When you’re feeding your sourdough starter twice a day (see over here for more details about that), but you don’t have time/freezer space/a family of 10 to bake every day, you end up with quite a lot of discarded starter. I’m working on different ways to use that starter (I’ve already got sourdough pancakes down), but I also decided to try simply to bake with it (or should that, boldly, be ‘try to simply bake’? Too much of an inside joke?).
Instead of throwing away discarded starter after feedings, I store it in a plastic container in the fridge until I have a day with enough time for baking, sometimes up to a week. When it’s time to bake, I make a dough by mixing the stored starter with flour, water and salt until it looks right. I’ve been using the stand mixer for the kneading of these loaves, and I’m liking the result so far because I have been able to add a higher ratio of water to flour (which gives a moister loaf) and still get a workable dough. When the dough has been kneaded or mixed sufficiently, I leave it to rise in a bowl for several hours, before shaping it and transferring it to a rising basket. If at that point it’s late, the dough goes in the fridge overnight. If it’s still early, I simply leave it covered on the kitchen counter for several more hours. And then I bake it for 30 minutes on high heat (250-285 C/482-545 F), and for 10-30 more minutes on lower heat (220-250 C/428-482 F), depending on the size of the loaf. Finally, the most difficult thing of all – leaving the bread to cool for 30-60 minutes before eating it.
I don’t have an exact recipe yet, because the amount of starter I’ve used has varied in each bake so far, simply because it is a function of how many days it has been since my previous bake. But if you’re someone who has some experience with dough texture, then it might be worth experimenting with a bread like this.
It’s been worth it for me, anyway. This “method” produces a similar loaf to my regular sourdough bakes – airy, crusty, and a bit chewy, but perhaps with a bit more tang from the greater amount of sourdough starter in it. Two of my loaves are documented below.