As we approach week 10 of quarantine, I continue to think of ways to be mindful of food waste. That brings me to the complete and total pain and guilt I’ve felt about my sourdough starter discard. Admitting it is the first step to recovery. And yes, I’ve been very guilty. Sourdough discard is the part of the starter that gets thrown away before its daily feeding. It’s one of those silent facts that nobody really likes to share.
Junior (my starter) and I have been together for almost three years. During this time, I’ve nurtured him, kept him safe and warm, and murmured sweet, loving words to convince him to keep bubbling away. I’ve explained to Junior countless times that my daily act of savagely pulling part of him off and tossing him away was necessary. Then one day, I stopped.
Junior grows larger with every passing moment. He continues to call out to me from under his kitchen towel, pleading with me with words I’m sure no one else can hear; “Feed me… feed me…FEED ME.” When your starter begins to remind you of Audrey II, the Venus-fly trap plant from Little Shop of Horrors, it’s time to take action.
There are plenty of uses for excess sourdough starter. In fact, its become quite trendy! My research has led me to recipes for sourdough biscuits, waffles, pancakes, muffins, pretzels, pizza crust, focaccia, and coffee cake. The possibilities are endless. Right now, I’m in the process of developing a recipe using Junior’s discard in fresh pasta.