablespoon of regular kitchen flour every time I’m feeding my starter. This is to maintain the discard fermentation and prevent forming hooch on the top of my discard.

Feeding my discard before placing it again in the fridge.

Quick Notes

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You will need:

Procedure (video):

Autolyse: Mix by hand in a large bowl the flour and water. Gently mix until everything is hydrated. Do not knead; just mix. Cover with a damp cloth and let sit for 2 hours.

Discard: After the autolyse time, pour the discard (room temperature) directly onto your autolyse dough. Use your hands to mix until everything is well combined. Cover with a damp cloth and let sit for 30 minutes.

Salt and seeds: Add salt and sesame seeds (optional). Use your hands again to integrate them into the dough for 30 seconds.

Slap and fold method: Pick up the dough and start slapping and folding your dough against your kitchen countertop. I advise you to watch the video tutorial here for visual guidance. Once the dough becomes smooth and is not sticking so much, transfer the dough back to the bowl. Cover again and let sit for 15 minutes.

Bulk fermentation + coil and fold: We will perform 6 sets of the coil and fold, and we will do this every 15 minutes. After the last coil and fold, let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

Pre-shape: After resting, transfer the dough, without degassing, onto a slightly wet countertop. Divide the dough into two halves using a bench scraper. Gently reshape the dough into two balls. Let the balls rest for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Final shape: Lightly flour the entire surface of your dough balls and your countertop. With a bench scraper, gently flip the ball over. Stretch the bottom of your dough and fold in an upwards motion to the center. Then stretch and fold the right side over the left side and do the same to the right side. Finally, roll the dough from the bottom to the top and gently seal the sides and bottom. This shaping technique takes practice, and I advise watching my video tutorial here for visual guidance.

Banneton: Prepare two bannetons lined with kitchen or tea towels. Lightly dust with rice flour. Gently place the shaped dough into the banneton with the seam facing up. Repeat with other dough. Let them sit uncovered, at room temperature for 20 minutes, then individually cover each prepared dough with a shower cap or put them into a plastic bag and close tightly with a clip or rubber band. Transfer them to the fridge and rest for 12 to 15 hours (overnight).

Baking in a preheated ovencold cast iron pan, and adding ice cube inside the pan: Preheat oven to 250 degrees Celcius (480F) for 1 hour and 10 minutes. When you are done preheating your oven, take one dough out of the fridge. Sprinkle rice flour on the dough before removing it from the banneton. Place a piece of parchment paper over the banneton and flip it out onto the cold cast iron pot, carefully removing the dough from the banneton. Use a sharp bread lame or razor blade cut deep to allow the bread to rise while baking. Move quickly and don’t be afraid to cut the bread. Add an ice cube inside the pan to create steam to help the bread rise while baking. Place the lid and put it in the preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the lid and lower the heat to 230 degrees Celcius (450F) and bake for 20 minutes.

Baking in a preheated oven and heated cast iron pan: Preheat oven again to 250 degrees Celcius (480F). Once the oven is ready, take the dough out of the fridge, then sprinkle rice flour on the dough before removing it from the banneton. Place a piece of parchment paper over the banneton and flip it out onto a place or board, carefully removing the dough from the banneton. Use a sharp bread lame or razor blade cut deep to allow the bread to rise while baking. Move quickly and don’t be afraid to cut the bread. Then carefully and gently transfer the dough to your preheated pot, put the lid, and place it in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the lid and lower the heat to 230 degrees Celcius (450F) and bake for 15 minutes.

Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour before slicing it. Preferably let it cool for 4-12 hours for the best flavor, texture and to prevent the bread from being gummy.

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