how to make sourdough discard **equivalent**
May 11, 2020 10:51 AM   Subscribe

I know this is a strange question. Briefly, I have given up on trying to make sourdough bread but we love this recipe for sourdough discard crackers. What can I use to create a substitute cup of sourdough discard? An equal amount of flour and water? Or? And how much yeast? (Yes, I have yeast. That makes giving up on sourdough bread a lot easier.) Strange times generate strange questions, I guess.
posted by uans to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Why not just keep a starter in your fridge just for crackers? No need to make bread...

The particular flavor of sourdough comes from fermentation, which is pretty hard to get without fermenting. To mimic the acidic tang you could try vinegar, but the real thing is probably just as easy (though you do have to feed it sometimes).
posted by epanalepsis at 11:12 AM on May 11, 2020 [5 favorites]

Make bread dough - mix some water and yeast and a little flour, wait 15 minutes, add more flour, some salt, knead. When it doubles, it's yeast dough, which is what sourdough discard is. I kept some commercial yeast dough going for a month; doesn't taste like sour, i.e., wild yeast, but behaves similarly.
posted by theora55 at 11:16 AM on May 11, 2020

In a recipe like this they're not using the discard for its leavening, but for its flavor (the tangy sour kind). A yeasted discard will taste more beery and is usually less pleasant. I would just make the crackers and skip the starter piece, or play around with flours - rye makes a nice spicy runner that would result in a more complex cracker.
posted by Think_Long at 11:19 AM on May 11, 2020 [2 favorites]

I made very rustic crackers recently with just flour, oil, salt, and water, so your recipe will definitely work with just an equivalent amount of flour and water. I'd try that first and see if you like the results.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:27 AM on May 11, 2020

my (active) sourdough starter isnt anything more than flour and water. people seem just SHOCKED when i tell them i do not keep it in a specialized/regulated proofing cabinet, it does just fine on my apartment kitchen counter.

do you have unbleached flour?it doenst need to be anything special (although a whole wheat flour will have more bran and the wild yeasts which live on them). mix up some of that and some water - equal weights if you care or just until theres a thick paste texture, then let it sit out but covered until it slackens and gets more liquidy - somewhere between overnight and a few days? since you dont need it for leavening it doesnt really matter how active it is, but if theres a strong ammonia smell or darkening liquid on top you can pour that part off.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 12:01 PM on May 11, 2020

You can substitute 1 cup of flour + 1/2 cup of water for sourdough discard. The proportions will be correct, but the sourdough flavor won't be there, obviously.
posted by vitout at 1:20 PM on May 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

I agree with the first comment - just make starter, keep it in the fridge, and replenish what you use for the crackers. That's the way you'll get the sour flavor but you won't be feeding it "up" to have enough for bread making.
posted by Miko at 4:45 PM on May 11, 2020

Buttermilk adds that nice sour richness right away. Crackers, biscuits, cornbread, pie crust....
posted by clew at 4:54 PM on May 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

If it's the tanginess you like with the crackers, agree with clew buttermilk could be your secret. Use it in place of some of the water. If you don't keep buttermilk on hand, you can make a buttermilk subsitute by first putting 1 tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice in the bottom of the measuring cup, then fill the rest of the way with milk. Let it sit a couple of minutes til it curdles and then use.
posted by assenav at 8:21 AM on May 12, 2020

There’s also shelf-stable powdered buttermilk, or diluted plain yogurt, or whey poured off plain yogurt.

The part of sourdough that isn’t yeast is mostly lactobacillus, and while they can live on things other than milk, there’s a reason we found them in milk first.
posted by clew at 3:54 PM on May 12, 2020

I would do buttermilk and flour with the ratio above (1:2).
posted by quadrilaterals at 1:03 PM on May 13, 2020

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