Lately with the big craze over sourdough starter , i see so many questions about people hate to throw away discard , and they end up baking non stop . I totally understand and can relate to this . Long time ago i also was one of them , thinking oh my goodness i don’t like throwing away food and discard means you don’t need it . I better bake more !!!
Why do we need to discard starter during feeding anyway ? Well .. we need to do this otherwise we end up with a ton of starter , from 1 small jar , we might end up with big jar and if we don’t discard some of this .. what are we going to do ? Especially when you feed starter , usually we do feeding of equal ratio of water , flour and starter . Think if you have 250 grams of starter needs to be fed , with 250 grams of flour and 250 grams of water , you’ll end up with 750 grams of active starter . That’s a lot , esp if you don’t use it right away , or only need 100 grams active to bake .
If you do like to bake with the discard , by all means , keep feeding them without throwing them away . It’s good anyway , you can bake crackers , my favorite , or cinnamon swirl raisin bread , or pizza crust or chocolate cake , or brownies .. many ideas .
Otherwise this is what i usually do . My main starter , or i call it Ben & Jerry , stays in the fridge all the time . In the back of the fridge , and i only take it out when i need to get certain amount to bake . On the day i know i want to bake , i take out certain amount of starter i need . For example , if the recipe says i need 210 grams of active starter then i will take 70 grams of starter , and i would feed them with 70 grams of water and 70 grams of flour . That equals with 210 grams of starter . And let it sit on the counter , eventually they will double in size and becomes very active , then i will start using it in the dough the recipe calls for .
I also go as far as 3 months not feeding my starter , i don’t feed it weekly , i would do this comfortably when your starter is already really mature , if it’s only a week old starter i probably would still feed it once a week or something . As it gets older , it gets stronger and it can take a lot of beating . As i don’t baby my starter . LOL
So i don’t need to discard anything , the main starter will go back to the fridge after i took out what i needed . When the main starter getting low , for example there is only 10 grams left , or just look at it , there is barely anything , then i would take them out and i would feed them , not because i want to bake , but because i need to up my supply . I need to build up my main starter again so that i would have enough the next time i want to bake this or that .
See ? no discard , nothing to throw away , nothing to waste . Just take out what you need from the main starter . If you do want to use something with discard , just take out from the main starter and bake with it right away .
That’s all ! Easy enough , no flour to waste and no guilt from constantly baking for the sake not wasting food . Baking is good and i love baking , but if your family like my family , we’re only family of three , there is only so much bread and baking we can and should eat .