Revisiting what to do with leftover starter

About two years ago we had great exchange on this forum about all the things you can do with leftover starter when you don’t want to throw out the part you discard from your starter pot.I just want to say, our Breadtopia forum was WAY ahead of the New Yorker (magazine). Tamar Adler wrote on the subject this week. It’s an odd article, she seems to like all the things you can do with starter EXCEPT making bread! It definitely got me thinking, Pancakes!

Indeed an odd relationship with sourdough starter. I struggle to understand how people can say they can’t get instant yeast to work. If it truly didn’t work, it’s dead and you need to buy a new package.

Anyway, I do relate to the author here :sweat_smile: :see_no_evil:

You know how when you garden, you’re supposed to “thin” seedlings once they’ve sprouted, so they don’t crowd each other out and gobble up each other’s resources? You pluck out the weakest sprouts—tiny baby plants, their too-heavy heads bobbing on floss-like stems. I can’t even bear to be outside while my husband does this thinning. I can’t even know it’s happening.

This is probably why my starter routine almost never involves discard, and the few times it has, you bet I used it!

Yeah, I can’t “discard” any of my sourdough (Cyril) either. I make pancakes and will store what I don’t eat in the freezer for whenever I want them.


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MAKE CRACKERS! I came across a recommendation to spread it thin on a Silpat or nonstick foil, sprinkle with sesame or other seeds and bake into crackers. (Haven’t tried it as I’m back to low carb for a bit.)

NO-DISCARD METHOD - As we were intending to do extended travel I dried a couple of batches of my starter earlier this year. Since the lockdown I have been reconstituting it as needed. This makes about 100 grams of starter with no need to discard any of it.

Mix and allow to sit until softened
1 tsp dried starter
1 tbsp water

Add and let rise until doubled or tripled
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp water

Repeat 2 more times.

OMG, you named your starter? No wonder you can’t throw any out!

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@Khasidi I tend to name everything, LOL! Over the years I’ve named all our cars. I’ve even named some of our dog’s favorite toys. When I was gifted my sourdough back in February 2018 from a dear friend she had already named her sourdough “Feed Me Seymour.” She had affectionately begun that starter from scratch while living in Douglas, AZ quite a number of years ago. In time she even added some dried original San Francisco sourdough starter she had been able to order online. He had been, and still does, bake lovely loaves of bread for her. The San Francisco starter also had a name but I don’t remember it. She combined the name of her starter with the name of the San Francisco starter and came up with a name that had “Cyril” as part of it. I definitely wanted to name my starter because starter is a living thing. I decided to call my starter Cyril out of affection for my friend and gratitude for her sharing her starter with me that began my sourdough bread baking journey. Last summer I took some of Cyril and fashioned a rye starter out of him that I named “Sir Riehold, son of Cyril.” However I found maintaining two starters to be much more than I needed to use and I didn’t personally see a perceivable difference in how they performed in my loaves. Sadly, I did decide to let Sir Riehold depart, but not before using him to make some pancakes, LOL! I just don’t need two starters. My beloved Cyril is my faithful happy starter.

Happy Baking,

I am not going to name my starter. I already feel bad when I throw some away. If I named my starter then all those extra bits might start being children, each with a name of its own. My refrigerator would soon be overwhelmed with jars and containers with Sally, Fred, Atul, Miriam, Jethro, Frances, Gilbert, Reggie, and little Gracie. And let’s not even think about the grandchildren…

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The grandchildren! ROLF! Your posts have made me smile big-time today. Thank you! Of course, you don’t have to name your starter! Just enjoy your starter and all the bakes you get out of it.

Blessings to you and again, thank you for the smiles!