As you’ll know if you’re regular readers, I used to bake a lot of sourdough bread when I was running Well Bread! my commercial bakery.
Sadly that’s all in the past now, but I’ve kept my sourdough starters going, refreshing them weekly and keeping them in the fridge.
I have White Wholemeal, Spelt and Rye and keep 150g of each. Each week I discard 100g of each and refresh with 50g each of flour and water.
I add this discard to whatever I’m baking, usually yeasted bread and rolls, it gives the loaf more flavour.
You can do other things with the discard as well, here’s a recipe for biscuits.
Sourdough digestive biscuits.
100g wholemeal flour
50g dark brown sugar
Generous pinch of salt
110g unsalted butter at room temperature
100g recently refreshed starter at 100% hydration – whatever you have to hand; you want it to be lively but mild. I fed some starter straight from the fridge that had last been refreshed a couple of days previously and fed 50g rye starter with 25g water and 25g white flour and left it for a couple of hours until it was starting to puff up a bit.
1 tblsp whole milk
Place oats in a food processor and process until they turn to fine powder. Add flour, sugar and salt, pulse a few times to combine and then put butter in the processor and turn on briefly until the mix looks damp and comes together in a rough dough. If you don’t have a processor use oats that are already fairly fine in texture and combine with the other dry ingredients in a bowl before rubbing in the butter with your fingertips.
Remove mix from food processor to a medium bowl and stir in the starter and a tablespoon of milk gently, until well combined. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate until firm – an hour or so, or until you are ready to make the biscuits.
Roll the dough out evenly on a lightly floured surface until it is approx. 3-4mm thick. Cut circles of dough with a cutter and place on parchment/silicone paper lined trays. They don’t spread much but leave a little room between them. I made 25 from this recipe. Prick all over with a fork and put them back in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes or so while the oven heats up.
I baked them at gas mark 4/ 180ºC for 25 minutes turning the tray once during baking, though check them at the 15 and 20-minute mark – they don’t go very brown as there is not much sugar in them so you are looking for them to seem dry and firm and browned slightly at the edges and underneath. The longer you cook them (without burning them, obviously!) the crisper they will be.
They are slightly soft when they first come out of the oven and firm up when cooled. Transfer to racks to cool down and then keep in an airtight jar or container.
So if you have starter to discard, don’t throw it away, have a go at these, you won’t be disappointed. If you need any more information about the process, just comment at the end of this post, I’ll be happy to help.
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