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I’ve got to get this off my chest.

I don’t discard my sourdough.

I don’t practice it.

And being honest about not discarding sourdough is probably going to get me in hot water with some sourdoughers.

The ONLY time I recommend practicing discard is when you’re originally building your sourdough starter and creating strength. Once strong, you can switch to a no discard method of sourdough.

And if I’m being completely honest,
I think the discard method is wasteful and I think the discard method complicates (and overwhelms) starting sourdough.

HERES how I do sourdough. It is how I learned from my dad who learned from my great grandpa.

I recently learned that what I call the no discard method is also referred to as the Cowboy Way, which is incredibly fitting as my great grandpa was a cowboy in the mountains of Idaho!

My starter is named after one of the mountain ranges he cowboyed in. If you still need sourdough starter to start your sourdough journey, meet Owyhee Sourdough!

I’m going to be using the terms mother and sourdough starter interchangeably but it means the exact same thing.

I essentially keep a sourdough MOTHER starter in my fridge at all times.

I remove my mother starter when I want to bake.

I allow my sourdough starter to come to room temperature

I check to see how much fed or discard starter I need for my recipe(s) and feed my mother starter accordingly.

LETS say I need 200g of Sourdough starter for my recipe, to my mother starter I will add= 100g flour + 100g water

When it comes to mixing my recipe(s) I’ll remove said 200g which will leave me with a scant amount in the jar/bowl.
THIS now becomes my MOTHER starter

I ALWAYS have a reserve amount. The reserve amount is my MOTHER starter.

I can either remove my MOTHER straight away or at the end but ALWAYS reserve something.

If you have COPIOUS amounts of sourdough discard and if you love sourdough but hate discarding: this method is for you.

if you love the discard method, then that is fantastic and I am not here to deter you from keeping that method.

I am here to bring awareness to the fact that you can do sourdough in a different manner.

I think sometimes Sourdough seems overwhelming, because of the discard and I’m here to explain what to do instead

It’s really easy.

When you need your sourdough starter, you remove it from the fridge, allow your sourdough starter to come to room temperature, feed your starter and let it get all nice and bubbly and active.

Now, the next step is crucial before you make your recipe, take a little bit of the starter off the top and reserve it and now you have your sourdough mother.

You will always ALWAYS reserve off the top. You are never going to use your entire sourdough starter because if you do, you will have to create a brand new sourdough starter from scratch.

Now you’re ready to go make your recipe. If you’re making some thing else, then your feed your starter and repeat the process. However, if you just need to make one recipe (or one baking session), take your mother and put it into the fridge until next time.

Aside from this being the method I was taught, if I started sourdough all over again, the thought of discarding (in my opinion) just seems wasteful.

I have changed the amount I reserve since becoming more and more efficient in knowledge and sourdough skill. I used to reserve 1 cup but have since realized, I can reserve as little as few tablespoons and it will still create a powerful and strong sourdough starter.

When a recipe calls for Sourdough discard, I use active starter. But to achieve a discard sourdough, just let your sourdough go flat AFTER you have reserved your mother.

And because I use active starter, I let it ferment AND usually cast out all other leavening agents. Sourdough will naturally leaven.

Does this make me a rebel?! I’ll let you decide.

But because I’m only feeding my sourdough starter what I need, I’m not creating MASSIVE amounts of excess discard.

I’m not wasting flour resources

I’m also not creating undo stress by stressing about what to do with my discard. I even had someone say on my Instagram post that they felt they had to bake items their family doesn’t eat just because of discard.

Friends, we can stop using the discard method. And we can uncomplicate sourdough.

AND in my opinion, I am crafting a healthier baked product AND a healthier and stronger starter because I don’t discard. The strength in sourdough comes from the feeding and allowing it to ferment.


Let’s address this question: yes, you’re adding a small amount (aka your sourdough MOTHER) into flour and water. YES, you’re still letting it ferment to get active.

The most important information I want you to know is that, THERE IS NO RIGHT OR WRONG WAY TO DO SOURDOUGH!!!

You need to find what works for you.

Maybe it’s discarding.

Maybe it’s not discarding.

Maybe it’s following a recipe to the exact measurements.

Maybe it’s learning to read your dough and mixing from the heart which is what I did hear.

I personally prioritize taste over appearance.

I have purchased some pretty loaves that were insanely bland and lacking.

But the ones that may not look the prettiest are SPOT ON in flavor.

The point is to remind you: have fun and to make sourdough work for you.

You don’t work for Sourdough.

Your life should not revolve around sourdough. Rather, sourdough should be a part of your life.

You don’t need to be a slave to it, to a timeline or to discard.

Sourdough is INCREDIBLY forgiving!!!

One more sourdough tidbit, when you want to really enhance your sourdough flavor choose the right salt: Redmond salt! You can taste the difference with using quality, mineral rich salt. Code flouring will help you save at Redmond Real Salt

Have a sourdough question? I’d love to answer it for you.

So, will you try this no discard method??
Let me know.

follow along for more Simple From Scratch Nourishing Recipes and more food preserving tips @theflouringhome

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  1. This is a great strategy and I look forward to trying to incorporate this into sourdough methods. I have SO much starter right now because I keep missing my active window. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This was a great post! I started a sourdough starter last summer, right in the height of me getting my garden going for the year. So…even though I had all good intentions, it sadly molded over and didn’t make it! For the first week of it’s life, it was bubbly and beautiful. But then I forgot all about it, and neglect took over. I really want to try it again, but the one thing that really turned me off was how much i was discarding, even in that first week. It felt like in order for me to get it going, i needed a massive jar or bowl to keep it in. Maybe I was adding too much flour and water? I forget exactly how much I was adding each time, but I think it was like 1/2 cup of each, every time i fed it. I had soooooo much starter and had to discard so much or else my jar would overflow. I’m really interested in your methods and I’ll be coming back here to learn more! 🙂

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